City of York Council

Committee Minutes


SACRE (Standing Advisory Council on Religious Education)


22 June 2022


















In Attendance









Group A

Penny Coppin-Siddall

Daryoush Mazloum

Ben Rich (Vice Chair)


Group B

Kirsty Hollinger


Group C

Taco Michiels

Andy Tod


Group D

Cllr Andrew Waller (Chair)

Cllr Ian Cuthberson  

Cllr Martin Rowley


LA Officers

Janie Berry (Director of Governance)

Maxine Squire (Assistant Director Education and Skills)


Professional RE Advisor

Olivia Seymour (Assistant Director of Education (Distinctiveness) Diocese of York[BA(S1] 



Kate Bailey (Group A), Ian Hodgson (Group A), Cllr Fitzpatrick (Group D) and Janie Berry (City of York Council Director of Governance)



25.        Election of Chair [18:00]


It was proposed that Cllr Waller, as the City of York Council’s new Executive Member for Children, Young People & Education, be nominated as Chair.


No further nominations were received, and it was


Resolved:  That Cllr Waller be appointed as Chair of SACRE for one year.


Reason:     In accordance with paragraph 5.1 of SACRE’s Constitution.





26.        Chair's Announcements [18:00]


There were no announcements from the Chair.





27.        Apologies for Absence [18:00]


Apologies were received from: Kate Bailey, Ian Hodgson (Group A), Cllr Fiona Fitzpatrick (Group D) and Janie Berry (Director of Governance).





28.        Declarations of Interest [18:01]


There were no declarations of interest.





29.        A short talk and Q&A on Buddhism [18:02]


Mark Jones, of the York Buddhist Centre, gave a talk on Buddhism.  He described his own background as a Buddhist of 32 years’ standing and provided a brief outline of the beliefs and principles of the faith, the differences between Western and Eastern practices, and common misunderstandings and stereotypes.


Andy explained that Mark visited Ralph Butterfield School as part of visiting speakers on different faiths


A question and answer session followed, during which Mark further explained:

·        That the York Buddhist Centre would be adding information on what they can offer to schools on their website (for which there would be a charge). They would also be inviting people to the Centre.

·        It was not a prophletising religion

·        The York Buddhist community in York was small. As part of York Interfaith Week they would out on an evening for visitors.

·        Buddhist festivals ran around the full moons.

·        In some Buddhist religions Buddha was seen as a deity, although this was largely cultural. Western Buddhism saw Buddha as a human being.

·        Three biggest misconceptions in Buddhism were monastics


A Member asked if a role for SACRE was to give guidance on paying for visits to schools. Olivia Seymour explained the difficulty with this and suggested that Committee A could look at this in more detail. It was suggested information on school visits could be added as an agenda item for a future meeting. Mark Jones was asked and agreed to discuss Buddhist representation on SACRE with his community.


Resolved: That the information on the work of the York Buddhist Centre be noted.


Reason:     In order to be updated in the work of York Buddhist Centre


[Cllr Rowley and Mark Jones left the meeting at 18:35]





30.        Minutes of the meeting on 5 January 2022 and 30 March 2022 and Matters Arising [18:35]


Resolved: That the minutes of the meetings held 5 January 2022 and 30 March 2022 be approved and signed as an accurate record.


The Chair noted the change in SACRE membership, as approved at the Council meeting in May 2022.





31.        Monitoring of Standards - Development Plan [18:39]


Members considered the City Of York SACRE: Development Plan 2020 – 2022. Maxine Squire noted that the 2020-22 development plan had now come to an end and as such it was time to review it. She highlighted the following points:

·        The impact of the COVID pandemic on the work of schools and SACRE was noted.

·        There was a need to continue work on website and develop a communications plan across the school community, council and other agencies such as Interfaith York. This was supported by Olivia Seymour, who encouraged the development of this, building on the momentum of the launch of the agreed syllabus.

·        SACRE was firmly established in its constitutional development.

·        There was a need to look at the impact of the agreed syllabus and where schools would need support on the implementation of it. Questions on this may be added to the school monitoring survey and it would aid in the development of a CPD programme for schools.


During debate on the development plan, Members noted:

·        The advantage of virtual meetings for schools.

·        The was a small budget for SACRE to support work in schools

·        SACRE did not have a clear view in the monitoring of teaching RE in schools

·        The annual conference in schools had not been achieved and the barriers to engagement for attending those events was noted

·        Training could be completed online.

·        Olivia noted that the last primary conference was well attended and the secondary conference was more challenging with attendance opened up to all York secondary schools. It was suggested that a carousel type event may be welcomed by schools.

·        The new development plan had been set around the NASACRE framework


Andy Tod informed Members One of the groups that a Speak Up Diversity York had approached the Local Authority and suggested that an action plan be created to address racism in York and it was suggested that they could be invited to speak at a future SACRE meeting.


Olivia undertook to check on the NASACRE website on its definition of stakeholders


Members welcomed a focus on communication as a priority for the work of SACRE


Maxine suggested that she and Olivia could draft the actions for the development and circulate to Members for comments. This was welcomed by Members and Ben offered to input into the actions. Maxine Squire reported that for the Annual Report Business Intelligence at the Council would be able to help distribute the questionnaires to schools. Members were asked for their views on questions to be included. Cllr Cuthbertson noted the limitations on including free text in the Business Intelligence software and he offered to liaise on this with Maxine. Taco Michiels, Andy Tod and Kirsty Hollinger also agreed to input on this.



Resolved: That a working group of Maxine Squire, Olivia Seymour, Taco Michiels, Andy Tod and Kirsty Hollinger be formed to examine the development plan.


Reason:     In order to keep the development plan up to date.





32.        National RE and Collective worship updates [19:17]


Members were updated on Regional and National updates. This included updates on the Religion and Worldviews Project, White paper on Education and RE, REThink RE media release and report card on RE, and the NATRE report on RE in Secondary Schools and a summary of the NASACRE conference. Members were asked whether the Religion and Worldviews Project should be considered in further detail at a future meeting, particularly in relation to its impact on the curriculum. Olivia explained potential changes to the statutory role of SACREs nationally as a result of the White paper on Education and RE. She noted that at the moment, the majority of York schools used the SACRE agreed syllabus. Concerning the NATRE report on RE in Secondary Schools and a summary it was noted that there had been an increase in the uptake of RE at KS4.


Resolved: That the National RE and Collective worship updates be noted.


Reason:     In order to be kept up to date on National RE and Collective worship.





33.        Correspondence on complaints / determinations [19:23]


It was reported that there had been no complaints to SACRE.


Resolved: That Members be updated on complaints.


Reason:     In order to be kept updated on complaints to SACRE and

determinations of complaints.





34.        2022-23 Work plan [19:25]


It was agreed that the development of the development plan would be added as an item on the next meeting agenda


Resolved: That the work plan be updated to reflect the above change.


Reason:     In order to keep the work plan updated.





35.        Future meeting dates [19:26]


11 October 2022 at 6.00pm in the Hudson room, West Offices


It was agreed that there an additional meeting be added in December, the February meeting move to March and the following meeting to be held after Annual Council in May 2023.




36.        Urgent Business -  Interfaith Week [19:28]


Members discussed Interfaith week (week of 12 November 2022]. Members were invited to the tree planting event as part of this.


Resolved: That Interfaith Week would be added to the Development Plan.


Reason:     In order to support the work of York Interfaith.








Cllr Waller, Chair

[The meeting started at 6.04 pm and finished at 7.41 pm].




























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