Religious Education

The PGCE Religious Education course places very high priority on the students’ subject knowledge of the world’s religions.

The course will not therefore expect knowledge across all traditions but will begin the process of enhancing this subject knowledge and its classroom applications through:

  • Formal lectures
  • Tutorials
  • Seminars, both tutor and student led
  • Structured reading from scholarly and research literatures
  • Guest speakers from the major faith traditions
  • Visits to places of religious and cultural significance within Oxford – from churches, mosques, synagogues to museums and a number of the Oxford Colleges

Curriculum Studies in Religious Education is underpinned by close partnership with Religious Education Departments in a range of Oxford schools.

The course also places a high degree of importance to understanding the role of religion in wider cultural, social, political and scientific contexts; and its cross-curricular significance in schools. The course, for example, has particular expertise in the teaching of citizenship. Thus the course will also enhance subject knowledge and its classroom application through cross-curricular links between religion and other subjects. Through such cross-curricular approaches, we stress not only intellectual and critical engagement but creative and imaginative teaching and learning for pupils and students in religious education.

Interns will have considerable opportunity to develop subject knowledge and teaching skills in our partnership schools throughout Oxfordshire and on some bordering counties. The course at Oxford also benefits from the wider context of Theology and Religious Studies at Oxford, including links to the Faculty of Theology, and the Oxford Centre for Buddhist Studies, the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies, and the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies.

Oxford PGCE RE course: degree eligibility information for potential applicants

We welcome applications from students with single or joint honours degrees or relevant Master’s level qualifications in:

  • Religious Studies
  • Theology
  • Biblical Studies

If candidates have a demonstrable knowledge of the study of religion from other degree contexts such applications would also be welcome, including from:

  • The arts and humanities
  • Sociology and social anthropology
  • Philosophy
  • Politics

Applicants, however, should make it clear in application how their degree includes significant elements of the study of religion.

Some knowledge of secondary school religious education in England is a requirement of acceptance on the course, and should include a visit of a day or more to a UK Secondary Comprehensive School.

The Department for Education (2010) Religious Education Guidance for English Schools identifies the following religions for study by children in RE: Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam. It recommends an awareness of non-religious life stances too, including secular humanism. Given many Religious Education Departments in Oxfordshire schools are opting to teach Philosophy and Ethics at AS/A2 (in line with national trends), some knowledge is also required of RE teachers in these areas too. It is unusual to find anyone accepted onto an RE PGCE that has covered adequately each dimension of the subject knowledge now required in RE during their first degree alone!

There are various ways in which aspiring RE teachers can develop their subject knowledge prior to application, interview or the start of the PGCE course if their applications are successful. For example, they can investigate Open University modules in the study of religion or the freestanding undergraduate and post-graduate modular courses available in Theology and Religious Studies in many universities. The Oxford Religious Education course has also developed an on-line RE subject knowledge ‘booster’ course in conjunction with the Culham Institute (visit the Teach RE website). RE Online offers information about degrees and qualifications relevant to Teaching RE.

Page last modified: October 13, 2016