Agenda and minutes

Standing Advisory Council on Religious Education - Wednesday, 9th January, 2019 6.00 pm

Venue: Committee Room 4, Civic Offices, New Road, Grays, Essex, RM17 6SL. View directions

Contact: Tisha Sutcliffe, Democratic Services Officer  Email:

No. Item


Apologies for Absence


Minutes pdf icon PDF 78 KB

To approve as a correct record the minutes of the Standing Advisory Council for Religious Educationmeeting held on 17 October 2018.


The minutes of the Standing Advisory Council for Religious Education Committee meetings held on 18 July 2018 and 17 October 2018 were approved as a correct record.



Items of Urgent Business

To receive additional items that the Chair is of the opinion should be considered as a matter of urgency, in accordance with Section 100B (4) (b) of the Local Government Act 1972.


There were no items of Urgent Business


Declarations of Interest


There were no declarations of interest.


Integrated Communities pdf icon PDF 609 KB


The Associate Advisor for Religious Education presented the report, and the Committee discussed the recent headlines in the newspapers regarding “parents removing their children from Religious Education lessons”. This raised concerns for Members as the original report did not refer to this information.


Mr Anderson stated that the newspapers should have used accurate figures. The Committee asked if the press had released a response and Ms Winstone confirmed that they had.


Mrs Shephard mentioned that when she was a Head teacher, her school had lots of children from black and ethnic minority backgrounds and parents would often choose to remove their children from Religious Education lessons which discussed Islam, despite parents being made aware that lessons on Islam would be taught when accepting a school place. She felt that by teaching Islam the schools attempted to broaden children’s views.


Mrs Shephard also commented that during her visit on behalf of SACRE to two local schools in Thurrock, she was made aware they had achieved REQM at Silver level and the second school were also working towards it at the time of the visit.


Mrs Gedalovitch stated she had witnessed children removing themselves from Religious Education lessons, although Members agreed children were happy to learn and would ask questions if they found something challenging.


The Committee felt social media had a large impact on why parents were making these decisions. 




  1. Requested for an item be placed in the Head teachers’ Bulletin


  1. Reminded schools of their statutory duty to promote community cohesion


  1. Requested schools share evidence of good practice that might be circulated to others as examples of how Religious Education supports this work.


  1. Sent a delegation of children from their school to a SACRE Youth Conference: ‘Respect for all’ on Wednesday, 5th June at Thurrock Adult Community College, Richmond Rd, Grays RM17 6DN


  1. Conducted an investigation into the nature and extent of pupils being withdrawn from religious education or part thereof



Youth Cabinet - Verbal Update


Two individuals from Youth Cabinet attended the meeting to discuss their experiences during Youth Cabinet.


The Associate Advisor asked questions regarding their experiences in Religious Education lessons during primary and secondary school. They felt that in primary school the Religious Education lessons were limited and would focus on watching TV programmes. They went on to state that in secondary school they felt they had learnt more regarding different cultures, which they had found more interesting to learn about.


During Religious Education in secondary schools they related their personal experiences of visiting a church after Christmas. They commented that they both now enjoyed doing Religious Education and found it an interesting subject as it related to real life scenarios and everyday life.


The Committee then asked questions around what their current school had to offer to students during exams, such as relaxation rooms or other incentives. The Youth Cabinet members said they were unaware of any incentives that were available to them.


The Committee asked if the students agreed for Religious Education to be taught in schools, which they both agreed with as they felt it was teaching students about different cultures.



The new OfSTED Framework Consultation - Verbal Update


The Associate Advisor for Religious Education informed the Committee meeting that as the new OfSTED Framework Consultation had not yet been published, it was not to be discussed during the meeting.



Monitoring Provision for Religious Education in Thurrock Schools pdf icon PDF 492 KB


The Associate Advisor for Religious Education presented the report and updated the Committee as only a few schools had responded. 




  1. Collected the information to date (December 2018)
  2. Learnt from these responses
  3. Considered what action might be necessary to collect more responses



Annual Report 2017 - 2018 pdf icon PDF 196 KB


Work Programme pdf icon PDF 235 KB


The Committee discussed the work programme for the new municipal year and stated that there were no changes to be made.