Agenda and minutes

SACRE (Standing Advisory Council on Religious Education) - Monday, 11th June, 2018 6.15 pm

Venue: David Hicks 1 - Civic Offices, 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 with a special welcome to new member Councillor David Hare from WBC.  Beth was no longer a councillor but attended the meeting as an observer.


Apologies were received from Christine Morgan.




Stephen suggested amending the current membership groups in the constitution. Group A currently has 3 spaces for Christian faiths other than the Church of England (2 members representing Free Churches and a vacancy for the Roman Catholic Church). Stephen proposed that the SACRE change this to 4 spaces for a variety of Christian denominations other than the Church of England. This was agreed unanimously.

Stephen also proposed that Group C be amended to be less specific, especially as the Secondary Federation could not provide a representative. He suggested amending the group to cover teacher representatives or teaching union representatives or any person with relevant experience related to teaching. This was also agreed unanimously.



Minutes pdf icon PDF 85 KB

To confirm the minutes of the meeting held on February 26, 2018.


Philip proposed that the minutes of the last meeting be approved; Michael seconded the proposal, all agreed.


Matters Arising

Matters arising from the February meeting are as follows:

-       Anne sent a link to Julian Bushell (Secondary Federation Chair) so he could access SACRE agenda and minutes.

-       Revised syllabus needs signing by Manjeet Gill,  WBC Interim Chief Executive.

-       Stephen and Jan were to draft a letter to NASACRE.

-       Michael to liaise with Stephen regarding possible joint launch event.


Matters arising from the February meeting were all listed on the agenda along with progress / outcomes as follows:

-       Julian Bushell (Chair of Secondary Federation) had been sent a link to the SACRE page on WBC website.

-       Anne is organising CEO signature for the revised syllabus.

-       Stephen has not yet drafted a letter to NASACRE but will do so for the November meeting.

-       Michael advised that Reading are organising their own launch event.


Revised Syllabus Review pdf icon PDF 43 KB


Jan thanked everyone who had contributed to revising the syllabus, explaining that the new succint version covers what are the statutory requirements. The information in the supporting appendices will be retained and will be updated to make it clearer how the information supports the new syllabus.


Jan pointed out that there are now four outcomes for each key stage from KS1 to KS3. It has been an achievement to reduce the information to the important basics of the statutory requirements. These, plus outcomes and notes, will all now be on one page for each stage; teachers will be able to look online for the support material. They can ‘tweak’ the questions as long as the outcomes still match expectations.


The next steps are to gather and include the different forewords from each Berkshire SACRE before presenting the final versions to each Council for ratification. Jan pointed out that it was important that teachers were able to have the syllabus this term, so Wokingham’s copy will be launched on July 9th, which is before the syllabus is ratified at the WBC meeting on July 19th, but teachers will be apprised of this. She referred to Paper 2 on page 9, which lists all the launch events.


Jan will be inviting all the people in the Crossing the Bridges Directory to all the launches.  Michael asked if SACRE members would be receiving invitations; this was confirmed.


Michael advised the group that the Reading SACRE’s meeting is the next evening (June 12th) and the new Director of Education will be attending as she is keen to know what is happening and who is doing what. The Reading syllabus launch will be on July 19th at the Civic Centre in Reading from 5.30pm to 7.30pm, with refreshments. It will be discussed at the Reading SACRE meeting.


Shahid asked if there could be guidance around what books teachers use in RE as he has had feedback from some parents. Discussion followed over whether this was a simple matter to address as there is a difference between something being factually incorrect or educationally unsuitable, and people have differing views over what is acceptable. Stephen will suggest to the Hub that this could be looked at, perhaps noting which books appear useful but without endorsing them. Shahid pointed out that if all six SACREs give a consistent message it could be useful. Stephen said if the Hub does not take it up mabye Wokingham SACRE could decide to look at as a project later on.


Jan replied to a query from Michael that the advisory sections of the original syllabus are still fine for teachers to use.


Rev Philip Hobday asked if the file could be produced in a different format as it is 14MB which is very large to download. Action: Jan to investigate a different format.


SACRE Hub report and discussions pdf icon PDF 91 KB


Jan summarised the Hub’s activities since the first project, Crossing the Bridges. This was successful but was put in abeyance in order to focus on the revised syllabus. All six SACREs have been discussing the future of the Hub and if it should continue. If it does, has each SACRE managed to gain funding to support it? If it continues with funding, what should be the priorities for the coming year?

Wokingham has the funding to support the Hub and it was unanimously agreed that it should continue. David felt it would be odd to stop now. Jan quoted costs as detailed in the notes provided and asked how it should be spent to gain maximum use, assuming all SACREs contribute. David also felt that extending the Crossing the Bridges project would be an appropriate use of the funds. Michael asked Jan if she had anyone in mind for Hub Manager; she explained that it made sense for it to be one of the RE Advisers. Michael proposed that we support the Hub and that we have an RE Adviser as Hub Manager. David seconded this. Votes were 10 in agreement and 1 abstention. (Shahid left at 7pm).


Jan spoke of the autumn conference which is listed on the proposed Hub budget plan and suggested it would be a better use of funds to focus on support materials for teachers. This was unanimously agreed.


Feedback from teacher network pdf icon PDF 77 KB


Jan introduced Alison Harris who will be taking over as RE Adviser. Alison reported on the Primary RE Network meetings which she has been running. SACRE members are encouraged to attend these meetings as they are an opportunity for them to meet teachers and hear first-hand of any news or issues from teachers themselves. Stephen and Anne have both attended network meetings and Stephen commented how good it is as a secondary school teacher to see how keen the primary teachers are. He asked that if anyone has ideas on how to get secondary schools more involved, please let him know.


Alison advised that the meetings for the next academic year are already planned; October 4th and February 7th.


Development plan and budget pdf icon PDF 51 KB


Jan spoke about the development plan and passed around a copy of the latest budget plan for April 2018 to March 2019, which is self-explanatory. The autumn conference is listed but it was agreed earlier that this will not take place.


NASACRE update and feedback from AGM/Conference pdf icon PDF 75 KB


Jan’s colleague, David Rees, attended the NASACRE AGM/Conference and provided notes. Michael attended on behalf of Wokingham SACRE and praised David’s notes as outstanding. Michael said the conference was one of the best he had attended; Charles Clarke was a very good speaker; Dr Vanessa Ogden was also impressive and has turned around failing schools. Michael told of how he had taken various items of Wokingham SACRE literature for a ‘sharing table’ at the conference, (some of which were not returned!) He reported that Dr Ogden had emphasised that SACREs needed to do more than just sit in meetings, instead ‘get out and up your game!’


Michael passed around an inter-faith calendar which another SACRE had produced as well as various literature from other SACREs for the group to peruse. He reported that some SACREs even had a Junior SACRE.


CC2020 Project at All Saints Parish Church


Michael had arranged for an invitation to be sent to members regarding an event at All Saints’ Church in Wokingham. There is a plan to refurbish the church as a place of worship but also as a focus of the town for Wokingham citizens. It is an opportunity to find out what the plans are for the future of the building. Doors open at 5.30pm; there will be presentations at 6pm repeated at 7.30pm and refreshments in between. The event will close at 8.30pm. Michael encouraged everyone to attend.




1)    Jan reported that Anne had provided information regarding school trips where the main or secondary purpose was RE. The last year to date had 77 trips with RE as the purpose, compared to the previous year which had 65. This was encouraging; however, there were some destinations which are not included in the Crossing the Bridges Directory so it is worth approaching those venues and suggesting they subscribe to the Directory.

2)    Stephen noted that we used to invite teachers to SACRE meetings where they could give a presentation on their RE work with pupils. This has not happened for a while, so it needs considering again. It was also suggested we could invite children to a meeting or hold a meeting at a school. Stephen could bring secondary school students next year. There is a small amount of funding which could cover that.

3)    Stephen gave thanks to Jan for all her hard work and support to the SACRE for the last few years; the group has achieved a lot under her guidance and expertise. He presented a gift and flowers to her and she expressed her thanks and best wishes to the group, reminding members that Alison will be taking over her role from now on.

4)    Stephen also gave thanks to Sue Cresswell who was also leaving. Sue was one of the longest-serving members, having been with the SACRE  since it began in the 1990s. He presented a gift and flowers to her. Members applauded both Jan and Sue.


The meeting closed at 7.45pm.