Minutes of the Meeting held on 26th April 2006


               Mr M Sweet (Chairman)
               Councillors Ruth Bennett, Roger Charsley
               and Mrs Anne Manning.
               Canon D Herbert, Reverend M Camp, Reverend S Varney,
               Mr Mahmood, Mrs Manville, Mrs Marlow, Mrs Michaelis,
               Mrs Page, Mr Riat and Mrs Mountain.

                                 Also Present

                                 Dr G Searle
                                Ms J Thompson


      Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Chris Gaster,
Michael Turner and Chris Phillips and from Mrs P Wilson and Mr D Morrell.


          The Chairman, Martin Sweet, declared an interest in Item 9 (SACRE‟s
Self-Evaluation) as reference was made to the Spinnaker Trust for whom he

3         MEMBERSHIP

          The Chairman drew attention to the need to clarify SACRE‟s
membership as there appeared to be some confusion over who the nominated
representative should be for the Free Church Group. Rev. Varney also
commented that when producing the Good News leaflet (Minute 5 below) which
listed SACRE members he had difficulty in finding this information as Mrs P
Wilson appeared on one list and not another.

            The Committee Administrator for SACRE had been in the process of
writing to confirm membership details with the various Groups and the Chairman
asked that the situation be settled before the next meeting.

4         MINUTES

          RESOLVED that the Minutes of the meeting held on 25th January 2006
be confirmed, subject to the addition of Mrs Michaelis as being present at the

26th April 2006

5         ORAL UPDATE

          a)   Good News about RE in Bromley

          It was reported that the above publication had recently been circulated
and Rev Varney advised that there had been no feed back so far. However, he
also reported that copies had been distributed to other faiths which was
something that had not been done last year.

           The Chairman, on behalf of members thanked Rev Stephen Varney for
his work in preparing the leaflet.

          b)   Regional SACRE meeting

            The Chairman reported he was a member of the Steering Group for the
London SACRE‟s Information Exchange (LSIE). There had been a recent event
at City Hall to which all the SACRE Chairmen had been invited and it had proved
a very useful way of exchanging and learning various information. Arising from
this he had been invited to visit another SACRE to see how they operated and the
various issues they were dealing with. He hoped to follow this up in the autumn
and felt it would be a useful way to broaden his experience and would feed back
any outcomes in due course.

          c)   DfES Roadshow on the non-statutory National Framework for RE

          Jan Thompson advised that there was nothing to report from the
Roadshow. The Government had continued to state their support for RE but
nothing new had come out of it.

          d)   The Diocesan Contract for Bromley SACRE work

          This related to item 10 (Minute 11 below) and was discussed later in
the meeting.

          e)   RE Centre, Bishop Justus School

          The Chairman reported that the RE Centre had moved to Bishop
Justus School at the end of last term. The accommodation was very good and
once everything was up and running Jan Thompson felt it would work well. One
issue however was access to the secure school site which had deterred visitors.

          f)   NASACRE News

             It was noted that an invitation to the AGM on 4th May 2006 had not
been received. It would depend on the closing date as to whether anyone could
still attend and the Chairman agreed to deal with the matter.

                                                      26th April 2006

          g)    Safeguarding Children

           Dr George Searle, Assistant Director of Education & Libraries
(Standards & Effectiveness) reported on this additional item at the meeting. He
advised that the Bromley Safeguarding Children Executive had raised the issue of
strengthening child protection in Faith communities. The outcome of the Victoria
Colimbie Inquiry had shown the need for greater vigilance from all agencies as
had recent issues with young children and African faith groups. Support was
being sought via SACRE with the intention of a report being submitted for
discussion to see how to approach such groups and work together to ensure there
was adequate child protection arrangements. One difficulty was making contact
with and finding out about the various faith groups in the area.

           Members briefly discussed the request and it was accepted that many
Churches/Faith groups already had policies in place dealing with this. It was also
outside of the remit of SACRE. However members felt they would wish to be
supportive as far as possible towards the main aim of safeguarding children.

         RESOLVED that a report on the above matter be submitted to the
autumn meeting.

6         RE MEETINGS
          Report DE06071

           Members received a report detailing four RE Sessions to be held on 3rd
& 24 May and 7th & 28th June 2006 which would take place in the RE Centre at
its new location in Bishop Justus C of E School. Everyone was urged to note the
details in their diaries and to inform Jan Thompson either by email (using the
diocesan address) or telephone her at the new offices at Bishop Justus School.
Members were urged to support their colleagues in respect of the Jewish and Sikh
training sessions.

          RESOLVED that the report be noted.

          Report DE06072

          It was reported that the SACRE event this year would be held on
Thursday, 12th October 2006 from 7.30 – 9pm in the Hall at the Education
Development Centre. Following refreshments there would be a lecture and
question session by Dr Rebecca Nye, from Cambridge University, on the subject
of „Recognising Children‟s Spirituality‟. The lecture, whilst intended primarily for
SACRE members and Bromley School staff, was also open to faith communities
and the wider public and members were encouraged to book early.

          RESOLVED that the SACRE Annual event details be noted.

26th April 2006

8          SCHOOL VISITS
           Report DE06073

           SACRE members regularly carried out visits to schools and last year
this was increased from one visit per term to two visits. The purpose of the visits
was outlined and last term Members had gone to Churchfields Primary School
and the new Unicorn Primary School both situated in Beckenham. Copies of the
reports had been circulated which members briefly discussed.

           Attention was drawn to the visiting dates agreed for this term on 17th
May to St Philomena‟s Primary RC School, Orpington and Alexandra Junior
School, Sydenham on 14th June 2006. The names of those attending had already
been agreed and one amendment was reported in that the Chairman would take
the place of Rev Michael Camp for the June visit.

          In respect of next term the visits had been scheduled for Wednesdays,
20 September and 15th November 2006 and members were invited to submit
names – three for each date. (Rev. Varney, Mrs Michaelis and Martin Sweet
agreed for September and Rev. Varney, Mrs Page Mrs Wilson for the November

            As referred to above the new Bishop Justus School was now operating
with the official opening day due to be held in November and it was felt that a visit
could be arranged after that time. The Chairman invited suggestions for future
visits to be notified to Jan Thompson and it was commented that some members
had proposed a visit to Farringtons Independent School (See Minute 10 below),
and whilst it was accepted that this was not part of the normal arrangements, it
was supported by Dr George Searle.

         RESOLVED that the dates of the school visits be noted and members
encouraged to participate whenever possible.

           Report DE06077

            At the last meeting (Minute 7) there had been discussion of a proposal
for a national database of RE information based on a self-evaluation exercise to
be carried out by participating schools using the toolkit devised by the
professional RE association, at a cost of £50 per SACRE. Members had agreed
in principle to the proposal but had some provisos and as requested the matter
had been raised with the Primary RE subject leaders at their termly meeting. It
was reported that they were generally in favour of the scheme with some schools
requiring a considerable level of self-evaluation from their subject leaders. To
retain anonymity it was suggested that the information could be fed into the data
base separately from the name of the school.

                                                      26th April 2006

          Members were requested to further consider the matter and the
approach to be taken. The Chairman reported that he had been in touch with
Tony Parfitt who had developed the data base and so far there had been little
response to the proposal. A copy of the document had been circulated as
Appendix 1 to the report. Attention was drawn to the much shorter self –
evaluation document used by one of the local Primary Schools (Appendix 2) and
comment was made on the need for some balance between seeking too much
detail and asking for less information. It was recognised that there was little value
in the exercise unless sufficient information was provided. The cost of £50 had
also been a drawback and it was noted that this had been based on at least 100
SACRE‟s participating. If fewer Sacres took part then the cost would increase.

Members agreed that some form of recording this information on line was
necessary but all local authorities needed to take part to make it work. It was up
to each SACRE to promote the arrangements if they had agreed to support the
initiative. Having discussed the pros and cons Members generally supported the
initiative but felt it would depend on the response nationally as to how well it would
work. If it did not proceed then perhaps use of the simpler form along the lines of
the Primary School example might be proposed.

          RESOLVED that Bromley SACRE‟s support for the introduction of the
Monitoring arrangements be confirmed.

           Report DE06069

           Further to Minute 8 of the last meeting when it had been agreed that
each Committee in SACRE would take responsibility for one area of the toolkit,
reports were received in respect of Section 4 – Collective Worship undertaken by
Committee B and on the Management of SACRE and Partnership with the local
authority and other key stakeholders undertaken by Committee D. Further reports
on another two sections would be submitted to the autumn meeting. It was noted
that copies of the relevant sections of the self evaluation toolkit should have been
circulated with the papers. Members discussed the reports as follows:

           Committee B – Collective Worship
           There were six recommendations in relation to Section 4a (practice and
           provision for collective worship):

           1. SACRE should ask the RE Adviser for periodic briefings detailing
              the advice, support and training given to schools in relation to
              collective worship and the degree to which it is judged that this
              improves provision and practice.
           2. SACRE should debate and agree a statement of “best practice”
              relating to the content and delivery of collective worship, which
              could be commended to schools and would serve as a guide to
              SACRE members when considering the subject.

26th April 2006

       3. SACRE should seek to provide schools with an annually updated
          list of helpful resources (publications and web sites) to support
          collective worship.
       4. SACRE should seek to ascertain whether there are schools in the
          Borough that would welcome greater involvement of clergy and
          leaders of other faiths in the delivery of collective worship and, if a
          need is identified, act as a liaison between the school and the local
          churches and faith communities.
       5. SACRE should consider ways of promoting the importance of
          spiritual nurture and encouraging within schools a culture of prayer
          and worship.
       6. SACRE should include on the agenda of its meetings a regular
          (perhaps annual) briefing and discussion on topics relevant to the
          provision of collective worship, including national developments,
          publications, training opportunities, local issues and needs.

       Members noted the recommendations and briefly commented on the
       issues raised.
       There were three recommendations under Section 4b (monitoring the
       provision of collective worship and addressing issues of non-
       compliance) these were noted.
       In respect of Recommendation 1 – proposing a 3 year survey of
       collective worship, for clarification Jan Thompson pointed out that RE
       and Collective worship were separate issues.

       Committee D - Management of SACRE and partnership with the local
       authority and other key stakeholders
       This section had been discussed by the Councillor members on
       SACRE and consisted of four themes, three with specific
       1. SACRE meetings – the recommendation was to meet at the Civic
       Centre. The Chairman commented that whilst it was easier meeting
       centrally there was some merit in considering meeting at a different
       venue when appropriate.
       2. Partnership with the local authority – the recommendation was for
       an information report to go to the Children & Young People Portfolio
       Holder. However, members were advised that the more appropriate
       route would be for the annual report to be submitted to the Children &
       Young People Policy Development & Scrutiny Committee. Councillor
       Mrs Manning, as Chairman of that Committee, supported this proposal.
       3.     Development Planning and partnership with key stakeholders –
       the recommendation was to visit a private school. Members generally
       felt they already had a busy workload but that this might be considered
       at a later time.
       4.     Partnerships – whilst acknowledging the Spinnaker Trust as a
       valuable resource, members asked for more information about its work

                                                      26th April 2006

           and links with other clergy etc. The Chairman advised that the Trust
          had a limited network and it was suggested that it might be useful to
          have a yearly report on the work of the Trust. Members went on to
          discuss wider opportunities for including other partners although there
          were no vacancies on SACRE. However, Jan Thompson advised that
          if necessary if would be possible to co-opt representatives. It was
          suggested that this issue could be considered in more detail at a future

          (Martin Sweet declared an interest as Director of the Spinnaker Trust)

            RESOLVED that the recommendations put forward in Sections 2 and 4
of the self-evaluation framework be broadly supported, subject to the comments
highlighted above.

          Report DE06087

          Consideration was given to a report notifying members that the support
to SACRE, currently provided by Jan Thompson as RE Adviser, would cease at
the end of 2006. The contract for support services was with the Diocese of
Rochester Board of Education who had recently given notice that, due to the
pressure of diocesan work, they could no longer continue.

           Members would receive a report on how the Council would continue to
support the work of SACRE at a future meeting. Opportunity would be taken to
look at how other SACREs were supported. Jan Thompson advised that very few
local authorities had full-time RE Advisers, others brought in Consultants as
necessary. In response to a comment about the possibility of bringing in an RE
Consultant, Dr Searle advised that this was an option, along with others, that
could be looked at in more detail. Members discussed whether a Sub-Group
should be set up to consider the matter further as Jan Thompson would only be
available for the next meeting in autumn. It was suggested that one representative
from each of the Committees could be appointed to the Sub-Group to consider the
process and timescale.

           Dr George Searle paid tribute to the work done by Jan Thompson over
the past 5 years particularly in helping Bromley SACRE to become such a strong
and positive group.

          Reference was also made to the valuable assistance provided by Jan
Thompson in running RE courses for Bromley, which she would continue to do as
required. In respect of the RE Centre members were advised that the services
would continue as before but from their new location at Bishop Justus C of E
Secondary School.

26th April 2006

         RESOLVED that

           1) the end of the contract for RE Consultancy Services be noted and
arrangements be made for a report to the next meeting on how the Council will
continue to support the SACRE; and

            2) a small Sub-Group be set up to advise, from SACRE‟s view point,
along the lines proposed above.

          Report DE06070

          The Chairman had agreed that this item, which was omitted from the
agenda, should be considered at this meeting.

           Members‟ attention was drawn to reports on two School Inspections
carried out this term to Bishop Justus C of E Secondary School and St Paul‟s
Cray C of E Primary School. Reverend Camp as Chairman of the Governors of
Bishop Justus School was very pleased to have received such a positive report
bearing in mind the school had been open only recently and the problems faced in
moving to the new site.

          It was noted that reports on St Peter and St Paul Catholic Primary
School and Holy Innocents Catholic Primary School would be presented to the
next meeting.

          RESOLVED that the reports be noted.


          The date of the next meeting was scheduled for 4th October 2006*.

(* Note:    Arising from discussion at the end of the following meeting of the
Standing Advisory Council for Religious Education – Agreed Syllabus Conference
it was agreed to change the meeting date to 8th November 2006.)

The meeting ended at 8.10 pm


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