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Standing Advisory Council for Religious Education (SACRE)

For discussions related to education and educational institutions.
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Altfish
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Standing Advisory Council for Religious Education (SACRE)

#1 Postby Altfish » July 5th, 2013, 12:25 pm

I’m interested in getting involved in one of the local SACRE committees and have very recently written to the BHA expressing a desire to volunteer. I await a reply.

These local committees are made up of teachers, councilors and volunteer representatives of religious groups, which determine and manage Religious Education (RE) and collective worship in most local state schools.

The BHA affirms that equality legalisation means that SACREs can and should include humanists as full voting members. Almost half of the SACREs in England and Wales have a humanist representative, either as a full voting or non-voting co-opted member. We now want humanists to be admitted onto the remaining committees and are looking for BHA members who are willing to be put forward to join one.

Does anyone know any more about these committees? Is anyone on here a member of one?

I’ve been looking at my local one Trafford MBC…It has a rather strange structure of 4No. Committees, based on the latest information I can find (2011/2), thus: -

Committee A: appears to be the faith groups and includes Baha’l Faith, Buddhist, Catholic x 2, Hindu, Islam x 2, Jewish, Sikh, United Reformed Church, Mormon an Humanist
Committee B: is solely CofE representatives and consists of 5 representatives from Manchester and Chester diocese.
Committee C: is made up of 5 teachers
Committee D: is made up of 8 councillors

I assume these committees all meet together

The latest census indicated that around 25% ticked the non-religious box; so looking at committees A & B the non-religious are heavily under represented.

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Alan H
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Re: Standing Advisory Council for Religious Education (SACRE

#2 Postby Alan H » July 5th, 2013, 1:11 pm

Good. I am a full member of Brent SACRE and a member of Group A. The Chair is Josh Kutchinsky, who has been a BHA Trustee, so we have two full Humanist members. This is unique, and does depend on how the LA decides to interpret the law.

There are several other SACREs with humanist members, some as full, some as non-voting (I forget the category) and many as observers.

Josh has been the Chair for a good number of years and no one seems to have any problem with that.

The 'committees' are really just Groups and they all meet together a few times a year. There are rules (you'd need to read your SACRE's Constitution as it may be slightly different) and there are some legal restrictions, so it's worth finding out about them.

They are public meetings, so members of the public are free to attend and it's probably best to start off as such, get to know them and let them get to know you. It may take a while before it's appropriate to broach the question of membership, but you'll need to test the water first.

I'm sure the BHA will be able to give you good advice on how best to approach this and they may well mention Josh and I as examples. Andrew Copson is on Westminster SACRE himself and a few of the other RE bodies (not sure exactly which ones, but possibly NASACRE and the RE Council).

You should be aware of a couple of things: one is that the role of SACRE's is uncertain at the moment with Gove's 'reforms' including his curriculum changes, but it's still worth getting involved and trying to make a difference!

More than happy to give more of my thoughts/advice!
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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Altfish
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Re: Standing Advisory Council for Religious Education (SACRE

#3 Postby Altfish » July 5th, 2013, 1:27 pm

Thanks Alan, I think that my local council already has a BHA member so my services will probably not be needed.
Let me see what happens when/if the BHA get back to me; I may well be in touch again
Mike :smile:

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Altfish
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Re: Standing Advisory Council for Religious Education (SACRE

#4 Postby Altfish » July 12th, 2013, 10:29 am

BHA been in touch; they are already sorted for my area but are considering asking if I can be put forward as a reserve, to cover for holidays etc.

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Alan H
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Re: Standing Advisory Council for Religious Education (SACRE

#5 Postby Alan H » August 9th, 2013, 12:58 pm

Survey reveals RE as least useful subject on the curriculumPosted: Fri, 09 Aug 2013 07:45

Survey reveals RE as least useful subject on the curriculum

A new survey on life at school has revealed that RE is regarded as the least useful subject to learn.

The survey by Opinium Research asked more than 1,800 adults who attended UK secondary schools which subject they thought was the least beneficial to their education. Just over one in five (21%) said religious education. This was followed by art (chosen by 16%) and PE (10%).

Stephen Evans, campaigns manager at the National Secular Society, said: "These results are unsurprising. For too long RE has been allowed to carry on with no clear educational purpose.

"It's time religious education was replaced with a new programme of study under the heading of philosophy and ethics. A reformed subject would still include education about religion, but without the inherent bias that results from the syllabus being left in the hands of vested interests intent on promoting their beliefs in schools."

Read the Opinium Research results/tables in full
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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Altfish
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Joined: March 26th, 2012, 8:46 am

Re: Standing Advisory Council for Religious Education (SACRE

#6 Postby Altfish » October 23rd, 2013, 9:35 am

Went to the BHA presentation by Jim Al-Khalili in Manchester last night; he was very good, didn't seem to need notes.

Anyway I met up with a few of the local SACRE reps and have a date to attend the next Trafford meeting.

Also ended up briefly speaking with Andrew Copson

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Alan H
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Re: Standing Advisory Council for Religious Education (SACRE

#7 Postby Alan H » October 23rd, 2013, 9:57 am

Yes, I've heard Jim speak a couple of times know. Very good at it!

A new subject framework for Religious Education by the RE Council was released today: New RE subject framework makes clear: schools should put non-religious beliefs on equal footing

Not read it yet, but I have a SACRE meeting this afternoon...
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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draykorinee
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Re: Standing Advisory Council for Religious Education (SACRE

#8 Postby draykorinee » October 23rd, 2013, 10:08 am

I really wish they had called it the standing council advisory for religious education, as an acronym SCARE is pretty decent. I will look in to this a bit, not for myself just so Im aware of it a bit more.
sanctimonious
ˌsaŋ(k)tɪˈməʊnɪəs/Submit
adjectivederogatory
1.
making a show of being morally superior to other people.

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jaywhat
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Re: Standing Advisory Council for Religious Education (SACRE

#9 Postby jaywhat » October 23rd, 2013, 10:14 am

I was on the local SACRE some years ago but left after a handful of meetings because I could not cope with the assumptions and the narrow minded discussions. I admit I should have hung in there and tried to do something useful, but I gave in.

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Altfish
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Re: Standing Advisory Council for Religious Education (SACRE

#10 Postby Altfish » October 23rd, 2013, 11:12 am

jaywhat wrote:I was on the local SACRE some years ago but left after a handful of meetings because I could not cope with the assumptions and the narrow minded discussions.

I fear that will be a problem for me too.
Must learn to count to 10 before opening my mouth!

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jaywhat
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Re: Standing Advisory Council for Religious Education (SACRE

#11 Postby jaywhat » October 23rd, 2013, 11:54 am

good luck !

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Alan H
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Re: Standing Advisory Council for Religious Education (SACRE

#12 Postby Alan H » October 23rd, 2013, 12:05 pm

Altfish wrote:
jaywhat wrote:I was on the local SACRE some years ago but left after a handful of meetings because I could not cope with the assumptions and the narrow minded discussions.

I fear that will be a problem for me too.
Must learn to count to 10 before opening my mouth!
There is quite a bit of biting my tongue going on when I'm at a SACRE meeting! However, most of the members are well-meaning, but we are really just a bunch of amateurs. Although we do write the local RE syllabus, it really should be done nationally - that might ensure it was better, impartial and more suited to the needs of kids and society.
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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Altfish
Posts: 1821
Joined: March 26th, 2012, 8:46 am

Re: Standing Advisory Council for Religious Education (SACRE

#13 Postby Altfish » October 23rd, 2013, 12:23 pm

Alan H wrote:
Altfish wrote:
jaywhat wrote:I was on the local SACRE some years ago but left after a handful of meetings because I could not cope with the assumptions and the narrow minded discussions.

I fear that will be a problem for me too.
Must learn to count to 10 before opening my mouth!
There is quite a bit of biting my tongue going on when I'm at a SACRE meeting! However, most of the members are well-meaning, but we are really just a bunch of amateurs. Although we do write the local RE syllabus, it really should be done nationally - that might ensure it was better, impartial and more suited to the needs of kids and society.

I fear if it was done nationally it would too much reflect the wishes of the curches

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Alan H
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Re: Standing Advisory Council for Religious Education (SACRE

#14 Postby Alan H » October 23rd, 2013, 12:27 pm

The RE Council seem to be the lead body in all these things, representing many religions and Humanism. Andrew Copson was on the Steering Group that wrote the review.
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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Altfish
Posts: 1821
Joined: March 26th, 2012, 8:46 am

Re: Standing Advisory Council for Religious Education (SACRE

#15 Postby Altfish » October 23rd, 2013, 12:31 pm

Downloaded a copy this morning for bedtime reading; if the NSS/BHA press releases are anything to go by it sounds like Humanism is starting to address the balance in the curriculum.

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coffee
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Re: Standing Advisory Council for Religious Education (SACRE

#16 Postby coffee » October 24th, 2013, 9:58 am

Good luck Altfish

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Alan H
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Re: Standing Advisory Council for Religious Education (SACRE

#17 Postby Alan H » October 24th, 2013, 10:35 am

We discussed it at yesterday's SACRE meeting, but as none of us had read it fully (it was only published yesterday!), we only tried to decide what we should be doing with it. Having said that, two of our SACRE members were on the steering group that wrote it, so they did know more about it than most.

We will decide what to do at our next meeting, but that isn't until March. However, we expect other organisations to also have considered it by then as well, so that might help us. We might convene an ASC (Approved Syllabus Conference) to look at the details of it, and to recommend if or how we should change our current agreed syllabus, but we could foresee a stumbling point: even if we enthusiastically re-wrote the syllabus (and that would take a considerable effort and commitment from members), there is no funding to train teachers in it. There is an additional problem that we need teaching expertise to actually produce teachers work materials that translate the content of the syllabus into material the teacher actually uses. Apparently, teachers don't have the time to do this themselves these days... That would also mean - hopefully - a consistent high quality of materials.

Also, as Free schools and academies continue to increase and community schools decline in line with Government policy, there is more than an air of hopelessness. Free schools and academies don't have to follow the SACRE agreed syllabus and can do their own thing. Some may decide to use ours (and we're aware of some), but the Local Council cannot expend any money supporting them because it's not in their remit.

There is a further problem with the teaching of RE and that is the falling numbers. because of the way the DoE counts RE teachers (anyone can teach it, even if you have not been trained, and if, say, a maths teacher teaches just one hour of RE, he/she is counted as an RE teacher and it then looks like there is an excess of RE teachers, so training of RE teachers is cut back... Yet another great innovation from the Government. Apparently, during normal teacher training, they receive just one hour over the four years for RE.
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

User avatar
Altfish
Posts: 1821
Joined: March 26th, 2012, 8:46 am

Re: Standing Advisory Council for Religious Education (SACRE

#18 Postby Altfish » November 20th, 2013, 11:49 am

I'm attending my first meeting next week; just got the agenda, no mention of the "Review of Religious Education in England" report.

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Alan H
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Re: Standing Advisory Council for Religious Education (SACRE

#19 Postby Alan H » November 20th, 2013, 12:00 pm

Hmmm...perhaps you should take a copy along any bring it up under AOB?
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

User avatar
Altfish
Posts: 1821
Joined: March 26th, 2012, 8:46 am

Re: Standing Advisory Council for Religious Education (SACRE

#20 Postby Altfish » November 20th, 2013, 12:22 pm

Alan H wrote:Hmmm...perhaps you should take a copy along any bring it up under AOB?


As it's my first meeting (and I want to get the hang of how things progress before going in with both feet!!) I have pointed this out to my co-BHA representative and I'll leave it for her to raise it or not.


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