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Issue: 9

This issue includes:

NASACRE membership 2015-16

To view all the resources on the website, your SACRE needs to be a member of NASACRE. Locked areas are indicated with a white padlock and require you to log in. 

A few days ago the website log-in details were changed for this new academic year. These new log-in details have been sent to the SACRE clerks of those SACREs from which by the end of August, we had received payment of the membership subscription.

Clerks have been invited to share the new log-in with members. If you have not yet received this information, please contact your SACRE clerk.

If you are a SACRE clerk and did not receive the log-in information email but think your invoice has been paid (first sent 5th June), please email the Treasurer providing full details regarding payment. From this point, receipt of subscription payments will be checked weekly.

Professor John Martin Hull M.A. Ph.D. Litt.D. 

A Tribute 

Former NASACRE Chair Julie Grove and our current Treasurer, Rev. Prebendary Michael Metcalf (formerly Lichfield Diocesan Director of Education) provide two companion pieces which give a brief flavour of Professor John Hull’s outstanding and many contributions to field of RE and his role in the formation of NASACRE.
Julie Grove writes:

John will be remembered for many reasons. He was a fine man. During his blessedly long life his achievements were many and various, both within the field of religious education and beyond it. After David Blunkett, he was the most famous blind man in the UK, writing movingly about his experiences of blindness, which challenged him but never defined him. He was a radical theologian, ending his career as Honorary Professor in Practical Theology at The Queen's Foundation for Ecumenical Theological Education in Birmingham. He was passionate about issues of social justice and campaigned energetically on theological grounds against the economic system, nuclear weapons, the sale of UK armaments, human trafficking and the military use of drones, protesting at Faslane and Aldermaston. 
John came to England from his native Australia in 1959 to study at Cambridge. In 1966 he became a lecturer in Divinity at Westhill College and moved on two years later, taking up a post as lecturer in RE in the University of Birmingham, an institution he served for 36 years. He was the first person in the country to be offered a Chair in Religious Education and was subsequently made Dean of The Faculty of Education. 
As a person of deep Christian faith, John was principled and compassionate, always sensitive to the needs of others. He was imaginative and creative, excited by new ideas, always able to think outside the box, a non-conformist at heart. He had a delightfully mischievous sense of humour. He was an inspiration to all who knew him, brilliant in so many ways yet naturally self-effacing and modest. In an interview with the Church Times in 2013, he described himself as ‘really a jumped up RE teacher, or a jumped down one, depending on your values’.
Despite his comment, John was certainly best known for his work in the field of religious education where he was acknowledged as a leader and a visionary. He was a pioneer, one of the most influential thinkers on the subject in the last half-century, having made an immeasurable contribution to its development. His influence was mediated significantly for many years through his editorship of the British Journal of RE. As a key contributor to the ground-breaking Birmingham Agreed Syllabus for RE published in 1975, he advanced the move from confessional Christian nurture to a broader religious education curriculum in British schools. His concern was always to explore and model a Christian faith that allowed for multi-faith teaching, which he saw as an exercise in practical theology. He energetically - and successfully - challenged those who thought otherwise, whether in the classroom or in government, most notably with The Act Unpacked in 1988! 
Although he was at heart an academic and justly eminent in his field, he was truly grounded and, as a religious educator, he was superb. A gifted teacher anyway, he made the most profound material accessible. He was successful at any level, just as much at home bringing the sacred alive for 3 and 4 year olds as he was working with adults, whether non-specialist primary teachers or PhD students. He was convinced that even the youngest learners could respond to explicit religious ‘stuff’ when it was introduced in an appropriately concrete way and, furthermore, the benefits of the encounter went beyond the material itself, promoting pupils’ human development through the learning process. Thus it was that, long before the ‘learning about/learning from’ dynamic was conceived, ‘Religion in the Service of the Child’ had become the title of the University’s primary RE project. It was John’s initiative and for five years, I was enormously privileged to work with him in the team that developed a new pedagogy for primary RE, informed by theories of psychological development and summed up in the publication’s title: A Gift to the Child. In those years, I was constantly challenged, inspired and supported. It was a life-changing experience for me, personally as well as professionally. 
But John’s interests in RE, and his reputation, went far beyond the University of Birmingham and the UK. He was Emeritus President of the International Seminar on Religious Education and Values which he co-founded in the late 1970s. He travelled widely in response to invitations to speak and was always enthusiastically received and greatly respected. The esteem in which he was held was evidenced by the warmth of the greetings he received at his 71st birthday when he was presented with a Festschrift: Education, Religion and Society - Essays in Honour of John M. Hull, the work of eighteen of John's international colleagues and former students, commissioned to mark his 70th birthday. 
John died on 28th July 2015, just 3 months after celebrating his 80th birthday, a milestone occasion he joyfully admitted he did not expect to see. 
He was a lovely friend, now deeply, sadly missed. 
Michael Metcalf writes:

Professor John Hull’s seminal contributions in the field of Religious (and Adult) Education are widely known and justly celebrated. However, his role in the origins of NASACRE is not so well known, but should be equally recognised and appreciated. In a very real sense he was the “father” of NASACRE.
In the 1980’s, John was developing a very fruitful relationship with the St. Peter’s Saltley Trust (a charity recently created from the sale of the former Teacher Training College) under its first Director, Maggie Pickup. Numerous initiatives and potential projects flowed from John’s fertile mind and his engagement with current issues. Several of the Trust’s key programmes derived from, or were significantly influenced by, this partnership between John and the Trust.
When the 1988 Education Reform Act came into force, John seized on that major event with customary zest, offering both a radical critique of the Act itself, and also looking ahead to the practical implications of the Act. In particular, he saw very clearly that the setting up of new statutory SACREs across the country was happening in an organisational vacuum. While Trustees who were Diocesan Directors of Education were caught up in the nitty-gritty of helping to get their local SACREs duly constituted and up and running (I had six), John perceived the bigger and deeper picture.
We are mostly so accustomed now to the world of SACREs, that we have perhaps forgotten how unfamiliar they were, prior to the 1988 Act, for the great majority of Local Authorities. Now each LA had to have its own SACRE, containing a disparate set of stakeholder groups, holding statutory responsibilities and powers, having no effective precedents or models or guidance to follow, and needing to sort out how to make the whole system work. Mutual support, member training, and the sharing of experience and good practice were urgently needed.
John and the Saltley Trust therefore initiated a series of SACRE Forums for SACREs in the West Midlands and adjacent areas. These rapidly expanded to draw in SACREs from further afield. It was John who first floated the idea of a National Association of SACREs, at a café in Harborne near to the Saltley Trust offices, with members of the informal SACRE Forum planning group. The idea took root, and after further consultation and planning, NASACRE was launched at the House of Lords in the Spring of 1993.
Initially based in Birmingham and sponsored by the Trust, NASACRE quickly matured and has become a truly national and financially independent body. However, its ethos remains very much that of the early Forums, and its flourishing existence is a testimony to John’s foresight and creative response to a new and potentially problematic situation. NASACRE indeed is part of John’s rich legacy. Thank you for this, John, and for so much else! 

A date for your diary:
NASACRE Conference and AGM 2016

The NASACRE AGM conference and AGM in 2016 will be held on May 17th 2016 at Central Hall Westminster, London. More details will follow in the next edition of SACRE Briefing and bookings will open in the new year. 

Westhill NASACRE awards

Although the number of applications had been declining in recent years, it was still a surprise and a disappointment when only two submissions had been received by the customary March 31st deadline for Award applications. Awards Panel members agreed, after scrutiny and consultation, that these two applications: Barnet & Enfield and Newham should each be given an Award.

An extended deadline of July 24th was announced at NASACRE’s AGM in May, and publicised on our website and elsewhere. In the event, twelve further applications were received by the new deadline, something of an embarrassment of riches after the earlier dearth of entries. The marked contrast calls for some sort of explanation! The Awards Panel met on July 30th, and was able to give three more Awards: Bradford, Hull and East Riding and Middlesbrough. Gratifyingly, some are newcomers to the roll of Award winners.
Read the thumbnail outlines of all five award winning projects.

We are pleased to announce that the Trustees of the Westhill Foundation will be generously continuing the Awards programme for at least another round. Details and documentation will be circulated later this year. At this stage, we are likely to be keeping to the established timetable for submitting new applications - i.e. by the end of March 2016.

Westhill/NASACRE Reports
The Awards Panel noted one issue of concern relating to previous winners of an Award, namely that NASACRE appears not to be receiving final reports from Award projects alongside the material being entered on the Westhill website. This means that NASACRE’s own website has an incomplete record and is only a partial reference resource for anyone consulting our Award pages. Efforts will be made to rectify this situation, but any outstanding final reports will be gladly received by us at any time. Please send reports to Michael Metcalf, the Westhill/NASACRE Awards Convenor. 

SACRE member survey

Those who attended the annual conference and AGM in May, will remember Mark Plater introducing a survey he wishes to conduct with SACRE members. It is now live and can be accessed from the survey page. It is available to complete online or in a downloadable (pdf) format.

DfE audit of SACRE Annual Reports

As members will know it is a statutory requirement for SACREs to publish an annual report and to send this to the Secretary of State, ideally by the 31st December each calendar year. Since the abolition of the Qualifications and Curriculum Development Agency in 2011 there has been no analysis of SACRE annual reports. 

In light of this, the DfE has approached the RE Council to work with us to produce an analysis of reports. In order to do this, a template is to be produced which will allow easier analysis, although this is not compulsory. Currently, the template for Annual Reports on the NASACRE website is recommended and any new template for use will not be in place for this year due to time-scales. 

As part of this process SACREs will be asked by the DfE to send copies of their Annual Report to NASACRE electronically, which many do already. It is important though that SACREs continue to send a copy of their report to the Secretary of State as required, as a result of the changes brought in by the Education Act 2011.

Thank you to those SACREs who have already submitted reports for the year 2013-14. We have already had one for the current year.
Please email your SACRE report as one document in PDF format with a maximum size of approx 3Mb to:

A request from NASACRE MemSec

When SACRE Officers change or move on, it is sometimes difficult to remember to let me know of those changes. However, it is vital if your SACRE is not to miss out on important mailings that you provide up to date information.

Please note: the SACRE database has been amended. An email address will now only be listed once. If for example, the clerk's email address is also the one used for contact with other SACRE Officers, then that email address will only be listed once and under the name of the clerk.

Click here to check details.
Click here to email new details.

Remembering Srebrenica

In April, officer members of the Executive were invited to visit Bosnia as part of marking twenty years since the genocide. The Chair, Vice Chair, Secretary and Treasurer were part of a larger group from across England who visited Sarajevo, Tuzla, Potocari and Srebrenica itself. Meeting with those who were keeping the memory of the events alive, members of families affected and those working for the International Commission on Missing Persons.

The visit was at times inspiring and at times harrowing. The officers who made this visit have committed to ensuring that the terrible events there in 1995 are commemorated in some way this year and in following years. In July, the Chair, Vice Chair and Secretary represented NASACRE at the national commemoration in Westminster Abbey and the Treasurer at Manchester Cathedral. Given that this conflict has specific religious overtones, although the situation was much more complex than is often presented, this is something that SACREs may wish to give advice to their schools about as there will be local events commemorating the genocide. 

With schools’ new Prevent Duty, it is worth noting that modern Islamist groups use this conflict as part of their propaganda war to recruit jihadi fighters to Syria and other places. As schools have to stop young people being drawn into terrorism, a proper understanding of the conflict and its consequences is worth exploring. Therefore, we recommend that you visit the Remembering Srebrenica website with a film: The Delegates' Cut and a resource section including resources for schools.
On this website you are invited to take a group to visit Bosnia with funding from the British Government, and this is something that your SACRE may wish to consider.


Here are some reminders about support materials to be found on the website:

Conference and AGM 2015

You can listen to the keynote address and download papers from the Materials page of the 2015 Conference and AGM 2015 area.

State of the Nation: 2014 NASACRE survey responses

This survey conducted on 2014 was to see the current state and status of SACREs in England. NASACRE has now completed the analysis.

A New Settlement: Religion and Belief in Schools

This policy pamphlet written by the Rt Hon Charles Clarke and Professor Linda Woodhead was launched in June. 
NASACRE has provided a briefing paper to support SACREs in discussing its implications.

Needing help or advice?

The Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) section of our website provides a large number of helpful and detailed answers to questions raised by our members. It is reviewed and updated regularly with new FAQs added as appropriate. Using the search facility may help you to narrow your search.

In addition, the Resources section provides a wide range of presentations, briefing papers and other useful documents to support SACREs in fulfilling their duties and responsibilities.

It is worth taking a little time to explore the website. The navigation system and new, improved search facility should enable you to locate the materials you need.

If you are still unable to find what you need, please contact the relevant member of the Exec - see the Contacts page.

AREIAC/NASACRE joint conference

After last year’s successful conference AREIAC and NASACRE will be hosting a conference in November.

Current working title: “Designing an RE Curriculum: Random bricks or building a structure?”

Date: Thursday, 19th November, 2015.

Venue: Ibis Hotel (New Street), Ladywell Walk, Birmingham B5 4ST

Cost: £75 to AREIAC members and delegates from member SACREs; £95 for non-AREIAC members and SACRE members from non-member SACREs.

Booking is not yet open. Further details and information will be posted on both AREIAC and NASACRE websites.

Shap calendar

The 2015/16 Shap calendar is now available. Regarded as the most accurate calendar of festival dates this calendar is essential for all organisations that have dealing with a range of faiths and traditions.  
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