Agenda item

Monitoring Provision for Religious Education in Thurrock Schools


The Associate Advisor for Religious Education and the Chair voiced their concern with the lack of attendees at the Committee meeting, especially as all the Councillors sent their apologies.


The Chair stated that at least one person from each Committee would need to attend to ensure the meeting is quorate. As Councillors, they have a greater responsibility to attend the Committee meetings.


Mr P Anderson entered at 6:20pm


The Associate Advisor for Religious Education had organised a group exercise for all members to discuss this report and feedback.


Rev. D Bates entered at 6:33pm


Ms A Winstone entered at 6:43pm


Mr Anderson and Ms Winstone discussed Woodside and West Thurrock Academy and whether they followed the syllabus for Religious Education in School. They felt the syllabus was being followed by both schools.


The Associate Advisor for Religious Education explained how important it was for Schools to be made aware of the changes to DfE regulations.


Ms Culloty and Ms Perlmutter discussed Gateway Academy and discovered that they were only allowing minimal hours per week for Religious Education and they had copied and pasted the syllabus on the website. They requested for this to be explored with the School. It was unclear as to whether Benyon Primary School was following the syllabus as there was no clear policy showing this.


The Associate Advisor for Religious Education highlighted that Aveley Academy had been explored. However it was unclear whether Belmont Castle were following the syllabus within each year group as there was no clear indication of this.


Hathaway Academy had not put the latest schemes on the website and the most current scheme was in 2015.There was no clear record as to what the other year groups were being taught. The Associate Advisor for Religious Education stated that it needed to be clear on what syllabus the students not doing G.C.S.Es, in each year group, were being taught.


The Chair said he had a discussion with Ms J Bine at Arthur Bugler as they were unaware of the updated syllabus, however the school is very keen to follow the new syllabus.


There have been no concerns with St Clere’s or Giffards Primary School following the updated syllabus.


The Associate Advisor for Religious Education advised that William Edwards appeared to have a number of substitute teachers and no permanent staff members.


The Associate Advisor for Religious Education explained that Ofsted said they would be completing a Risk Assessment in Schools in Thurrock and it would be positive if it came from SACRE members instead of Ofsted themselves.


There were concerns with the syllabus that Gateway Academy were following as it appeared years 7,8, and 10 were being integrated and year 11 were not studying any Religious Education.


Ms Winstone explained the number of recruitment issues that were occurring in Thurrock as the Borough appeared to be the lowest performance for teacher training. The Associate Advisor for Religious Education said there had never been an issue with Primary Schools in Thurrock.


Ms Winstone stated that staff members were working to improve this and to promote teaching jobs. She suggested recruitment fair to be organised as the issue was agency work being encouraged over taking up permanent positions.


It was observed by Ms Winstone that the Local Government felt there were more teachers in Thurrock than funds, however the children moving into Thurrock continues to increase. The Associate Advisor for Religious Education said the Ockendon Academy and Grays Convent were following the syllabus.


The discussion finished with Ms Culloty asking whether a letter could be distributed to the schools to ensure this improves.




1.    Considered the report on provisions for Religious Education as recorded on School websites (Appendix A) alongside the School workforce report (Appendix B)

2.    Considered any follow up action that may have been warranted, where good practice was identified, where there was no evidence that the requirements of the agreed syllabus were met and where there looked to be limited or no provision.

3.    Considered writing to schools to inform them of the changes to DfE regulations and Ofsted practice (Appendix C)


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