Hounslow Council

Agenda and minutes

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

Contact: Email: jane.medici1@hounslow.gov.uk 020 8583 2064 

No. Item


Apologies for absence, declarations of interest and any other communications from members


The Chair welcomed the members and accepted apologies from Revd Andrew Downes, Revd Rosemary Hoad, Steve Line, Jane Savill and Alamdar Hussain Shah.  John Drake was welcomed to the meeting.


With the absence of the majority of Group B the meeting was not quorate, however, SACRE members agreed to continue the meeting on an informal basis on the understanding that no decisions or actions could be agreed.  As a result Item 3 was deferred until the next meeting and Liz Wolverson agreed to continue in the role of Chair for the time being.



Minutes of the meeting held on 24 June 2015 and matters arising pdf icon PDF 68 KB


The Chair requested that the finish time of the previous meeting be corrected in the minutes.


Matters arising


Basil Mann reported changes to religious choice of schools would mean that schools could, in future, identify 2 specific faiths for their school.



The election of a new chair and vice-chair (nominations invited before the meeting)


This item was deferred until the next meeting.


Annual report with Determinations appendix pdf icon PDF 133 KB


Lesley Prior requested that members check the report for accuracy.  Penny Stephen agreed to provide exam data once this was available although some delay was anticipated.


Lesley Prior requested the following information:


·         The name of the member who attended the last NASACRE AGM.

·         Details from the Sixth Form Conference (Schools attending:  Green School, Cranford and Lampton with a total of 256 Sixth formers from these schools)

·         An updated list of determinations for the year.


The following changes to Annex A were requested:


·         Penny Stephen’s name to be added.

·         Eileen Crabtree’s name to be added to the LEA list.


An updated list of members had been provided to Lesley Prior.


The Chair asked members if they were happy for the signing off of the report to be held over until the next meeting – members were happy with this.


Annual Lecture – 4th February 2016 - Council Chambers


Seema Malhotra is to be invited to give the lecture following her successful talk at the 6th Form Conference.


LSE Multi-faith centre


Lesley Prior reported that the Chaplain of the LSE Multi-faith Centre would welcome visits to the centre.  She explained that the centre was hosting Camden and Islington’s annual lecture and she encouraged all members to attend the event which was being held on the 23 February 2016.  It will be an early evening event although times are not yet confirmed.  Charles Clerk is due to be the keynote speaker.


Current developments in RE Education


Lesley Prior reported that the proposals made by Charles Clerk and Linda Woodhead were still under consideration. 


It was reported that Hounslow’s RE syllabus was issued in 2011 and would be due for review in 2016.


Secondary RE / GCSE (an outline of concerns and statutory duty) – Mehmoona Yousaf


Mehmoona Yousaf provided an update of syllabus changes following her attendance at a recent training course.  She reported that:


·       The syllabus was to become more rigorous

·       There would be an emphasis on ‘pure’ religion rather than religion in the context of life and philosophy

·       Greater emphasis on the depth of knowledge exhibited in exam responses was anticipated

·       There would be a change in the grading system

·       The short course would no longer count towards league tables and due to this and its lesser value to schools, would no longer be available in some schools

·       Some schools had already made radical changes in removing RE as a choice.


Concerns were expressed by members that:


·       the changes meant RE at A level and GCSE would be boring and tedious with a focus on doctrinal study. 

·       that the changes could backfire with a focus on ‘religions’ rather than ‘religion’. 

·       While the return to longer, academically challenging essays would appeal to the more academic students there was concern that there was less focus on the diverse skills of students or on increasing life skills.

·       the lack of critical thinking skills

·       the lack of an emphasis on understanding of local communities

·       the 50% increase in the size of the curriculum content with no increase in allocated time

·       that it appeared to be aimed, primarily, at the more able cohort of students.


Liz Wolverson expressed concern that SACRE had not raised objections to the changes and questioned why this was the case.  Penny Stephen reported that the consultation had been run for 30 days over the 2014 Christmas period which meant that many interested parties would have missed it.


The changes where being implemented by the DFE and it was intended that they would be implemented from 2016.  Accreditation had not yet been given as some minor changes had been requested.  Currently there were no grade descriptors or guidance for A and As levels and no approved text book.


Liz Wolverson questioned what could be done and how teachers and students could be supported at this stage.  It was suggested that it may be possible to bring back a Hounslow specific qualification when SACRE review the syllabus.


Ranvir Singh confirmed that at this stage the short course would remain an option locally.


It was reported that the changes had been imposed on the exam board by the All Party Parliamentary Group on RE (this group is currently dormant) and that this had been lead by Nick Gibb.


Lesley Prior offered to find out who was driving the changes within the RE Council when she attended the RE Council meeting.


SACRE discussed making some representation on this at the meeting.




6th Form Conference


It was confirmed that the next 6th Form conference would be held on 17 June 2016.  All members were invited to attend and Lesley Prior requested volunteers for the panel discussion.  Cllr Malhotra, Najeeb Ahmed, John Lesson and Basil Mann offered to do this.


Liz Wolverson informed members that she would only be available for the afternoon session.


NASACRE Agm 17th May 2016 – selection of an LBH SACRE representative


Members discussed the need to send a representative to the NASACRE AGM and Gregory Wolcough offered to attend on behalf of SACRE.


Holocaust Memorial Day - Hounslow - Tuesday, 26th January 2016

(9:30am – 11:30am – to be confirmed)


Basil Mann will forward an invitation to the Clerk of SACRE for all SACRE members to attend this event.


New update calendar pdf icon PDF 132 KB


Members were invited to send additional useful dates to the Clerk to add to the calendar.



Date of Next Meeting - 29 February 2016


Any Other Urgent Business


1.     Cllr Malhotra reminded members that Diwali was taking place the next week and that there was due to be an event on the 8th November at Lampton School – everyone was welcome to attend.  Details would be forwarded to members.

2.     Concerns were raised about Ramadam coinciding with GCSE and A level exams for the next 4 or 5 years.  It was questioned whether any guidance was available on how schools could support pupils.  It was reported that not only was there a clash with exams but that the next few years were due to be some of the longest fasting days experienced recently due to Ramadam falling over the middle of the summer months.

3.     Guidance had been prepared previously by SACRE and Lesley Prior will bring this and additional examples of guidance to the February meeting.  Lesley Prior will do additional research to find out what is being done elsewhere.

4.     Liz Wolverson reported that it was important that no child should be prevented from fasting if that was their choice and asked whether anyone knew what happened in Norway where long days were common in the Summer.

5.     Cllr Malhotra reported that Waltham Forest had issued some guidance and offered to forward this.

6.     Penny Stephen reported that schools would be signposted to local religious leaders for guidance, Penny will let local schools know that SACRE will produce guidance on this matter.

7.     Najeeb Ahmed will provide support and guidance in the matter to SACRE.

8.     Cllr Malhotra reported that objections had been raised to mixed faith marriages taking place at the Gudwara and expressed concern that disturbances may take place.