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. Attendance and apologies as for the meeting of SACRE.
a. The minutes of the last meeting held on 7 February 2022 were agreed.
It was noted that there had been some slippage in terms of the timescale for the implementation of the Agreed Syllabus (AS). Implementation had now been earmarked for January 2023.
b. Further to the report, Mary Gale updated the ASC on the work undertaken since the last meeting and presented a revised draft of the AS.
The ASC was informed that a thorough engagement process had been undertaken with key stakeholders to ensure the new AS meets the needs of the end user. The Chair highlighted the amount of work, number of changes and responses to specific comments that had been made since the last iteration. The updated AS takes account of how stakeholders have responded to the syllabus in the schools, what is going on in the wider world and what statutory factors need to be considered.
The ASC was also informed that certain elements of the AS had been shared with specific stakeholders, such as Special Educational Needs (SEND) and Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) providers, to ensure all needs were being met appropriately.
It was explained that the formatting of the AS was not yet finalised and that some additional editing was required before the final draft would be ready. This would be brought back to the next meeting of the ASC in November ready for adoption by formal vote.
It was noted that stakeholders had asked for more information to be included in the AS relating to how RE should be planned. It was acknowledged that the AS couldn’t provide lesson plans for every year group in every school. Instead a section entitled “Planning your RE” had been included to support schools, by providing the fundamental requirements that should be included to ensure the three themes of Explore, Engage and Reflect were covered.
The ASC was informed that Ofsted were looking for connectivity within the curriculum so that children can remember more and explain more about the different religions and worldviews in greater depth.
The ASC received additional information relating to constructing the curriculum in the EYFS. This had been developed using legislation and the Early Learning Goals.
In response to a question proposing the use of a "curriculum roadmap” that would support teachers in the development of RE, it was explained that, due to timeframe conflictions between the development of an Agreed Syllabus (5 years) and the frequently changing teaching processes, it would not be possible to include a roadmap within the AS, but it may be possible to include it as an appendix to the document which could be updated and amended more frequently.
The ASC heard that the RE and British Values and the Inspection of RE (including the Ofsted Framework), had been added to the AS. It was suggested that some aspects of these may be included in an appendix rather than remain as a specific element of the AS.
The ASC recorded its thanks and gratitude to Mary Gale for the level and quality of work that had been undertaken to date.
RESOLVED: That the work undertaken to date in the development of the Agreed Syllabus be noted.
The Agreed Syllabus Conference meeting was adjourned in order for the SACRE to be reconvened.