Agenda item

The Agreed Syllabus Review

Report of the Corporate Director (Children and Lifelong Learning)



(Schedule 2)


At their meeting of 17 June 2008 SACRE had convened an Agreed Syllabus Conference and had set in motion the Agreed Syllabus Review for Staffordshire. Members had considered the progress made at subsequent meetings.


Members received details of the action taken following comments and recommendations made by SACRE. Specifically members were informed that:


a)     The Early Years Adviser had been consulted and it had been decided to leave the sections on Early Years Foundation Stage and Reception/Key Stage 1 as they were in the statutory section of the syllabus to reflect the legal position of RE in these phases.  Full account would be taken of SACREs comments in the guidance material where careful attention would be paid to addressing the specific needs of each area.


b)     It was not a requirement for special schools to follow the locally agreed syllabus and therefore it was not appropriate to include guidance in the statutory section of the syllabus for this sector.  For teachers of pupils with Special Educational Needs (SEN) in other schools an information box had been added to the section How can pupils and teachers recognise progress in religious education?”referring them to the guidance material which would include planning information and the ‘P’ (performance) scale for RE, a set of descriptions for recording the achievement of pupils with SEN.  This was in keeping with the way in which requirements were presented for other subject areas by QCA.


c)      The text had been amended as appropriate to include full reference to conceptual and experiential faiths.


The draft syllabus had been circulated to all subject leaders in secondary and middle schools, to primary subject leaders on the county database and to SACRE members.  All responses received had been taken into account and members considered the amended syllabus.


SACRE discussed the amended syllabus in detail. In particular discussion centred on the section outlining Key Stage 4 Programmes of Learning and whether it was appropriate to alter some of the wording to allow greater flexibility without compromising the standards.


After a considered debate SACRE agreed the following amendments to the Key Stage 4 section, to now read:


“At Key Stage 4 all pupils should follow, as a basis, an accredited specification (from a recognised examination board) in Religious Studies. Schools should provide reasonable time for pupils to complete this, and if appropriate, to attain an external qualification.


Schools wishing to base a Religious Studies programme on any other accredited specification, for example Humanities or Citizenship, must take advice from SACRE.


In keeping with the aim of religious education and the underlying principles of the Staffordshire Agreed Syllabus pupils must have the opportunity to study Christianity and to draw examples from at least one other faith.


The decision to enter pupils for an examination at the end of the course is at schools’ discretion.”


A further amendment was agreed within the Legal Framework page to move the table showing hours of study per year for each key stage from the “statutory requirement” section to the “strongly recommended” (though not a legal requirement) section.


It was intended that, once the Syllabus had been agreed, it would be launched on the evening of the SACRE lecture, on Tuesday 22 September 2009.


RESOLVED – That: a) the report be received;

b) the new Staffordshire Agreed Syllabus, with the inclusion of the amendments listed above, be approved for consideration by the Agreed Syllabus Conference; and,

c) outline arrangements for the launch of the new syllabus be agreed.


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