Councillors' Attendance Statistics
Agenda and minutes
Standing Advisory Council on Religious Education
Tuesday, 12 February 2013 7:00 pm
Venue: Terrace Room - York House. View directions
Contact: Joanne Straw, Governance and Scrutiny Officer
To receive any apologies for absence.
Apologies were received from Anne Farren, Charanjit Singh, Frances Martin and Peter Ward.
To consider the minutes of the SACRE meeting held on 6 November 2012 attached.
The minutes of the meeting held on 6 November 2012 were agreed as a correct record and the Chairman authorised to sign them.
To receive any announcements from members of the SACRE.
Charanjit Singh submitted an email request to notify SACRE of the UK wide Interfaith week from 17-23 November 2013. Charanjit Singh wanted SACRE to consider encouraging schools in the Borough to celebrate this.
It was RESOLVED:
1. That the idea of encouraging schools to participate in Interfaith week be explored.
REPORT ON THE RELIGIOUS COUNCIL SUBJECT REVIEW
To receive an update on the Religious Education subject review being conducted by the Religious Education Council.
More information about the subject review can be found online via the link here.
The SACRE Consultant introduced the item and explained how the RE Council had decided to conduct a national subject review of Religious Education. In conducting the review the RE Council had consulted with faith groups and religious bodies, including the National Association of Standing Advisory Council’s on Religious Education (NASACRE).
It was explained that a task group of 4 representatives had been created to consider proposals for the review. The review would result in the creation of national guidance and it would be up to Richmond SACRE to consider whether to follow this guidance.
The SACRE discussed the subject review. Following questions raised and comments made the following information was shared:
(i) At present Religious Education was not included on the list of subjects on which a school’s performance would be based under the English Baccalaureate.
(ii) Short course GCSE Religious Education had previously been widely used by schools as it was easily possible to include the teaching time necessary for this course. Members discussed whether this course had been discontinued and the SACRE Advisor agreed to clarify this at the next meeting.
It was RESOLVED:
1. That the SACRE Advisor would clarify whether the short course GCSE had been discontinued at a national level.
To receive an update on the work of the All Party Parliamentary Group on RE.
Presentation of the National Association of Standing Advisory Councils on Religious Education (NASACRE) attached.
The SACRE Consultant introduced the item and explained that the All Party Parliamentary Group on Religious Education was chaired by Stephen Lloyd MP. The APPG had been listening to evidence on teaching supply and training for Religious Education. Lesley Prior had given evidence on behalf of NASACRE.
It was explained that any teacher that teaching one period of Religious Education per week was classified as an RE teacher. Therefore a resource shortage was not immediately evident, however this doesn’t consider the quality of the teaching. It was also thought that Religious Education was targeted less rigorously than other subjects by Ofsted.
The group discussed the challenges to Religious Education generally and ways to overcome these. Following questions raised and comments made the following views were shared:
(i) Religious Education could be re-branded and in schools where it was taught at Philosophy and Ethics had a higher pupil uptake of the subject.
(ii) Religious Education has an important role in community cohesion.
(iii) Young people visiting religious buildings as part of a school trip were generally extremely enthusiastic about learning more about different religions.
(iv) There could be a local media campaign to re-invigorate interest in the subject.
The group discussed whether the SACRE should write to local MPs to encourage them to join the APPG on Religious Education.
It was RESOLVED:
To receive an update on the work of the National Association of Standing Advisory Councils on Religious Education (NASACRE).
More information about NASACRE can be found online via the link here.
The SACRE Consultant introduced this item and explained that Hounslow SACRE had received a talk from Alan Brine regarding the imminent Ofsted report into Religious Education. The SACRE Consultant offered some background information on the report explaining that Ofsted had been conducting an in depth inspection of 90 primary schools and 90 secondary schools in England over a three year period to assess the quality of Religious Education. These reports were considered to be extremely influential.
The SACRE Consultant shared the [attached] presentation Alan Brine had given with the SACRE. The presentation included information on what would be the main headlines of the report.
To receive and discuss the results of the Borough-wide survey of religious education teachers regarding the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames Agreed Syllabus. To consider a review and revision of the Agreed Syllabus.
Briefing Paper on the Agreed Syllabus Survey results attached.
Members of the SACRE went into four smaller groups in a workshop session to discuss the results of the Agreed Syllabus survey circulated to schools in the Borough (with the exception of private schools).
A representative from each group gave feedback to the whole group about the key points raised in the workshop session. These included:
(i) Responses suggested the Agreed Syllabus should primarily focus on primary schools as no secondary schools in the Borough are obliged to follow the Syllabus. Views diverged on this point as some representatives felt that if the Agreed Syllabus was strong up to Key Stage 3, schools such as academies might be encouraged to buy into the Syllabus.
(ii) The religious calendar could provide a good structure for learning at a primary level.
(iii) The Agreed Syllabus could be marketed as a Syllabus in Philosophy and Ethics.
(iv) There should be a more focused introduction to the Agreed Syllabus detailing the purpose and importance of teaching Religious Education. This could also include reference to the local community and the demographic in Richmond.
(v) Depth versus breadth: whilst it is important to ensure that students have a comprehensive understanding, including too much content in the Agreed Syllabus may result in too much fact based learning and not enough enquiry.
(vi) There should be a clear sense of progress through the Agreed Syllabus. This could also be used to measure the progress of students by assessing their ability to, for example, make observations about similarities and differences between religions.
(vii) Humanism and Atheism could be introduced in the Agreed Syllabus at Key Stage 3.
Training and Skills
(viii) The Agreed Syllabus should include sections to assist teachers in dealing with open enquiry and controversial topics.
(ix) Training should be provided for teachers following the Agreed Syllabus. This should include training on new approaches, skills, how to teach controversial topics and how to ask good questions.
(x) A series of top tips for teachers could be included in the Agreed Syllabus to assist in lesson planning by providing ideas for classes.
(xi) The Agreed Syllabus could include a skills section.
(xii) The challenge of delivering Religious Education in a cross-curricular approach should be addressed by the Agreed Syllabus including: how to ensure that legal requirements are delivered; and how to withdraw pupils from Religious Education when Parents specifically request this.
(xiii) The Agreed Syllabus should consider issues of lesson planning and setting objectives as this is the model other curriculums are following.
(xiv) There was a lot of content in the current Agreed Syllabus but little in the way of direction for teachers.
(xv) Appendices could include links to websites with good resources.
The SACRE discussed the amalgamation of Childrens’ Services (incorporating education) with Kingston-upon-Thames and members agreed that it would be a good idea to investigate how this link might impact the Agreed Syllabus review.
It was RESOLVED: