Agenda item

Agreed Syllabus Conference (ASC)

Report of the Deputy Chief Executive and Director for Families and Communities

 

Minutes:

The Education Act 1996 required Local Authorities to review its locally agreed syllabus every five years.  Staffordshire’s syllabus was due to be reviewed in 2021. An AS Conference had to be established in order to agree the revised. This would then be formally approved by the County Council.

 

The SACRE meeting was adjourned in order for the Agreed Syllabus Conference to be convened.

 

The Agreed Syllabus Conference (ASC) was convened. 

 

a)   The minutes of the last meeting held on 17 November 2021 were agreed.

b)  Mary Gale updated the Conference on the work undertaken since the last meeting which included:

  • Working parties had continued to meet. It was thought that timescales and deadlines would be difficult to meet. It was therefore suggested that the ASC working party would need to meet again before the next scheduled meeting of SACRE and the ASC on June 29th 2021.
  • Members were reminded that there was still an opportunity to complete the survey to express their views on the current AS, a link to which was in the report.
  • Workshops would continue, so that further evidence could be gathered.
  • All the feedback and comments received to date would be considered to support the writing of the revised draft AS by the ASC working party.
  • It was agreed that there was some confusion amongst teachers over the purpose of the AS, with some schools presuming that it was a scheme of work with set lesson plans to follow. Many teachers who are not RE specialist feel anxious about teaching RE and look to the AS for support particularly if they have little experience of RE themselves.  It was hoped that the revised Agreed Syllabus provide a scaffold to their teaching with appendices providing some examples of class plans etc..This would support teachers in their teaching.
  • It was felt that there needed to be a clear and concise Vision’ section at the start of the document. The Chairman proposed the following words (see italics) to be added to the draft for consideration at the next ASC working party meeting:

 

Vision Statement – ‘The role of RE in schools is to help prepare and equip all pupils for life and citizenships in today’s diverse and plural Britain through fostering in each pupil, an increasing awareness of and sensitivity within the diversity of religious and world views.’

 

 The following comments were made regarding this suggestion:

 

Ø  the term ‘sensitivity’ was important.

Ø  the need to revisit aspects on how to embrace differences was essential particularly after COVID-19.

Ø  the need to promote diversity and respect for all human beings was noted

Ø  extremism of any kind should be discouraged.

Ø  the need for the document to refer to religious and non-religious beliefs/world views was agreed and would be retained.

Ø  the need for teachers to actively encourage pupils to look at the world in different ways was to be promoted.

 

  • It was agreed that; the assessment section; Early years; and SEND sections, all needed to be extended.
  • The recognition of Ofsted’s education inspection framework regarding Intent, Implementation and Impact needed to be acknowldeged.
  • British values, as set out in the current syllabus needed to be re-emphasised.
  • Climate Change aspects could possibly be considered for inclusion if considered relevant.

 

Once again information on many of the above could be provided in the appendices.

 

It was noted that there would be a further meeting of the ASC working party before formal consideration of the revised AS by SACRE and then referred to the County Councils Cabinet Member for formal approval.

 

If any member had further suggestions, they were encouraged to email Mary Gale, and these would be considered for inclusion in the draft documentation.

 

RESOLVED:

a)   Each of the four SACRE Committees agreed to the Religious Education Agreed Syllabus Review and the work undertaken to date.

b)  That an additional working group meeting be held on 11 May 2022.

 

The SACRE meeting formally reconvened.

 

Supporting documents: