The Walsall Standing Agreed Council for Religious Education (SACRE) is a statutory body which meets on a termly basis.
What does SACRE stand for?
SACRE stands for Standing Advisory Council on Religious Education. Since 1988, all Local Education Authorities/Local Authorities have been required to have a SACRE and it is now the Children’s Services Division of each Local Authority (LA) that is responsible for making sure there is a SACRE.
What does a SACRE do?
The law says that Religious Education (RE) must be taught in all schools and a SACRE’s role is to advise its local authority on what needs to be done to improve RE and collective worship for schools in its area. This is because RE, unlike other areas of the curriculum, is a local responsibility. Through the SACRE, local communities have the opportunity to influence directly what pupils learn in RE.
How is the membership of a SACRE decided?
The structure of the SACRE is defined by law. There are four groups or committees, as below:
- The Christian denominations and other religions and their denominations, reflecting the principal religious traditions of the area.
- The Church of England.
- Teacher and Headteacher associations.
- The Local Authority
What are a SACRE’s duties?
The SACRE’s main function is to advise the local authority on matters related to the religious education which follows the locally agreed syllabus, and on collective worship in schools.
- Can require the LA to review its locally agreed syllabus;
- Must consider applications from a headteacher that the school be released from the requirement for collective worship to be ‘wholly or mainly of a broadly Christian character’ (this is known as a determination);
- Must publish an annual report of its work.
What is a locally agreed syllabus?
The locally agreed syllabus is the statutory document for RE in the local authority. It sets out what should be taught to pupils in all key stages and the standards expected of them at the end of each key stage. It is produced by an agreed syllabus conference (ASC).
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What is the Agreed Syllabus Conference?
An agreed syllabus conference (ASC) is a statutory body brought together in order to produce an agreed syllabus for RE. It is a separate legal entity from a SACRE. An ASC:
- Has the same committee structure as the SACRE;
- Can be made up of SACRE members but need not be so. There is no provision for co-opted members.
The LA’s responsibility to convene the ASC implies a duty to provide funds and support for its work.
What else can a SACRE do?
A SACRE’s broad role is to support good RE and collective RE worship within its schools by:
- Giving advice on ways of teaching agreed syllabus RE, including the choice of teaching materials;
- Monitoring schools’ provision for RE and collective worship as well as the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development (SMSC) of pupils;
- Advising the LA on the provision of training for teachers in RE; e.g. the provision of a fair related to Religious Education for teachers and students;
- Considering complaints about the provision and delivery of religious education and collective worship referred to it by the LA.