Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Virtual Meeting - Online access

Contact: Mark Beeley  01628 796345 / Email:

Video Stream: Click here to watch this meeting on YouTube

No. Item




The Chairman welcomed all to the meeting and explained that the meeting was not quorate, due to their being no representatives present from Group C – Teachers. The meeting would therefore defer any decisions to be made until the next meeting in March 2022.




The reflection was led by Karen Butler.


Apologies for Absence


Apologies for absence were received from Ila Gangotra, Councillor Shelim, Sarah Bradley, Thomas Kingsley-Jones, Hilary Harris, Maggie Callaghan, Clare Roberts and Richard Rhodes.


Minutes of Meeting on 13/09/21 pdf icon PDF 338 KB


As the meeting was not quorate, the approval of the minutes was deferred to the next meeting.


Membership Update


Mark Beeley, Democratic Services, read out an email from Richard Rhodes. He would be leaving the area and therefore would be stepping down from his role on SACRE. Members of SACRE passed on their thanks to Richard for all his work over the past couple of years.


Budget Update


Clive Haines, School Leadership Development Manager, explained the total budget allocated for SACRE was £6,260. £850 had been spent on supplies and services, while £4,450 had been spent on professional services and consultancies. This meant that there was a total spend of £5,215, there was £1,045 left in the budget for the rest of the financial year.


SACRE Annual Report 2020/21 pdf icon PDF 224 KB


Anne Andrews said that there was a new template for the annual report which linked in with the new self-evaluation tool. The report would be analysed by NASACRE and the Department for Education so that the executive could get a better picture of what was happening on the ground. Anne Andrews had written the report and a copy of it was attached to the agenda. It related to the last academic year and was usually considered by SACRE at the first meeting of the academic year, but this year it had come to a later meeting. The attendance details and budget information still needed to be added to the report. Anne Andrews asked if SACRE Members could read the report and let her know of any changes or amendments, it was proposed that the report would be submitted by the end of February 2022. It was suggested that approval for the report could be sought by email in the new year.


The Chairman read out part of the Chairman’s introduction, which would be included at the start of the annual report.


Karen Butler noted that the meeting was not quorate and questioned how the annual report could be signed off before it needed to be submitted.


The Chairman confirmed that the report would be circulated to SACRE Members by email so that they could comment and agree the report before it was submitted.


REQM Gold Award


Anne Andrews informed Members that REQM stood for Religious Education Quality Mark and was an award overseen and supported by the Religious Education Council. Schools needed to complete a self-evaluation table and took part in a mini inspection which specifically looked at the RE department. Those schools which were considered to have an excellent quality of teaching were awarded the REQM gold award. In March 2021, Churchmead School received the gold award and two RE teachers at the school were also Members of SACRE, Thomas Kingsley-Jones and Sarah Bradley. Another school in RBWM had also received the gold award in 2018 but this was under different leadership. Anne Andrews suggested that the Chairman of SACRE wrote a letter to Churchmead to congratulate them on the achievement.


The Chairman confirmed that he would write a letter of congratulations to the school, a copy would be circulated to SACRE Members once it had been sent out.


ACTION – Mike Gammage to write a letter of congratulations to Churchmead School.


Ofsted/SIAMS Reports


Clive Haines explained that there had been reports but there was no mention of RE as the reports were now a lot shorter. If RE was mentioned, it would be in the feedback to the school rather than in the published report.


Anne Andrews added that there had been no SIAMs inspections in RBWM since they resumed in October 2021.


Clive Haines said that 97% of schools in the borough were rated either good or outstanding, Ofsted therefore felt that there was a good level of curriculum being taught.


Anne Andrews asked if it was possible for Clive Haines to see if there had been any ‘deep dives’ into RE from any recent Ofsted inspections.


Clive Haines confirmed that a deep dive on RE had not yet taken place.


Feedback or suggestions from teachers


Barbara Meaney said that she had been trying to balance in person and online teaching as a number of children had been off ill. It was a very difficult and busy time for all teachers.


Anne Andrews agreed that teachers were on their knees, it was a challenging time.


Feedback from school visits


Anthony Lewis said that he had visited one school to give a talk which consisted of a one hour assembly and Q&A session with around 200 sixth formers at the LVS School. Due to the changing Covid situation, January 2022 visits had been suspended. Anthony Lewis had also spoken at a school in Reading and a school in Bracknell, with some interesting and challenging discussions taking place.


Update on Development of Secondary RE Network


Anne Andrews said that Clive Haines had sent out a questionnaire to schools on the network but only six replies had been received. Five said that they would be interested in an RE network but three of the responses said that they were currently too busy to participate in a potential network. Headteachers needed more time before a new network was launched. Some schools in the borough had not seen the survey and so Anne Andrews needed to consider how this was done in future.


SACRE Development Plan to Summer 2023: Update on approval by RBWM


Clive Haines said that a briefing paper would need to be produced on the proposals SACRE had set out as part of their development plan. Services were being cut and the Department for Education were cutting grant funding which was available to the council, this meant that some services were under pressure.


The Chairman explained that the plan had come out of a three-month long consultation and was put together to show what the minimum was that SACRE needed to do to be effective. It would double the budget which was a significant increase, but it was felt this increase was needed for SACRE to properly fulfil its mandate.


Clive Haines confirmed that some other SACREs within Berkshire received a much smaller budget than RBWM.


Anne Andrews said that nationally it was a different picture, the RBWM SACRE had half the budget of many others across the country.


The Chairman said that he understood the pressures on resources and services that the council currently faced.


Councillor Stimson had a suggestion that the Spoore, Merry and Rixman Foundation could be approached for funding but this was a Maidenhead charity and SACRE represented the whole borough.


Anne Andrews said that as the SACRE self-assessment tool was used, other ways to achieve items on the development plan could still happen without needing the increased budget. A lot of the plan was still possible without additional funding.


Update on Pan-Berkshire Hub collaboration


Karen Butler said that the Pan Berkshire hub had a meeting coming up. A lot of the focus would be around the timings for the syllabus review and how it would be carried out.


Barbara Meaney said that she recently attended the hub filming session at a Mosque in Reading.


Anthony Lewis commented on the update to the curriculum, he was pleased with the Pan Berkshire syllabus as it included the non-religious world view. He had read an executive summary of the report which had been produced. Anthony Lewis asked how much of the report would be fed into the syllabus review.


Anne Andrews said that the report had mentioned world views but this did not necessarily mean that more information needed to be put in. It was an acknowledgment that we lived in a multi-religious and multi-secular society. Anne Andrews did not anticipate that the requirement for pupils to learn about a non-religious world view would be removed. It was important for teachers and SACRE Members to be involved in the creation and revision of the syllabus.


On the films, Anne Andrews said that a film had been created in the Orthodox Synagogue in Reading and there were plans for a film in the Orthodox Christian Church, also in Reading, after Christmas. There were plans for a Humanist film, in collaboration with the Humanist representative from Bracknell. Work was being done to increase the number of films, notes were currently being written with Barbara Meaney on the Catholic films.


Anthony Lewis said that teachers were very busy from the conversations that he had had with them, it could be a challenge to ensure the depth was covered.


Anne Andrews agreed that it would be a challenge. There was a NASACRE training event in the spring on world views, once this date was confirmed she would let SACRE Members know. SACRE had paid a one-off fee so that all Members could attend training events from NASACRE for no additional cost.


Karen Butler asked if the sessions were recorded.


Anne Andrews confirmed that all sessions were recorded and were available to SACREs that were members of NASACRE.


SACRE Newsletter January 2022


Anne Andrews appealed to SACRE Members that if there was anything that anyone wanted to include in the newsletter, to email her. It could be something happening in the community or anything that could be helpful for RE teachers, any suggestions were welcome.


Any Other Business


Karen Butler commented on the use of the SACRE self-assessment tool. She felt it was important that this tool was revisited to so that SACRE Members could familiarise themselves with the criteria. Karen Butler asked what NASACRE thought SACREs should do with the tool.


Anne Andrews said that there would be a session on the self-assessment tool at the NASACRE AGM in 2022. Lots of SACREs were considering one section of the tool at each meeting. If there was anything that needed to be considered, this could then be fed into the development plan. It was something to consider, it could be added to the agenda for the next SACRE meeting in March 2022. Members could then see what SACRE was good at and what it could improve on.


The Chairman said that there could be a discussion at the next meeting in March on whether SACRE Members wanted to use the self-assessment tool. SACRE had invested many hours, over several meetings between 2015 and 2017, on completing an earlier version of the NASACRE Self-Assessment Toolkit. Despite all those discussions and ensuing reports, almost nothing had changed, other than that the number of SACRE meetings had increased from three to four per year. The central conclusion from that self-assessment exercise was that SACRE could not advance and become more effective without significant additional resources. This was an important underpinning to the SACRE plan to 2023.


Anne Andrews said that the tool had been circulated to SACRE Members alongside the agenda, it could not be included due to accessibility requirements which were now required for all documents published on the RBWM website. Anne Andrews said that she would feed this back to NASACRE.


ACTION – Anne Andrews to inform NASACRE that the self-assessment tool did not meet accessibility requirements and therefore could not be published in the agenda or on the council’s website.


Dates of Future Meetings

·       Thursday 24th March 2022 at 6pm – Zoom

·       TBC June/July 2022 at 6pm – In person?

·       TBC September 2022 at 6pm – Zoom

·       TBC December 2022 at 6pm – Zoom


In September 2021, Full Council agreed the split between virtual and in person meetings. For SACRE, it was encouraged to have meetings virtually, with one per year in person.


The Chairman explained that SACRE had been advised by RBWM Full Council to hold meetings virtually, with one per year to be held in person. It had been suggested that the summer meeting could be held in person and asked if any SACRE Members would be interested in providing a venue.


Barbara Meaney said that she was happy to volunteer her school, St Edwards, and the Catholic Church in Windsor.


Karen Butler suggested that it would be good to hold the meeting at Churchmead School, after the success of their REQM gold award.


Anne Andrews notified SACRE Members that there was a training session run by NASACRE on 18th January 2022 from 7pm-8pm on how to be an effective Chairman. On 21st February 2022 from 7pm-8pm there was a session on world views. There were further sessions in March and June, but the exact dates of these sessions had not yet been confirmed. The March session was to be held on the self-assessment tool and therefore it was advised that some Members of SACRE could attend this session.


SACRE Members noted that the next meeting would be held on Thursday 24th March 2022, starting at 6pm.