Agenda and draft minutes

Standing Advisory Council on Religious Education (SACRE)
Thursday, 20th July, 2023 4.30 pm

Venue: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCt4VuYp8JJJvXCLRmSRJ1mw/featured - To be held remotely and streamed. View directions

Contact: Catherine Ziane-Pryor  Email: catherine.pryor@nottinghamcity.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies for absence

Minutes:

Martyn Bennett,

Anne Lumb,

Alison Milbank,

Father Ioakeim Oureilidis,

Pvail Singh.

 

2.

Declarations of Interest

Minutes:

None.

3.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 2 MB

Of the meetings held on 28 January 2021 and 16 June 2021 (as an informal meeting), for confirmation.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 28 January 2021 and 16 June 2021 (as an informal meeting), were agreed as a true record.

 

4.

The Role of SACRE pdf icon PDF 578 KB

Minutes:

Councillor Cheryl Barnard, Chair of the Advisory Council and Portfolio Holder for Children and Young People and Education, was accompanied by SACRE Lead Officer Heidi Shewell-Cooper, and delivered a brief training presentation by the National Association of Standing Advisory Councils for Religious Education (NASACRE) about SACRE and outlining the role of members.

 

A copy of the presentation is issued with the initial publication of the minutes.

 

Points highlighted and questions from those in attendance were responded to as follows:

 

a)  SACRE is part of local government and advises the Local Authority (LA) on matters related to Religious Education (RE) and collective worship (CW) in schools;

 

b)  Every LA must have a SACRE which meets sufficiently often to fulfil its statutory duties. There has been a gap in meetings which are now fully reinstated to ensure that the Council does meet these statutory duties;

 

c)  Most SACREs meet three times year, which fits well with the academic terms;

 

d)  The statutory duties of SACRE include:

 

i.  Advising the LA on matters related to the agreed syllabus, RE and CW;

 

ii.  Publishing an annual report of the work of the SACRE, which is also submitted to the Secretary of State;

 

iii.  With the exception of confidential material, the SACRE meets in public and the minutes of those meetings are made publicly available. It is proposed that this SACRE revert to meeting in person, rather than virtually, and at religious and educational sites across the City;

 

iv.  To consider determinations (appeals) by schools which wish to modify the legal requirement for the majority of acts of CW to be wholly or mainly of a broadly Christian character. Nottingham City is yet to receive an appeal for determination;

 

e)  An effective SACRE should:

 

i.  Monitor the delivery and quality of the agreed syllabus and CW, and provide advice to schools where necessary;

 

ii.  Advise the LA on the provision of training of religious education teachers;

 

iii.  Consider complaints referred by the LA regarding RE and CW;

 

iv.  Consider if changes need to be made to the agreed syllabus and provide advice to the LA with regard to the agreed syllabus and its implementation;

 

f)  A SACRE may:

 

i.  Require the LA to review its agreed syllabus. It is noted that the City and County SACRE has jointly reviewed and established the agreed syllabus, which is not now due for scheduled review until 2026;

 

ii.  Co-opt individuals to provide educational expertise, gather the views of young people and children, or religious and non-religious views that reflect a diverse multi-cultural society;

 

g)  SACREs consist of four groupings of representatives:

 

i.  GROUP A - Christian (but not Church of England) and other faiths as reflect the principal religious traditions in Nottingham;

 

ii.  GROUP B - Church of England;

 

iii.  GROUP C - Teachers, including two teachers of religious education, at least one being a primary school teacher;

 

iv.  GROUP D - Elected members of Nottingham City Council.

 

5.

Training Video

Minutes:

Nottingham City Council has previously been a member of the National Association of Standing Advisory Councils for Religious Education (NASACRE) which is a fabulous source of information and advice and provides some interesting training opportunities. The LA will rejoin to support the work of SACRE. Members of SACRE are encouraged to take advantage of the resources available. The training film, with further detail, and membership access details to the NASACRE website will be circulated to SACRE members separately.

 

Confirmation will be sought as to whether LA schools are eligible for access to the site and training.

 

6.

Future meeting dates and Work Plan

For discussion.

Minutes:

Comments from members included:

 

a)  SACRE and its constitution were determined more than 25 years ago. It is questionable whether the Church of England should have a separate category whilst all other non-Church of England Christians and other faith, non-faith groups have to share a category. Central government revision of these categories would be welcome. It is important that the local constitution aligns with the up-to-date city demographic to properly reflect our communities;

 

b)  It seems unusual to have a religious education curriculum which all school is must agree when they have a national curriculum for other subjects which they can then interpret. The time of the LA telling schools what to do is long gone, so this committee should be used for the widest possible discussion, not just for religious education, but the broader issues for a city of such diversity, specifically guarding against hate, for which religious education is vitally important;

 

c)  This SACRE need to focus on community cohesion and how to assist schools;

 

d)  Members of this forum could decide how active they want to be in the national discussion and dialogue on these issues, particularly if there are members who would be willing to take part in additional work in this area, it would be the best way of effecting change;

 

e)  The reconvening of the City SACRE after a gap is very much welcomed, and a revitalisation to include representation through the SACRE of the broad diversity of the City’s population is supported, including those with no religious views;

 

f)  It is appreciated that the structure of SACREs is set in legislation and that a revision by Central Government is unlikely, so we must work with what we have;

 

g)  We need to work with and around the legislative requirements, but as a local SACRE, ensure that there is appropriate representation for the different voices. This could be included in the future work plan;

 

h)  Meeting 3 times a year is a good approach, but we must ensure that meeting dates don’t clash with any religious festivals, as this has previously caused issues;

 

i)  Due to an increase in anti-Semitic and religiously motivated attacks, there is a need for additional security if the Synagogue is to host a future meeting. This is a broader issue for places of worship and education, particularly when religious organisations are opening up their areas of sanctuary. Further investigation of security mechanisms need to be examined and determined prior to the next in-person meeting;

 

j)  Many city schools and multi-academy trusts are seeking to further diversify their teaching staff to better represent the diversity of children in their communities, through promotion through community groups. For example, for any opportunities with the Archway Learning Trust (a Trust supporting several academies with the Church of England ethos) contact Head of HR or CEO)Home - Archway Learning Trust (archwaytrust.co.uk);

 

k)  The department of Education is supporting some teacher recruitment work in the City facilitated by Nottingham Citizens with the Karima Institute  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.