Agenda item

B&NES SACRE Annual Report 2021/22

The Bath and North East Somerset SACRE Annual Report (September 2021 - August 2022) is attached for the Panel to discuss.


Adam Robertson, SACRE Adviser introduced the report to the Panel. He said that he would like to commend the work that has been done across the area and was pleased to inform the Panel that a locally agreed syllabus was in place until 2026. He stated that he believed that it was a very worthwhile subject and that it was compulsory to be taught until the end of KS4.


Councillor Eleanor Jackson addressed the Panel. She said that it was great to have Adam as part of the SACRE team. She explained that the syllabus is tailored to the local community as much as possible. She added that she believed that it was important for moral values to be upheld.


She stated that additional financial resources were required to help improve teaching standards and pupil’s grades. She added that in the future SACRE would be keen to further develop exemplars for students, such as a possible module on African religious traditions into the syllabus.


Councillor Liz Hardman asked if schools do not comply with having the agreed syllabus in place and if collective worship is not happening, is there anything SACRE can do to enforce these requirements.


Adam Robertson replied that Academies have the freedom to choose the agreed syllabus that they follow, however SACRE has a wider responsibility to look at Religious Education across all schools. He said that should SACRE feel that the curriculum being followed by a school was not deep enough or broad enough they would seek to discuss that directly with the school. He added that if necessary they could refer the school to the DfE.


Councillor Hardman commented that as our demography is changing, especially with refugee families, how are SACRE connecting with population needs for RE provision and what plans are in place for the coming five years.


Adam Robertson replied that SACRE acknowledges that the local demography is changing and said that the syllabus can be tailored as needed within schools. He added that the aim was to give all pupils an understanding of the different religions and traditions within our society. He said that training modules can be added as appropriate.


Councillor Hardman asked how the reduced budget will affect the work that SACRE will be able to do over the coming year.


Adam Robertson replied that the budget allocated leaves very little in terms of discretionary funds to work with schools once the running of the SACRE meetings has been taken into account. He said that they would like to provide more training for teachers, especially Primary, in this subject area.


Councillor Jackson added that additional funding would allow for further training in certain areas, such as the Holocaust. She said that when previous events had been held speakers would simply ask if their train fare could be paid and therefore an addition to the budget could allow for that to happen.


Councillor Rob Appleyard suggested that discussions be held directly with Academies or their Trusts in terms of providing funding.


Councillor Jackson asked if the Panel would be willing to endorse the approval of additional funding to SACRE.


The Chair asked the Panel if they agreed with this proposal and should seek an additional £5,000 for SACRE through the Council’s budget setting process.


The Panel agreed with the proposal.


Kevin Burnett commented that he believed that it was the Council that should lead on these discussions and show support to their schools for the work that SACRE can provide.


The Director of Children's Services & Education said that she would discuss the matter with colleagues as part of the budget process and whether the funding could come directly from the Council or through engagement with the Schools Standards Board.


The Panel thanked her for this response and RESOLVED to note the B&NES SACRE Annual Report 2021/22.

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