Agenda item

Interim Annual Report



Michael Housed has drafted an Interim Report with Chair and Vice Chair. It is late due to operational issues and COVID19, but once approved by Chair and Vice Chair it will be circulated. A further report will be ready for submission in Autumn 2022.


In November 2020, hours for religious education, philosophy and ethics broken down per year group. Nationally, 2928 schools provided information to NASACRE. 20% chose not to report their RE percentages.


Michael House will be following up with several schools because there is either no information given or areas where 0% hours reported. These schools include Lipson Co-operative Academy, Plymouth High School for Girls, Devonport High School for Boys, Tor Bridge High, Coombe Dean School and Hele’s School.


Michael House also reported that 8 of 16 Secondary Schools have decreased their hours per year group for RE, 3 have increased and 5 have no data. Therefore, Michael will be sending a detailed survey to Secondary RE Leads asking about any support they might require and any collective worship that is happening. This will also reiterate the requirements of the agreed syllabus and the details for collective worship.


Michael House went on to discuss that Government does not currently provide GCSE results for RE studies, but they do provide these for the Bachelorette, so the missing details will be asked for in the survey.


Once the surveys have been returned, Michael will report back to SACRE with the results.


Chair thanked Michael for the update and asked if a conversation with Plymouth High School for Girls Headteacher had happened yet. Michael confirmed a letter had been sent as per last meeting and that he is hoping the survey will be a way in to support them.


Chair expressed her concern that the issue with Plymouth High School for Girls has been ongoing for 18 months with RE time being used to get students to and from PE, and feels further action is needed as phone calls have been made and letters sent, and was concerned the school was being given too much space.


Michael House agreed it needs to be escalated further but suggested that as the survey would be going out shortly, it would be good to follow that.


Councillor Mary Aspinall agreed with the Chair and said it needed to be raised to the Regional Schools Commissioner. Councillor Jonathan Drean agreed and explained his concerns about other schools thinking they can get away with the same if no action is taken with Plymouth High School for Girls.


Ed Pawson agreed but explained that the Regional School Commissioner might not be the correct authority, and would it be the Department for Education. Michael House agreed and explained it would be the Education Standards Fund because it links the Department of Education with Academy Schools.


Ed Pawson explained that he had been involved in sending a letter to an Academy Trust, who have secondary schools in Devon, Cornwall and Plymouth and they are trying to cut their RE time but it is not in black and white yet so it is hard to pinpoint. He asked if Michael House was following up on this also, and Michael explained that he was not aware of this, but would follow up after the meeting.


Councillor Mary Aspinall asked if the survey could show what schools are providing now as well as what they plan on providing from September 2022. Ed Pawson agreed, adding that schools mustn’t get the impression that RE is fair game to cut.


Michael House explained that whilst it is the role of SACRE to guide, inform and challenge, the different relationships themselves are challenging.


Chair warned that as the deadline for providing an Annual Report was not met, the SACRE would receive a letter as the Annual Report is a legal requirement. Chair offered her support on the Interim report.


Councillor Mary Aspinall asked for a vote from SACRE members asking that once Chair and Vice Chair have seen and agreed the Annual Report with Michael House, that it could be sent, rather than waiting until the next SACRE meeting to agree it. Members voted unanimously in favour.


Michael House added that with regards to budget, that when conferences and training is offered to members, within reason, members can be funded to attend.