Hounslow Council


Agenda and minutes

Venue: Committee Room 3, Civic Centre, Lampton Road, Hounslow. View directions

Contact: Farah Irfan-Khan on 020 8583 2075 or email  farah.irfan-khan@hounslow.gov.uk 

Items
No. Item

1.

Welcome & Apologies

Minutes:

The Chair welcomed all and invited a round of introductions.

2.

Minutes of the meeting held on 5 February 2014 and matters arising pdf icon PDF 75 KB

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 5 February were agreed and signed by the Chair as a correct record. 

 

Matters Arising:

 

Minute 61: Collective Worship Guidelines Revisited

The Chair confirmed that the Secretary had produced an electronic copy of the guidelines, although the work to update the document was still to be completed.

3.

Humanism (Jon Fayle, South West London Humanists)

Minutes:

Jon Fayle, South West London Humanists, wished to draw to members’ attention the offer by local humanists to provide input to schools around the humanist approach to life, morals and ‘living a good life’ from a humanist perspective.

 

Members heard that all volunteers were trained by the British Humanist Association and that the South West London Humanist Association (covering Richmond, Kingston, Hounslow and Ealing) had a group of volunteers ready to go to schools and talk to students. 

 

Mr Fayle suggested that a copy of “The Young Atheist's Handbook: Lessons for Living a Good Life Without God” should be in every school library in the country.  Lesley Prior confirmed that Hounslow had included Humanism at all key stages since 1992.  The borough also had a very strong tradition of inviting members of faith communities to support RE teaching in schools. 

 

When asked whether volunteers would be prepared to work with all age groups and visit the borough’s special schools Mr Fayle said that the training volunteers received should, in principle, have prepared them for being able to meet all the requirements put to them.  He gave assurances that volunteers adhered to a code of conduct in respecting others’ beliefs and not attempting to convert anyone to Humanism, which he was happy to share with members. The Chair supported the suggestion to include a link to the code of conduct document for reference on the Knowledge Hub.

 

Action:

Obtain a copy of the British Humanist Association’s Code of Conduct, which would then be circulated to members for reference.  

4.

SACRE Membership Update

Vacancies:

·        Hindu

·        Roman Catholic

·        Primary school Head teacher

·        Special school Head teacher

Minutes:

The Chair thanked new members for filling the vacancies and welcomed any ideas they may have for this meeting.

 

Referring to the remaining vacancies Lesley Prior indicated that Bessie White, secretary to the Hounslow Friends of Faith, was trying to identify candidates from the Hindu and Catholic faith groups.  Members also acknowledged that the fact that there were only five special schools in the borough meant that head teachers of those schools had to prioritise which meetings they were able to attend. Farah Irfan-Khan was following up with an RE teacher from Cedars Primary School who might be available to fill the vacancy.

 

Lee Souter, Educational Advisor, was asked to assist with finding a Primary School headteacher, although members acknowledged that primaries were going through a period of change, which might impact the ability of head teachers to attend in the near future. 

 

The Chair noted that a member of a school’s senior leadership team or head of department would also be acceptable in place of a head teacher.  Basil Mann indicated that he had someone in mind and would speak to Lesley after this meeting.

 

Lesley asked that a note on the current vacancies was included on the next briefing to primary head teachers.

 

Actions:

·         Follow up with Bessie White, Secretary to the Hounslow Friends of Faith membership, on remaining vacancies for Hindu and Roman Catholic faith groups.

·         Follow up with the RE teacher from Cedars Primary School on the Special School Head teacher vacancy.

·         Lee Souter, Educational Advisor, to assist with identifying possible candidates to fill the vacancy for a Primary School headteacher.

·         Notice of the current vacancies to be included on the next briefing to primary head teachers. 

5.

Workshop on Determinations pdf icon PDF 6 KB

2-3pm on 3 July 2014 at London Borough of Hounslow

Minutes:

Members were reminded that those schools maintained by the Local Authority had to apply to SACRE to renew their determinations, whereas academies had to apply direct to the Department for Education. 

 

Schools included in the list submitted as part of the agenda had been invited to attend a workshop at the Civic Centre on 3 July, although to date none had responded to confirm their attendance.   It was suggested, therefore, that Lee Souter could circulate a reminder email to schools to encourage them to get their applications in on time for the renewal deadline. 

 

Action:

Lee Souter to circulate a reminder email to schools to encourage them to get their applications in on time for the renewal deadline. 

6.

Annual SACRE Lecture

Minutes:

Lesley Prior reported that it had been decided at the Executive meeting to alter the usual format for the annual lecture and invite both of the borough’s MPs, Seema Malhotra MP (current member of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Religious Education) and Mary McLeod MP, to speak for approximately 10 minutes each on why they felt RE was important and how it could be supported locally and nationally. 

 

The Secretary had already sent invitations to both of the MPs and was waiting to hear from them.  Sarup Singh Mahon indicated that he had been in contact with Seema Malhotra MP who had confirmed that she was prepared to attend the lecture, although she had been unable to confirm a date as yet because of a recent family bereavement.  Mr Mahon agreed to forward her contact details to Lesley Prior.  Members wished to record their condolences for her recent bereavement.

 

Action:

I.        Sarup Singh Mahon to provide Lesley Prior with contact details for Seema Malhora MP.

II.        Follow up on invitations to the annual lecture sent to both local MPs.

7.

Knowledge Hub presentation (Lee Souter)

Minutes:

Lee Souter, Educational Advisor, gave members an introduction to the borough’s Knowledge Hub using a live link to the site, which education providers subscribed to as part of the borough’s Services for Schools site (www.hounslowservicesforschools.co.uk/knowledge-hub).   

 

Mr Souter indicated that the site’s functionality included the ability to track how the site was being used by the borough’s schools.  There was evidence that the borough’s schools were accessing information on the site and that educational professionals from outside Hounslow were also trying to access the site. 

 

An advantage of the site was that information could be updated in real time, which meant that the system was very responsive to change.   This meant, however, that the information had to be monitored to ensure it was up to date so that key education providers had the information they needed at their fingertips.  Mr Souter stated that the published content could be managed by a representative of SACRE who could be provided with training and the necessary access to the system.  

 

A weekly newsletter “Hub News” was now produced and targeted at education professionals.   The first edition of the newsletter had been circulated to over 900 users and was suggested as a vehicle for SACRE news and updates. 

 

Mr Souter also suggested uploading a reference copy of the Collective Worship Guidelines or a calendar of events, which could be refreshed as and when was necessary.  The site’s search facility did not pick up the actual content of the newsletters so it was important to ensure that the information SACRE wished people to find was stored on a separate web page.  To illustrate the search functionality of the site, Lee searched for RE syllabus, which produced SACRE as the first hit.

 

In response to questions it was confirmed that Bessie White, Secretary for Hounslow Friends of Faith, had recently produced an updated contact list of the borough’s places of worship that included contact details for those wishing to organise educational visits.  Mr Souter suggested that such a list could be linked to a map showing the geographical locations of places of worship.   It was noted, however, that because of the number of Christian places of worship in the borough it had not been possible to include all sites.  Members were asked to provide their suggestions on those Christian sites that would be included, based on the borough’s geographical areas.  In addition to this, where organisers of educational visits had a particularly good experience, schools could recommend those sites to be included on the published list.

 

Action:

Consider who might be best placed to manage the SACRE content on the Knowledge Hub web pages.

8.

Annual SACRE Sixth Form Conference

20 June 2014 at Lampton School

Minutes:

Lesley Prior confirmed the date and time of the conference, adding that 16 student teachers would lead the workshops.  Hugo Whatley, teacher and teacher trainer, was confirmed to introduce the conference with a keynote speech entitled: “Is Britain still a Christian country?”

 

A panel made up of different faiths, including a Humanist, would take questions and the event would include seven workshops, each focussing on a different religious system to explore set questions.  Previous conferences had been received very positively and SACRE members were invited to attend the event.

9.

2014 NASACRE AGM Update (Lesley Prior)

Minutes:

Lesley Prior provided an update on the event, which had coincided with the recent elections.  Stephen Lloyd MP was the keynote speaker.  The deputy chair of the RE Council of England and Wales was also present. The second half of the day had included a series of workshops on good practice.  Presentations from the event were available to view on the national website and members of SACRE should already have been issued with a login to access these password protected documents.

 

Lesley was the current Chair of the Association.  Next year’s event would be held in Birmingham.  It wasn’t yet clear who the keynote speaker would be, although it was hoped that Charles Clarke MP, who had retained his interest in RE since he ceased being an MP, could be persuaded to do so.

 

Action:

Farah Irfan-Khan to ensure that all SACRE members have been issued with a login for the NASACRE website.

10.

Update on RE Expert Advisory Group (Lesley Prior) pdf icon PDF 3 MB

Minutes:

Lesley Prior drew members’ attention to the first newsletter of the Religious Education Expert Advisory Group (EAG), of which she was a member, submitted with the agenda pack. 

 

She pointed out that the EAG’s limited funding from the DfE would cease next summer and future funding was expected to be provided from publishers, which added an element of commercial enterprise to the work of the EAG.  Any materials produced would be reviewed by Hounslow’s SACRE membership.

 

Ms Prior advised members that, if they had any strong views about the RE curriculum, she would be happy to take those ideas forward to the next meeting of the EAG.  She pointed out that, until a change in the law, the authority to decide what was taught in Hounslow schools in terms of the RE curriculum lay with SACRE.

 

There followed a brief discussion on the fact that an independent advisor was offering schools schemes of work on their website, which they claimed would automatically mean that the school met the requirements of the relevant local authority.  Hounslow was listed as one of those authorities.  However, SACRE members had not been advised or consulted on the content of the schemes of work.  The Chair offered to write to the producers of the website (“Discovery RE”) drawing attention to the fact that any claims that the published schemes of work would automatically qualify schools for meeting the requirements of Hounslow SACRE were unfounded, as Hounslow members had not been consulted on the scheme of work contained on the site.

 

Actions:

 I.     Hounslow’s RE document, published last year, to be added to the Knowledge Hub site.

II.     That a letter from the Chair be sent to the producers of the “Discovery RE” website drawing attention to the fact that any claims that the published schemes of work would automatically qualify schools for meeting the requirements of Hounslow SACRE were unfounded, as Hounslow members had not been consulted on the scheme of work contained on the site.

11.

Meeting dates for next year

Minutes:

As no further dates were scheduled in the diary for the coming year, it was proposed that a list of dates be drawn up to reflect the existing pattern of meetings.  This list would then be forwarded to members of the Executive for consideration.

 

Members requested that the following days be avoided when scheduling meetings: Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

 

Action:

I.        Collate a list of possible meeting dates, based on the pattern of meetings held in the past two years and circulate this to members of the Executive for approval.

II.        Circulate approved dates to the wider SACRE membership and include for reference on the next meeting agenda.

12.

Any Other Urgent Business

Minutes:

Members noted that Basil Mann was available to visit schools for talks on Anne Frank.