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Issue: 4

This issue includes:
  • News from the AGM
  • Membership subscriptions
  • Supporting SMSC
  • Inter Faith news
  • FAQs
  • Your next SACRE agenda
  • Your SACRE details
  • SACRE annual reports
To access links in this newsletter, you will need to be logged in to the NASACRE website. Log in information was sent to Officers of your SACRE in September. Please contact them if you require these details.

AGM 2014

Rising to the Challenge
Delegate feedback – comment and analysis

Our AGM in 2014 was well attended, not only in quantity of members present but also quality of engagement with this year’s theme: Rising to the Challenge. Many commented on the extraordinary energy in the room.

Thanks to the time and care that many delegates put into completing the AGM feedback forms at the end of a packed day, the executive are now fortunate to have a rich mine of responses from which to garner a picture of what SACRE members’ current experience is, not only as conference delegates but also as members of NASACRE and indeed out in their own SACREs. All of this will of course be carefully reviewed and is deeply appreciated.

With regard to the conference, delegates were asked to grade their experience on 18 different aspects of the day, from the venue and food through to specific outcomes of the day for their SACRE. The overwhelming majority in each case awarded one of the highest two grades (positive or strongly positive) to every single aspect.

Stephen Lloyd, MP's keynote and vice chair of the REC Helen Harrison's address are now available on the website. The ten seminars presented by SACREs will be available once they are all received. These were particularly appreciated.

In response to the question about the main challenges which SACREs face, over 50 items were recorded. NASACRE will be analysing these over the next few months and finding ways to offer support. As a starting point, see 20+ ideas for SACREs to consider at SACRE meetings.

The feedback is probably best summed up overall in this handful of concluding comments extracted from a few of the forms: “Well-organised, the seminars went well; A relevant theme and important message”, “One of the best NASACREs ever”, ”Excellent”, ”Useful”, “stimulating, enlightening but also really enjoyable”.
We look forward to seeing you next year.
Sushma Sahajpal, Executive Member

Invoices have now been sent to SACRE clerks. At the beginning of September, SACRE Briefing 5 will contain the new log in details for the website. Payment will need to be received by the end of August for your SACRE to be included in the new mailing list from the start of the year. Please check from time to time with your finance colleagues about the progress of your payment. 
One reminder will be sent at the end of July to chairs and clerks of any SACREs from which payment has not yet been received.


NASACRE welcomes the RSA report Schools with Soul which offers a very powerful and original analysis of school-based provision for SMSC. The project was an RSA-led investigation carried out with an inter-disciplinary group of 40 experts in research, school leadership, teacher training, school inspection and social media. The investigation used a pioneering method of evidence-gathering supported by two intensive meetings of the expert group. Culham St Gabriel’s supported the investigation financially and participated in the group and writing process.

In the Resources section of the website, you will find some downloadable materials which offer an approach and tools that is educationally coherent to help promote SMSC, especially spiritual development. We believe that SMSC is fundamentally about the nature and purpose of education. The documents offer tools that will help with Ofsted, but more importantly the PowerPoint offers a view that goes beyond Ofsted. It is vital, as the RSA report suggests, that schools work collectively to define and understand what SMSC means in their context and how this improves learning  for the pupils/students.

Click here for the SMSC documents and tools.




When is a religion not a religion? Answer, when it is not recognised as such by the Inter Faith Network (IFN) – or at least that used to be the answer. Until this year, under its faith group category, the IFN’s constitution permitted IFN membership only to nine specific religious traditions, or to sub-groups within these*.

In recent years, this arrangement had been coming under increasing questioning and challenge.

The IFN took the opportunity provided by the occasion of its 25th anniversary to carry out a Strategic Review of the IFN’s whole operation, including a review of its criteria for membership of the different categories. The Review put forward a series of proposals, many of which were debated and passed at an Extraordinary General Meeting in May this year. Broadly speaking, the constraint of recognising just nine specific religions has been abandoned. This new openness is balanced by an element of “vetting” in the process by which a newly applying faith group can be granted membership, and by the introduction of a code of conduct to be adopted throughout the IFN.

It is difficult to overestimate the radical implications of these changes, even if they will take some time to have a major impact. In effect, and in principle, anything goes. No longer will any faith group be able to keep another legitimate faith group from joining the IFN table. No longer will any faith group be able to set itself up as the norm against what it sees as deviant or heretical versions of its own tradition. All is now relative, and this will take many of us well out of our comfort zones and habitual perceptions.

As it happens, SACREs are potentially ahead of the game here. Their statutory framework does in fact embody an element of flexibility and local variation, and this has enabled some SACREs to be inclusive in new ways. For example, some SACREs now have a Pagan representative in Group A, and one SACRE has a Chair who is a member of the (Mormon) Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. (It is worth recalling that it is the Local Authority that determines which faith groups should be represented on Group A, even if the LA is heavily advised and prompted by the SACRE!)

However, inclusiveness may come at a price. The proliferation of recognised faith groups, and of distinct sub-groups, presents a much more disorganised picture than the earlier pattern of a finite set of normative faith traditions, while the loss of normative reference points could well lead to some mainstream groups feeling deeply unhappy and alienated at being required to work alongside and give respect to a faith community or sub-group which they have historically anathematised. Some SACREs at the leading edge are beginning to model ways of coping with these tensions. What is being learned here needs to be shared with other SACREs – and even maybe with the IFN!

* The nine are: Baha’i, Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Jainism, Judaism, Sikhism, and Zoroastrianism.
The next Inter Faith Week (November) is likely to have an emphasis on involving young people in the activities of that week. SACREs could contribute significantly to delivering this. Please highlight this with your SACRE now and look out for more detailed information and requests in the September edition of SACRE Briefing.


The FAQ section of the website is frequently reviewed and updated. 

Revised FAQ New FAQs:


  • 20+ ideas for SACREs to consider. These emanated from the AGM and conference held in May (see above) and can also be accessed from the Your next agenda section of the website.
  • SMSC: support documents and tools (for further information, see above)
  • RE Regional Strategy Pilot
    This strategy to ensure that there are more robust arrangements for training and supporting teachers of RE is based on Recommendation 4 of the RE Council’s Review of Religious Education. The RE Council and NATRE working in collaboration with Culham St Gabriel’s are implementing a pilot version of the strategy which they hope will help teachers of RE to develop a regional strategy in their own area, adapted and suited to their own professional development priorities.
    Culham’s St Gabriel’s is currently inviting expressions of interest. Click on the link above for further details and to download the expression of interest form.
  • RE Expert Advisory Group (EAG)
    The above link provides information on: 
    - Introducing the RE Expert Advisory Group
    - What is the remit of the RE EAG?
    - Who are the members of the RE EAG?
    - How has the RE EAG begun its work?
Visit the Your next agenda section of the website.
Click here to check.
Click here to email new details.


Thank you to those SACREs who have already submitted reports for the year 2012-13.
Please email your SACRE report as one document in PDF format with a maximum size of approx 3Mb to:
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