Agenda item

Ofsted Inspections of Primary Schools under new Education Inspection Framework - Implications for RE


The Chair introduced the item relating to the implications for RE from OFSTED's (Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills) inspection of primary schools under the new Education Inspection Framework. The HSACRE adviser stated that OFSTED had recently changed the way they assess the provision of RE in schools. It was conveyed that the new Education Inspection Framework had the potential to improve the way schools are held to account for the provision of Religious Education and to recognise best practice.


Members enquired as to how the new framework would improve the standing of RE in schools; it was explained that the framework will provide additional accountability for the provision of RE through inspection guidelines and inspectors' could choose a number of subjects whereby they can conduct a 'Deep Dive'. The Chair explained to the Committee what a deep dive entails, noting that, OFSTED had commissioned them in response to a small number of schools providing inadequate RE arrangements. The Chair also indicated that deep dives into RE would create a clearer picture of the quality of RE provision in the Borough and highlight particular areas for improvement.


The Committee discussed the contents of the NATRE (National Association of Teachers of Religious Education) document; the Committee's adviser clarified that the focus of the report was to inform SACRE's of the state of RE nationally. It was conveyed that, of the 14 schools inspected under the new OFSTED framework, 9 were classified as having 'Good' overall effectiveness; and 5 of the 14 schools were subject RE 'Deep Dives'.


Members noted the difficult position RE teachers found themselves in when compared to other foundation subjects, specifically noting the prioritisation of core subjects such as English, Maths and Science. The Committee explored approaches whereby the HSACRE could better equip/prepare RE teachers for OFSTED deep dives. It was suggested that, a focus group could be held with the Borough's RE coordinators, (Headteachers and RE teachers) to determine the type of support the HSACRE could offer.


Members discussed the HSACRE budget, noting that the lack of funds was preventing the Committee from carrying out its functions. The HSACRE adviser noted that other London Borough's received SACRE budgets 4 to 5 times higher than that of HSACRE. Members specifically mentioned that money from charitable sources should not form the bulk of funding. Committee members suggested putting forward a case for more funding to the Cabinet Member for Education and Children's Services, using the OFSTED report and the importance of religious literacy as justification.


The Committee was updated on the recent success of the Guru Nanak 550 celebrations which took place in the Middlesex Suite at the Civic Centre, Uxbridge where roughly 200 people attended. The Chair informed members that with other religious events coming up, specifically noting the Hillingdon Inter Faith Network's Inter Faith Week, there was an opportunity to establish further cross-faith community events.


RESOLVED: That the Committee discussed and noted the report, and agreed the content of any advice regarding RE that it wishes to provide to local schools on the framework.

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