Following the 1988 Education Act, when Religious Education (RE) was confirmed as a compulsory part of the curriculum, it became a statutory requirement for every Local Authority (LA) to appoint a SACRE.
Surrey SACRE is made up of four groups which meet at least three times a year. The groups represent:
- Group A: Christian denominations other than the Church of England and other faith or belief groups that represent the main traditions of the area;
- Group B: The Church of England;
- Group C: Teachers’ associations, professional associations and representatives from Surrey RE networks;
- Group D: The Local Authority (Surrey County Council).
In addition, the SACRE can co-opt members who may have expertise in the area of religious education or who may represent other interested groups, such as academy groups, if all parties are in agreement.
The Standing Advisory Council on Religious Education (SACRE) exists to:
- determine religious education content in Surrey maintained schools by producing a locally agreed syllabus and reviewing it every five years;
- advise on matters of collective worship in county schools and religious education (RE) in line with the agreed syllabus. This includes methods of teaching, choice of materials and training for teachers;
- assist with any complaint about religious education or collective worship in schools and consider any requests for determinations;
- publish an annual report detailing any action that SACRE has taken and any advice it has given, as well as any monitoring of RE provision that has taken place in the County’s schools or in relation to standards in RE.
All schools are now required by Ofsted to publish their school’s curriculum, which includes RE, on their school website. SACRE’s good practice guide for websites can be accessed here. Please note that RE is statutory for all pupils in all schools (subject to parental withdrawal) and that secondary schools, including Academies and Free Schools, should publish how they are meeting the requirement for statutory RE at KS4 if it is not delivered through the GCSE curriculum.
- Queries or further information about SACRE should be addressed to the SACRE Clerk.
The Funding Agreement for an Academy without a religious designation states that it must arrange for RE to be given to all pupils in accordance with the requirements for agreed syllabuses (as set out in section 375(3) of the Education Act 1996 and paragraph (5) of Schedule 19 to the School Standards and Framework Act 1998.) This means a syllabus that reflects that the religious traditions in Great Britain are, in the main, Christian whilst taking account of the teaching and practices of the other principal religions represented in Great Britain. It also means that an Academy without a religious designation must not provide an RE syllabus to pupils by means of any catechism or formulary which is distinctive of any particular religious denomination. Academies are free to follow the Surrey Agreed Syllabus if they choose or they can choose another from a different Local Authority area, or they can write their own: it must meet the requirements of the law.
Constitution (June 2020, but currently under revision)
Minutes of SACRE meetings
For past minutes, and previous Annual Reports, please apply to view via Rachel Boxer, RE Adviser to Surrey SACRE.
Collective worship is an important part of school life in supporting pupils' spiritual, moral, social and cultural development (SMSC, including fundamental British Values) and will usually be viewed by Ofsted as part of an inspection. It is a legal requirement that a daily act of collective worship is provided for all pupils, in all schools including academies (unless withdrawal is requested by their parents/carers).
SACRE can consider applications made by a headteacher, after consultation with the school’s governing body and parents, to release some or all of the pupils in a particular school from the requirement that collective worship should be of a wholly or broadly Christian nature. This is known as a determination. For academies wishing to apply for a determination, the Academy Trust would apply, through the EFA, to the Secretary of State. More information about the legal requirements for collective worship and the determination process can be found using the tabs below.
In some circumstances, SACRE can also consider applications made by a headteacher, after consultation with the governing body and parents, to release some or all of the pupils in a particular school from the requirements that collective worship should be a wholly or broadly Christian nature. This is known as a determination. For academies wishing to apply for a determination, the Academy Trust would apply, through the EFA, to the Secretary of State. There are specific processes for applying for a determination and statutory application forms, which must be followed before any determination can be considered.
More information about the legal requirements for collective worship and the determination process can be found in the guidance document 'Time to Reflect'. Please read the relevant sections in this document before completing the forms.
Schools may also welcome visitors from faith and belief communities to support their assembly times. The guidance document ‘Encounters with Faith and Belief’ [link to pdf document] will help schools as they plan for inclusive collective worship.
This non-statutory guidance helps school to provide collective worship that meets statutory requirements and supports pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development.