Supporting Professional RE
The National Association of Teachers of Religious Education (NATRE) was formally established in 1985 following the merger of the Professional Committee of CEM and the Association for Religious Education. It was called the Professional Council for Religious Education (PCfRE) and became known as NATRE in 2007. The combination of these two associations gave a powerful voice to RE teachers to lobby for improvements in provision, profile, resources and training.
Careful work and partnership activity with government agencies and/or other professional associations have ensured that NATRE has played a significant role, or taken the lead, in a range of national projects and initiatives. These have included: the Model Agreed Syllabuses; National Festival of RE; development of PREG (the Professional RE Group); development of the GCSE short course; development of the non-Statutory National Framework for RE; development of the RE Guidance; delivering the roll out of the new secondary curriculum to teachers; development of the CfSA; producing guidance for teachers on the selection of classroom resources on world religions.
As part of the RE Action Plan, NATRE received a grant from government for each of three years to strengthen its capacity to support members, represent the subject nationally and locally and to increase its membership. NATRE undertook a variety of projects with the funding, the outcomes of many of which are presented on NATRE’s website to provide ongoing support and inspiration. NATRE is a member of:
• Council for Subject Associations (CfSA)
• European Forum for Teachers of RE (EFTRE)
• RE Council of England and Wales (REC)
The organisation of NATRE
NATRE is a separate and politically independent organisation within the registered charity Christian Education Movement, Charity No 1086990. The charity is known in public as Christian Education (CE). It delivers its work for school-based multi-faith RE under the brand name of RE Today Services. CE is NATRE’s sponsor and financial guarantor.
NATRE is independent in that it has its own (religiously plural) governing executive and makes its own policy. It creates and works to its own distinct professional action plan. NATRE initiates and manages projects and activities, and represents the interests of its members in its own name. It has its own journal, REsource. On the web, NATRE has its own web site (www.natre.org.uk) which provides a variety of resources developed to support high standards in primary and secondary RE, with a section of the site dedicated to members and materials to support the 160+ NATRE-linked local network groups of teachers which NATRE supports.
NATRE works collaboratively with RE Today Services (www.retoday.org.uk) to provide a platform of support services which ensure that high quality and challenging training opportunities and publications are available to teachers of multi-faith RE. RE Today Services employs a team of full-time schools advisers and is renowned as the largest and most accomplished RE consultancy service in the country. One of RE Today’s Schools’ Advisers is NATRE’s Executive Officer. Administration, accounting and budget management is undertaken by RE Today office staff.
RE Today Services provides a range of subscription packages, nine of which include membership of NATRE. RE Today Services provides the content of and distributes NATRE’s termly membership mailing, and publishes REsource, NATRE’s professional journal, which is included. Members of NATRE contribute in a variety of ways to the REtoday termly magazine and to RE Today’s termly curriculum publications. The majority of members of NATRE and subscribers to RE Today are practising teachers, and also include student teachers, head teachers, teacher trainers, researchers, examiners, education managers, advisers & consultants and SACRE members
What lies ahead?
NATRE will continue to represent the voice of RE teachers, and to work collaboratively with government and its agencies to ensure that RE has a secure place in the curriculum, and is well-supported so that learners achieve high standards in their learning about and from religion and belief.
NATRE’s role as a focal point for the concerns of teachers will continue, and we will seek means of opening up opportunities for creative, instructive professional development.
Our growing network of local groups will continue to provide a valuable connection point for teachers, enabling them to collaborate and communicate with like-minded professionals.
Through our website, our various publications and our representations to official bodies, we will continue to have a visible presence and a positive impact.