Agendas, Meetings and Minutes - Agenda and minutes

Agenda and minutes

Venue: County Hall, Worcester

Contact: Kate Griffiths  Committee Officer

No. Item


Apologies for Absence and Substitutions


Apologies for absence had been received from Chris Giles, Ian Hopwood, Tasnim Khawaja and Kerry Poole.


As no members of Group C were in attendance the meeting was not quorate.  It was decided that the meeting should go ahead, however any decisions made by the 3 groups in attendance would need to be ratified by Group C following the meeting.


NOTE: This agreement was received after the meeting.


Declaration of Interests




Confirmation of the Minutes pdf icon PDF 146 KB


The minutes of the meeting held on 16 March 2016 were agreed to be a correct record of the previous meeting.




Barry Newton explained that when Learning and Achieving had been commissioned out to Babcock that SACRE had been included. The transfer had occurred on 1 October 2015.


Babcock had now confirmed that they would honour last year's agreement which SACRE had with the Local Authority. Therefore for 2016/17 SACRE would receive:


£1700.18 from 2015/16 and

£8616 for 2016/17;

Resulting in a total of:



The Government's direction of travel by 2019 as indicated in the white paper, was that the majority of schools would become academies. This would mean that there would not be a school improvement service although admissions would continue to have a role and the Local Authority would be a champion for parents and children. These changes were likely to mean that there would be less money available for SACRE.


In light of this it was recommended that SACRE use the money it had available after paying for RE Today to build capacity and plan to build support for teachers by improving school to school support. The hub system suggested by RE Today would therefore be a good way of planning to increase capacity for the future.


In response to questions it was clarified that there was no certainty about the budget for subsequent years but it would be best to plan for a substantial reduction. Under the local authority it had never been possible to carry forward an underspend so it would be best to assume that the money would be lost if it were not used this year.


Stephen Pett clarified that the law had not been changed to remove SACREs but some now received little or no support from Local Authorities. Some SACREs received lots of funding while some existed through the work of volunteers. The RE commission was half way through its research into the position of SACREs.


Stephen felt thanks were due to the Chairman, Vice Chairman and Barry for pursuing the outstanding funding.


The Chairman suggested that for Worcestershire SACRE to continue members would to do more between meetings.



a)    Noted the current funding position for 2016/17 and

b)    Agreed that the best way to use the money was to build capacity and support for teachers as funding was likely to reduce in future.


Feedback from Primary Conferences pdf icon PDF 187 KB


RE Today had organised a conference on 7 June for Primary schools. The feedback received from attendees was very positive (see attached).


Three teachers had offered to take part in a 'speaker's corner' event where they spoke about a particular event or project they had taken part in or organised in their schools.


It was agreed that a letter be sent to the Head Teachers of the three schools to thank them for the contribution of their teachers.


At present only 2 Worcestershire Secondary schools had signed up for the Secondary Conference. Stephen had emailed the invitation to all his contacts in schools three times and Steph Boulter agreed to send the invitation round to all the Church schools. It was pointed out that emails sent to the Head or Office should get to the correct person if they were marked for the attention of RE Co-ordinators. Ellie Hill agreed she could display a poster at the university or pass it on to teachers on the training course.


The Chairman suggested that Members could act as contacts and their names be put in emails for schools to contact.


South Bromsgrove school held a conference in March. It was hoped that RE Today could work with South Bromsgrove to hold a joint conference next year.


RESOLVED that SACRE noted the positive comments from attendees and thanked RE Today for its organisation of the Conference.


How to support schools who do little or no RE


It was difficult to tell which schools did little or no RE. Sending out surveys would not illicit a response from schools who do not normally attend training. Stephen felt it would be best to concentrate on building capacity and work on setting up hubs so that support and good practice could be spread through networks of teachers.


The Chairman agreed that some teachers may not be attending conferences because they had difficulties in attended whereas some were not interested. Setting up and supporting networks would be the best way of reaching teachers who were interested but who found it difficult to attend training or conferences.


RESOLVED that SACRE agreed to support RE Today with setting up hubs to enable teachers to work together and provide support for each other.


Building Local Hub Leaders


Stephen explained that RE Today were planning to implement the Cullum St Gabriel's Excellent RE programme. Teachers would need three and a half days training a year. The recommended amount of training was between 15 and 50 hours but it was felt that 15 hours was more achievable.


The model had been set up elsewhere and produced positive results. It did not concentrate on best practice but was about getting teachers to work together to improve quality in all their schools.


Ideally teachers from 5 community schools and 5 church schools should pair up and receive the training and materials to be able to set up network meetings.  Between the training days which were spread out with one per term, the task would be to set up their networks. NATRE offered support to local groups for no fee and Cullum St Gabriel's paid for supply teachers and Stephen's time.


Ideally the training would start this term but the timescale was tight so it was likely that the first half day session would be early in the autumn term and be followed by a full day later in the term.


Members discussed the difficulty in keeping up to date with the creation of multi-academy trusts, but Stephen felt it would be best just to go with area networks.


Barry agreed to mention the training at the Head Teachers Representatives group he attended – a flyer would be helpful to give to the teachers at the meeting on 30 June. Ellie Hill also agreed to distribute a flyer to her contacts. She also felt it was worth considering whether the training could be used as part of the RE quality mark.


RESOLVED that SACRE members all agreed that the funding should be used to set up the system of hub leaders by allowing RE Today to run the necessary training.


Legal Judgement on Non-Religious Worldviews in RE pdf icon PDF 69 KB

Additional documents:


The High Court had ruled that the new GCSE Religious Studies specification made an error in stating that the new RS GCSE would meet the legal requirements for the provision of RE.  The Humanist Society had sponsored parents to fight the case that the GCSE could be taught by not teaching a non-religious world view. The judgement stated that "the state must accord equal respect to different religious convictions and to non-religious belief".


Stephen explained that the new syllabus included a unit on Humanism and encouraged exploration of non-religious world views. He assured SACRE that if it became necessary to update the syllabus, RE Today would issue an amendment.


RESOLVED that SACRE were confident that RE Today would monitor the situation and issue an amendment to the syllabus if it became necessary.


National RE Update pdf icon PDF 205 KB


Stephen Pett explained that the National RE news was included in the agenda.


He highlighted the following:

·         A conference on 8-9 October was being organised by the National Association of Teachers of RE (NATRE), the Association of RE Inspectors, Advisors and Consultants (AREIAC) and the Association of University Lecturers in RE (AULRE). The conference was designed to bring together people at all levels of RE teaching.


·         The specifications for A level and GCSEs were now available for teaching in September 2016,


·         The RE Council were proceeding with their commission on RE.


RESOLVED that SACRE noted this update.


Feedback from Members


The Chairman told members that she had received feedback that the RE Today book 'Religious Education: The Teachers Guide' was very useful and contained practical suggestions for teachers.


Any Other Business


John Lally announced that he was retiring from SACRE and this meeting would be his last.  Steph Boulter had known John since the 1980s and in that time she felt he had not changed in the way he was dedicated to working for the Children in the Birmingham Diocese.


The Chairman thanked John for the hard work he had put into SACRE over many years.


The Chairman stated that SACRE membership would be monitored and members who had not attended 3 meeting would be contacted and a further attempt would be made to fill the vacancies on the SACRE.


Future Meeting Dates

Tuesday 4 October at 2pm at County Hall, Worcester


The next meeting would be held on Tuesday 4 October at 2pm at County Hall Worcester.