Agenda and minutes
Standing Advisory Council on Religious Education
Tuesday, 21 June 2011 7:00 pm
Venue: Terrace Room - York House. View directions
To consider and approve the minutes from the meeting of SACRE on 8 February 2011 attached.
The minutes of the 8 February 2011 were agreed as a correct record and the Chairman authorised to sign them.
MATTERS ARISING FROM THE MINUTES
There were no matters arising from the minutes.
WELCOME NEW MEMBERS & RECRUITMENT DRIVE
Welcome new members: Reverend Deacon Dr. Duncan Macpherson and Pauline Thomas.
The Committee welcomed new members, Deacon Mac Pherson and Pauline Thomas, to the meeting.
PRESENTATION FROM DEACON MAC PHERSON
Presentation on Christian attitudes towards different faiths.
Deacon Mac Pherson gave a presentation on Christian attitudes towards different faiths and made the following points:
· The belief in God, throughout all religions, was a force for good in society today.
· The Catholic Church recognized and celebrated the presence of what was true and holy in other religions.
· It was important to avoid undermining or making assumptions about other faiths.
· Historically, differences between faiths were a common cause of hostility. For this reason, it was imperative that strong dialogue between faiths was maintained.
· Sustained dialogue would help reveal how different teachings and values overlapped, and where differences lay.
· All faiths should exercise common humility towards one and other.
· Moving forwards, it was important for the Catholic Church to identify new ways to engage in dialogue with other faith groups.
The following comments were made by the Committee after the presentation:
· It was unrealistic to expect religions to converge, but it was essential that faiths strived to understand and tolerate each other.
· The Committee agreed it was important for pupils to be able to discuss the diversity of faiths and that teachers should remain impartial – inline with the agreed syllabus.
· RE, and the discussion it brought about, helped promote basic human rights to students.
· A teaching document outlining the Catholic Church’s stance on interfaith dialogue had recently been released called “Meeting God in friends & strangers: Fostering respect and mutual understanding between the religions.”The document served as a reminder for Catholics to engage in dialogue with others, especially those of different faiths.
UPDATES FROM PAT ALDEN
· The English Baccalaureate
· Who’s RE is it anyway?
Pat Alden had attended the NASACRE Annual General Meeting on 11 May 2011, at Birmingham Council House.She reported thatMark Chater had given a presentation titled “What’s worth fighting for in RE?” He underlined the importance of Religious Education as a curriculum subject and drew attention to the effect the English Baccalaureate was having on RE. The presentation highlighted areas of concern in RE today and ways to improve the current situation.
· There was a petition on www.parliament.uk titled Religious Education and the English Baccalaureate. Members were encouraged to add there support to the petition.
· NASACRE had recently published the results of Julie Grove’s survey titled Religious Education and the English Baccalaureate (http://www.nasacre.org.uk/publications.html).
· Pat Alden referred the Committee to the “Whose RE is it anyway?” conference notes on the NASACRE web site: http://www.nasacre.org.uk/downloads/WhoseRE.pdf. This was a meeting of a hundred people, including SACRE members, exploring the conflict of interest that existed around RE. At the conference they considered why people should be concerned about RE and how pupils benefit of it being taught.
· NATRE had conducted a survey which asked its members what provision they made for RE in their schools. Their results showed that about a quarter of the state-funded schools were not teaching RE to pupils aged from 14 to 16. Pat suggested that the Committee members investigate whether their local schools were still providing RE.
· The Committee noted the Young People’s Interfaith Project, which was helping to develop positive relationships between young people from different faith backgrounds.
· It was suggested that the Committee should aim to develop improved relations with the Interfaith Forum. By understanding the scope of each committee they could identify ways to support each other.
· The Committee considered extending its remit to further education by developing dialogue with the National Council of Faiths and Beliefs in Further Education (FBFE).
· The Committee agreed to invite Nick jones, the Principal of Twickenham academy, to the next SACRE meeting.
The Committee are asked to agree the SACRE Action Plan and make suggestions, if necessary.
The Committee agreed that the action plan was a substantial document that set good targets for SACRE
The following additional points were made:
· There was no information about SACRE included in the school governor’s handbook at present. The Committee suggested that raising school governor’s awareness of SACRE should be a priority, and be added to objective 3 in the Action Plan.
· The Committee agreed that visits to primary schools within the borough, including academies, should be arranged for SACRE members. This would help raise school’s awareness of SACRE.
· School pupils and members of the youth parliament should continue to be encouraged to attend SACRE meetings. This would help to build stronger relationships with local schools.
· Orleans Infant School had recently postponed a visit to Hounslow Mosque due to safety concerns. The Committee agreed there was a need to ensure schools felt confident in visiting places of worship.
· The Committee asked that a paper titled “Religious Believers Visiting Schools”, by the National Association of Teachers of Religious Education (NATRE), be circulated to SACRE members.
Charanjit Singh announced the Hounslow Friends of Faith Walk which was due to take place on 3rd July 2011.
The next meeting of SACRE was agreed to take place on 7 November.