Agenda and draft minutes

Standing Advisory Council for Religious Education - Wednesday, 20th July, 2022 2.00 pm, MOVED

Venue: Ashburton Hall, EII Court, Winchester

Contact: Email: members.services@hants.gov.uk 

Items
No. Item

27.

Apologies for Absence

To receive any apologies for absence.

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Councillor Elaine Still, Jeff Williams, Sue Bowen, Maria Ackland, Sheikh Fazle Abbas Datoo, Charmian Harrison, Yasmeen Hussain, Sushma Sahajpal, Julie Kelly, Rhiannon Love, and Alasdair Richardson.

 

28.

Declarations of Interest

 

All Members who believe they have a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest in any matter to be considered at the meeting must declare that interest and, having regard to Part 3 Paragraph 1.5 of the County Council's Members’ Code of Conduct, leave the meeting while the matter is discussed, save for exercising any right to speak in accordance with Paragraph 1.6 of the Code.  Furthermore all Members with a Personal Interest in a matter being considered at the meeting should consider, having regard to Part 5, Paragraph 4 of the Code, whether such interest should be declared, and having regard to Part 5, Paragraph 5 of the Code, consider whether it is appropriate to leave the meeting while the matter is discussed, save for exercising any right to speak in accordance with the Code.

 

Minutes:

Members were mindful that where they believed they had a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest in any matter considered at the meeting they must declare that interest at the time of the relevant debate and, having regard to the circumstances described in Part 3 Paragraph 1.5 of the County Council's Members' Code of Conduct, leave the meeting while the matter was discussed, save for exercising any right to speak in accordance with Paragraph 1.6 of the Code. Furthermore Members were mindful that where they believed they had a Personal interest in a matter being considered at the meeting they considered whether such interest should be declared, and having regard to Part 5, Paragraph 4 of the Code, considered whether it was appropriate to leave the meeting whilst the matter was discussed, save for exercising any right to speak in accordance with the Code.

 

Elizabeth Jenkerson noted that she was a judge for the Westhill Awards which gives grants to SACREs.

 

29.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 366 KB

To confirm the minutes of the previous meeting held on 1 March 2022.

Minutes:

The minutes of the previous meeting on 1 March 2022 were confirmed. 

It was noted that a draft revision of the determination procedure (item 21) was not being brought to this meeting.

30.

Deputations

To receive any deputations.

Minutes:

Mr Joe Moorhouse, Vice-Chair of Governors of Poulner Infant School and Nursery and Mrs Michelle Buckler, the Chair of Governors spoke about the determination application that the school had made.

 

Mr Moorhouse expressed his concerns about the determination procedure.  He told SACRE that theirs was a community school not a faith school and prospective parents were seeking an impartial and inclusive school. Two thirds of the school’s parents consider themselves as not Christian and most are non-religious or other faith. The Governors unanimously agreed that collective worship should be less than half “wholly or mainly of a broadly Christian character” and believe using the ‘No Outsiders’ programme, which promotes diversity and equality, is more relevant to the pupils. The governors believe that there is a benefit in lifting the requirement for collective worship to be broadly or mainly Christian in character and negative in retaining it.  Mr Moorhouse highlighted that the UNCRC (United Nations Convention for the Rights of the Child) had called on the government to remove this requirement and ten years ago NASACRE and AREIAC had said the Circular 1/94 guidance should be repealed. He believed that SACRE was taking too much notice of the 1/94 guidance and not the legislation, and were failing to consider the negative impact of equality on non-religious families of having Christian collective worship taking account of the family backgrounds of parents.

 

The Vice-Chairman thanked Mr Moorhouse and Mrs Buckler for their deputation.

 

31.

Chairman's Announcements

To receive any Chairman’s announcements.

Minutes:

The Vice-Chairman explained that he was chairing the meeting because the Chairman, Councillor Still, was unable to be present as she had Covid. 

 

He announced that the presentation from the two Hampshire teachers on the national RE Leadership Programme which should have taken place at this meeting had been postponed due to the change in meeting date.

 

32.

Monitoring Group pdf icon PDF 139 KB

To receive a report on behalf of the Director of Children’s Services regarding the activities and discussions of the monitoring group in relation to the monitoring of RE and the implementation of Living Difference IV.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

SACRE received a report from Patricia Hannam, County Inspector/Adviser, on the discussions of the Monitoring Group at its meeting on 17 May 2022 (item 6 in the Minute Book).

 

Patricia Hannam drew Members’ attention to the 3 Year Action Plan, paying particular attention to those sections rated as amber. In Section 1.2 she highlighted that there are a number of representative vacancies that need to be filled, including Baptist, URC and Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  At 1.6 it was indicated that a review of SACRE’s constitution had been started as the last review was in 2009. Under Section 2.2 the close communication links with the four local authorities sharing the Agreed Syllabus needed to be strengthened. With the collation of research data on the implementation of Living Difference IV at 2.6 was too early to show anything.  An audit of current training provision, 4.2, was highlighted as something to be undertaken.  An additional section, 4.9, had been added as it was felt to be important to find and engage with those primary schools who were not taking advantage of training opportunities.  There had been a lot of interest in and attendance at training by schools and an increased amount of freely available guidance, plans and resources on the RE Moodle, which the primary steering groups have been involved with.

 

In relation to the audit of the RE packs for Living Difference IV (Section 5) Patricia Hannam wanted her thanks and appreciation expressed to Lydia Revett, the manager of the RE Centre, who had spent a large amount of time updating them.

 

It was noted with regret that SACRE Youth Voice, Section 6.1 and 6.2 on the Action Plan, had been a casualty of Covid.  It was hoped to restart in the next academic year and hold a conference in the summer 2023.

 

Some of the teachers present told of clusters of secondary schools and their feeder primary schools that were networking in their areas, but noted that the main problem is that there was no money in primary schools for teachers to be released during school hours.

 

Justine Ball indicated that she was involved with a national project collecting children’s voices, 7 – 11year olds, talking about RE and would bring the comments to the November meeting of SACRE.

 

Members were informed of a cross-phase RE conference being held on 12 October which would provide another opportunity for primary, secondary and special education teachers to meet together.

 

In relation to Ofsted Inspections it was noted with disappointment that there had been few ‘deep dives’ into RE and it was a concern about where the data would come from for the next subject report as the published reports were brief and written for parents and the general public in mind.  It was noted that of the twelve Ofsted inspections that one of the Members had been involved with at Church of England schools there had been no ‘deep dives’ into RE. ‘Deep dives’ were intended to provide  ...  view the full minutes text for item 32.

33.

Key National and Local RE Matters pdf icon PDF 126 KB

To consider a report on behalf of the Director of Children’s Services regarding significant national RE matters, including a report from SACRE members who attended the recent NASACRE Conference, and to consider the implications for Hampshire children.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

SACRE received a report from Justine Ball, the Primary Inspector/Advisor, on national matters and a report from Members who had attended the NASACRE conference in May (item 7 in the Minute Book).

 

Chris Hughes and Elizabeth Jenkerson presented their report on the NASACRE conference.  They both encouraged members to attend if they could to get a different view of RE and network with people from other SACREs.  It was noted that NASACRE was considering changing the annual conference from May to July and opinions were being canvassed.

 

Members were encouraged to have a look at the new draft handbook for Religion and World Views published by the RE Council; it was being discussed nationally and getting ongoing amendments.

 

Members’ attention was drawn to Appendix 2, the Report Card for RE, which was a review of the data available on RE collated by the REC, NATRE and RE Today Education Services. It had produced some interesting findings which were highlighted in the report and it was recommended for SACRE members to read it.

 

Resolved:

 

That SACRE noted the report.

34.

Determination of Application for an Exemption from Requirement for Christian Collective Worship pdf icon PDF 125 KB

To consider a report of the Director of Children’s Services regarding a request for a determination from SACRE on an application for an exemption from the requirement for a collective worship to be “wholly or mainly of a broadly Christian character”.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

SACRE considered a report of the Director of Children’s Services requesting the determination of an application for an exemption from the requirement for Christian Collective Worship (Item 8 in the Minute Book).

 

Referring to the report the County Inspector/Adviser, explained the background to this item and highlighted the salient points in the report which SACRE needed to consider. As per the agreed process a small working group of SACRE members had discussed in detail the application in the context of the legislation and guidance and the documents provided by the school,  together with additional legal guidance, and had come to the conclusion to recommend refusing the application.

 

Following legal advice, it was recognised that the key question that SACRE had to answer in making the determination was whether it was appropriate for the requirement for Christian collective worship to apply to Poulner Infant School having due regard to the circumstances of the family backgrounds (paragraph 7 in the report).  It was noted that, according to the application, 34% of parents at Poulner Infant School identified themselves as Christian, the largest religious group.  Furthermore, that any parent had a right to withdraw their child from collective worship but no withdrawals had been recorded by the school.

 

The legislation and guidance surrounding collective worship was explained and, in particular, the statutory requirement for children to take part in a daily act of collective worship and the lack of definition of collective worship in the legislation was discussed. In this case the common and natural meaning of collective worship was used as stated in the guidance (paragraph 57). It was again noted that parents can withdraw their child from collective worship. 

 

The legal advisers to SACRE reiterated the legal question to be considered by SACRE “whether it is appropriate for the requirement imposed by paragraph 3(2) of Schedule 20 to the 1998 Act (requirement for Christian collective worship) to apply in the case of the school”. Attention was drawn to the information provided by the school on the question asked of parents “What religion do you belong to?”. The legal adviser stressed that SACRE would want to consider the impact on each group (Christian and other groups) of the decision as identified in the evidence .

 

Members discussed the application and acknowledged that an outcome to remove the requirement for collective worship was not within SACRE’s authority according to the legislation.  The legal advisers explained that from the research that they had carried out, which had been based on Brent and not everywhere, there was no record of any other council making a determination for no faith or to remove the requirement for collective worship.  Amongst SACRE Members there was some sympathy for the school’s request, but the need to adhere to the legislation was stressed and it was accepted that any change to this could only be made by parliament.

 

Members divided into their four groups for further discussion and to agree on their position on whether to grant the determination for  ...  view the full minutes text for item 34.

35.

South Central SACRE Hub

To receive a verbal report on behalf of the Director of Children’s Services on the activities of the South Central SACRE RE Hub.

Minutes:

The Council received a brief verbal report from Justine Ball, Primary Inspector/Adviser on the discussions of the South Central Hub (Item 9 in the Minute Book).

 

At their last meeting the members had discussed diversity and equality in their curriculum and what training and support was being given in their various areas.  East Sussex members explained their Key Stage 4 provision and those from Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole talked about their recent conference.  All had very little to report on any RE ‘deep dives’ by Ofsted.

 

The next meeting was scheduled for September and was open for any SACRE member to attend.

 

 

 

36.

Any Other Business

To receive any other business from Members of SACRE.

Minutes:

Dr Patricia Hannam announced that she would be retiring as SACRE’s professional adviser after the November meeting, although not giving up here professional activities for RE altogether.  She said told Members that it had been a privilege to have worked with SACRE and the RE teachers in Hampshire and was glad to be handing over to excellent colleagues; Justine Ball would be taking over as the professional adviser following the November meeting.

 

Thanks and gratitude were extended to the clerk, Sue Butler, who was retiring in the summer, for her support and behind the scenes work for the last eleven years. The advisers and individual members also expressed their appreciation for her help and support.

 

37.

Date, Time and Venue of next meeting

The next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday 1 November 2022 at 2.00pm in the Ashburton Hall, Hampshire County Council, Winchester.

Minutes:

The date of the next meeting was confirmed as Tuesday 1 November 2022 at 2.00pm in the Ashburton Hall, Hampshire County Council, Winchester.

 

A presentation would be made before the main meeting at 13.30pm by two secondary teachers who have been undertaking the national RE Leadership programme in 2021/22. This presentation was postponed from June 2022.