Venue: Committee Room 4, Civic Offices, New Road, Grays, Essex, RM17 6SL
Contact: Kenna Victoria Healey, Senior Democratic Services Officer Email: Direct.Democracy@thurrock.gov.uk
To approve as a correct record the minutes of the Standing Advisory Council for Religious Educationmeeting held on 4 March 2020.
The minutes of the Standing Advisory Council for Religious Educationheld on 9 January 2019, 4 June 2019, 6 November 2019 and 4 March 2020 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.
Appointment of Chair and Vice-Chairs
Nominations were invited for the appointment of Chair of the Committee. It was proposed by Rev. Guest and seconded by Councillor Kerin, that Mr Anderson be appointed as Chair of the Committee.
Mr Anderson, commented that if he was to become Chair of SACRE he had big shoes to fill, following Rev. Guest. He continued by thanking Rev. Guest for all he had done for SACRE.
During discussions it was also agreed that Mr Anderson be moved from Committee A to Committee B.
Nominations were invited for the appointment of Vice Chair of Committees A, B, C and D.
The Associate Advisor for Religious Education sought if Members were still happy with the meeting date and time. It was agreed that a Wednesday was still the best day of the week to meet and further agreed to move the start time back to 6.30pm.
That Mr P Anderson be appointed as Chair of Thurrock SACRE.
The following members be elected as Vice Chairs:
Committee A: Mr T Ojetola
Committee B: Mr P Anderson
Committee C: Ms J Culloty
Committee D: Councillor Collins
The Associate Adviser for Religious Education presented the report to Members, and in doing so, outlined the report detailing that one of the duties of SACRE was to monitor the provision of Acts of Collective Worship in schools within the local authority.
Members heard how Thurrock SACRE had reviewed the policies of a number of schools in the summer term meeting 2019 and reported to schools on their findings. The report proposed that SACRE reviewed a second sample of policies on Acts of Collective Worship that appeared on school websites to determine if anything had changed in the last year and to identify good practice. The Associate Adviser for Religious Education commented that Collective Worship was a difficult topic as it was not a requirement of the relevant legislation.
It was raised as to the right of withdrawing children from participating in Religious Education and Collective Worship in schools. SACRE heard how the legislation stated that all registered pupils in state-funded schools should take part in a daily act of collective worship unless wholly or partly withdrawn by parents. The term ‘registered pupils’ included students up to and including the age of eighteen years in a school, sixth form or at a sixth form college but not pupils in nursery schools or classes.
The Teachers Representatives on SACRE commented they had not experienced children being withdrawn from Religious Education at either of their secondary schools. Both advised that students held assembles on different faiths as well as other topics, and all students from year 7 to year 11 were involved.
During discussions it was identified that should a child be withdrawn from Collective Worship and Religious Education then there was a policy in place in Thurrock to monitor such decisions.
It was queried by Councillor Collins as to what clear acts of worship were, for example he commented teaching children to be good citizens and British values.
Mr Ojetola left at 6.55pm
The Associate Adviser for Religious Education was thanked for her report, Members commented the lists drawn up from the previous meeting at the end of 2019 were helpful when comparing with the schools policies.
It was further commented that it was felt there was no need to amend the current list as it expressed what Members of SACRE looking for.
Members went on to discuss the language to explain Collective Worship within school policies and it was felt that sometimes this was confusing for parents, phrases such as ‘Let us pray’ we're connected to the Christian faith. The Associate Adviser for Religious Education explained that the definition of Collective Worship hadn't been changed or amended since the 1944 Act.
It was queried as to whether it was possible to create a policy template with clearer language to make it easier for parents to understand when looking on schools websites.
The Strategic Lead for School Effectiveness and SEND referred to the question on British Values, and in doing so, explained that British values were be taught within schools; however ... view the full minutes text for item 5.
The Associate Adviser for Religious Education introduced the report explaining that in order to discharge its legal duties, SACRE monitored provision for Religious Education in its local area where Religious Education was delivered in accordance with the local Agreed Syllabus.
Members heard how Thurrock introduced a new Agreed Syllabus in 2016 and had conducted regular monitoring exercises to establish how effective the new syllabus had been in meeting its aim to raise standards of Religious Education. The publication, by Ofsted of a revised inspection framework with a renewed focus on curriculum planning and design, had encouraged many schools to conduct a review of their curricula. Some of these Schools had asked SACRE for guidance on progression within the Agreed Syllabus.
The Associate Adviser for Religious Education advised that RE Today had published guidance which, if approved by SACRE, could be distributed to schools as a supplement to the Agreed Syllabus.
During discussions it was
mentioned that according to the Department for Education Guidance,
Religious Education in English schools, a SACRE must advise the
Local Authority on RE in accordance with the agreed syllabus, and
on matters related to its functions, whether in response to a
referral from the Local Authority or as it sees fit. A SACRE should
also provide advice and support on the effective teaching of RE in
accordance with the locally agreed syllabus; provide advice to the
Local Authority and its schools on methods of teaching, the choice
of teaching material and the provision of teacher
The Teacher Representatives sitting on SACRE confirmed the agreed syllabus for Thurrock was used in both of their schools, along with the guidance document. Mrs Jellicoe advised that Thurrock’s agreed syllabus was up for renewal next year (2021).
Members were further advised by Ms Culloty that although the agreed syllabus was not perhaps used in topic order at her school they did use the agreed syllabus and incorporated other life topics.
RESOLVED that SACRE:
Consider the following:
· the document, “‘Building progressions through your RE Agreed Syllabus’
· directing the RE Adviser to write an article for the bulletin to commend the document to schools
· request that the web-team, upload the document to the password protected areas of the website
· resources known to them from a faith perspective that could be added to the resources section of the website.
Any Other Business
The Chair of the SACRE advised that the next meeting was to be held in November 2020.
Members of SACRE offered their thanks to Rev. Guest as this was this last meeting on SACRE. He was further congratulated for his award of Freedom of Borough.