Agenda and minutes

Standing Advisory Council on Religious Education
Wednesday, 8 November 2017 5.00 pm

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

Contact: Emma Young  01344 352269

No. Item


Election of Chairman


Following no nominations for Chairman, Cllr Dr Gareth Barnard was elected Chairman for the meeting.


Election of Vice Chairman


Madeline Diver was elected Vice Chair and this was seconded by Cllr Moira Gaw.


Minutes of the Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 155 KB

To approve as a correct record the minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 15 June 2017.


The minutes of the meeting on 15 June were approved as a correct record subject to the following amendment:

·         Minute 30, paragraph 1, the word ‘pretend’ should be changed to attended.




Matters Arising


Arising from the minutes of the last meeting, the following action points were updated:

·          All schools who had not submitted a collective worship policy to SACRE had no been reminded and Anne Andrews reported that one further school had responded.

·         The determination policy had been clarified with Sandy Lane School headteacher and no further action would no be taken by the school.

·         It was noted that SACRE had the power to appoint a committee for the Agreed Syllabus Conference (ASC) of their own members.

·         It was noted that the Agreed Syllabus would be ratified by the Executive Member.

·         It was noted that the constitution had been updated to reflect the change in Group C to ‘Teachers and Teachers representatives’.

·         A letter of condolence had been sent to David Fawcett



To receive an update on the annual SACRE budget and update on payment of NASACRE membership


It was confirmed that the NASACRE membership had now been paid. A budget update would follow in the next meeting in February 2018.


Hub Conference and Agreed Syllabus Conference Feedback pdf icon PDF 146 KB

Additional documents:


The committee were presented with the overall feedback from the pan Berkshire SACRE Conference. Ruth and Robyn attended the conference and reported that the table discussions were very useful. The conference celebrated the ‘Crossing Bridges’ project and looked at the issues when writing the syllabus and everyone was encouraged to attend the hub meetings in future. The key points from this discussion were:

·         The need to challenge pupils on agnostic beliefs such as consumerism was particularly interesting.

·         Developing skills in challenging points of view were important.

·         Religious education played an important role in addressing spiritual and emotional wellbeing needs in pupils and questions were raised about how this could fit into lessons..

·         Syllabus review addressing the themes of ‘More in common’ were an important way of linking all the religions


Interim GCSE and A level results


Anne Andrews presented the interim GCSE results with A-level results to follow at the next meeting.

(Action: Anne Andrews to circulate results in early December)

The key points presented were:

·         Average points score was down on last year but in line with the national average

·         The percentage of pupils getting grade 4 or above was 75% which was also in line with the national average.

·         It was noted that the points score and progression were hard to gauge as Religious Studies was compulsory in some Bracknell Forest schools but not others.

·         Edgebarrow, Sandhurst and Ranelagh Secondary Schools achieved the top results across the borough however Ranelagh scored the lowest for pupil progress.


It was noted that overall the performance for GCSE Religious Education was in line with the national average and that SACRE needed to continue to support schools to ensure teachers had resources and were supported. Concerns were raised that the results may drop next year due to changes in the syllabus to a more fact based and self directed learning approach which students on pupil premium would find particularly challenging.


Some schools in the borough did not offer Religious Studies, often where students were struggling with ‘core’ subjects of Maths/English and Science however Religious studies would go towards ‘Progress 8’ subjects which would enable students to have a balanced curriculum.


It was noted that SACRE would make resources available to teachers and signpost to help prevent any barriers to achievement.


State of the Nation report from NATRE and Interim report by Commission for RE


Anne Andrews updated on the State of the Nation report which showed that 26% of schools were non-compliant in the teaching of Religious Education nationally. The amount of church schools who were non compliant were very small but Academies were at 43% non compliant. Short course Religious Studies GCSE had been taken out of the ‘progress 8’ and it was felt that this had an impact on uptake by schools.


As a result of the report, NATRE had asked OFSTED to start reporting on whether Schools were compliant as this may have an influence.


SACRE acknowledged that Religious studies needed a balanced approach in years six, seven and eight as helped to develop emotional resilience and wellbeing, as well as influencing ethics and values. It was also acknowledged that this stage would be important in influencing the take up of GCSE Religious studies later.


Anne Andrews presented the key points from the interim report and SACRE members were encouraged to read the Executive summary. The key points were:

·         5 recommendations were made in the report including students right to a religious education

·         A national statement was suggested.

·         A national plan for improvements in teaching was suggested.

·         Increased and expanded roles for SACRE

·         Schools should be held to account regarding whether statutory provision is met

·         SACRE members were encouraged to give feedback via the online consultation.


Draft Annual Report


Anne Andrews presented the draft annual report and asked SACRE members to send through all comments and queries by end November with a view to agreeing the final report once the schools results data was added. It was noted that the report must be sent to NASACRE by 31 December 2017.



Agreed Syllabus Conference


It was confirmed that the Agreed Syllabus Conference would be taking place directly following the SACRE meeting.


Humanist Discussion


Anne Andrews reported that a humanist representative had not come forward so far and as such there would not be a new representative on the committee at this time. It was noted however, that should this situation change and representative did come forward, that it would be considered by SACRE.


Any Other Business


Madeline Diver reminded SACRE about interfaith week where presentations would be given from five different religons on the role of faith in modern Britain.


Dates of Future Meetings


The next meeting was scheduled for 8 March 2018.