Masters Scholarship

 

 

The Masters Scholarship programme is a re-imagining of the Trust’s 3forRE scheme

Learn, grow and challenge yourself in the study of religion and worldviews

I am more away of community groups that support RE. My Masters has been recognised locally and this means it has been a springboard to other new opportunities e.g. blogging, writing articles (Secondary Teacher)

I’ve really enjoyed the networking links made through my Masters study, and can see how accessible research is for teachers (Primary teacher)

I’ve increased my religion and worldviews subject knowledge and am more confident to teach Key Stage 5 (Secondary Teacher)

Download information on the programme as a pdf here

Apply here

What is the Culham St Gabriel’s Masters Scholarship?

The new Culham St Gabriel’s Masters Scholarship[1] is a way to help teachers of religion and worldviews (RE) to take a relevant Part-time Masters course in an affordable, manageable way. It is a unique programme based on a four-way partnership between the teacher/TA/HLTA, their school, the university and Culham St Gabriel’s Trust. It offers the teacher an opportunity to take Masters-level professional development at reduced cost, and to see the impact of it in their own teaching, in a local network and/or nationally. There are a limited number of scholarship places allocated each year.

Who are Culham St Gabriel’s Trust? We are an endowed charitable foundation. Our vision is for a broad-based, critical and reflective education in religion and worldviews contributing to a well-informed, respectful and open society. The Trust is committed to providing teachers of religion and worldviews with the support, connections, challenges and professional development they need. For more information see Appendix 1.

What is Culham St Gabriel’s offering? Culham St Gabriel’s will pay up to £1,950 per year of your fees for up to two years for a Masters course[2]. This course must relate to religion and worldviews views, and align with the Culham St Gabriel’s vision, mission and current strategic objectives. You will become a member of the Culham St Gabriel’s Masters Scholarship virtual community of practice. This community will be meet virtually together on a regular basis providing opportunities for you to discuss your research and disseminate your findings. Participants will also be encouraged to network more informally.

What is expected of the school? The teacher’s school is expected to contribute to the scholarship programme in kind. The headteacher will asked to sign an undertaking declaring that they will release the teacher for 3 days (or equivalent e.g. half days) during term time per annum to undertake Masters study. This could be one day per term, three days in one term or whatever works best in your school.

What is expected of the teacher? You are asked to make up the university fee i.e. the difference between the bursary funding and tuition fee total required by the university. You may want to ask your school to contribute to this, and can seek grant funding elsewhere if you wish. You are expected to contribute to a virtual community of practice with your time.

Am I eligible for the Masters Scholarship? You need to be:

–   employed as a qualified teacher, teaching assistant or HLTA in a school in the UK;

–  intending to take a part-time Masters-level Certificate, Diploma or full Masters programme, that relates directly to the teaching of religion and worldviews in your classroom and school. More detail about this criterion is given in the following section;

–  intending your accredited study to directly lead to development, innovation and improvement in religion and worldviews in your school, local area or region and/or nationally;

–  supported by your employing school agreeing to release you for 3 days during term time to undertake your studies.

[1] This programme was formally known as the 3forRE scheme. It has changed significantly and has therefore been renamed.

[2] If the part-time Masters course is 3 years then Culham St Gabriel’s will pay £1300 per annum over three years. If you have any questions please contact the Culham St Gabriel’s Office scholarship@cstg.org.uk

For teachers of religion and worldviews (RE)

Do I have to be a qualified specialist RE teacher? No. You need to be teaching religion and worldviews (RE) in a primary, secondary or special school or academy in the UK, and you need to be a qualified, serving teacher, Teaching Assistant or HLTA.

Which Masters course can I choose? You can choose any classroom-relevant part-time Masters course which provides an opportunity for you to focus on religion and worldviews either through module work and/or as a dissertation. A small number of Masters programmes offer specific religion and worldviews (RE) pathways. Other Masters courses are more generic focussing more widely on education, or educational leadership, or theology and religious studies. You will be required to show clearly how your chosen course aligns with the Culham St Gabriel’s vision, mission and strategic objectives on the application form. These criteria are set out in Appendix 1.  Many part-time Masters courses are delivered through twilights, weekends or distance learning to support teachers who are also working full or part-time.

What do we mean by education in religion and worldviews? Our understanding of religion and worldviews is aligned with the proposed Statement of Entitlement in the Commission on RE Report (2018)[1]. The Trust advocates for the importance of education in religion and worldviews because it prepares pupils for life in a complex world. It enables them to become free thinking, respectful, critical participants of public discourse, who can make academically well-informed judgements about important matters of religion and belief. To secure funding you need to be able to demonstrate that you share this understanding.

How might it support my personal professional learning? There are a number of different reasons why you might want to undertake Masters study for your own professional learning. For example, to:

  • Develop your subject knowledge to be more confident in teaching religion and worldviews;
  • Use research perspectives to improve the quality of religion and worldviews in your school;
  • Undertake your own action-based research to improve the quality of religion and worldviews in school
  • Understand how the purpose, planning, teaching and assessment of religion and worldviews have changed in the light of national and international developments;
  • Work and network with other professionals in religion and worldviews, and other subjects;
  • Develop your CV and prepare for greater responsibility as a subject coordinator or head of department.

What is the virtual community of practice? This is a new feature of the programme. From September 2020 we will be setting up a virtual community of practice for Culham St Gabriel’s Scholars. We are working on the detail of this at the moment but we expect it to include: A forum to share/discuss or ask others questions about your research, an opportunity for online/virtual conversations, at least one ‘hosted session’ per term with a researchers in the field of religion and worldviews. You will receive details about this once you are accepted onto the programme.

What impact will my research have? How will I disseminate it? As the Trust is providing grant funding for you to undertake a Masters programme it will want to see the impact your studies have. What outcomes are you expecting? Do they relate to you, your school and the wider education community? How will you measure the extent to which you have achieved these outcomes? We realise that when you complete the application form your ideas around this may be tentative. However, it is important that you have considered these questions carefully. In addition, think about how you can utilise current networks and hubs that you are involved with to disseminate your research, as well as new ways that you may not have considered before such as through RE:ONLINE blogs or RE Today Magazine.

What if I change my dissertation research focus part way through my course? You will be asked on the application form to give some ideas about your dissertation. We realise that these ideas are not fully formed when you apply. Usually the dissertation is agreed at the beginning of a second year of a part-time Masters, although this can vary from University to University. In addition, we are aware that your context might change or that your school may have particular priority areas. For this reason, you will be asked to confirm your dissertation title with the Trust prior to beginning work on it. As long as your title is related to religion and worldviews, and aligns with the Trust vision, mission and strategic objectives any change would normally be approved. If the focus of your dissertation is not about religion and worldviews funding may be withdrawn.

What do I receive at the end of the Masters scholarship programme? We hope of course, that you will get your Masters qualification, but in addition you will receive a certificate from Culham St Gabriel’s stating that you have become one of our scholars. Your name will also be published on our website as someone who has been part of the scholarship programme.

[1] Commission on RE (2018) p.12-13

For Head Teachers and School Govenors

What benefits will this Masters scholarship programme bring to my school? Masters study brings many benefits for the individual teacher, but also to the school. Teachers who undertake Masters study will reflect on their practice and improve their teaching skills. They will develop research methods which can be shared with colleagues. Masters study helps teachers in their ability to analyse data sets and become up to date with policy developments both within and beyond their own discipline. In addition, the teacher’s dissertation may be linked to a school priority. For example, if a school has a priority area such as improving outcomes for dyslexic pupils, the teacher of RE could focus on this area from an RE perspective.

How can Masters study support Ofsted preparation? Recent Ofsted reports[1] have highlighted the need for subject specific high-quality professional development for teachers of RE. In particular reports have noted the need for curricula to be well planned and sequenced enabling pupils to learn RE in depth so they can remember and apply what they have learned. Ofsted have also stressed the valuable contribution RE makes to pupils’ personal development, as well the development of respect and preparing pupils for life in modern Britain.

Why Religion and Worldviews (RE)? An education in religion and world views is more important now than ever before. We live in a world that is increasingly diverse. Understanding religious and non-religious worldviews is essential if people are to live and work well together in our communities. The Commission on RE (2018) cites a number of reasons why the subject is important. These include: to develop pupils’ ability to engage with important aspects of human experience; provide insights into science, culture, history and politics, develop values such as respect and empathy; challenge stereotypes and promote community cohesion.

How much will this cost my school? There is no monetary contribution required from the school. The school is asked to commit to providing three days of non-contact time per annum for the teacher to undertake their Masters work. There are a variety of ways a school may manage this. For example, this might be half a day per half term, or a day a term. It may be easier in secondary schools for the days to be blocked e.g. after GCSE/A level exams. The school is required to sign an undertaking agreeing to this provision.

Can our school put more than one teacher onto the scholarship programme? Yes, as long as there are places available on the programme.

 

[1] https://www.natre.org.uk/uploads/Photos/Ofsted%20Primary%20Reports%20Autumn%202019.pdf and https://www.natre.org.uk/uploads/Free%20Resources/Ofsted%20update%20-Religious%20Education.pdf

 

How the Masters scholarship Programme works

A four-way partnership

The scholarship programme involves partnership working between the Trust, the school and the teacher/TA/HLTA and your chosen university.

Culham St Gabriel’s Trust – contribute up to £1950 of the fee per year for two years[1]

The school– agree to allow the teacher three days of non-contact time during term-time to work on their Masters study

The teacher/TA/HLTA – pay the remainder of the fee

The university provider – supporting you in your Masters study

Conditions of acceptance on the scholarship programme

A place on the programme is offered on the basis that:

  • The applicant has completed an application form and two references have been received
  • The applicant clearly demonstrates how their Masters study aligns with the Trust’s vision, mission and strategic objectives relation to religion and worldviews (See Appendix 1)
  • The teacher/TA is UK based, employed by the school and is undertaking their Masters study part-time.
  • The teacher informs Culham St Gabriel’s if they have applied for other sources of funding, whether a loan or grant, and/or if they are eligible for University alumni reductions, partnership reduction of special rates for school-based learning sets.
  • The school(headteacher) has signed the undertaking to provide three days of non-contact time per annum for the teacher to work on their Masters study
  • The applicant takes an active role in the virtual community of practice including posting updates about their own research and taking part in conversations at least once a term.
  • The applicant agrees to confirm the dissertation working title or area of study with the Trust prior to commencing study (usually at the beginning of Year 2). If the title is not related to religion and worldviews the funding may not be approved.
  • The applicant agrees to write an impact report (format to be agreed) for the Trust at the end of their Masters course.
  • The applicant disseminates their research findings through articles, research papers, blogs as well as network or hub meetings or conferences.
  • The Trust continues to have funds available to support this programme. The Trust does it best to ensure that support is there for two year of Maters study. We understand the importance of continuity.

[1] Or £1300 per annum if the course is 3 years part-time.

 

Applying for the Masters scholarship programme

You can apply for the Masters Scholarship at any time of the academic year. Scholarship places are limited, and will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis.

1.Select a university and Masters course. Choose a university with the right course for you and the right mix of provision, i.e. twilight, school-based or weekends. Have a conversation with the relevant course leader. Make them aware of the scholarship programme.

2.Apply for a place on the relevant Masters programme.

3.At the same time, talk to your Head or senior leader in charge of professional development. You need to ensure that they will agree to releasing you for three days per annum as part of the scholarship programme.  Remember that Culham St Gabriel’s will only pay its share of the fees (up to £1,950 per year for two years) if the school promises to release you for this amount of time.

4.When a Masters place is offered, you must contact Culham St Gabriel’s by completing the Scholarship Application Form. This application form asks you to state clearly how your course relates to religion and worldviews, as well as with the Trust vision, mission and strategic objectives (see Appendix 1)

5.Once you have submitted your form, send the following to the Culham St Gabriel’s Office scholarship@cstg.org.uk

  • Documentary proof of your school’s commitment to release you for three days per annum (See Appendix 2)
  • Documentary proof of your having accepted a place on a Masters programmes (i.e. an offer letter, details of the course and your acceptance)

6.When we have reviewed your application form and two supporting documents, we will request two referees. These will have been named on your application form.

7.When we have all the information in place we will be able to inform you whether you have been accepted onto the scholarship programme.

8.When you are accepted on to the programme it is very important that you ask your university finance department to send two invoices, one to Culham St Gabriel’s and one to you. It is very important that you make clear to the university finance department exactly who they should send invoices to, and how much they should charge in each case.

9.Culham St Gabriel’s will send you a welcome pack explaining how to become part of the virtual community of practice and details of ongoing support and advice offered for scholars.

Apply here