Agenda and minutes

Standing Advisory Council on Religious Education - Wednesday 31 October 2018 6.00 pm

Venue: Bromley Civic Centre

Contact: Jo Partridge  020 8461 7694

No. Item




Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Robert Evans, Councillor David Jefferys, Ray Hagley, Mr Mahmood and Arvinder Nandra.


Reverend Steve Varney apologised for having to leave the meeting early due to other commitments.


The Chairman welcomed Stacey Burman, SACRE RE Advisor and Councillor Chris Pierce to the meeting, and introductions took place.








RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting held on 4th July 2018 be confirmed as a correct record.




Minute 4B): Matters arising

The Chairman advised members that, as the SACRE RE Advisor was in post, the letter to Headteachers could be drafted, and would form part of her introduction to the schools.


Minute 7: Oral Update & Publications

The PowerPoint presentation delivered by the Chairman to the School Governor Forum had been circulated, and members confirmed receipt.


Minute 10: SACRE Self Evaluation

A PDF version of the document ‘Reflective Pools – Refreshing Collective Worship in Bromley Schools’, had been produced, and would be circulated to members.      ACTION: Clerk


The Chairman advised that information regarding determinations would be discussed under agenda item 18: Oral Update & Publications.


Minute 11: SACRE Draft Action Plan

The Chairman informed members that the proposal to invite neighbouring boroughs to attend SACRE meetings had not yet been explored, but would be considered for future meetings.


The Chairman noted that the revised SACRE Action Plan for 2018-19 would be discussed under agenda item 22: SACRE Draft Action Plan.




No breaches of the GDPR were reported.



A.)  SACRE Annual Report


B.)  ‘Ramadan 2019 - A Simple Guide for Schools’ – Dr Omar Taha


C.)  Commission on Religious Education –

‘Religion and Worldviews: the way forward’ (Executive Summary)


D.)  NASACRE response to the Clarke / Woodhead report –

‘A New Settlement Revised'


The Clarke / Woodhead – ‘A New Settlement Revised' report can be accessed via the following link:


E.)  Guidance on Managing the Right of Withdrawal from Religious Education


Additional documents:




The Chairman informed members that work was underway to produce the Bromley SACRE Annual Report 2017-18. The SACRE RE Advisor said that she intended to provide a draft version of the document to the SACRE meeting on 27th February 2019 for approval, following which the final document would be submitted to NASACRE and the Department for Education before the end of March 2019.






The Chairman welcomed Dr Omar Taha, Al-Emaan Centre (Keston Mosque) to the meeting, and thanked him for producing the document ‘Ramadan 2019 – A Simple Guide for Schools’, and providing a copy to SACRE members.


Ramadan had taken place this year from 17th May to 15th June, resulting in an overlap with the traditional exam season. As Ramadan would continue to fall during the peak periods of exams and the summer months, it was believed that acknowledging pupils’ needs could contribute to fostering good relations with, and promoting understanding between different groups. The guide outlined considerations that schools may take with regards to the month of Ramadan, along with suggestions of what features may constitute best practice in schools. Dr Taha advised that the document was a revised version of the guide produced by the Lewisham Mosque and Lewisham SACRE, which had been tailored more to the Bromley borough and focused on educational elements and highlighted that the mosque offered visits and workshops.


The SACRE RE Advisor commented that the guide was very well-written, but considered that it could be set out slightly differently so that it could also be used as a learning resource. The SACRE RE Advisor felt that using the document as guidance and a resource for learning would expand its potential, and it could be linked to the Revised Bromley Agreed Syllabus. It was suggested that it could be beneficial to include some sample policies, to act as a template for schools. It was therefore suggested that all the information regarding Ramadan, beliefs and values be kept together, and a separate section added on what schools could do. It was agreed that the SACRE RE Advisor and Dr Taha would liaise to discuss the guide further.



A member noted that the guide stated that ‘fasting is prescribed for all healthy males and females once they attain the age of puberty (this is relative based on the physiological and psychological make-up of each individual)’, and enquired who decided the age of puberty. Dr Taha responded that it was generally the collective decision of the family, and there was not one definitive age.






The Commission on Religious Education (CoRE) had published its final report, ‘Religion and Worldviews: The Way Forward – A National Plan for RE’, in September 2018. The CoRE National Plan was built around a National Entitlement, which set out what all pupils  ...  view the full minutes text for item 18.




The Chairman reminded members that a revision of the current Bromley Agreed Syllabus was a legal requirement, and was in hand. The SACRE RE Advisor said that in order for the Revised Syllabus to reflect the viewpoints of the SACRE and teachers, she was suggesting that a network be established to discuss the document. It was noted that the current syllabus offered lots of guidance, but teachers still needed to write their own schemes of work.


The SACRE RE Advisor said that in Hackney, teachers were provided with schemes of work, each with linked resources and lesson plans. This helped to support inter-borough competitions to take place. The SACRE RE Advisor proposed that this could be considered in Bromley. In addition, it was suggested that a sub group of the SACRE could be set up to contribute to the Revised Syllabus discussion.


A member said that her understanding of the current Agreed Syllabus was that the required element was just a small section of the document, and the bulk of it was not statutory guidance, it was ‘stuff’ to support the requirements. A teacher representative echoed that this was how the use of the document had been presented to teachers by the previous RE Advisor, with a suggested plan included which allowed for a good level of flexibility. The SACRE RE Advisor responded that this was not as clear as it could be, and problems would arise when a new RE leader took over and this information was lost. The Chairman noted that part of the issue had been the naivety of providing the Agreed Syllabus to schools on a CD-Rom, thinking that the different sections would be obvious, when in fact it was not clear and made it look like a huge document. A teacher representative advised that Church schools had moved away from lesson plans, which had improved the teaching of RE. Teachers were conducting more of their own research and developing a greater understanding of the subject, however it was noted that this was unlikely to be reflected across the borough as a whole.


A member considered that they thought it would be good to open discussions with teachers on what the purpose and character of RE might be, and noted that there would be a need to engage teachers and school leaders. There could then be a round table discussion with school representatives and SACRE members. The SACRE RE Advisor suggested that she could set up teacher networks with which the SACRE members could then link with at a later date.


The Chairman highlighted that the Revised Bromley Agreed Syllabus was a framework that would need to be approved by the Agreed Syllabus Council. Legally, this was a separate entity, but had previously involved all SACRE members who formed the Agreed Syllabus Council for final sign-off of the document. When it came to voting, the result had to be unanimous and not a majority. Each Committee group had one vote, which also needed to have all  ...  view the full minutes text for item 19.




The SACRE RE Advisor informed members that she had been considering ways to build relationships with the schools, other than through school visits. The SACRE RE Advisor planned to initiate conversations with the school RE co-ordinators by setting up meetings, ideas for which included network meetings, teacher training and syllabus feedback. These would be established before being linked with the SACRE, and could mean that school visits were no longer needed, or could be in addition, as the information they were seeking to obtain would be provided by the teachers at the meetings.


The SACRE RE Advisor said that all schools would be invited to attend the networks and would give those that were struggling, but may not necessarily admit it, a chance to meet other teachers and share ideas. A member noted that historically, it had always been hard work to get teachers together. The SACRE RE Advisor responded that she planned to start with the primary sector first, as there were a larger number of schools and tended to be easier to engage with. As a starting point, she planned to telephone the schools individually to request the contact details for their RE Co-ordinators.


A teacher representative noted that this had been attempted before by a previous RE Advisor, and little feedback had been received. It was felt that there needed to be a hook to get teachers involved. The SACRE RE Advisor responded that an Inter Faith borough wide competition would be discussed in further detail under agenda item 23: Any Other Business, which she believed could act as an incentive for teachers to get involved. Another teacher representative considered that the SACRE RE Advisor would need to ‘win over’ the Headteachers, and suggested that a slot at the Headteacher Forum would be a good place to start, allowing the information to be filtered through.


The Chairman advised that the invitation to attend the network sessions should be addressed to those staff that delivered RE, and not just the RE Co-ordinators, as in a number of schools this tended to be the Higher Level Teaching Assistants (HLTA). A teacher representative agreed that this was common practice as it was a standalone subject. Dr Taha suggested that an evening training session could be delivered, particularly for those HLTAs that did not feel fully confident in delivering RE, with representatives from different communities and religions attending to teach them.


The Chairman stressed that the opportunity for SACRE members to accept invitations to visit schools should not be lost, and noted that James Dixon Primary School delivered an RE Day each term which they were keen for SACRE members to experience.




The Chairman informed members that a PDF version of the document ‘Reflective Pools – Refreshing Collective Worship in Bromley Schools’ had been produced, and it was also available on Fronter.


The LBB Head of School Standards advised members that Fronter was an electronic portal that had been purchased by the borough many years ago, and was now felt to be a very ‘clunky’ system, which did not feel like a website. The LBB Head of School Standards would be attending meetings in the coming week regarding Fronter, as it was not being used to its full potential. Currently, only Headteachers and SENCOs had logins, so work was being undertaken to obtain generic school logins for access to the SACRE and School Standards areas. It was planned for the improved system to be up and running by January 2019, and an update would be provided to the next SACRE meeting. Members requested that a generic login for SACRE members also be explored.    ACTION: LBB Head of School Standards




The Chairman advised members that they had not been provided with a copy of the SACRE Draft Action Plan as the SACRE RE Advisor had not yet been able to have an input into it. It was agreed that the SACRE RE Advisor would add actions from the meeting to the document, and an updated Action Plan for 2018-19 would be provided to the clerk for circulation to members.

    ACTION: SACRE RE Advisor / Clerk



-  Islamic Competition


-  Inter Faith Week – 11th-18th November 2018


Islamic Competition


The Chairman informed SACRE members that the Prize Giving evening, facilitated by Mr Mahmood at Darul Uloom, would not take place this year due to no schools having contributed to the Islamic Competition.


The Chairman noted that at previous SACRE meetings, he had expressed the view that it would be good to organise something similar on a broader scale, either specifically for each faith or a wider religious competition to develop more depth of understanding.



Inter Faith Week – 11th-18th November 2018


The Chairman advised SACRE members that Inter Faith Week would take place during 11th-18th November 2018. Inter Faith Week took place every year, and although it was felt to be too late to organise events for this year, the Chairman suggested that the 3 Faiths Forum could host an open forum. It was considered that this could be relatively easy to set up, with schools submitting questions to representatives of the faith communities and taking part in a three-way panel discussion.


The SACRE RE Advisor informed members of a calendar competition which she ran in Hackney to raise awareness of the SACRE. A theme was provided to teachers for Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2, and their pupils then produced artwork linked to this theme. The winning artwork was then selected to feature in the calendar, which listed all the important dates in religious and worldview calendars. Copies of the calendars were printed and provided to all Headteachers and RE Co-ordinators. The SACRE RE Advisor said she felt that this was something that could be launched at the teacher network. These networks could, in future, also include a theme being discussed, and SACRE members invited to attend to talk about their religion, or share an artefact. The Chairman noted that the Islamic Competition was not a SACRE event, as it was developed by Darul Uloom to ensure that students had a good understanding of the meaning of Islam. Members stressed that it was important that part of this theme be retained.


A member stated that he was concerned that there may be initiative overload, requiring teachers to do too much, and questioned how they would resource a competition and continue with their workload in addition to it. The SACRE RE Advisor said that at the network meeting, she would discuss with the teachers their capacity to deliver these additional competitions. Members noted that commitment from the schools to be involved would be needed, especially if a budget was allocated, to ensure it was not wasted. The SACRE RE Advisor responded that for the calendar competition, only thirteen drawings were needed. The template and links were already established, and there would be no expenditure until the number of pictures was confirmed. Teacher representatives said that as the competition was new, not all schools were likely to ‘come on board’ in the first year, but there were two teacher representatives in attendance who would be involved, which meant only a  ...  view the full minutes text for item 23.



6.00pm, Wednesday 27th February 2019


6.00pm, Wednesday 27th February 2019