Agenda item

Commission on Religious Education (CoRE) Report


Elenor Paul, Advisor to HSACRE, introduced the item which focussed on the Commission of Religious Education (CoRE) report into “Religion and Worldviews: The Way Forward – A National Plan for RE”. Ms Paul requested Members comment on a number of the recommendations that were included within the report, most notably, recommendations 1, 4 and 8.


Recommendation 1: “The name of the subject be changed to Religion and Worldviews. This should be reflected in all subsequent legislation and guidance”.


The Committee discussed the proposed new name and suggested alternatives, including “Religion and Philosophy”, “Religion, Beliefs and Values”, “Religious Beliefs and Values” and “Beliefs and Values”.


HSACRE Members were supportive to the idea of dropping the word “education”, but would like to leave the word “religion”, in one form or another, in the subject name, and avoid a wordy name for the subject title, but ensure it sounded academic.


It was agreed that Religious Education may lose its status but not including the world “religion” in the subject, and proposed a vote on two options: “Religion, Beliefs and Values” or “Beliefs and Values”. Upon being put to a vote, “Religion, Beliefs and Values” was chosen as Hillingdon SACRE’s preferred subject name, and Ms Paul noted that this would be included in her response to CoRE.


Recommendation 4: “Section 375ff of the Education Act 1996 should be amended to remove the requirement for local authorities to convene Agreed Syllabus Conferences and develop locally agreed syllabuses”.


The Committee stated that a group of different boroughs discussing SACRE issues would enable SACREs to improve as they could share best practice and learn from each other. It was agreed that the purpose of RE is to increase understanding, tolerance and awareness of young people in the community and this change would lead to a wider breadth of views. Additionally, when teachers move schools, it impacts on RE as it is the only subject which has a syllabus that is not agreed nationwide, and this leads to difficulties when teaching. As such, HSACRE agreed to support this idea.


Relevant aspects of Recommendation 8: “Legislation regarding the establishment of SACREs should be amended as follows:


a)    The name of the body should be changed to Local Advisory Network for Religion and Worldviews

e) The Local Advisory Network for Religion and Worldviews may also:


vii. Celebrate success including through offering prizes and competitions


viii. Promote good community relations within and outside schools.


Statutory funding must be provided for all Local Advisory Networks for Religion and Worldviews, calculated by size of local authority and of a sufficient level to enable the group to carry out its activities effectively. This should be ring-fenced within the Central Schools Services Block of funding provided to local authorities.


Members agreed that the proposed new name was too wordy and would not support a change to this name.


With regards to the defined role, the Committee were happy with this and agreed that a lot of the proposed actions were already taken by HSACRE, often through the CPD Training system. Members also noted that the proposal to ringfence the budget and provide statutory funding to the Committees was an excellent idea. HSACRE stated that the CPD Training has been very productive and moved HSACRE forward, so an increased budget would be very helpful for the Committee.


The Committee, therefore, agreed to support all of Recommendation 8, except for the proposed name change.


With regards to other recommendations, Members commented that Recommendation 10 should be supported strongly, and Recommendation 11 did not go far enough, although the reasoning behind it was understandable.


RESOLVED: That the Advisor to HSACRE put together a response to the report on behalf of HSACRE, and sends this to CoRE.

Supporting documents: