Agenda and minutes

Standing Advisory Council on Religious Education
Monday, 7 November 2016 5.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Fourth Floor, Easthampstead House, Bracknell

Contact: Lizzie Rich  01344 352253

No. Item


Welcome and Apologies for Absence


Madeline Diver welcomed members to the meeting and led a short devotion.


Election of Chairman


Reverend  Tracey Williams had nominated herself for Chairman by email, as she had tendered her apologies. There being no other candidates, it was proposed and seconded that Tracey Williams should be the Chairman of SACRE for the academic year 2016/17.


It was agreed that the Vice-Chairman would chair the meeting in Tracey’s absence.


Nomination of Vice-Chairman


It was agreed that Madeline Diver be appointed Vice-Chairman of SACRE for the academic year 2016/17.


Minutes and Matters Arising pdf icon PDF 45 KB

To approve as a correct record the minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 21 June 2016.


The minutes of the meeting on 21 June 2016 were approved as a correct record.


Annual Report pdf icon PDF 556 KB


Anne Andrews presented the Annual SACRE Report 2015-16.


The report had been developed in line with the suggestions on the NASACRE website. Anne noted that Exam Results would need to be added to the report before submission to NASACRE and the Department for Education.


Arising from discussion, the following points were noted:

·         The measure of success for an increase of ‘RE knowledge, awareness of other faiths and the common values we hold’ in local schools was difficult to define as there were not many statistics available aside from feedback from schools. It was requested that all feedback and statistics be fed back for consideration by SACRE. (Action: Anne Andrews)

·         Upcoming subject leader training had 9 attendees signed up, which was an example of well attended training.

·         The additional funding referenced under ‘Agreed Syllabus’ would be provided as part of the pan-Berkshire Hub, rather than from the Local Authority. It was anticipated that due to pressure on schools to become academies, SACRE’s responsibility to rewrite the syllabus for local authority schools would be diminished over the coming years. Anne Andrews resolved to clarify the funding with Jan Lever. (Action: Anne Andrews)

·         Members asked whether a social media account for Crossing the Bridges would be useful, however it was noted that the necessary policing of such an account would provide capacity and resource challenges.

·         A central website for Crossing the Bridges would be established to which all Berkshire SACREs could post. Members suggested that pupils could write their own reports of visits for the website.

·         Following the survey of collective worship in schools, SACRE had advised the Local Authority of some schools who were non-compliant. SACRE was unaware of any action being taken on this matter.

·         SACRE were aware of developments needed with regard to school assessment.


Members were asked to send any further comments or amendments to Anne Andrews before agreeing the document. (Action: All)


Crossing the Bridges Project pdf icon PDF 657 KB

Additional documents:


Madeline Diver reported that she and Tracey Williams had attended the Crossing the Bridges conference, and had found it inspiring. Anne Andrews informed members that although Bracknell Forest SACRE had four places funded, only two members attended.


A set of Crossing the Bridges papers were available for use in schools, and the documents had been added to the internal schools portal for Bracknell Forest. The documents would also be made available on the Discovery website at:


Anne Andrews notified SACRE that £3,900 had been awarded to the Crossing the Bridges project by the Westhill Award. This money had gone towards training days for teachers and hosts.


In order to form a central directory of information, schools and places of worship had been asked to complete the forms and return to Catherine Jinkerson who was co-ordinating the project. Catherine had offered to speak to any faith groups who were interested in the project.


Anne Andrews reported that a group of SACREs in Birmingham had expressed an interest in the Crossing the Bridges project in Berkshire, and that she was going to meet with them to discuss the work.


Members commented on funding pressures of arranging a visit such as coach travel, which may deter schools from arranging visits. Members were asked to report back on any potential funding avenues to solve this problem. (Action: all)


Toolkit and Action Plan pdf icon PDF 113 KB


Madeline Diver initiated discussion on item 1d of the Toolkit; ‘ To what extent does SACRE have and use information about the effectiveness of senior and middle leadership of RE in its schools?’


It was noted that SACRE tended to focus on RE subject leaders but members recognised that collective worship was often led by senior leadership. There had not been any training on collective worship in schools, but SACRE had conducted a school survey on collective worship.


It was suggested that SACRE write to all the headteachers and chair of governors in the borough (apart from faith schools which were examined under SIAMS) to request the school’s policy on collective worship for assurance. (Action: Anne Andrews/Lizzie Rich)





Results of RE examinations in Bracknell Forest


Chris Salt updated SACRE on the results of GCSE RE examinations which had been released on the day of the meeting. A Level results were due to be released at the end of November 2016.


The average point score for Religious Studies at KS4 in 2016 was 5.7 in Bracknell Forest, with a national average of 5.2. The percentage of A*-C grades in Bracknell Forest was 79% compared with a national average of 70%.


Chris explained that ‘overall attainment’ measured the success and high grades of pupils, and ‘overall achievement’ measured the progress of pupils against their projected grades.


For ‘overall attainment’, the highest performing schools were:

·         Edgbarrow (where 47 pupils sat the exam)

·         Ranelagh (where 157 pupils sat the exam)

·         Garth Hill College (where 25 pupils sat the exam)


For ‘overall achievement’, the highest performing schools were Edgbarrow and Sandhurst.


Under KS4 progress by demography, SACRE noted that the most progress in RE had been made by ‘Other Asian’ followed by:

·         ‘First language not English’

·         Pupils entitled to Free School Meals

·         Pupils who had received Free School Meals in the last 6 years

·         Lower attainers


Girls had made more progress than boys in RE.


The demographic groups making less progress than the national average were Black African and pupils with an Educational Health Care Plan.


Chris noted that pupil progress in Bracknell Forest had broadly improved, which was a success.


SACRE noted that Brackenhale school  was not included in the results, and resolved to find out why. (Action: Anne Andrews)


Membership update


SACRE was notified that Ken Blanton had resigned from SACRE.


Anne Andrews advised of numerous vacancies in Group A, with no Sikh, Hindu or Buddhist representatives on SACRE. There was also the need for another representative of Free Churches.


Members were asked to recruit where they knew of any contacts in these faith groups.


Madeline suggested that she could ask at the Faith and Belief Forum. (Action: Madeline Diver)


Councillor Dorothy Hayes suggested that she could contact school parents through Governing Bodies, and place articles in the parish magazines to find some representatives. (Action: Cllr Mrs Hayes)


Roles and Responsibilities of SACRE Members


Anne Andrews presented the NASACRE presentation, ‘About SACREs’ to explain the position of SACREs to new members.


Members asked where any complaints regarding RE provision would go, and it was advised that any complaints should come to SACRE through the Local Authority. There had not been any complaints on record.

SACRE resolved to review its constitution at the next meeting, to reflect the religious make up of the community as evidenced by the finding from residents survey and ONS data.  (Action: Anne Andrews/Lizzie Rich)

SACRE suggested that the SACRE Annual Report when complete could be distributed to libraries. (Action: Anne Andrews)

SACRE suggested that recognition of successful RE results should be publicised and noted in a Town and Country article to raise awareness. (Action:?)

SACRE requested that the NASACRE presentation be circulated to the membership. (Action: Lizzie Rich)


Members requested that formal communication take place to establish the criteria of SACRE and the government of RE in academies. It was noted that this was of particular importance prior to the opening of new academies at Binfield Learning Village and  Amen Corner North.





Locally Agreed Syllabus and Related Training


There were no training events to update on.


Any Other Business


Chris Salt notified SACRE of a letter received from the Farmington’s Institute which offered training and qualifications for RE teachers. Anne Andrews notified that she would be advertising this through the subject leader’s meeting.


Anne Andrews informed SACRE that she was developing the next SACRE newsletter, and that any input was welcome.


Dates of Future Meetings


The next meeting was scheduled for 28 February 2017.