Agenda and minutes

Standing Advisory Council for Religious Education (SACRE) - Thursday, 7th March, 2019 10.00 am

Venue: Committee Room 2 - Civic Centre. View directions

Contact: Neil Barnett  Governance Officer

No. Item


Time of Quiet Reflection


The Chair welcomed the Committee to the meeting. Members then took part in a period of quiet reflection.



Agenda in Welsh pdf icon PDF 60 KB


Apologies for Absence


Members noted the apologies for Cllr Tracy Holyoake, Nicola Huggleston, Patricia Landers, Susie Hunt and Lana Picton.



Minutes of the meeting held on 18th October 2018) and to consider actions and matters arising (see attached) pdf icon PDF 97 KB

Additional documents:


Matters arising: On page 5, there is a duplication from paragraphs 2 to 4.



The minutes of the SACRE meeting of 14 June 2018 were accepted as a true record.



To receive a membership update


To receive an update on the SACRE Membership. 


Reverend Catrin Roberts was welcomed to the Committee as a representative of the Presbyterian Church of Wales.



The Committee accepted the membership update.



Presentation from Dr Abdalla Y Mohamed OBE, Chair and Operations Director of the Onyx Link Foundation


The Committee welcomed Dr Abdalla Yassin Mohamed. He advised that the Onyx Link Foundation is a non-profitable company that has been established to achieve several objectives in two main areas: promotion of social wellbeing through education and training and improving community relations through empowering interfaith communities (67% in the UK; 84% worldwide) and the rest of society for advancing active national and global citizenship.


The Committee were given a brief presentation. The Onyx Link Foundation is an interfaith organisation with aspirations to get people moving together and raising awareness of faiths. Committee members were advised of the next Onyx Link Foundation meeting taking place at the Celtic Manor on the 1st May ay 9am.


The Foundation advised they have devised programs for dealing with inclusion of those who may be isolated from mainstream education, radicalisation or other issues. They shared their research and raise awareness at presentations. Dr Abdalla shared the outcome of the last conference held on 10th May 2018 and explained it is the ownership for Interfaith leaders and Committees to attend.


Dr Mohamed how important it is to acknowledge beliefs in committees across Wales. Onyx is not imposing or dictating beliefs. The OLF is inspired and guided by the belief that humans are one family, sharing one home – earth, and its natural resources to survive. They believe that happiness resides in interacting upon morality and bonding with love. The OLF seeks to encourage good community work by promoting awareness of active national and global citizenship


Faith leaders were mentioned in the presentation, however despite Humanists not being faith based, the  Humanist representative on SACRE suggested Wales Humanists might like to be involved in this work. . OLF advised that Humanists are included and had recently been in touch with Ruth from Humanists UK, hopefully a representative will be attending the conference. PW, the EAS adviser informed the Committee that Kathy Riddick from Humanists UK recently gave a presentation at Caerphilly SACRE and that there were seemed to be many shared values between Wales Humanists and the OLF.


The Committee praised the hard work in the presentation and thanked OLF for its dedication to bring Faith and communities together.


Members asked whether schools could access the information as there had been a isolated few incidents and tensions within communities. Schools are always looking at ways to work with children to improve relationships. OLF advised that they have been working with schools for the past several years in Cardiff by attending assemblies and visiting schools. Today they are due to visit Bassaleg school. The OLF are happy to work with whoever, and schools are free to contact. Workshops are also designed to discuss radicalisation and Islamophobia.


HT advised she works in a school and hadn’t heard of OLF, she will raise awareness with the clusters and circulate contact details.


The Committee thanked the Onyx Link Foundation for attending and for their presentation.

SACRE members were invited to attend the Wales Inter Faith Conference organised by  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.


New Curriculum development verbal update: - to include discussion on Prof. Donaldson’s Video


PW introduced the item to the Committee and explained the Prof. Donaldson video had been sent prior to the meeting, and asked the Committee for their comments

The Committee discussed the following:


HT explained she acts as a Catholic Teacher and Prof. Donaldson has attended her school for an evening and would also be visiting for 3 hours the day after the SACRE meeting.

Topics of discussion included the position of Religious Education, a long debate of whether RE should sit inside of Humanities or outside. Humanities stressed how important it was to maintain focus on RE.


PW explained Prof. Donaldson was very supportive of RE. She said that many people had expressed concern  that Religious Education could be lost if an interdisciplinary approach were taken. However, PW explained that each discipline should be visible in the curriculum. You cannot have an interdisciplinary approach without the individual disciplines. There is a lot of work being done by the pioneers developing the curriculum to make sure each discipline is visable and represented. In the 14 -16 age group there should be quite strong specialism in the  disciplines.

RE is statutory until the age of 16. PW explained that Qualifications Wales are she is unsure what the qualifications will look like, but that there will be meeting soon with the Qualifications Team later in March. SACRE members recommended that there was a need to  highlight some of the pitfalls with the current short course, whilst also making sure it will be suitable for learners in the new curriculum.

PW advised that the draft curriculum would be published in April for consultation, and that it is currently out for translation and editing. This will be discussed in the next SACRE meeting. PW informed SACRE members that, following the SACRE consultation with Welsh Government for the need for supporting framework, Welsh Government have made funding available for RE. An experienced writing team had already  been put together to produce the RE Framework. Meurig Roberts is acting as Welsh Government Lead and the writing group are being led by Paula Webber (EAS Adviser for RE) and Libby Jones (Wrexham RE Adviser) whose services have been procured by Welsh Government. . SACRE were informed that the first meeting of the RE Framework group would be the following week.


HS enquired about qualifications, and asked are they looking at age 16 to have Humanities qualifications? PW advised that she is unsure what it will look like currently, but it needs to take into account that RE is statutory and needs to be taught until children are 16. HS expressed concern that if the qualification is moving into a joint qualification it would be difficult for children to be withdraw from it. .


The Chair asked how would you specialise in these areas if they are grouped together? PW replied she is unsure what is going to be done, it could be a bespoke qualification.

HT commented that secondary options are so much restricted because of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.


To consider and respond to the Welsh Government white paper


PW talked through the paper and its proposals and committee members discussed the feedback questions in order to make a full written response from Newport SACRE. .



3.65 In keeping with Successful Futures, we propose that RE is retained as a statutory requirement from age 3 and forms part of the Humanities AoLE.

Newport SACRE agree with this proposal



3.66 It is our intention also that RE reflects our historical and contemporary relationship in Wales to philosophy and religious views, including non-religious beliefs. Therefore the current legislation will be amended to ensure the agreed syllabus for RE takes account of non-religious world views which are analogous to religions (e.g. humanism).


PW commented that in the WASACRE meeting it was felt that this needed clarification.. The statement doesn’t make clear how this would affect the wording of current legislation. . RE has to include all worldviews, including non-religious views. During the discussion the term ‘faith’ was referred to. CJ commented that the word ‘faith’, as it is used in some contexts,would be misleading for Humanism, would prefer to see Religion and worldviews. Humanism would like children to know that it is okay for them not to have religious faith but to be able to understand faith.  

HT advised that it is really important that the audience reading this statement fully understands it, and not to view any other faith wrongly. PW advised the exact wording and not proposed changes would need to be seen before SACRE could give full feedback to Welsh Government. Cllr. I Hayat expressed the need to be very careful  as the wording could end up not making any sense.

Cllr Watkins commented that the proposal here is for 3 – 4 years old, so need to be mindful that a light touch is needed. PW advised that this is progression steps in the curriculum, at this level children might learn, for example at Progression Step 1 they might have learned how to be kind to each other.



SACRE suggests that it is important to consult on the precise wording of this change to legislation. It is important that the audience reading it understand the wording to avoid misconceptions.

SACRE agree it is important that learners gain an understanding of both religious and non-religious worldviews.


3.67 Our approach will recognise the local responsibility of the Agreed Syllabus Conferences, local authorities and the place of the denominational syllabus in Voluntary Aided schools but make a clearer connection with a national approach.

Newport SACRE Agree with this proposal


3.68 We propose to amend the legislation relating to the adoption of an agreed syllabus to ensure that each Agreed Syllabus Conference and local authority must give due regard to a supporting framework to be produced by Welsh Government. This document will be developed with expert practitioners and key partners such as the Wales Association of Standing Advisory Councils for Religious Education (SACREs) and the National Advisory Panel for Religious Education and will clarify and further  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.


Monitoring of Religious Education and Collective Worship pdf icon PDF 119 KB

8.          Monitoring of Religious Education and Collective Worship –  

a.           GCSE and GCE examination results 

b.           Inspection report analysis


Additional documents:


PW presented a brief overview of the report to the Committee which included the examination data and comments. It was explained that results had improved in 2018 in comoarison with those of 2017.


The inspection reports were good, with an especially good report for St Julians School. It was then suggested that the Committee should send a letter of congratulations to the school.




To send a letter of congratulations to St Julians School.




To consider the recommendations of the Estyn Thematic Report and the response of NAPfRE to the report. pdf icon PDF 41 KB

Additional documents:


PW gave a brief overview of the report. It was felt that there was quite a few issues need to be addressed from the report, such as the report didn’t reflect some of the anecdotal evidence coming through that RE is a bit more vulnerable that the report appears to say. The report states that the planning was good in Key Stage 2 but Key Stage 3 suggests of a shortfall and that schools do not plan well from the evidence that was gathered.


An issue was raised that many examples that were given in the document were  good examples of good citizenship but not of RE, which has been misinterpreted. Estyn included collective worship in the report but is a separate issue, it shouldn’t be included. PW advised she would report back to NAPFRE with any issues.


Cllr I Hayat queried if there were any issues with Headteachers and delivering the new curriculum? NB suggested that representatives of Committee A  could visit schools and could arrange to attend  collective worship. HT then suggested that information details be send to schools from the SACRE committee to advise how the committee can help them.




To produce a collaborative information sheet to send to schools.




Discussion on Effective SACREs: to include feedback from the 20:20 RE Conference from Paula Webber


The Committee agreed that this item would be discussed at the Summer meeting.



To consider the recommendations of the Final Report of the Commission on Religious Education and their relevance to Wales and Newport SACRE


The Committee agreed that this item would be discussed at the Summer meeting.



SACRE News Bulletin – To consider information briefings from members for inclusion in next SACRE News Bulletin


PW advised that Committee that there are no articles this time, but she would circulate anything coming through to the committee. There has also been no further information briefings, which shows how busy SACREs have been.



The Committee were informed of the News Bulletin.




WASACRE pdf icon PDF 413 KB

a.             To receive and note draft minutes from WASACRE meeting 20th November 2017 (attached) 


b.            To consider possible nominations from Newport SACRE members to join the WASACRE Executive Committee


c.             To note dates of future WASACRE meetings 

i.Tuesday 26th March 2019 – Cardiff 

ii.Friday 28th June 2019 – Colwyn Bay, Conwy


Additional documents:


PW gave a brief overview of the WASCARE minutes from the last meeting. She advised of the presentation that was made by Kevin Palmer from Welsh Government about professional learning in the new curriculum. He says that the needs for professional learning needs ot be addressed in RE. There will be a new approach and professional learning will be quality assured. PW asked at the meeting how specialist training had been diminished. Kevin advised that there are negotiations in place for the need for additional training in the new curriculum and invited further discussion with PW.


During the WASACRE meeting the lack of professional support for SACREs was raised as a matter of concern. . SACRE not being supported by a full time dedicated RE Advisor.


The Committee were advised that HS is stepping down as Executive Member of WASACRE, and asked if anyone wished to put their names forward to replace. The Council would be funding, not schools, incase School Teachers are interested.  It would be found it if the Council could pay for teacher release. Nominations would be needed as soon as possible.





To accept the report.


SACRE clerk to send nomination forms to committee.



To note dates and venue of future meetings and notification of Agreed Syllabus Conference pdf icon PDF 43 KB