Venue: This meeting will take place via Microsoft Teams
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 8 June 2022 and 2 November 2022.
The minutes of the meeting held on 8 June 2022 and 2 November 2022 were approved as a true and 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 interests declared.
The Associate Advisor for Religious Education presented the report at pages 15 to 38 of the agenda.
Mr Trup thanked the Associate Advisor for Religious Education for the report and commented he felt that page 30 within the agenda was incredibly helpful and sought if it was possible to send it to schools for relevant subject leads for information.
Miss Saul stated the document was very thorough and would be very useful to schools.
The Chair of SACRE thanked the Associate Advisor for Religious Education for the report. He continued by saying he thought schools would welcome the guidance, which was very clear and explained how schools offered Religious Education within the Law.
RESOLVED that SACRE:
1. Notes the sample of collective worship policies from Thurrock schools.
2. Requests that the Associate Advisor for religious Education sends out a copy of the updated guidance on Collective Worship to schools in Thurrock
The report at pages 39 to 48 of the agenda was introduced by the Associate Advisor for Religious Education.
Members were then entered into 5 small groups to each discuss the SACRE survey of provision for Religious Education in Thurrock November 2022 at Appendix 1 of the report, the following observations were made:
RESOLVED that SACRE:
1 Notes the survey report in Appendix 1,
2 Requests the LA officer to include the following information in conversations with schools where relevant:
· Where good practice is identified.
· Where there is no evidence that the requirements of the Agreed Syllabus are met.
· Where there are reports of limited or no provision.
The Associate Advisor for Religious Education presented the report detailed at pages 49 to 62 of the agenda.
During discussions it was highlighted that SACRE had vacancies which required filling, these were for Committee A – Faith Groups Muslim Representative, Hindu Representative, Buddhist Representative and Free Church Representative.
Members discussed the possibility of having smaller religious groups represented on SACRE in light of the census results for Thurrock. It was noted that there were very few self-identifying Humanists in Thurrock, but the number of self-identifying Pagans (broadly defined) significant exceeds the national average. It was noted that SACRE had previously resolved to adopt the following guidelines when considering adding representatives of smaller religions and beliefs to Committee A:
In order to nominate a representative to Thurrock SACRE, a religion or belief
a) A minimum of 500 self-identified adherents (0.3%) in the Thurrock area;
b) A recognisable local group meeting regularly within the Thurrock area;
c) A representative organisation capable of providing nominations which is
willing to confirm its acceptance of and support for the aims and
objectives of Thurrock SACRE.
It was agreed by Members to request that the Associate Advisor for Religious Education reach out to the Pagan Federation to ask whether there is a Pagan faith community meeting in Thurrock which SACRE would be able to contact to explore opportunities for further engagement.
RESOLVED that SACRE:
1 Notes the data from the census as it applies to Thurrock.
2 Will contact local Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, and Free Church groups to seek new SACRE representatives.
3 Requests that the Associate Advisor for Religious Education reach out to the Pagan Federation to ask whether there is a Pagan faith community meeting in Thurrock which SACRE would be able to contact to explore opportunities for further engagement
The Associate Advisor for Religious Education introduced the report found at pages 63 to 84 of the agenda. It that in order for SACRE to fulfil its statutory duty, they were to publish an Annual Report and to advise the Local Authority on RE given in accordance with the agreed syllabus.
The Chair of SACRE commented that in previous years the report had been presented to elected Members at Full Council and sought if any of the Councillors present would be happy to do so this year. Councillor Abbas confirmed he was happy to liaise with Democratic Services to have the Annual Report presented at the next available Full Council Meeting.
RESOLVED that SACRE:
1 Accepts this report as an accurate record of its work for the period September 2021 – July 2022
2 Requests that the Assistant Director Education and Skills continues to include discussions about RE provision in the scheduled discussions with senior leadership teams
3 Requests that the school effectiveness team include a review of schools’ provision for RE and Collective Worship as part of their annual conversations. Specifically, that they consider:
o whether the level and quality of provision in academy schools is similar in breadth and ambition to that provided in LA maintained schools (i.e. through compliance with the Thurrock Agreed Syllabus including the knowledge, understanding specified and the standards for each key stage). This is the expectation of the DfE and Ofsted.
o If timetabling of RE in secondary schools ensures that those delivering RE are suitably trained/qualified to do so.
o Whether RE is treated differently from other subjects on the secondary curriculum, such as being offered in tutor time, drop down days, taught by teachers who mainly teach other subjects etc.
o the impact on pupil outcomes of the combination of subjects such as RE, RSE, Citizenship and PSHE.
o the level of training provided to those teaching RE in all phases especially when they have no previous experience of teaching the subject.
o the impact on pupil attainment of pupils being entered for a GCSE at the end of year 10.
Any Other Business
Members agreed that the June/July 2023 meeting will be held as a hybrid meeting (in person and online).