SACRE meeting 12th November 2007
School feedback supports the new syllabus, with only one or two exceptions. It was noted that the response rate was not ideal (97 out of 286 schools).
The Bahai representative asked if 9 "other religions" (than C of E) could be mentioned in the syllabus, rather than the existing 6. It was agreed that they could be named, but that they would not be mandatory. Of course, Humanism was not mentioned, even though those holding non-religious worldviews outnumber all 9 religions put together.
Examination results were reported to be average, overall.
The OFSTED report Making Sense of Religion was considered. This highlights weaknesses in RE, and the need for SACREs to promote social cohesion, diversity and citizenship. One member was skeptical about the aims of the government and wrongly interpreted a quotation contained in the report. Coincidentally, this quotation should not have been contained in the report; I sent OFSTED an email about this and am awaiting a reply (see report for details).
The RE advisor said that more time would be needed to digest the implications of the OFSTED report on the local RE syllabus, particularly regarding social cohesion. It therefore seems likely that the 2008 syllabus will not address social cohesion, which of course would need the inupt of Humanist ideas.
NOTE: Dom Busher of Crawley Interfaith Network (CIFN) attended as an observer. CIFN is a secular organisation which I hope to be working with (I hope to give a presentation on Humanism in the new year). His support can only encourage future Humanis representation on SACRE.