Useful documents

These documents have been produced by other organisations and bodies. SACREs may find them useful in supporting their work.

Still Standing Report

This report was commissioned by the REC through funding from CStG and in partnership with NASACRE. The report sought to investigate whether recommendations for SACREs contained with the CoRE report would help to develop/change SACREs work for 21st century.

The project was based around a participatory action research method, and each SACRE that took part in the project started with answering two key questions:

1. What is working well within the present SACRE system?

2. What needs changing and how might this be changed for the better?

Each SACRE that took part in the research project tackled a different aspect of present SACRE practice, e.g. training, pedagogy, recruitment and it's legal framework. The report details each SACREs project and draws recommendations for government, SACREs and NASACRE to consider going forward.

Appendix 1 LAN Guidance and Resources

Appendix 2 SACRE initial questions form

Appendix 3 Barking & Dagenham action research CPD in RE

Appendix 4 Bath & NE Somerset research project

Appendix 5 Pen portrait from Hampshire SACRE

Appendix 6 Richmond SACRE action research project

Executive Summary

Research review series: religious education

Ofsted published its Research review series: religious education on 12th May 2021. Here is our initial response, written by our Executive Assistant, Paul Smalley.

Materials to support RE for children at homes while schools are closed

Here is a letter - adapted from one produced by Lesley Prior for her SACREs that your SACRE may wish to personalise and circulate to Primary Schools.

SACREs & Relationships, Sex and Health Education

Some SACREs enjoy the support of an advisor whose remit is for PSHE as well as for RE and Collective Worship, with specific expertise in this area. In such cases that individual may feel able to provide support and advice to schools. One example of this is in Newham SACRE, which you can read about here.

New Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson

We understand that Gavin Williamson has shown interest in RE in the past (for example by asking questions in Parliament about RE) and his wife was a primary school teacher, so we are hoping for positive things from him. Paul Smalley wrote to congratulate him on his appointment and he replied.

'In defence of the locally determined Agreed Syllabus Conference'

A short article by Robert Morgan in defence of some comments found on social media misunderstanding the role of SACREs and Agreed Syllabus Conferences in the design and promotion of religious education syllabi.

A response to Robert Morgan’s defence of the role of SACREs and ASCs from Professor John Adams from North Yorkshire SACRE.

Transforming RE through research?

‘Introducing and inviting engagement with Culham St Gabriel's Trust's research strategy’

Please see the paper written by Dr Kevin O’Grady - Lead Consultant for Research, Culham St Gabriel’s Trust

Wanted! Teachers to trial new Christianity resource

Over the past four years a group of leading New Testament scholars from Durham, Cambridge and Oxford universities has been developing Underground Story, a new translation of the New Testament for reading ages 9-13 years. Underground Story aims to be accurate to the original text but in language today’s young people understand.

They are seeking teachers and students to help them get it right.

If you know of any teachers who might be interested, please get in touch with writer Brian D. Brown:

Withdrawal from RE and Collective Worship in one English LA

This short article summarises the background to and concerns about the right of parents to withdraw their children from Religious Education (RE) and collective worship in English Schools. It reports on the scale of the issue in one English Local Authority (LA) and suggests that it is not a widespread issue in the area of the survey. It recommends that the survey is replicated in other areas so that a national picture can begin to be built up.

Commission on RE (CoRE)

A report on the joint NASACRE and AREIAC Conference Friday 24 November 2017 - The Commission on RE's Interim Report.

We Need to Raise Our Game - a personal reflection by Dilwyn Hunt

The REC Commission on RE

The REC Commission on RE published its Interim Report on 21st September 2017. You can read our Chair, Paul Smalley's, response here.

Why SACREs need to consider complaining about inadequate provision for RE in their schools

As part of their monitoring of RE in their LA, SACREs sometimes discover information that leads them to have grave concerns about RE provision in some schools. This useful paper explains how SACREs can use a complaints procedure to encourage schools to meet their statutory obligations.

Evidence submitted to the Commission on RE

You can read the evidence submitted by Paul Smalley on behalf of NASACRE to the REC Commission on Religious Education in June 2017, which was based upon data gathered in the Big NASACRE survey of 2017.
Evidence submitted on behalf of NASACRE to the Commission on RE by Paul Smalley

Hampshire Syllabus Launch

The full text of Paul Smalley's Keynote speech at the Hampshire Syllabus launch, quoted in SACRE Briefing 13.

Religions are not Monoliths

Papers encapsulating the presentations by Dr Abdullah Trevathan and Bob Reiss from the Religions are not Monoliths conference, held jointly with AREIAC in March 2017, prepared by Dilwyn Hunt.

Post­-Brexit Britain: building respectful schools and societies

NASACRE Chair, Paul Smalley attended a Colloquium held at Liverpool Hope University in the aftermath of the referendum vote on leaving the EU. At the Colloquium there was much discussion of the contribution that RE (along with PSHE and Citizenship) might make to a post-Brexit Society

On behalf of NASACRE, Paul signed an open letter to the new Education Secretary, Justine Greening.

Improving Religious Literacy

This report is the result of an inquiry carried out by the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on RE.

A New Settlement:
Religion and Belief in Schools

A pamphlet written by the Rt Hon Charles Clarke and Prof Linda Woodhead was launched at the House of Lords on Monday 15th June. NASACRE was represented and has provided a briefing paper to support member SACREs in discussing its implications. (See Resources >Support materials)

A Review of Religious Education in England

Full and summary reports of this review are available from the RE Council website. The NASACRE presentation Agreed Syllabus Conference supports SACREs in fulfilling one of their statutory duties.

Religious education: realising the potential

In the 2013 Ofsted report, there are references made to SACREs in the challenges, key findings and recommendations. There are also some exemplars of good practice which look specificaly at four areas:

  • placing enquiry at the heart of learning – as a key to improving teaching
  • high-quality leadership and management in primary schools – as a key to improvement and raising the status of RE
  • forward-thinking leadership and management in secondary schools – as a key to securing provision for RE for the future
  • effective RE in special schools – adapting RE to meet the distinctive needs of pupils who have learning difficulties.
SACRE Funding in England

Here is NASACRE’s report into SACRE funding in England, published 17th May 2021. Levels of funding for SACREs have been a source of some concern and interest to the Association for some time. The report is the first ever national survey of LAs to assess SACRE funding. It is based on responses to a Freedom of Information request sent in November 2020 to all LAs in England. Responses were obtained from 136 LAs, with 15 not supplying answers by the end of March 2021.

Ofsted 'deep dive' in RE

Paul Smalley, our Chair, has probably looked at every Ofsted report in a state secondary and most if not all of the primary reposts which comment on RE! It is clear that the number of RE Deep Dives in Secondaries is small, but growing. He has had some correspondence with Sean Harford (Ofsted's National Director, Education) on this matter.

Think piece: 'What's in a name?'

Exec member Michael Metcalf has written another thought-provoking piece providing a stimulus for SACREs:
‘The Welsh Government’s Department for Education and Skills has put forward proposals for Religious Education which include renaming the subject “Religions and World Views”. This name is almost identical to that of the Report of the Commission on RE: “Religion and World Views: The Way Forward”. Almost identical, but not quite. The addition of the “s” is apparently quite minor, but in fact it opens up a multitude of avenues for discussion and reflection. In exploring these avenues, I will use, for brevity, the acronyms RRWV (the Welsh preference) and RWV (the CoRE Report).

Religion or religions? Read more here

DfE Letter on School Compliance in RE

Neil Lawson from the Curriculum Unit of Department for Education has written to our Chair, Paul Smalley, setting out the expectations of the government with regards to school compliance in RE.

Policy, Practice and Powerful Knowledge

Address given by Paul Smalley at the Mid-point Plenary of 20:20RE, 13th October 2018

Commission on RE Final Report: Religion and Worldviews The Way Forward

The Commission on RE published its final report in September 2018. You can read an initial response from our Chair, Paul Smalley here.

The full response of the NASACRE Executive to the Commission on RE can be read here.

There are also some suggested questions which you might find useful to help guide your discussions.

A New Settlement Revised: Religion and Belief in Schools

NASACRE Patron the Rt Hon Charles Clarke and Prof Linda Woodhead launched the revised version of their proposals at the House of Commons on Tuesday 17th July 2018. NASACRE was represented and our Chair has written this response . He is quoted in this Church Times article

Guidance on non-religious representation on SACREs in Wales

In response to the recent guidance offered by Kirsty Williams the Cabinet Secretary for Education in the Welsh Government, NASACRE would like to make the following statement:

NASACRE and the Inter Faith Network (UK)

NASACRE is a member of the Inter Faith Network (UK) where it represents the interests of SACREs and ensures that IFN work informs ours where appropriate. This personal reflection is by one of our representatives at the IFN, Michael Metcalf.

A Practice Code for Teachers of RE

Drawn up by an RE Council working group with representation from NATRE, AREIAC, NASACRE, this code aims to complement the GTCE’s general code for teachers. When that code was being drawn up, there was some concern about the implications of ‘demonstrating respect for diversity and promoting equality’ and whether that principle might ever come into conflict with a teacher’s sense of integrity in relation to his or her own beliefs. This proposed code for teachers of RE is designed to help reassure teachers of RE themselves as well as pupils, parents and colleagues that a professional approach to such issues can and will be observed.

RE: The Truth Unmasked

This report is the result of an inquiry carried out by the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on RE to investigate the supply of and support for teachers of religious education. The report draws on over 400 sources of evidence and concludes that there are some serious issues which need to be addressed if schools are to provide high quality religious education for every young person.
RE: The Truth Unmasked Final report
RE: The Truth Unmasked Summary report

Click here to find out more about the APPG on RE.

School Governors: responsibilities for RE

Dr Barbara Wintersgill, has produced two briefing papers for governors (one each for primary and secondary) which outline schools' responsibilities with regard to RE, give an overview of the problems identified by the report and suggest some actions governors might undertake to bring about improvement in their schools.

Schools with Soul

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. NASACRE welcomes and agrees with the report’s analysis that SMSC is in danger of being marginalised, and its recognition of the need to strengthen a distributed understanding of SMSC amongst school leaders. The nine recommendations certainly give SACREs material for further reflection about how they might continue their commitment to SMSC, in collaboration with others and in ways that draw a clear, though related distinction between SMSC and RE.