The law specifies Religious Education must be taught in all schools, although it is not a part of the national curriculum.
Every Local Authority has to have a Standing Advisory Council for Religious Education (SACRE). Further information is available from the National Association of Standing Advisory Council for Religious Education.
The aims of religious education are to enable pupils to:
- acquire knowledge and understanding of religion, particularly as expressed in Christianity
- the other principal religions represented in Great Britain
- develop the ability to reflect, respond thoughtfully and evaluate what they learn about religions
National framework for Religious Education
The main faiths covered in the syllabus are:
- Christianity - which believe in living according to the loving nature of God as revealed by Jesus’ life, death and resurrection, the Bible and prayer, helped in this task by the Holy Spirit
- Buddhism - which belief entails taking advantage of being born as a human being to develop energetically the qualities of kindness and awareness in order to achieve freedom from suffering and to help others to do the same
- Hinduism - which learns how to be reunited with God – of whom all living beings are eternally part – and learn this through study, devotion, prayer and service to others
- Islam - which believes to submit life to the will of Allah, as revealed to the Prophet Muhammad through the Qur’an and to do so through a declaration of faith, regular prayer, almsgiving, fasting and pilgrimage
- Judaism - which believes that one should live according to God’s laws, as revealed by Moses, the most important of which is to believe in one God and to learn to love God through study, through prayer, through good deeds and by celebrating the yearly cycle of holy days
- Sikhism - which believes that there is only one God and that He is without form. They call their God ‘Waheguru’ and believe that He is everywhere, created everything, has no fear or hatred, was not born and does not die. Sikhs regard God as close to each person and He is often therefore called ‘Father’.
Promoting community cohesion and values in school
The Education Act 2002 laid a duty on maintained schools to:
- promote the well-being of pupils at the school, and in the case of a school in England, promote community cohesion
- HMCI has a duty under section 5 of the Education Act 2005 (as inserted by section 154 of the Education and Inspections Act 2006) to report on the contribution made by schools to community cohesion
- Ofsted will be looking for evidence to evaluate a school’s contribution to promoting well-being. Guidance on practical examples of the ways in which schools can contribute to well-being includes 'Delivering high quality citizenship and RE, to help children understand how society works; to prepare them for playing their part as adult citizens; and to help them understand other faiths and cultures while developing a sense of shared identity'.
The Education Act 1944 laid a requirement on schools '‘to promote the spiritual, moral, mental, cultural and physical development of pupils’. This is sometimes referred to in the abbreviation 'SMSC'.
In November 2014, the Department for Education published guidance on promoting British values in schools to ensure young people leave school prepared for life in modern Britain.
- Review the Agreed RE Syllabus to ensure its effectiveness
- Strengthen links with schools to contribute to the monitoring and improvement of standards, quality and provision of RE in schools
- Develop links with other partners (other key partners being: the local authority, local faith communities, relevant associations and local parents).
- Collective Worship: contribute to monitoring and improvement of quality and provision of collective worship
- Spiritual, moral, social and cultural development: encourage best practice in schools, including promotion of inter faith harmony
The SACRE regularly review the progress of its Development Plan at its meetings, you can download the latest agendas and minutes and the latest annual report produced by SACRE.
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The collective worship guidance includes sections on: the legal requirements; definitions of SMSC (social, moral, spiritual and cultural development ) which Ofsted use for their school inspections, planning successful collective worship including half termly planning sheets; reflection and prayer; monitoring collective worship by gathering evidence from staff and pupils and much more.
Schools have a legal responsibility to offer collective worship each day. Should they consider this is not appropriate they can request the SACRE to determine whether this should be relaxed by completing the attached withdrawal form.
The Peterborough SACRE meet once a term, which comprises of four statutory groups:
- Group A - representatives of non-Anglican Christian denominations, other religions and religious denominations
- Group B - representatives of the Church of England
- Group C - representatives of the teachers' associations
- Group D - representatives of the Local Authority
|Group A||Janet Berkman - Jewish representative |
Zulfikar Manji - Muslim representative
Vacancy - Baptist Church representative
Gurdev Singh - Sikh representative
Adrian Peters - Free Church representative
Sukaina Manji - Muslim representative
Vacancy - The Quaker representative
Vacancy - Catholic representative
Vacancy - Hindu representative
Vacancy - Orthodox representative
Vacancy - Buddhist representative
|Group B||Philip Davies - Church of England: Peterborough Diocese |
Vacancy - Church of England: Peterborough Diocese
Rachel Beeson - Church of England: Ely Diocese
Rt Rev'd John Flack - Church of England: Peterborough Diocese
|Group C||Ian Forsyth |
|Group D||Councillor Brian Rush |
Councillor Nick Sandford
Councillor Amjad Iqbal
|Co-opted members||Vacancy - Humanist Representative |
Iain Simper - Peterborough Learning Partnership
The responsibilities of the SACRE are:
- to advise the Local Authority on Religious Education in accordance with an agreed syllabus
- to monitor the provision and quality of Religious Education taught according to its agreed syllabus, together with the overall effectiveness of the syllabus
- to provide advice and support on the effective teaching of Religious Education in accordance with the local agreed syllabus
- and advise on maintaining the quality and standards of Religious Education
- to provide advice to the Local Authority and its schools on methods of teaching the Peterborough City Council Agreed Syllabus, including the choice of teaching materials
- to decide whether the Local Authority's Agreed Syllabus for Religious Education needs to be reviewed and to require the Local Authority does so
- to produce an annual report to QCDA and Schools
- to provide advice to the Local Authority on Collective Worship in its schools (this does not include Voluntary Aided or Voluntary Controlled Schools)
- to consider any requests from Head teachers to hold Collective Worship that is not of a broadly Christian character
- to advise on matters relating to training for teachers in RE and Collective Worship.
Useful related links
The following websites for Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural development (SMSC) are recommended for schools' consideration:
The following website are the recommend key related links to Religious Education:
If you need any further information please contact:
- The Clerk to SACRE
Learning and Skills Children's Services
Peterborough City Council
Telephone: 01733 863716
- RE Advisor for Peterborough City Council and SACRE
Cambridgeshire County Council
Telephone: 01480 375881
Further information is available from the National Association of Standing Advisory Council for Religious Education.