New Agreed Syllabus launch at SACRE Annual Conference
- Meeting of Standing advisory council for religious education (SACRE), Wednesday 6 July 2011 2.00 pm (Item 72.)
To report on the launch of the new Agreed Syllabus for Religious Education at the SACRE Annual Conference held Friday 10 June 2011 at the Queen Elizabeth Humanities College, Bromyard and report on progress with the introduction of the Agreed Syllabus into schools in September 2011.
SACRE received an update on the launch of the Herefordshire Agreed Syllabus for Religious Education 2011-2016 and a report on the SACRE Annual Conference.
The Chairman thanked Queen Elizabeth Humanities College, Bromyard, for their hospitality in providing the venue for a very successful Annual Conference on 10 June 2011. He also thanked The Venerable Tsuiltrim Tenzin Choesang for beginning the Conference by introducing delegates to a meditation session.
The Lead Officer for SACRE presented a report (circulated at the meeting) and reported that in relation to the Agreed Syllabus: each school had receive a booklet copy of the Agreed Syllabus; a new dedicated site within the Herefordshire website had been set up for teachers to access the syllabus documents, and an article had been submitted via the Councils communications team to remind schools of the requirements for RE and to signpost the website. In relation to the Conference she reported that while initial registration had been slow, 58 teachers or head teachers had attended. Conference evaluations indicated very positive feedback and a number of follow-up intentions by teacher had been identified. Teachers had identified some aspects where they would welcome help and she recommended that the next conference or future training events could respond to the requests.
During the course of debate the following principal points were noted:
- Places at this year’s conference had been heavily subsidised. This will not be available in subsequent years. Conference take up numbers would need to be confirmed earlier in the year.
- Holding the conference at a school had worked well and gave teachers the opportunity to visit other schools. It had also helped to keep costs down. Early booking discounts were already available to schools through the Council’s arrangements for providing CDP opportunities.
- An early decision on the date would enable publicity for the event to commence. Information on the Agreed Syllabus had been issued via the website and through ‘Schoolsonline’. Consideration was also being given to other information avenues e.g. via the CPD website.
- Overall feedback on the earlier date (Conference was usually held in September) had been positive as many schools had found it easier to release teachers after the exams. Various views were expressed that the summer was a busy term, however, schools use it for planning subject delivery for the new academic year.
- The Lead Officer suggested for consideration the following two areas for next years conference 1) outcomes from the Westhill project relating to the resultant multi-faith case study. 2) possible implications from the new Ofsted Framework expected January 2012 that relates to school provision for pupils’ spiritual, moral social and cultural development.
- It was suggested that additional involvement could be provided by making available learning materials from other faiths.
- While monitoring the provision and quality of RE taught according to the Agreed Syllabus is a role that SACRE should undertake, SACRE noted the limited factual information available to enable it to do so. It was suggested that enquiries be made about whether the Directorate Data Team could include a number of strategic RE related questions in the School Census, thereby providing some limited detail.
- It was suggested that analysing this years conference attendance may indicate those schools in need of further assistance e.g. by offering twilight sessions. The Lead Officer responded that a number of schools did not have specialist RE teachers and therefore may benefit from collaborative working on developing programmes of work. This may be facilitated by the RE Consultant at local networking groups and he outlined a number of proposals for developing these groups.
- That school governors had been advised about the new Agreed Syllabus. It was suggested that governors be recommended to consider having a ‘Link Governor’ in place for RE by September 2011.
a) SACRE continue to hold a school based conference in mid June and that this policy be kept under review;
b) The next conference be based upon the two themes: outcomes from the Westhill project relating to the resultant multi-faith case study, and the possible implications from the new Ofsted Framework;
c) The Lead Officer make use of appropriate avenues to publicise the conference and work of SACRE and ensure that good practice is disseminated to schools e.g. via news letters to schools.
d) The Lead Officer continue to establish methods of monitoring RE provision and the effectiveness of the Agreed Syllabus for reporting to SACRE.