SACRE meeting 9th November 2009

The meeting was chaired by Peter Griffiths, Cabinet Member for Education and Schools. He is the councillor who refuses to have a Humanist member of SACRE (read more about this here).

New members were welcomed. These include Mohinder Galowalia, Sikh representative, who is in favour of Humanist membership. I often meet Mohinder at Crawley InterFaith Forum (he has just been made Chair) and other events.

Ishrat Naveed, Development Worker for Crawley InterFaith, also attended the meeting as an observer.

The meeting then considered recent A Level results in RE and looked at an AS past paper briefly. One of the teacher representatives described the stress of taking two examination papers, one after the other.

The members were told that the new government RE Guidance had not been published yet. This is a replacement for Circular 1/94, used by the Council in the last administration to exclude Humanism from SACRE.

It was mentioned that SACRE can ask for the RE syllabus to be modified at any time, not just every 5 years. So it would be possible to improve the coverage of Humanism in the current syllabus.

Nigel Bloodworth said that there is a legal expectation that Collective Worhsip should take place for pupil of all ages and that only occasional exceptions are permitted. One member suggested that Collective Worship, or "reflection" as he refers to it, could take place within the class or year group, rather than the entire school, overcoming difficulties in secondary schools.

After the meeting, Nigel Bloodworth spoke with me. He welcomed my presence as an observer and said that he did not have any news about Humanist membership.

The next SACRE meeting will take place in a school, yet to be decided.


Andrew Edmondson