Agenda and minutes

SACRE (Standing Advisory Council on Religious Education) - Monday, 12th June, 2017 6.15 pm

Venue: Shute End, Wokingham RG40 1BN

Contact: Anne Coffey  Clerk

No. Item


Welcome and Apologies

The Chairman will welcome members, guests and new members.  The clerk will extend apologies received.    Stephen/Anne (2mins)



The Chairman welcomed members.  Apologies were received from Anju Sharma, Philip Houldsworth, Sukhdev Bansal, Shahid Younis, Sue Cresswell and Emma Reynolds.



Minutes pdf icon PDF 145 KB

To confirm the minutes of the meeting held on Monday February 27th, 2017.


The minutes of the last meeting were approved. Beth proposed we approve them, Christine seconded the proposal; all agreed.


Matters Arising


Matters arising from the February meeting would all be covered in the agenda.


Anne to send reminders for SACRE Induction session. (Sent).


SACRE Members with contacts willing to be part of the Directory to contact Catherine


Secondary RS Teachers to be invited to primary network meetings.


Jan to investigate Easthampstead Park regarding resources. (Done, as per previous minutes).


SACRE Hub Update pdf icon PDF 223 KB


·         Jan requested that several members keep free the date of the September 12th Hub meeting in case the Chair or Vice-Chair are unable to attend; other members can attend in their place as the Hub needs full representation!

·         The next induction is a follow-up to the first one and will take place on September 12th, 5.45pm – 7pm at WBC.


·         Easthampstead Park are positive about begin able to offer RE resources but currently the resources are being logged on a database, so there is no further progress to report at present.





Annual Conference 28th Sep. 2017


The second SACRE Annual Conference will take place on September 28th, 2017 at The Holiday Inn, Winnersh, 6.30pm to 9pm. Please try to attend. Last year the feedback was positive but people would have liked more time with the panel of various faith representatives. There will be £140 funding to cover 4 places for SACRE members but teachers will need to pay the delegate fee. We need to sell the extra places to cover costs. Discussion followed as to how we could reduce the delegate fee for teachers as schools have had dramatic cuts to their budgets. The SACRE might be able to offer support. Action: Jan to investigate.

Discussions have led to agreement to allocate further funding from the SACRE budget to enable 20 places to be available for the Wokingham SACRE and teachers, so these will be advertised and offered on a first come-first served basis, with any delegate places above the 20 places offered having to be paid for by the delegates. Therefore SACRE members are urged to book their places as soon as possible as per the flier.


Crossing the Bridges project pdf icon PDF 428 KB

Additional documents:


·         Crossing the Bridges Update: there are now nine Powerpoint presentations of the trips to places of worship and Jan has smartened them up with CtB headings. These resources will be disseminated to schools this term.

·         All CtB reports have been sent to Westhill as they provided funding. A Westhill representative, Tristram Jenkins, came on the last trip and wrote a glowing email encouraging the SACRE to apply for further funding. £200 has been received and this will enable the fifteen teachers on the waiting list to be accommodated for another trip to places of worship.

·         There are more than forty places of worship in the Directory and over half the faith hosts have done the host training. The Directory is with the graphic designer now. Both Jan and Catherine have today received two more applications from hosts, but it is easy to add more as the Directory builds.  When it is ready, a link will be distributed to schools in time for the new academic year



Network meetings update pdf icon PDF 103 KB


Network meetings have been really positive again. Teachers have commented that they would like most of the syllabus to remain the same. Some teachers have asked if Islam could be included in the syllabus at primary level. It is not currently required in the primary curriculum but it is possible that it is being taught in some schools. Teachers are happy with Crossing the Bridges and four teachers have volunteered to join a focus group for the syllabus review. Jan can send a draft to them for comment.


Stephen gave a lesson session at the last network meeting and was warmly received. He said how heart-warming it was to meet teachers who were so keen to learn more and do their best for the children. RE may not be their background but they are very passionate. Catherine said that it had been very helpful to get feedback from an adult perspective rather than just students’, and a good opportunity for teachers to discuss their thoughts about it.


Jan gave next year’s network meeting dates and encouraged SACRE members to attend. Stephen asked Jan to liaise with Anne on all relevant dates and Anne to distribute to members. Action: Jan to liaise with Anne regarding SACRE event dates.


NASACRE AGM/Conference Feedback pdf icon PDF 122 KB


Jan attended the NASACRE AGM and Conference. She reported that there is a Commission on Religious Education which is reviewing the nature and purpose of RE and how it sits in the national curriculum. Many questions are now being asked and speakers at the conference explored the issues. The Commission has been established by the Religious Education Council of England and Wales and an interim report is expected in mid-2017. The commissioners would like to visit SACREs and Jan asked if members would like to invite a commissioner to a SACRE meeting and the SACRE Conference. All present agreed. Action: Stephen to write to the Commission.


Syllabus Review pdf icon PDF 203 KB

Additional documents:


Every five years the RE Syllabus needs to be reviewed. This term the Pan Berkshire SACREs are ahead of where we need to be. All six SACREs follow the same process and time frame. The survey asking for feedback on the syllabus has begun; a questionnaire has been sent out. There will be a consultation day on October 4th to which teachers, religious representatives and SACRE members are invited to offer their views and suggestions regarding if and how the syllabus needs updating. Shira pointed out that no Jewish people will attend on October 4th as it is the eve of Sukkot. Michael commented that there is a calendar on the SACRE page of the schools’ hub which lists many important religious festivals and holy days, and Shira could advise Anne of important Jewish dates. October 5th is listed on the calendar as the beginning of Sukkot and Jan had avoided that date but had not realised that the day before would be affected, too. Action: Jan to investigate an alternative date to invite Jewish representatives to a consultation event.


Agreed Syllabus Conference:

At the next SACRE meeting, members will need to set up an Agreed Syllabus Conference, which is a separate legal entity, although often comprises the same members as the SACRE.  Michael asked about completing the questionnaire; Jan advised that all people should complete the form from their own representative perspective. Michael also asked if contributions would come from all six SACREs, which Jan confirmed.  Stephen asked all members to complete the form individually.


Assessment Levels:

Stephen mentioned that the Government has removed levels, so each school can decide how they assess children on all subjects. Stephen asked members to consider if British Values should sit within the RE syllabus. Many schools use Discovery RE, which translates the syllabus into practical work. Jan has rewritten the assessment process in Discovery RE so that each half-term enquiry has 3 age-related descriptors/criteria helping teachers know how each child’s learning is progressing …are they working ‘at’ the age-related expectation, ‘towards’ the age-related expectation or ‘beyond’ the age-related expectation? In addition to this, each of the descriptors has 3 colour-coded strands, the green referring to children’s personal resonance with the underpinning concept, the blue relating to their knowledge and understanding, and the red referring to their ability to apply the knowledge to the big question in that enquiry. These descriptors are followed by exemplification. This new system helps teachers assess children’s progress and next steps. Philip suggested that it could be adapted for the syllabus. Celia mentioned that the Diocese is doing something similar. There was a generally negative feeling about the lack of levels.


Syllabus Questionnaire:

Jan asked members to complete the syllabus questionnaire/form in good time as she does not want to have to chase people. Stephen announced that he will be on a school trip to Mongolia for four weeks from July 14th, so please send comments in by July 10th. All  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.


National Updates


Supported by the Church of England Education Office and produced in conjunction with RE Today, Understanding Christianity is a new resource to enable schools to learn about the core beliefs of Christianity. It includes lesson ideas and activities, and it is initially expected that church schools will attend the training but all can apply when it is rolled out across the country – probably in the next academic year.


Development Plan pdf icon PDF 198 KB


Jan took us through the action plan for the year April 2017 – March 2018 and provided us with printouts of the updated budget plans.


She aims to hold the autumn RE Subject Leaders’ training early in the term as there will be new RE teachers starting.


The SACRE was well within the budget of £6,800 for the current year, but Emily had flagged that we might need more for the syllabus review.


Stephen suggested increasing the amount allocated for the autumn conference, as we could then offer more places to teachers. Everyone agreed that it would be a good idea to support teachers in this way.

Action: Jan to amend the flyer.





Dates of next meetings


The next SACRE meeting will be held at WBC on Monday November 13th and the following meeting on Monday February 26th.




Michael spoke about the Directory listing places of worship and asked if there was also a directory of speakers willing to visit schools, as has been discussed previously. Jan said that although the focus has been on places of worship, some contacts were also happy to visit schools and talk about their faith. There is a separate list. The Directory will be online with any costs for speakers noted.

Reading teachers are apparently saying they can no longer afford to go on visits. Catherine mentioned that Slough Gurdwara can provide a representative to visit schools if there is difficulty visiting the Gurdwara. Shira will email Jan about a contact she knows who would be willing to visit schools.


Anne informed members that there will another Newly Qualified Teacher event in September and she is willing to represent the SACRE there and ensure that SACRE literature is included in the delegate packs. Celia commented that the Future Thinking Partnership is also running a similar NQT event. Anne asked her to email information.

Action: Celia to email Anne about Future Thinking Partnership.


Stephen announced that Father Bon is leaving the SACRE and thanked him for his contribution. Father Bon told members that he has been in the UK for six years but has now to return to his diocese in Cameroon. Stephen also thanked Jan and Anne for their continuing work to support the SACRE.