Report of the Deputy Chief Executive and Director for Families and Communities
SACRE considered the report which covered the main issues affecting Religious Education (RE) in Staffordshire since the last meeting. Further to the written report, the following information was provided:
· Media release regarding RE being taught in schools. It had been recorded in some areas that there had been a falling record of people taking part in RE with regards GCSE and A levels. However, in other areas there had shown a significant rise of practice. This media release had come about as a result of the 0% return of allocation of teaching hours to RE on the workforce development census.
· Reported that there is no central government funding for RE, though pleased to report that there are charity project funds and grants available.
· Information was provided that showed where Staffordshire SACRE received support and guidance including, NASACRE, REC, NATRE and AREIAC.
· Ofsted had undertaken some research into what good practice in RE should look like in schools. There was concern over RE nationwide, particularly in High Schools and Secondary Schools where children were not following the subject through to GCSE or A level. There was much better provision in primary, first and middle schools. This is considered carefully when Ofsted inspect schools. Ofsted intend to produce another report in 2023.
· Westhill legacy project – Funding had been received which had allowed Staffordshire to run Explore, Engage, Reflect projects in conjunction with the Youth Net, and with support of the Minority Ethnic Achievement Services (MEAS), as part of our Agreed Syllabus (AS). Feedback was provided by Youth Net, particularly around the behaviour of some of the children – mainly as a result of this being one of the first completely interactive face to face sessions since COVID-19. It was also raised that the SCARE could consider if any additional funding could be allocated to support continued delivery of these sessions in the future.
· Continuous Professional Development (CPD). Mary Gale continued to support RE leaders in several schools through email, virtual meetings and face to face meetings. Mary had received requests from some schools for CPD sessions to take place. Entrust had approached Mary Gale to run face to face courses in the autumn 2022 and spring 2023 terms to provide network support for teachers either at the central training centre or in individual schools.
· Some schools had requested copies of the new AS. Mary had reassured these schools that the current AS remains the syllabus until the new one is published, and that the new versions was still in development, but as soon as it was finalised it would be shared.
· Governors, through the Governor Information Pack, continue to receive updates on RE in Staffordshire, the status of the AS and the process for the review. They have been encouraged to work in their link governor roles to discuss the impact of the current AS.
· Anupdate from the Association of Religious Education Inspectors and Advisors and Consultants (AREIAC) and the National Association of Teachers of Religious Education (NATRE) Meetings was presented. This information was specifically centred around the story of Harry Potter and whether it included a religious message.
· Update on RE Quality Mark application - St Chad’s in Pattingham, which SACRE had agreed to fund. Information had been collated and will be submitted in autumn term ready for assessment. Mary Gale will be visiting St Chad’s to look through the information prior to submission. Lauren Nicholson-Ward and Zoe Cahalan both offered informal assistance as they had both recently been involved in the process.
RESOLVED: That the report be noted.