Agenda and minutes

Agreed Syllabus Conference, Standing Advisory Council on Religious Education - Wednesday, 8 November 2017 7.00 pm

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

Contact: Emma Young  01344 352269

No. Item


Election of Chairman


Cllr Dr Gareth Barnard was elected as Chairman for the Agreed Syllabus Conference.


Context Setting pdf icon PDF 431 KB


Anne Andrews set the context of the Agreed Syllabus Review by giving an overview of the 7 key major reports which had been published since the last Syllabus Review. Committee members were encouraged to read the Executive summaries and particularly focus on the purpose of Religious Education and how it contributes to British values as these were current topics of discussion.


Recommended Religions studied at each Key Stage


The committee discussed which religions should be studied at each key stage (KS). The current recommendation was that Christianity was covered in all key stages with the addition of Judaism at KS1, Hinduism and Sikhism at KS2 and Buddhism and Islam at KS2. From this discussion the following points were raised:

·         Subject leaders reported that Christianity and Judaism may be too similar in KS1.

·         It was important to recognise any religions which were present in the school and some flexibility should be allowed to accommodate for this.

·         It was important to show the similarities and links between religions.

·         The limited breadth of religions covered at each stage was partly due to a need to look at the religion in sufficient depth

·         By the end of Primary School, all pupils should have covered the 6 major world faiths with a requirement to understand the richness and context of the religions through lessons and assemblies.

·         KS3 and KS4 needed to understand faith in the context of the wider community and not just within schools especially with regards to Islam.

·         KS3 should include Christianity plus the breadth of other religions including Humanism and Atheism.

·         KS4 would then focus on the religious studies in more depth

·         KS3 should give pupils a solid base to make an informed choice of whether to take Religious Studies GCSE.

·         All pupils must cover religious education throughout school and it was questioned whether engagement would be as high without testing

·         It was recognised that some course needs to be developed for those who do not take GCSE at KS4.



1.    Primary Schools would have a required set of religions as well as Christianity which must be covered before pupils leave Primary School.

2.    For KS1, KS2, KS3 Christianity would be taught alongside one additional religion each year.

3.    KS3 and KS4 in secondary schools would be required to cover Christianity plus two other religions in more depth and recognise the contribution made by Humanism and Atheism.


Retaining AT1 (Learning About) and AT2 (learning From)


It was noted that the 2013 framework suggested a movement away from attainment targets around learning about and learning from. As detailed in the Agreed Syllabus Conference paper there was now a focus on three areas of expectation; Know about and understand a range of religions and worldviews, Express ideas and insights about nature, significance and impact of religions and worldviews, and gain and deploy the skills needed to seriously engage seriously with religions and worldviews.


It was hoped that these areas would encourage teaching in more depth, would fit with the continued study of Christianity, and create a coherent syllabus.



            The three strands of expectation are adopted.



Religious Education Assessment


It was noted that assessment should be based around how ‘secure’ pupils are in their learning to reflect the language currently used in Primary Schools and that assessment should take place at the end of each school year. It was acknowledged that work would need to be undertaken to identify what a secure pupil would look like in each year group.


Early Years Provision


It was noted that nothing in the current syllabus would need updating at this time other than updating the language to reflect the most recent Early Years Foundation Stage framework.


Religious Education: Key questions


The key questions would include a greater understanding of greater ideas and how students articulate their responses to these questions in an age appropriate way would identify whether they are secure.


Anne Andrews was awaiting on update from Wokingham on the key questions and would circulate questions when they were available

(Action: Anne Andrews)


Revised Syllabus Distribution


It was discussed whether online or print versions of the syllabus were better and it was agreed that an online version was liked by teachers and could be updated on a regular basis. Arising from this discussion the following points were made:

·         The syllabus must be clear and succinct

·         It must be easy to review

·         The online Syllabus would include a shared learning resources section to show example pieces of work and lesson plans



Syllabus Appendices


It was noted that the appendices should be removed from the syllabus document and made available online along with the other support materials.


Syllabus Launch


Anne Andrews explained the next steps would be a first draft of the syllabus would be presented at the next SACRE meeting in February. Committee members would then be able to give feedback with an extra ASC meeting being held to approve the syllabus in May 2018. The syllabus would then be launched in July 2018 ready for implementation in September 2018


Ideas for a launch event were discussed and arising from this the following points were made:

·         West Berkshire requested a big launch event with individual teacher training events more locally.

·         A webinar/digital style launch was proposed as this meant teachers could access the resources at a convenient time and refer back to them.

·         Digital resources could be updated on a yearly basis

·         Research into the technological capabilities would need to be undertaken.



Dates of Future Meetings


The dates of future meetings would be confirmed.