RELIGIOUS EDUCATION IN POWYS
The Powys SACRE has continued its cycle of termly meetings and the content of the meetings has included regular items as well as specific discussions around particular issues.
Amongst the regular items that occur are the consideration of extracts from reports of recently inspected Powys schools that relate to pupils’ Spiritual Development and Collective Worship. SACRE have maintained their practice of providing feedback to schools, in relation to these extracts and, where concerns are raised e.g. failure to meet statutory requirements in respect of Collective Worship, members request copies of the appropriate extracts from the Inspection Action Plans so that they can be assured that actions are in place to address the particular issue. Other regular activities relate to the annual consideration of examination results and the conclusions reached by SACRE, following the analysis of these results, are included in the annual report.
Amongst the specific items that have been considered by SACRE are the WASACRE survey entitled ‘SACREs in Wales’ and the WASACRE guidance on Collective Worship. Both these documents have been given careful consideration by SACRE and, at their next meeting, SACRE will be considering the recommendations to SACREs included in the WASACRE survey. In relation to the WASACRE guidance on Collective Worship, the Powys SACRE was considering producing its own guidance and the issuing of the WASACRE guidance was timely. Members concluded that this was very helpful and removed the need for SACRE to produce its own guidance. The guidance has been circulated to all schools and feedback received is that it has been found to be very useful.
The Autumn Meeting of the Powys SACRE saw Reverend Jenny Garrard, Presbyterian Church of Wales, Llanidloes, one of the Free Church representatives on the SACRE, being appointed to the post of Chair with Mrs Julie Pugh, Head of Religious Education, Crickhowell High School, being appointed to the post of Vice Chair.
A significant level of discussion, at each meeting of SACRE, relates to progress in respect of the annual SACRE Development Plan and the priorities, included within the plan, relate to monitoring standards in Religious Education and Religious Studies, providing support for Religious Education, providing guidance and support in relation to Collective Worship, and providing support for governors and SACRE members. Updates on actions undertaken in respect of the Annual Development Plans are included in the annual reports and recent actions have included encouraging catchment liaison between secondary heads of Religious Education and feeder primary schools in order to ensure that repetition of work undertaken in primary schools is not then carried out in the secondary school.
One of SACRE’s areas of concern has been around insufficient information to monitor Religious Education as these subjects are no longer inspected as part of the inspection cycle. Members are currently considering ways in which the provision for Religious Education and Collective Worship can be surveyed, on an individual school basis, so that members are in a position to provide appropriate advice to the Local Authority. There is, clearly, a balance to be struck between issuing a questionnaire / survey which is too burdensome for schools to complete and not gaining sufficient information to enable SACRE to make recommendations. This is a work in progress and it is anticipated that contact will be made with the Authority’s schools in order to seek information on Collective Worship and Religious Education, during the 2013 Summer Term.
2. AGREED SYLLABUS FOR RELIGIOUS EDUCATION
The Powys Agreed Syllabus for Religious Education was published during the 2010/2011 school year and, therefore, it is not yet subject to review. The Authority’s Agreed Syllabus Conference will, in due course, be mindful of developments elsewhere in Wales when the review of the Powys Agreed Syllabus and possible development of a Revised Agreed Syllabus, is considered.
3. IN-SERVICE TRAINING
The Authority has not organised any In-Service Training in Religious Education or Collective Worship during recent months, although two courses were offered during the 2011/2012 academic year. A number of Powys secondary schools have, however, taken advantage of the WASACRE funded Key Stage 3 training that has been delivered on a consortium basis and feedback, in respect of this training, is being requested.
School Effectiveness Officer
Clerk to Powys SACRE