Members are invited to discuss the NATRE SEF summary.
Members were referred to the SACRE Self-Evaluation Form that had been completed in the spring term and worked in groups to review the key areas of focus in order to ascertain the 3 main priorities.
Tariq Mahmood arrived at 6.55pm.
Particular areas reviewed by the groups were as follows:
Section 1: Standards and quality of provision of Religious Education – The issue regarding the recruitment of skilled teachers in Religious Education was highlighted. Deborah Weston advised that the national recruitment target of such teachers was missed last year and reached just 64%; this year it had reduced down to 53% of the target. Members noted that more training bursaries for other subjects had impacted on the popularity of Religious Education teachers.
Section 2: The effectiveness of the locally agreed syllabus – Members noted that the 5 year review of the syllabus was due in 2020 however that SACRE would start reviewing in 2019 to allow appropriate time to consider it robustly. Members questioned how the group would seek feedback from schools regarding the syllabus and were advised that a survey would be sent out. It was acknowledged that stakeholder feedback was very important prior to making any changes.
Section 3: Collective worship – Members discussed the challenge of ensuring that pupils received their entitlement of collective worship, especially with regards to academies as the number was increasing.
Section 4: Management of the SACRE and partnership with the Local Authority and other key stakeholders – Members felt that there had been a significant improvement to the effectiveness of the SACRE meetings and that discussions held were now purposeful. Members questioned however the level of financial support received from the Local Authority. Julia Diamond-Conway advised that there was no specific budget as funding was drawn from the CSSB (Central Schools Services Block) which supported a number of services for schools however that the Local Authority paid for professional advisors and had always provided funding for training/conferences when requested.
Members agreed however that SACRE was relatively unknown and discussed how the group could be promoted more to raise its profile. Cllr Tele Lawal advised that there was a Community Cohesion Strategy going to Cabinet and that, as Equality and Diversity Champion was happy to take any ideas forward to Scott Vernall, the Corporate Diversity Officer.
Action: Cllr Tele Lawal
Other medias such as Twitter, Living Magazine and Time FM were also discussed. Members agreed that the ‘Year of Beliefs’ was also an ideal opportunity to highlight the work of SACRE amongst schools and the wider community.
Kevin Walsh left the meeting at 7.15pm.
Section 5: Contribution of SACRE to promoting cohesion across the community – Members felt that it was challenging to increase understanding of the local area as statistics and census figures were out of date.
Following discussion, Members agreed that the key priorities were:
§ Community Cohesion
§ Raising the profile of SACRE by improving links with stakeholders (including academies)
§ Collective worship
It was agreed that at the next meeting, Members would discuss how to move forward with the key priorities and make a plan for any actions required.
Members agreed to take agenda items 6 (Update on school activity) and 7 (National Developments in Religious Education) together.