Agenda and minutes

Venue: Committee Suite - County Hall

Contact: Gerry Rufolo 01392 382299  Email:

Note No. Item





The Chair welcomed Mrs R Saltmarsh who was attending the meeting in her capacity as a Co-opted Member of the Council's Standards Committee to observe and monitor compliance with the Council’s ethical governance framework.


Following a request from Ed Pawson Members reflected on an inscription from a spring ‘thirst for living water’ relating to their personal, spiritual, emotional and physiological attachments to water.




Minutes of the meeting held on 19 November 2019 (previously circulated).


The Minutes of the meeting held on 19 November 2019 were signed as a correct record.



Items Requiring Urgent Attention

Items which in the opinion of the Chair should be considered at the meeting as matters of urgency.


There was no matter raised as a matter of urgency.



Devon SACRE Membership

Ed Pawson to report


The Chair welcomed Gurmit Kang, representing the Sikh Community, to his first meeting of the SACRE.


Ed Pawson reported vacancies in regard to the Catholic, Baptist and Muslim community representatives. The organisations would be requested to submit representatives.


Sue Shute had also tendered her resignation.





Agreed Syllabus Training Updates pdf icon PDF 997 KB

Ed Pawson to report


Ed Pawson reported that following the launch of the Agreed Syllabus last year further training dates/events were arranged as follows:


RE Career Professional Development 2020
New syllabus training day

•Mon 16th Mar, Cullompton Community Centre

•Thurs 19th Mar, St John’s PS, Totnes


Understanding Christianity training

•Fri 31st Jan 2020 in Plymouth

•Mon 8th Jun at Broomhill Art Hotel, Barnstaple 

•Thurs 18th Jun at Trinity CE Primary Exeter


Secondary training

Raising the grade in RE

Fri 5th June 2020, Cullompton Community Centre


Primary training

Leading RE in the primary school

Wed 10th June 2020, Cullompton Community Centre


Ed Pawson also reported on the results of a Teacher survey for January 2020 about the impact of the Agreed Syllabus (survey attached). From the initial relatively small sample generally the results appeared encouraging and with time the Syllabus would become more established and familiar with schools. Members suggested that where the survey answers appeared to be negative further comments should be sought as to the reasons.


Further surveys would be conducted in the future to identify trends.   


Members discussion points included:

·         how SACRE could further promote the Syllabus via local LTLRE hubs and leaders assisting and supporting schools;

·         promotion of the Syllabus via DASH/DAPH for example;

·         the very limited time allocated for post graduate Primary School teacher training (4 hours and now 12 hours recommended per year);

·         the potential positive impact of church schools on the non-church schools within Multi Academy Trusts; and

·         the new Ofsted requirements in respect of RE and the legal requirements and  impact of potential ‘Deep Dive’ inspections on maintained schools.    



SACRE Annual Report, Exam Feedback and Schools Monitoring

Ed Pawson to report


Ed Pawson reported on the draft Annual Report for 2018/19 which covered activity and updates, Interfaith work, Holocaust Memorial Day, Standards in RE and Collective worship.


Members were asked to review the draft (to be forwarded) and send any comments to Ed Pawson by 28 February 2020. 


Members reviewed the statistical data in the Report covering national trends, GCSE results for Devon Schools (anonymised in the Report) for 2019, and outcomes 2018 -2019.


Ed Pawson further reported on NATRE Survey results: Key findings, quotations from recent Ofsted reports for Devon schools where matters of relevance to SACRE were specifically mentioned.


Members’ discussion points included:

·         themes identified from the data: the national decrease in entries for GCSE RE, the short course entries were not reflected in the data and therefore did not fully indicate the level of RE teaching; Devon was below the national average in terms of attainment but significantly higher in terms of entries and there appeared to be a correlation between entry numbers and attainment which implied smaller entries were more committed and this was reflected in higher performance; and it appeared that White British pupil attainment was lower, the corollary of which was that attainment in BME diverse areas was higher;

·         where it appeared from the data that RE was not being adequately covered by an individual school this would prompt contact with the school and the offer of a visit by Ed Pawson with the Chair (when available) on behalf of SACRE (subject to the school willing to engage), and the meeting noted the positive outcome of a visit to a School;

·         DASH could be invited to look at the successful schools in terms of RE, identify common factors and promulgate good practice;

·         as proposed individual schools should not be identified in the final Report but the data showing Devon and National trends should be made clear;

·         national work relating to identifying beacon schools and local work to raise the profile of the Report and the work of SACREs with the MAT leads, MPs and Councillors for example;

·         the availability of an excellent resource Picturing Islam for the RE teaching of Islam available at RE Today for a fee; and

·         due to unavailability of timely data, in future the draft Report would be presented to the June/July meeting of the SACRE (using last year’s data).


It was AGREED that the presentation of the annual Report be made to the June/July meeting of this SACRE (using the previous year’s data).      





Review of Guidance on Collective Worship

Ed Pawson to report


Ed Pawson reported on the proposed formation of a Working Party to Review Guidance on Collective Worship, involving the Devon, Torbay and Plymouth SACREs on Wednesday 4th March, Totnes, at St Johns Primary School (subject to confirmation) and produce readable and concise advice. 


Up to two volunteers with practical experience in this area was sought from the SACRE. Belinda Twiggs volunteered for this.  Any other volunteer should contact Ed Pawson.   



Learn Teach Lead Religious Education Updates pdf icon PDF 181 KB

Tatiana Wilson to report


Tatiana Wilson reported on

·         training for Hub Leaders on 13 March 2020 to discuss support for Schools in regard to the new Agreed Syllabus [Information on the role of LTLRE attached];

·         development of a ‘toolkit’ available (soon to be rolled out on the website) for all non-VA schools to assist them with any ‘Deep Dive’ Ofsted inspection which related to: intent, implementation and impact (information on the new Ofsted Framework and implementation criteria attached); and

·         importance of continued SACRE funding support for LTLRE .


Members’ discussion points included the difficulties for teachers in attending Hub meetings after schools’ hours(notwithstanding the Ofsted Deep Dive impending inspections), and the South West School Alliance proposed Breakfast meetings.


It was AGREED that SACRE contribute £1200 for the LTLRE Hubs.





National Developments: Religious Education Quality Mark (REQM) pdf icon PDF 235 KB

Ed Pawson to report


Ed Pawson reported on the REQM (details attached) which had been recently relaunched nationally and supported by SACREs which involved a ‘light touch’ inspection and a fee (which could be prohibitive for smaller primary schools). Part of a school’s evidence towards the Quality Mark would be attendance at LTL RE Hubs and visits. The toolkit for non-VA Schools (referred to in Minute 108) would also be useful in helping gain the QM and being recognised with a gold or silver award.      



Interfaith Week and Holocaust Memorial Day Feedback

Ed Pawson and Jeremy Roberts to report


Ed Pawson reported on the success of a Faith and Belief Training day event at the Exeter Mosque in December 2019. Consideration was being given to developing a ‘welcome badge’ to encourage visits to the Mosque and other places of worship by and to local schools, subject to safeguarding, school organisation and curriculum training. Rosemary Kriesheh offered to assist with any proposed visits to the Mosque. 


Members noted the success of the Holocaust Memorial Day in Exeter and Opening Ceremony in the Cathedral and associated events at the United Reformed Church, the Synagogue and Guildhall. Feedback had been very positive, especially the involvement of so many primary school children in the events, notably at the Cathedral (circa 480 children) with their inspirational singing. The event had made a positive impact on the children and their school communities.


Active consideration would now be made by the HMD Group (organising the day) to extending the events over two days.


The SACRE Members thanked the contributions and support from Exeter City Council, Devon County Council and especially the HMD Organising Group and Ed Pawson for all their hard work and commitment.


Keith Denby and other Members discussed the opportunity and feasibility of marking HMD in North Devon, commemorating, for example, the 3000 Jewish refugee community in Ilfracombe during WW2 including recognising their presence with a memorial plaque on the local Museum or Hotel.


The next HMD meeting would review the success of the Day and start planning for next year.  




Dates of Meetings

SW SACRE: Monday, 2nd March 2020,


Next SACRE: Thursday, 25 June 2020


SW SACRE: Monday, 2 March 2020


Next SACRE: Thursday, 25 June 2020