Specialisms do not always make sense of subjects;Letter

20th March 1998 at 00:00
I read with interest Bryan Chapman's letter "One science doesn't always lead to another" (TES, March 6) in which he talks of the problems of asking graduates to teach outside their specialism.

As the only graduate from my PGCE course with the double main of science and religious education and as a current head of humanities this struck home. I too, as a physics graduate, have struggled a chapter, and sometimes just a page, ahead of the pupils in their biology lessons but Mr Chapman is wrong in thinking this doesn't happen in other areas.

As a theology graduate I have taught religious education, history and geography within the humanities (as well as first aid and media studies), and The TES often carries advertisements for "humanities" teachers.

Even this pales into insignificance when one looks at those who teach religious education. In my last school as head of RE I had a geographer, an economist, a historian, a creative artist, and a PE teacher teaching RE, and I know of schools where RE is taught by technologists, scientists and mathematicians. Often the the only qualification deemed suitable is a spare slot in their timetable. Weighed against this the prospect of a biologist teaching physics, or vice versa, seems almost ideal.

PAUL HOPKINS. Head of humanities. Lincoln

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