The Annual Report of the Hertfordshire StandingAdvisory Council on Religious Education (SACRE)2015/2016Cover competition winners for the Hertfordshire Agreed Syllabus of Religious Education 2012-2017Lola Kingelsey Johnson, aged 5 yearsTemplewood Primary SchoolWelwyn Garden CityHasina Manzoor, aged 12 yearsWatford Grammar School for GirlsWatfordHertfordshire SACRE is a member of the National Association of SACREs
HERTFORDSHIRE SACRE ANNUAL REPORT 2015/161. Chair’s IntroductionThe SACRE promotes good standards in RE and advises the Local Authority about mattersconcerned with collective worship and religious education in accordance with the HertfordshireAgreed Syllabus.I am pleased to present to you this, the twenty-fifth, annual report of the Hertfordshire SACRE.The period 2015-2016 saw the introduction of a new chair, new clerk and new servicing officer,previously county adviser for Religious Education, Stephen Lavender. The Agreed SyllabusConference was convened and the review of the Agreed Syllabus 2012-2017 began.I became the new county appointed chairman for the Hertfordshire SACRE in November 2015, ourvice chair Carol-Anne Chandler was re-elected and new clerking arrangements were providedthrough Herts for Learning, the company commissioned by Hertfordshire County Council (HCC) todeliver the statutory contract for SACRE.SACRE welcomed to committee A, Julian Wall who represents the Buddhist community followingthe retirement of Gill Williamson. SACRE also welcomed Naryani Dasi as a co-opted memberincreasing representation by the Hindu community. We welcomed Meriam Merali to represent theShia Muslim community and increase Muslim representation.We said farewell to Rabbi Meir Salasnik and Krishnayesha Dasi and thanked them for theircontributions to SACRE.This report details the continued work of the SACRE to monitor standards of religious education inour schools through analysis of public examination results and through our online survey for RE andthe Agreed Syllabus. In addition, details of the development of the local faith communities grants,the annual Hertfordshire Holocaust Memorial Day Commemoration event and the recognition ofHertfordshire schools by the RE Quality Mark.The following offers an insight into the working of the Hertfordshire SACRE during the academicyear 2015/16 and I recommend it to you.Councillor John Barfoot (Chair Hertfordshire SACRE)2
2. SACRE Statutory DutiesThe Education Reform Act 1988 required Local Education Authorities to convene a SACRE consisting ofmembers appointed by the Authority to represent:GroupGroupGroupGroupABCDChristian denominations and other religions and religious denominationsThe Church of EnglandTeachers’ AssociationsThe AuthorityAfter considerable consultation and discussion with interested bodies throughout Hertfordshire to ensurethe SACRE would be representative, the Authority appointed the members as required by legislation.Membership is for a period of four years and full members of the SACRE may co-opt non-votingmembers to the Council. Membership for the period 2015-2016 can be found in Appendix 2. SACREmeetings are open to the public.The SACRE can advise the Authority upon matters connected with RE and collective worship in Countyschools, matters such as teaching methods, materials and teacher training are mentioned in the Act.The advice offered by the SACRE carries no statutory force.SACRE has two functions; it can require the LA to review its current Agreed Syllabus and it maydetermine, on application by the head teacher, that the requirement for collective worship in countyschools to be wholly or mainly of a broadly Christian charactew shall not apply to the collective worshipprovided for some or all the pupils in a school. Each SACRE must publish an annual report on its work.Purpose of the ReportThe Education Act 1996, Section 391 (6) and (7) requires that each year the Standing Advisory Councilfor Religious Education (SACRE) of each local education authority will ‘publish a report as to theexercise of its functions and any action taken by representative groups on the Council during the lastpreceding year.’In particular, the report shall:(i) specify any matters in respect of which the Council has given advice to the Authority;(ii) broadly describe the nature of the advice given; and(iii) where any matter was not referred to the Council by the Authority, give the Council’s reason foroffering advice on the matter.This report deals with these matters in summary, for the academic year September 2015 to July 2016.The full Hertfordshire SACRE met three times during the year and considered a diverse range of topics.The Agreed Syllabus Conference was convened in June 2016.3
3. Standards, the quality of provision in REIn 2015-2016 the Hertfordshire SACRE issued an online survey to monitor responses from schools tothe Hertfordshire Agreed Syllabus of Religious Education 2012-2017. This information enabled SACREto review the current syllabus and to fulfill its statutory duty to monitor the provision of RE in communityschools and foundation and voluntary schools without a religious character. The evaluation supports andpromotes pupil entitlement.3a)Public examinationsThe SACRE is provided with examination entries and standards in secondary schools and how theserelate to national figures. Examination statistics were presented to SACRE at the spring term meeting.The period 2011-2015 saw the largest number of entrants on record doing well in RE at GCSE level,which were also high in comparison to history and geography. The number of A*-C results were higherthan the national average, with 2015 seeing the record score of 81.8 per cent A*-C. Hertfordshire pupilsare doing very well at GCSE.Entries for A level have slightly dropped. There is an average of 600 per year taking the subject. Thepercentage of A*-C grades this year is 78.3, was a little higher than the national score of 78.1 per cent.There was an unusually high number of AS level entrants – this is perhaps due to the change instructure of AS/A levels, and the increased numbers of students in sixth forms. The results reveal 94.3per cent of students gained an A*-C in 2015, which was higher than the national figure.4.3 per cent of the total Hertfordshire cohort is taking RE GCSE (in comparison to 5.2 taking history and4.7 taking geography). (See Appendix 3)3b)Attainment in RE not covered by public examinationIn addition to the data provided, information is also gathered during school visits, continuing professionaldevelopment (CPD) and local teachers’ network meetings. The Religious Education Quality Mark(REQM) was promoted through teacher network meetings and this award is part of a subsidy costingoffer in the development plan for 2015 - 2016. The SACRE congratulated those who gained the REQuality Mark accreditation or worked towards the REQM during the academic year.(See Appendix 4)3c)The quality of RE provision in schoolsWe continue to celebrate areas of best practice in Hertfordshire schools and have focused on those whohave achieved the REQM this year.Hertfordshire teachers continue to make good use of recommended web-based ideas and CPDresources, including the RE resources on the Hertfordshire Grid for Learning. Teachers report that theAgreed Syllabus is delivered in the majority of primary schools through the non-statutory scheme of workfor Religious Education. The non-statutory Hertfordshire primary scheme of work contains links todevelop teaching in EYFS through to the end of Key Stage 2. Local RE network groups such asSARETT draw on expertise in effective schools to support other schools in the locality.Some secondary schools are not meeting requirements of the Agreed Syllabus for time allocation. Thereis a rising concern regarding KS4 provision for students who do not opt for an examined RE course.3d) Withdrawal from RESACRE provides guidance on the statutory ‘right of withdrawal’ of pupils from Religious Education.During the year, there was anecdotal evidence in Hertfordshire schools of parents withdrawing pupilsfrom RE lessons and school trips to places of worship. SACRE offers support and training for schoolsmeeting parental prejudice.4
3e) Complaints concerning REMembers discussed Cranbourne Primary School (06.01.16) regarding a school trip to Bedford Mosque.The visit was stopped by parents. The school has received advice including suggested faith visitors;revisiting equalities policy; and could request Facebook to take down related posts under its acceptableuse policy.4. Agreed syllabusEvaluating the effectiveness of the locally Agreed syllabusIn 2015, the agreed syllabus review began through teacher’s network meetings and an online surveysent to all schools. The Hertfordshire Agreed Syllabus for Religious Education 2012-2017 continues toprovide statutory requirements for planning, teaching and assessment procedures. Continuedprofessional development sessions are offered to all schools to ensure the effective implementation ofthe syllabus. Training is not well attended by secondary colleagues, however primary colleagues areregularly provided with professional advice through staff meetings, local network groups and trainingdays.4a) The Review processHertfordshire County Council established the Agreed Syllabus Conference and all members of theSACRE agreed to be appointed to the Conference and support its work. Members considered theguidance set out in the DfE circular based on the Education Reform Act of 1988 (Religious Education inEnglish Schools: Non- Statutory Guidance 2010). Once the Agreed Syllabus is adopted by HertfordshireCounty Council it will become a statutory requirement for maintained schools. Voluntary aided schoolswith a religious character are not required to deliver the Agreed Syllabus, nor are Free Schools andAcademies. However, Free Schools and Academies must provide RE and fulfil the statutoryrequirements but not necessarily through the locally agreed syllabus. Many academies in Hertfordshirehave continued to follow the locally agreed syllabus. Non-denominational academies and free schoolsmust meet statutory requirements although not necessarily through the locally agreed syllabus.A consultation began the review of the Agreed Syllabus of RE. A survey monkey was sent to allHertfordshire schools, except for VA schools. Responses from initial surveys represented 26% ofHertfordshire schools.Teachers, headteachers and governors were further consulted through CPD and SARETT teachernetwork meetings. Responses highlighted the teachers are mostly compliant regarding time allocation,but a few are not. The feedback showed that many feel they do not have enough time for RE, timetablingis an issue.Curriculum requirement focused on whether themes should be covered in more depth. More flexibilityhas been requested, especially for the EYFS.Many teachers felt that there should be more done to reflect their local cohort. Questions were raisedabout the representation of the six principal world religions and other worldviews. This involves teachingless but in more depth, one suggestion presented was for a core 20 per cent on Christianity and Islam.The current agreed syllabus is widely respected. Primary colleagues talk about the Hertfordshire schemeof work as the best way to raise standards of what’s being taught, this is their most important focus.SACRE members considered the Dorset model and providing more of a summary to give schools aslimmed-down version of the agreed syllabus.In order to further raise the profile of changes to the RE syllabus, SACRE ran a county wide covercompetition on the theme ‘Religion for Today and Tomorrow’. Forty local primary and secondary schoolssubmitted up to 10 entries each. SACRE members judged the competition and voted for the final imagesto be used on the covers of the Agreed Syllabus.5
4b) The Agreed Syllabus Conference (ASC)The Agreed Syllabus Conference was established in June 2016. Carol-Anne Chandler was appointed asChair of the Agreed Syllabus Conference. A working party consisting of SACRE members and teachersof all key stages was established to agree the principles for the Agreed Syllabus. An RE adviser, LisaKassapian, led the development of the syllabus on behalf of the Agreed Syllabus Conference. Inconjunction with the revision of the Agreed Syllabus a working party met for 2 initial day sessions.Meetings were hosted by Townsend C of E school.The ASC supported the purpose of the syllabus, this was to establish an entitlement and standards andto promote continuity, coherence and public understanding. The ongoing review will explore therequirements for time allocation, consider the balance of religions and worldviews, review currentattainment and progression guidance and clarify the aim of purpose of RE. The new Agreed Syllabuswill be flexible and brief, moving towards the teaching, learning and assessment of fewer things ingreater depth and would have parity with other national curriculum documents.Members initially reviewed the Purpose of Study and Aims, discussed social cohesion and changes fromAT1 and AT2 to Sources of Wisdom and their Impact. In the summer of 2016 the working partycompleted the initial tasks set out in the timeline (see Appendix 5) and confirmed the agreement of theASC to these steps. The work of the ASC was minuted and an update was provided regularly to theSACRE.4c) Launching and implementing the agreed syllabusClear arrangements are in place for launching the syllabus in April 2017. The SACRE is providingadditional guidance and extended training on implementing the agreed syllabus. Non-statutory guidancewill be developed to support the agreed syllabus with an enquiry model for planning from EYFS to KS3.The decision to hold back 3000 per year from the annual SACRE budget ensured that the agreedsyllabus review, launch and implementation will have 15,000 financial support in the fifth year of thereview cycle. The syllabus is due for implementation in September 2017.5. Collective Worship5a) Compliance with the statutory requirementThe Hertfordshire SACRE is responsible for the ongoing monitoring and support of collective worship inHertfordshire schools. A model collective worship policy was reviewed and updated on the website.Training for collective worship and SMSC development was offered for primary schools.5b) Quality of collective worshipThe local ‘Faith Communities Directory’ is partly designed to support schools by signposting volunteerswho are willing to visit schools to help lead collective worship. SACRE members are involved with thisaspect, either by providing names of faith community personnel, or offering their services. FaithCommunity visitors to schools who are in receipt of SACRE grant funding are monitored annually andprovided with feedback on their provision, in these cases the collective worship is of high quality.5c) DeterminationsThe SACRE has the statutory duty to ‘grant a determination’ to a community school only where it is feltcollective worship of ‘a broadly Christian character’ is not appropriate for all or some pupils. There aretwo Determination Orders in place - Chater Infants’ School and Chater Junior School. Following reviewvisits SACRE sent Determination Order letters with certificates to both schools. The orders will be inplace until 2020.5d) Complaints about collective worshipThere have been no official complaints concerning collective worship in 2015/16.6
6. Management of SACRE6aSACRE meetingsHertfordshire County Council (HCC) commissioned Herts for Learning (HfL) to deliver the statutorycontract for SACRE. A District Secondary School Effectiveness Adviser at HfL provides a link with theLocal Authority as a Servicing Officer and previously was the county RE Adviser, in addition anindependent RE Adviser ensures that SACRE developments take place when required. CountyCouncillors are pleased to join the Hertfordshire SACRE and supportive of the work. The regularformation of sub committees continues to form part of a regular cycle for the Hertfordshire SACRE, asissues are highlighted by the process, they are followed up and inform future priorities for development.There were three full SACRE meetings in the academic year 2015/16.Thursday 5th November 2015 - Stevenage Muslim Community Centre, StevenageThursday 25th February 2016 - Richard Hale School, HertfordThursday 16th June 2016 - Amaravati Buddhist Monastery, Hemel HempsteadMeetings were well attended. During the year SACRE welcomed in attendance at meetings, severalobservers, guest speakers and Bishop John Sherrington.The following matters were discussed and actions carried out in 2015-2016 Annual report and review of all work carried out during 2014-15 Agreed aims and development plan 2015-2016 Regular National updates including information from NASACRE, the REC, NATRE and the APPG onRE and updates on local news, events, network groups, training and CPD Membership and new personnel updates Discussion and response to the ‘What is RE for?’ survey from Bishop Grosseteste University Faith debate working party feedback and summary sent to NASACRE Updates on the REQM bursary applications and supporting presentations to the SARETT network(see Appendix 6) Updates to the Collective Worship policy Presentation of interfaith work at St Mary’s High School, Cheshunt, involving faith community groupscontacted from the SACRE faith communities directory Report on the NASACRE November conference in Birmingham, building new curriculum Consideration of Dorset SACRE syllabus New GCSE specifications changes and comparison of exam boards Subcommittee report on faith community grants awarded to religious communities actively involvedwith Hertfordshire community schools. Review of 10,000 allocated and distributed. Membersconsidered funding over 8 years and the reduction of the money retained for monitoring A Holocaust Memorial Day event was planned with support from SACRE members and took place on28th January 2016, at Richard Hale School, Hertford Proposal of new model of work for Holocaust Memorial Day Commemoration 2016/2017 Overview of public examination results. Ramadan 2016 Guidance consultation and circulation Report on annual NATRE secondary survey 2015 - highlighting the need for extra training forteachers of RE (68.5% of schools who responded to the survey stating they received no specifictraining in schools in the last year) Decision taken for online monitoring survey to be used for feedback on the current Agreed Syllabus Setting the parameters of the Agreed Syllabus Conference Feedback from Agreed Syllabus Conference Chair and writing groups Overview of Afab (Ambassadors of faith and belief) and link to WHISPER supporting the aim tosupply visitors, across all faithsDuring the year, a revised constitution for Hertfordshire SACRE was drawn up. (see Appendix 1).There were three mundane changes approved by members:7
-Changed reference to grant maintained schoolsMeeting dates to be agreed in advance of every two meetingsConstitution to be reviewed every four years rather than annually6b)SACRE Membership and trainingMembership continued to reflect the diverse population of Hertfordshire. The Shia Muslim memberbecame unavailable for co-option. Two co-opted members joined Group A where vacancies arose,Narayani Dasi and Ellie Olmer became representatives for the Hindu and Jewish communitiesrespectively. A Group C member was removed from the committee for absence from 3 consecutivemeetings without apology (SACRE Constitution 10.1.d).Induction training was provided for new members in May 2016.WRAP training (workshop to raise awareness of prevent) was funded by SACRE and attended by 18members (05.05.16, 22.06.16 and 07.07.16). To enhance knowledge of the 'Prevent' strategy and thecurrent work in schools to combat radicalisation, the overall aim of Prevent is to stop people becomingradicalised and drawn into terrorist act
Hertfordshire teachers continue to make good use of recommended web-based ideas and CPD resources, including the RE resources on the Hertfordshire Grid for Learning. Teachers report that the Agreed Syllabus is delivered in the majority of primary schools through the non-statutory scheme of work for Religious Education.
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