Agenda and minutes
Standing Advisory Council on Religious Education
Monday, 7 November 2011 7:00 pm
Venue: Salon - York House. View directions
Contact: Sam Walker, Democratic Services Officer
To welcome Carol Fletcher who is replacing Alison Edwards in Group “C” and Jo Jarvis and Nick Jones from Twickenham Academy to the meeting.
The Chairman welcomed new SACRE member Alison Edwards and guests Jo Jarvis and Nick Jones from Twickenham Academy to the meeting.
To consider and approve the minutes from the meeting of SACRE on 21 June 2011 attached.
The minutes of the meeting held on 22 June 2011 were agreed as a correct record of proceedings and the Chairman authorised to sign them.
To receive any apologies for absence.
Apologies were received from Marylin Mason, Peter Ward, Prem Chand Sondhi and Sandra Routledge.
PRESENTATION FROM CAROL FLETCHER - "RE SKILL ARE LIFE CHANGING"
Carol Fletcher gave a slideshow presentation. She explained she was a RE Coordinator at St Stephens Church of England Primary School. RE could be life changing. By studying RE pupils gained the ability to:
· Interpret – Draw meanings from: artefacts, symbols, art, stories and poems.
· Investigate – asking relevant questions, gathering information and using different resources.
· Reflect – Ponder on feelings, relationships, experiences, ultimate questions, beliefs and practices.
· Empathy – Consider the thoughts, feelings, experiences, beliefs and values of others.
· Analyse – Draw out essential ideas, distinguish between opinions, beliefs and facts.
· Synthesise - Make connections between ideas, beliefs, values and practices.
· Evaluate – Weighing-up different views and use reason to support their ideas.
· Apply – Putting into practise what has been learnt about a religion to a new situation.
· Express – The ability to explain concepts, rituals, and practices; identify and express matters of deep concern by a variety of means, not only through words and respond to religious issues through a variety of media.
Carol Fletcher said St Stephens made every effort to explain and reflect aspects of other religions. A variety of religious festivals and practices were observed to understand their value and purpose.
RE IN TWICKENHAM ACADEMY
Jo Jarvis and Nick Jones to provide an overview of the provision for RE at Twickenham Academy.
Nick Jones gave a presentation which provided an overview of the provision for RE at Twickenham Academy:
The Committee was shown a site plan for the new Twickenham Academy school buildings. The new build would cost £22.5m. He expected the building to be in use within 17 months. Twickenham academy was one of three in a chain including Ipswich and Richmond.
The Twickenham Academy was sponsored by the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and Kunskapsskolan. Nick explained that the Academy was following an adapted version of Kunskapsskolan’s education model.
The Academy had a rich cultural balance of students, with 43 different languages spoken.They aimed to prepare students to live and work in a modern, global society. Each student was provided with a foundation for personal development. The Academy followed the belief that self-discipline, self-knowledge, a sense of responsibility and a trust in one’s ownability provided the foundation for a constructive attitude.
Courses at the academy were divided into stepped or thematic curriculum subjects. Stepped subjects - including Maths, English, Science, ICT and Modern Languages - were taught via an incremental 40 step system. Humanities - including RE, - were categorised as thematic subjects. The Thematic curriculum model aimed to enrich pupil’s education by: developing skills and competencies, linking learning together, dealing with BIG questions and developing their independence.
In response to question from the Committee Nick Jones and Jo Jarvis made the following points:
Although Academies were recommended to follow the locally agreed syllabus for RE it was not a requirement. Academies were governed by their Trust deeds RE remains a compulsory subject within the curriculum.
RE was a compulsory subject for all Twickenham Academy students at GCSE level.
The Committee was assured that Twickenham Academy would make its Ofsted inspection reports publically available.
Although Ofsted were not monitoring collective worship in schools at that time, Twickenham Academy made efforts to ensure that activities were held throughout the year, to celebrate different religious faiths. Collective worship necessitated the use of a large communal space that would be available to the Academy in 2012.
The Committee considered it would be beneficial to arrange to visit the academy, in the interest of developing good relations.
It was agreed that:
· A representative from Twickenham Academy be invited to join Richmond SACRE.
· That SACRE invite Richmond Park Academy to attend a Committee meeting.
· That it be arranged for a member of SACRE to visit Twickenham Academy.
LOSS AND BEREAVEMENT SEMINAR UPDATE
Charanjit Singh to feedback to the Committee her experience of the Loss and Bereavement seminar on 11 October.
Charanjit Singh fed back to the Committee on her experience of the Loss and Bereavement seminar:
The conference was attended by approximately one hundred people mainly from health, social care and voluntary sector backgrounds involved in the field of palliative and end of life care.
Colin Murray Parkes, Emeritus Consultant Psychiatrist, gave a presentation titled “Death and Bereavement across cultures.” He compared how people in different societies handled death and bereavement. He referenced various examples of how death is handled in different societies.
A presentation followed from Tony Walter, Professor of Death Studies at the University of Bath. He raised four questions about “What to do with the dead?”
Pat Alden said that in RE death was first discussed at key stage 1, inline with the agreed syllabus. This continued to key stage 2 where death was openly discussed.
· London and SE SACRE’s Annual Meeting (see attachment)
· SACRE Annual Report
· Update in RE world
Pat Alden presented the Committee with an update on the following issues:
London and SE SACREs Annual Meeting:
Face to Faith had been discussed. This was a schools program, for 12-17 year olds, from 17 countries, communicating via video-conference, to discuss global issues, from a variety of faith and belief perspectives. It was hoped that this would help develop strong dialogue skills, prevent conflict and breakdown religious and cultural stereotypes. The program had proven popular and many London schools had been involved.
John Keast gave a presentation. He highlighted some of the key areas effecting RE today. There was concern regarding RE’s exclusion from the English Baccalaureate. In his opinion, this resulted in RE not being a priority for schools.
Figures from the Institute of Education indicated a significant decrease in teacher training for RE. John Keast recommended that attendees monitor the way the government tackled revisions to the curriculum in the next couple of months.
There had been a large reduction in non-departmental public bodies. One outcome from this was that a communication gap had developed between SACRE / NASACRE and the government.
A round table discussion about the future of NASACRE followed. Nationally there had been a large reduction in funding to SACREs, which had lead to a decline in the number of SACREs with advisors.
The SACRE Annual report was almost complete. This year the Annual Report would be submitted directly to NASACRE. The Committee agreed that a copy should also be sent to Michael Gove.
To include consideration of the SACRE Action Plan (attached).
Mrs Singh announced the following events:
· 10 November - Reflecting the Spiritual “One Earth, Many Faiths”, at St Mary’s University Church, Oxford.
· 19 November - Hounslow Friends of Faith, Interfaith Week, at Hounslow Civic Centre.
· 7 December - World Congress of Faiths, Annual Younghusband Lecture, titled “The Core of Religion”, at the Liberal Jewish Synagogue, London.
It was agreed that:
The next meeting of SACRE would take place on 20 February 2012.