RE teaching certificate and divisions in education explored

The latest paper in the Ulster University series looking at the NI education system examines the Catholic RE Certificate and its impact on employment patterns in NI primary schools.

The author of “The Certificate in Religious Education”, Dr Matt Milliken, argues that reviewing the requirement for all permanent teachers in Maintained primary and nursery schools to gain this qualification could open the way for teachers of all backgrounds to apply to work in all sectors.

RE teaching certificate and divisions in education explored The briefing paper, the fourth in the “Transforming Education” series, refers to recent UU research which found that
“…although the proportion of teachers who work in schools across the traditional community divide had generally increased, few Protestant teachers were working in Maintained primary schools (<2%).”

The paper suggests that more could be done to progress a DE recommendation from 2013 that the requirement for the RE Certificate be applied only to certain posts. The paper also recommends steps to make the qualification more useful and accessible to trainee teachers of all backgrounds.

Welcoming the release of “The Certificate in Religious Education”, Tina Merron (Chief Executive of the IEF) commented:
“This research adds to the growing body of evidence to support arguments for a fundamental reform of the NI education system. The requirement for the Catholic RE Certificate for teachers in Maintained primaries and nurseries, alongside the Fair Employment exception for teaching posts, reflects and underlines the divided nature of schools provision here. We look forward to the establishment of the independent review of education, pledged in the New Decade, New Approach agreement, which we hope will identify all the elements which should be addressed on the way to building a new, unified education system.”

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The UU School of Education has received funding from the IEF, the UNESCO Centre and the Community Foundation NI to support publication of the research.