Venue: Town Hall, Moorgate Street, Rotherham. S60 2TH
Contact: Debbie Pons, Principal Democratic Services Officer
Welcome and introductions
The Chair offered a warm welcome to all attendees.
Agreed:- That the minutes of the previous meeting held on 12th March, 2019 be approved as a correct record.
With regards to Minute No. 28(2) information relating to Hate Crime had been circulated to all schools.
Nominations for Chair and Vice-Chair
Nominations were sought for the positions of Chair and Vice-Chair for the 2019/20 academic year.
Agreed:- (1) That Mrs. H. Lambert be appointed Chair of the Standing Advisory Council for Religious Education for the 2019/20120 academic year.
(2) That Councillor E. Keenan be appointed Vice-Chair of the Standing Advisory Council for Religious Education for the 2019/2020 academic year.
(3) That Mrs. H. Lambert write to previous Vice-Chair, Mrs. T. Williams, thanking her for her contributions to SACRE as Vice-Chair.
Guest Speaker: Roger Cheetham
The Chair welcomed Roger Cheetham to the meeting.
Roger expressed his thanks about being invited and shared insight into sessions he was delivering to pupils in secondary schools in a classroom or assembly setting.
Roger described how he had been the victim of attempted murder back in 2013, his hospitalisation, feelings of isolation and loneliness and recovery.
Within the sessions he shared details of his return home, how his family coped and the resilience he and his family experienced in coming to terms with what happened and for which the perpetrators had never been identified or convicted.
His sessions were very well received by students and the biggest impact had been from a lower demographic primary school when he had been asked to delivery his story to Year 6. He was eager to answer all questions raised by students and from this awful attack he now found the strength to share his experiences in order to make a difference and make the whole situation worthwhile.
Comments and testaments from students and staff who had listened to Roger’s story were shared.
From a positive perspective Roger explained how he found strength and support from sharing his story for which he was commended.
Roger believed violence was not the answer should his perpetrators be identified and his life was now more fulfilled and enriched for the better having experienced what he had endured.
Roger confirmed he would be willing to participate in any events that related to his own experiences and consented to his contact details being shared amongst relevant officers.
Agreed:- That Roger Cheetham be thanked for sharing the details of the sessions he was delivering.
Faith Leaders and Schools Visits Policy
Further to Minute No. 27 of the meeting of the Standing Advisory Council for Religious Education, consideration was given to the Faith Leaders and School Visits Policy – copies of the relevant booklets were circulated.
Having considered the detail of the booklet from Sheffield, the NATRE Visits and Visitors and Religious Believers Visiting Schools guidelines it was believed that without more in-depth consideration by other faith leaders it would not be appropriate to adopt the suggested booklet from Sheffield and adapt for Rotherham. It was, therefore, believed to be more appropriate to signpost schools to the National Association of Teachers of Religious Education booklets to ensure good practice was followed.
Agreed:- That all schools be made aware of the documentation available from the National Association of Teachers of Religious Education for school visits and visitors.
Meeting the Religious and Cultural Needs of Pupils
Consideration was given to the documentation that had been circulated prior to the meeting by the Chair around schools meeting the religious and cultural needs of learners, to which comments had been invited.
The documentation was specifically to be used as guidance and an overview of how best to meet religious and cultural needs.
A number of suggestions were made including:-
· Documentation being in an alternative format.
· The title.
· Not presenting religious beliefs as facts.
· Consenting to oral medication during Ramadan.
· Exemptions for girls.
· Segregated areas for observing fasting.
· Prayer times.
· Eid ul-Fitr leave.
It was noted that there was still some confusion in schools and there was a clear need for staff and parents to communicate to ensure all were fully informed.
In light of recent events in Rotherham it was suggested a working group be set up to consider producing some further guidance around LGBT.
Agreed:- That a working group involving the Chair and Vice-Chair, Tony Griffin and Vanessa Gregory be arranged to consider the draft guidance on LGBT which would then be brought to the next SACRE meeting.
Feedback from Schools Survey
Consideration was given to the Religious Education and Collective Worship Survey Results for 2019 for secondary schools, which were circulated at the meeting. Any feedback would be fed into the next meeting once the content had been digested by the Standing Advisory Council.
Collation of the Religious Education and Collective Worship Survey Results for 2019 for primary schools was still being undertaken.
All those involved in the collation of the documentation were commended for their efforts.
Agreed:- (1) That the document be received and the contents noted.
(2) That all those involved in the collation of the documentation be thanked for their hard work and efforts in bringing this together.
Update on RE Conference
The Chair was pleased to give an update on the R.E. Conference held at Rockingham Teachers’ Centre on the 7th June, 2019.
The Conference attendance was lower than in previous years, but the feedback and evaluation were very positive.
It was also drawn to the Advisory Council’s attention that Vanessa Gregory had been assigned as Subject Leader to deliver some training, following further investment of three additional half days, involving three twilight sessions.
It was noted, however, that attendance at collaborative training courses across South Yorkshire had reduced over time with some Authorities not engaging and others seeking to fund their own.
Details of the sessions would be circulated to all schools and promoted via the Head Teachers’ Meetings.
Details were also shared on the R.E. Awards evening scheduled for Tuesday, 4th July, 2019 at Magna at 5.30 p.m. A number of nominations had been received and the Standing Advisory Council Members were invited.
Agreed:- That the information be received and noted.
Dates of Future meetings
Consideration was given to the dates and times of future meetings to those scheduled. After some discussion it was proposed that the following dates and time be now confirmed.
Agreed:- That the next meetings of the Standing Advisory Council for Religious Education take place on Tuesday, 15th October, 2019 and Tuesday, 3rd March, 2020 at 4.00 p.m. at Rotherham Town Hall.