Agenda and minutes

Hillingdon Standing Advisory Council on Religious Education - Tuesday, 5th June, 2018 6.00 pm

Venue: Committee Room 4 - Civic Centre, High Street, Uxbridge UB8 1UW. View directions

Contact: Luke Taylor  01895 250693

No. Item


Minutes of Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 123 KB


RESOLVED: That the minutes of the meeting held on 20 March 2018 be agreed, subject to the following amendments:


1.    The replacement of the phrase “list of vacancies that remain on the Committee” with the phrase “list of vacancies that remain on each representative group”.


2.      The correction of a name, to Ms Elenor Paul.


Election of Chairman & Vice-Chairman pdf icon PDF 42 KB




1.    That Ms Carole Jones be elected as Chairman of Hillingdon SACRE for the 2017/18 municipal year.


2.    That Father Desmond Banister be elected as Vice-Chairman of Hillingdon SACRE for the 2017/18 municipal year.


CPD Update


Ms Elenor Paul, CPD Training Coordinator, attended the meeting to provide an update on the training that was being provided for teachers.


The Chairman noted that the National Association of Teachers of Religious Education were holding a conference in Birmingham, and that if HSACRE were in agreement HSACRE would release the funds for Ms Paul to attend the Conference. The Committee agreed that this would be a sensible use of funds.


Ms Paul informed the Committee that the final CPD Training was taking place on Monday 11 June, and that this would include the Agreed Syllabus Launch and a look at short and medium-term plans to meet the objectives of the syllabus, and find a way that the syllabus can be made to fit for schools.


Members heard that the last training included information on non-religious faiths, such as Humanism, and that RE coordinators were growing in confidence. The Humanist representative noted that a Humanist Development Day was taking place on 10 July, and it was agreed that this would be mentioned at the CPD Training as spaces were available for teachers.


The Chairman offered her personal thanks to Ms Paul for all her hard work, and this sentiment was echoed by the Committee.


The Committee was then informed that the Advisor to HSACRE would be working alongside Ms Paul over the next year with the eventual plan of Ms Paul taking on the role of Advisor to HSACRE. This suggestion was agreed by the Committee and the Deputy Director of Housing, Environment, Education, Health and Wellbeing.


RESOLVED: That the CPD Update was noted.


Agreed Syllabus Launch


Ms Paul noted that the Agreed Syllabus Launch would be part of the CPD Training, and encouraged as many members of HSACRE to attend as possible. The Committee heard that this weekend, Ms Paul and others would be going through the syllabus to ensure it was ready for the launch.


The Advisor to HSACRE confirmed that the training would be a working session based around the syllabus, and that the syllabus will be confirmed but there are some minor changes to make.


The Committee commented that it was a good time to consider the exam results for the Borough, and the Deputy Director of Housing, Environment, Education, Health and Wellbeing introduced a breakdown of RE exam results by school. Members were informed that there was a healthy entry level on average for Year 11 and slightly lower numbers for Key Stage 5 (KS5).


Members discussed the reduction of RE on syllabuses after it was removed from the Humanities aspect of the syllabus, and noted that this would lead to a drop in numbers of pupils taking RE in examinations. The Committee also commented that many schools may have dropped RE as an A-level requirement due to a lack of take-up from pupils, which would prevent other students from doing the course.


It was noted that, nationally, 47% of pupils study RE at GCSE level, while 73% of pupils do in Hillingdon, and this proved Hillingdon was doing very well in this regard. TheDeputy Director of Housing, Environment, Education, Health and Wellbeing confirmed that there were impressive results across GCSE level, including one school at which 45% of pupils achieved an A* grade.


The Advisor to HSACRE commented that it might be helpful for HSACRE to give an award, and a small financial reward, to the school that had achieved the most improved RE results. It was noted that this school would need to have entered enough candidates into RE examinations to have their name published. HSACRE were supportive of the award, although it was recognised that some schools enter fewer pupils and the small numbers may distort the figures regarding improvements.


RESOLVED: That the Agreed Syllabus Launch update be noted.


Budget Update


The Deputy Director of Housing, Environment, Education, Health and Wellbeing confirmed that £5k had been signed off as the budget for this financial year. The Chairman noted that HSACRE would like to continue and escalate the training to offer more to schools if possible, but this would require a higher budget. The Chairman noted that this was the first year that CPD Training had been developed and delivered to a wider audience at a high standard, and noted that previous budgets did not include this.


The Committee heard that Council budget setting commences each year with consultation in December and the budget is approved in February, and it was suggested that HSACRE consider developing a budget plan to present to Members in this budget-setting process.


HSACRE commented that it was helpful to continue professional development within schools, as the youth of tomorrow must be well-educated, and spending in these areas now can save money in future years by improving social cohesion. It was noted that most schools in the Borough are academies, and as such, the Council cannot dictate what schools do or how they spend money.


The Deputy Director of Housing, Environment, Education, Health and Wellbeing confirmed that a budget proposal was required to increase the budget, and the Chairman agreed to break down the request for £7k further and work with the Deputy Director of Housing, Environment, Education, Health and Wellbeing on the issue.


The Committee noted that the Borough goes far beyond what other local authorities do in support of SACRE and RE, and HSACRE were very fortunate and grateful for this.


RESOLVED: That the budget update was noted, and further discussions between the Chairman and Deputy Director of Housing, Environment, Education, Health and Wellbeing were proposed to take place prior to the next meeting.


Any other business as agreed by the Chairman in advance


Ramadan Guidance


The Chairman requested that Ms Paul be given delegated authority to send a questionnaire to schools to see if teachers and schools had any questions regarding Ramadan. These questions could then be provided to the Muslim Group to answer, and in turn, the answers could be relayed to schools.


The Deputy Director of Housing, Environment, Education, Health and Wellbeing confirmed that guidance on Ramadan had previously been circulated to schools at the request of HSACRE, and suggested a forward plan regarding religious celebrations might be a good idea to ensure that information could be provided prior to the event taking place.


Hayes Carnival


Members noted that there will be an interfaith HSACRE tent at the carnival, and the organisation will engage with schools through the CPD training regarding the festival.


Date of Next Meeting


It was confirmed that the next meeting will take place at 6.00pm on Thursday 8 November.