Agenda item

Monitoring Group

To receive a report on behalf of the SACRE Monitoring Group on its activities and discussions in relation to the implementation of Living Difference III and the monitoring of RE across Hampshire.


The Council considered a report from Patricia Hannam, the County Inspector/Adviser on the discussions and findings of the Monitoring Group at their meeting on 1 October (Item 8 in the Minute Book).


Members were alerted to the worrying drop in attendance at paid-for RE courses (3.2).  It was stressed that training for both teachers and managers was key for the Agreed Syllabus to be successful.  However, this trend has also been seen in other subjects.  The inspectors are working on ways to reach teachers through twilight sessions and additional resources being made available on the RE moodle and schools communication system.


In relation to ‘Understanding Christianity’, the Church of England resource to support the teaching of Christianity in its schools, the primary inspector indicated that she would be improving some of the current teaching guidance packs to clarify the links between Understanding Christianity and Living Difference III (section 3.3).  Representatives from the Diocese confirmed that Understanding Christianity is used in all its schools.  Living Difference III must be used in all Voluntary Controlled (VC) schools and remains the RE syllabus in Diocesan Voluntary Aided (VA) schools. Understanding Christianity is not a scheme of work, but only a resource  to be used with the locally agreed syllabus (Living Difference III) at the enquire and contextualise step.


The inspectors also highlighted concerns that recent Ofsted reports had raised.  Members were informed that Ofsted has a framework and a handbook that should be used for its inspections and that the appendix to the handbook clearly sets out what RE should look like in different types of schools.  But these recent reports suggest it is not being followed correctly. 


RE is rarely mentioned in primary reports and the primary inspector had decided to investigate whether, where it is mentioned,  it is the same inspectors doing so each time. The intention would be to feedback positively to Ofsted those inspectors that are carrying out their job correctly.  


Members were provided with further details of the Ofsted reports which were worrying.  The reports had been positive about the RE in the schools, but it was obvious from their online RE pages that they are not using the Locally Agreed Syllabus and data suggested no RE was taking place in these schools.  Concerns were raised about the training that Ofsted inspectors have, particularly with regard to the Locally Agreed Syllabus. SACRE monitoring visits would be made to these school urgently and additional resources had been granted to allow for some extra visits. 



There was discussion about what SACRE could and should do. It was agreed to support the monitoring group’s suggestion that the Chairman should write to the regional and national offices of Ofsted for information about how the inspectors had taken the Locally Agreed Syllabus into account when making their judgements on these schools.  The inspectors would raise their concerns at the RE Council AGM.  One Member on the NASACRE general council noted that the NASACRE website has template letters for SACREs to use to raise complaints about schools to the DfE.   It was also suggested that, although SACRE could request the County Council to do a full assessment of RE provision in its schools, the lack of time and resources would make it difficult to get this information from schools.  It was agreed that a short survey should be considered to see how schools were currently meeting their requirements for RE.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    





1.1.        That SACRE thanked the monitoring group for their Report


1.2.        That SACRE agreed that a letter would written by the Chairman to Ofsted to enquire how their inspectors take the Locally Agreed Syllabus into account when making their judgements about RE in Hampshire Local Authority Schools.


1.3.      That the Monitoring Group and the Local Authority should undertake further work to gain information on their RE provision.

Supporting documents: