Primary purpose

Are primary teachers really more religious than those in secondary schools?

Teacher recruitment expert John Howson, a visiting professor at Oxford Brookes university, said secondary teachers tend to be more subject-focused while primary staff put more importance on on being a teacher and mentor.

"It is not unusual to find primary teachers who have been leaders of organisations with strong links to the church, like the cubs or Sunday schools," he said Ted Wragg, TES columnist and emeritus professor of education at Exeter university, suggested the findings reflect the fact that most primary teachers are women. Of women who took part 65 per cent said they believed in God compared to 55 per cent of male teachers.

But he added: "There are other factors. To some extent every primary teacher has to include RE in their portfolio, the only people in secondaries who teach RE are RE teachers. Primary teachers are also more likely to take an assembly or lead children on group visits to a church than, say, a secondary maths teacher."

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