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Meeting Details

Standing Advisory Council on Religious Education
27 Feb 2020 - 19:00 to 21:30
  • Documents
  • Attendance
  • Declarations of Interests
  • Visitors

Documents

Agenda

Standard Items
1 Apologies for Absence and Substitutions
To note any apologies for absence and substitutions.

Apologies were received from:

 

Mr S K Dhanda (Sri Guru Ravi Dasia Sabha)

Ms Kim Burke

Councillor Sahota

Councillor Ball

 

Councillor Rice substituted for Councillor Sahaota

2 Urgent Matters
Any urgent matters that the Chair has agreed should be considered at the meeting.

There were none.
3 Declarations of Interest
To note any declarations of interest made by members.

There were none.
4 Matters to be Considered in Private
To consider whether items contain information that is exempt from disclosure by virtue of Paragraph 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972.

There were none.
5 Chair's Announcements
For the Chair to update the SACRE on matters arising.

The Chair highlighted the positive work undertaken by the Jewish community for the memorial of Holocaust Day. It was highlighted that the event was held outside of Council buildings for the first time, in a school, and that this was a positive development due to the wider reach that the event had.

 

The Chair stressed that members of the SACRE should attend future Holocaust Day events, due to their value.

To review and agree the minutes of the previous meeting as a true and accurate record.

The minutes of the previous meeting were agreed subject to the following amendments:

 

  1. That the attendance of Councillor Teresa Byrne be updated on the online record to note that she was on bereavement leave.

  2. That the amendment submitted by Dr Elizabeth Day – attached to the minutes as appendix A – be implemented.

 

It was further noted, following discussion, that the amended submission should form part of a letter to the Secretary of State at the Department of Education, and local Members of Parliament, on behalf of the Chair and Vice-Chair of SACRE.

To feedback on progress with the review of the Ealing Agreed Syllabus for RE.
To outline the process for convening the Agreed Syllabus Conference and agree the next steps
For the purpose of preparing an agreed syllabus for religious education, an LA must convene an agreed syllabus conference. A conference is a separate legal entity from a SACRE and, although common membership is permissible, it must be separately convened. (Circular 1/94)
To propose a launch event for the revised Agreed Syllabus in the summer term 2020.

Lesley Prior, Adviser for Religious Education in Community Schools and SACRE Adviser, explained that the Rev. Dr Andrew Williams was working on the production of the draft Agreed Syllabus for Religious Education It was noted, with thanks, that the SACRE had sent through suggested amendments, which were being implemented. The Adviser noted that further amendments were welcomed and that submissions should be submitted to the Adviser. It was also noted that there were sessions underway to gain insight from primary and secondary school teachers on the proposed syllabus.

 

It was explained that it was expected that a final draft for approval would be submitted to the SACRE at its next meeting in June 2020. It was further explained that this would then be planned to be finalised by Summer 2020 for implementation in Autumn 2020. It was suggested that there would be an accompanying small-scale launch and training on the syllabus. Officers noted that there was expected to be a long lifespan for the agreed syllabus, and that the previous syllabus had been in place for five years.

 

The Adviser explained the formal process of agreement of the Syllabus, noting that there was a legal requirement to call an Agreed Syllabus Conference (ASC), which was a separate entity to the SACRE. It was, however, noted that general convention was that Members of the SACRE would also be appointed Members of the ASC, but that there need to be formal agreement from all of the appointing bodies; Full Council, Teacher’s Union, Church of England and Other faiths and non-denominational organisations.

 

It was noted that there were gaps in the knowledge of officers and the Adviser regarding some of the other faith and non-denominational organisations lead nominating body, and that there would need to be updated information provided by members of the SACRE to the Democratic Services Officer. Angela Doherty, Quality and Partnerships lead 11-19, Ealing Learning Partnership, explained that there was an additional requirement to review the Constitution of the SACRE, highlighting that the document could be made more relevant and reflective of current organisations. Officers noted that there was a need to contact current vacancies to determine if they wished to send alternative representation and any help from the SACRE in contacting these organisations would be welcomed. It was noted that this information should be sent to the Chair, Quality and Partnerships lead and Democratic Services Officer.

 

Following questions from the Committee, the Adviser responded:

 

  • That there was a high take-up and interest in RE in Ealing schools, and that it was a well taught subject, that pupils had a background in RE and that there had been a historic interest. It was noted that 60% of pupils in Ealing took RE as a General Certificate in Secondary Education (GCSE) subject. It was additionally noted that there was a high take-up of RE at Advanced (A) Level as well.

  • Officers highlighted that Ealing had performed the best of all boroughs in the England in terms of Progress 8 overall and high scores in RE had contributed to this.

  • That primary and secondary headteachers were being well informed of the work on the agreed syllabus and that there had been attendance of headteachers and RE co-ordinators at engagement events.

  • That when the syllabus was agreed, a full briefing would be provided on its implications to Headteachers and Boards of Governors.

  • That there needed to be an understanding of good practice relating to RE in schools, and that there was no merging of the subject with Personal, Health and Sex Education. It was noted that this would be included as part of the syllabus.

 

RESOLVED:

 

  • That Members of Group A provide information regarding nominating body details, to facilitate the nomination for the Agreed Syllabus Conference.

  • That the Committee agree to a launch event for the new Agreed Syllabus.
The NASACRE briefing provides the latest information from the National Association of SACREs.

Lesley Prior, Adviser for Religious Education in Community Schools and SACRE Adviser explained the NASACRE briefing note and highlighted that the AGM of the NASACRE was upcoming on the 18 May. It was explained that it was standard for Ealing to send a delegate to the AGM. Marianne Izen, moved that Oliver Murphy, of the West London Humanists and Secularists be nominated as the representative of the Ealing SACRE to the NASACRE AGM, which was seconded by the Chair. This was unanimously approved by the SACRE.

 

Following questions from the Committee, the Adviser responded:

 

  • The adviser noted that OfSTED was reporting on RE at a significantly higher rate than was previously as there is now more focus on the curriculum and subjects in the new framework which has been in place since September 2019. It was stressed, however, that the increase had occurred from a very low base level previously.

     

  • The adviser explained the collective worship issue which had occurred in Oxfordshire, and explained that, while there were some potential issues arising and that the SACRE should be cautious of developments on this issue.

     

  • It was highlighted by the adviser that there was some exemplar DfE funding available for teaching materials developed for RE. Members noted that there was some exemplar practice undertaken in primary and secondary schools in Ealing and that networks were a good means of sharing this.

 

RESOLVED:

 

  1. That Members noted the report.

     

  2. That Oliver Murphy, of West London Humanists and Secularists be nominated representative of the Ealing SACRE at the NASACRE AGM on 18 May 2020.
9 pdf Collective Worship (147Kb)
To update SACRE on the schools with determinations and those to be renewed this academic year.

Lesley Prior, Adviser for Religious Education in Community Schools and SACRE Adviser explained that there were no schools currently applying for determination or renewal of determination, and that any active determinations would last for a period of five years before renewal.

 

It was explained by Angela Doherty, Quality and Partnerships lead 11-19, that there were two schools which were expected to be submitting for renewal in the Summer 2020. It was additionally noted that letters had been sent to these schools informing them of the requirement for renewal, and that this would be decided by the SACRE at its next meeting.

 

Following questions from the Committee, the Adviser responded:

 

  • That there was no prescribed upper limit to the number of determinations that can be granted in the borough, but that the SACRE must carefully look at whether the changing circumstances in schools meant that determinations were still valid.

  • That SACREs receive frequent Freedom of Information requests regarding determinations, therefore, it must be ensured that proper process is enforced.

  • That SACRE does not process the determination of non-maintained schools, and that those of academies and independent schools were presented to the DfE directly.

  • That there had been no rejections of a determination in recent memory and that rejections in other authorities have been related to the process e.g. lack of approval by the governing board rather than lack of merit in general.

 

RESOLVED:

 

  1. That the SACRE noted the report.

  2. That SACRE members carry out school visits as part of the determination process
SACREs have responsibility for advising a Local Authority (LA) on RE and Collective Worship in its schools. SACREs have a duty to publish an annual report to cover each academic year. This report has to be sent to the Secretary of State for Education as well as to key partners, including schools, teacher training institutions, libraries and councillors. The main purpose of the annual report is to hold the LA to account, by informing the Secretary of State and key partners what advice SACRE gave the LA during the year and how that was responded to; this includes advice on RE and Collective Worship in those schools for which the LA has responsibility.

The Chair thanked SACRE Members for their continued support and welcomed the annual report as a reflection of the work undertaken by the SACRE.

 

Following questions from the Committee, the Adviser and officers responded:

  • That the membership lists in the annual report were a draft, and not finalised. It was explained that an updated list had been provided to Members as a supplementary paper, which has been appended to the minutes as Annex B.

  • It was explained by the Adviser that the completed annual report would be sent to the DfE at and NASACRE, as well as the Council itself, schools, governors etc and published on the Ealing SACRE webpage.
  •  

     

    RESOLVED:

     

  • That Members noted and approved the Annual Report subject to amendments to the Membership lists.
To share a document produced by Harrow SACRE on guidance for schools on days of religious observance.

Lesley Prior, Adviser for Religious Education in Community Schools and SACRE Adviser explained that the guidance that was put forward as an example of good practice from Harrow would allow schools to be furnished with information of days that could be allocated for religious absence for pupils. It was explained that Harrow had welcomed this document and that it was considered an example of good practice.

 

The Adviser noted that Harrow were happy for Ealing to adopt a similar model, with the proviso that the guidance provides credit to Harrow for creating it.

 

The Chair noted that there was a similar demographic in Ealing to Harrow, and noted that such a document would be useful. It was questioned as to whether there was a need to modify slightly to meet with the needs of Ealing.

 

Following questions from the Committee, the Adviser and officers responded:

 

  • That the Harrow document did not consider Humanist or nonreligious festivals as part of this document. The Adviser noted that they would follow up with the Humanist representative at the Harrow SACRE to ascertain whether this had been considered. The Humanist representative suggested that an amended document could include a short section on Humanist absence and that this would be provided by the Humanist group representative.

  • There was discussion around other Christian days of obligation, including Ash Wednesday. It was noted that these days were considered as part of the Harrow documents, or as part of other school holidays.

  • That the advice in the document was not legally binding, and was only advice to Headteachers.

  • That there was a need for Group A to provide any suggestions as to religious observances if they feel that any have been omitted from the Harrow document for an amended Ealing version, due to the individual knowledge of groups to be able to do this more effectively than officers..

     

    RESOLVED:

     

  • That Group A should provide any suggestions as to religious observances if they feel that any have been omitted from the Harrow document for an amended Ealing version.

  • That the Humanist Group provide a short section on Humanist absence for the amended document.

  • That the amended version of the guidance be brought before the SACRE at its next meeting and shared with schools for the Autumn term 2020.
12 Date of Next Meeting
The next meeting will be held on 3 Jun 2020.

The next meeting will be held on 3 June 2020.

 

The meeting concluded at 8.51pm

Additional Meeting Documents

Declarations of Interests

Member NameItem Ref.DetailsNature of DeclarationAction
No declarations of interest have been entered for this meeting.

Visitors

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