Standing Advisory Committee on Religious Education - Wednesday, 2nd November, 2022 4.00 pm

No. Item


Introductions, Apologies and any Declarations of Interest


Apologies for absence had been received from Karen Barker, Bharati Joshi, Sali Knight, Ian Terry and Julia Coleman.


Opening Reflection


The meeting commencing with a period of reflection.


Minutes of last meeting pdf icon PDF 117 KB


The Minutes of the meeting on 15 June 2022 were confirmed as a correct record.


Syllabus Review - Update


It was noted that the draft of the review syllabus had been completed and circulated amongst the Working Group for final review and that the challenging time scales inherent within the programme were on track.  The SACRE continued to express its appreciation of the contribution from its Consultant, Jan Lever, towards maintaining the timetable. A report on progress had also been made to the BCP Council’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee and a positive response received. There was clear indication that most schools within the BCP Council area would be using the new syllabus.

The overriding aim of the review was to provide a workable document for use by teaching staff and there had been comprehensive feedback received from teachers including a very high level of engagement from Multi Academy Trusts. The formal launch of the syllabus would take place in July. In the meantime, work was also commencing upon building and developing practical support materials for teachers.

It remained critically important that the SCARE maintained its own sense of ownership of the syllabus and that the opportunity for continuing to receive feedback from SACRE members should be maintained. To this end, the draft syllabus would be circulated to SACRE at an appropriate point to facilitate any further and final comment.

In parallel with the development work taking place in the BCP Council area, the Dorset Council had expressed an interest in looking at any final version for possible application within the Dorset Council area and this would be the subject of ongoing discussion and further report to the SACRE.



Support for Schools


The Chair underlined the importance of providing for stand-alone RE teachers particularly within Secondary schools and for those RE teachers delivering the RE syllabus alongside other teaching roles. It was confirmed that details were regularly circulated to schools about the range of support networks available both from the Council and the Diocesan Education teams. The Chair had also written to all schools with view to developing a list of recommended speakers for possible invitation into schools.



Update from Hubs


The range of Local RE Networks and Practitioner Hubs available during 2022/23 were described and details would be circulated to all members of SACRE after the conclusion of the meeting together with all the applicable contact details. It was explained that these operated outside the diocesan framework, were free to attend and welcomed representatives of all schools across the Wiltshire, Dorset and BCP Council areas. In respect of each of the listed hubs, the identified Hub Practitioner Lead would make contact with individual schools within their hub area.

There was a discussion about the future of support networks and the SACRE was advised of the availability of charity funding from the Sarum St. Michaels Charity to facilitate release of RE teachers to participate in network learning opportunities. There was particularly also an opportunity to develop a new ‘Area 3’ network to cover broadly the Dorset and BCP area with the aim of supporting good quality RE teaching. This initiative, if supported, would involve setting up a Steering Group to set up a three-year programme and would need to include collaboration across the whole of Dorset. It was reported that the Dorset Council SACRE had already indicated that they were supportive.

The BCP SACRE recorded its unanimous support for the proposals and there was support for setting up the new network and the appropriate Steering Group and to the submission of the bid for funding. The Steering Group would also serve to provide the governance necessary to underpin the initiative. It was noted that this was particularly useful in view of the fact that BCP SACRE, unlike some of its neighbours, did not directly run its own networks. Members of the SACRE with an interest in being involved were invited to make that known and it was agreed that a further report on progress and the processes involved should be made to the next meeting of the BCP SACRE.


Interfaith Week


A link to the dedicated website which described the programme of events and feedback would be included within the next SACRE Newsletter.


Draft Annual Report


The Draft of the Annual Report would be circulated to SACRE members ahead of submission to NASACRE at the end of January 2023 and, once finalised, copies of the Annual Report would be sent to all members of BCP Council.


Updated Action Plan and RE Updates pdf icon PDF 605 KB


The BCP SACRE action plan for the period 2022-2023, updated as at September 2022, was noted and agreed.

The next Newsletter would be issued at the beginning of January and any contributions were invited.

It was noted that the next ‘Strictly RE’ event would be at the end of January 2023.


Equality and Diversity Update (LFH) pdf icon PDF 1 MB


The BCP ‘Equality and Diversity Progress Report 2021-22’ had been circulated with the agenda for information. Although it included sections about education, it was noted that there was no reference within the document to the role of SACRE.


Collective Worship Document pdf icon PDF 960 KB


A copy if the BCP SACRE Collective Worship Guidance had been included within the agenda and this remained a valued document. There was the opportunity to reissue the Guidance with the necessary BCP Council rebranding.

Appendix 2 of the Guidance set out ‘Guidance for Visitors’ invited into schools to lead collective worship and it was agreed that a sentence should be added into the Guidance emphasizing that visitors should strictly not use their visit into a school to evangelise about their particular faith or beliefs.


'Schools of Sanctuary' and 'Authorities of Sanctuary'


It was noted that Ian Terry would shortly be retiring and the SACRE recorded their appreciation of his significant contribution to the ‘Schools of Sanctuary’ project particularly and, more widely, his contribution to SACRE over many years including his past Chairmanship.

The SACRE would continue to receive updates on the 'Schools of Sanctuary' and 'Authorities of Sanctuary' initiatives as appropriate.


Future meetings


The Spring Term meeting was scheduled for 8 March 2023 and would be in the virtual meeting format.

It was agreed that the Summer Term meeting, currently scheduled for 14th June, should be rescheduled to take place on 21st June 2023.