Agenda item

Compliance at KS4

Report of the Deputy Chief Executive and Director for Families and Communities


The Staffordshire Agreed Syllabus required all pupils in Key Stage 4 (KS4) to follow an accredited examination syllabus in RE.  The 2017 examination results suggested a varied picture of compliance with this requirement at KS4 in maintained schools.  As a monitoring exercise Staffordshire’s maintained secondary schools had received a three hour visit from the RE Consultant to SACRE, during which all aspects of their RE provision was discussed.  The DfE had published its response to the consultation over the EBacc in July.  In paragraph 72 there was a re-affirmation of the statutory nature of RE in all maintained schools.  The SACRE, in fulfilling its monitoring role, could act when a school was not fulfilling its statutory role in regard to RE. 


All schools were contacted formally by both email and letter to arrange a visit to review their RE provision.  A template was used to record the findings from each visit, an updated template was tabled at the meeting.  The findings were also shared with the school to support their internal review processes.  The following schools failed to engage with the process: King Edward VI High School, Stafford (which would become an academy next term) and The King’s C of E (VA) School (a diocesan school).  Several schools had been identified as being a cause for concern:

·         Codsall Community High School, provision at KS3 and KS4.  Core RE was delivered in Y9 and Y11 only.  Pupils received six hours RE in total in Y9 and Y11.  In all probability the school was not meeting the requirements of the Agreed Syllabus.

·         Great Wyrley High School, provision at KS4.  There was one GCSE examination group at KS4, but no discreet Core RE for the rest of the year group.

·         Nether Stowe School, provision at KS4.  From September 2018 RE would be an option subject only at KS4, with no discreet Core RE for the rest of the year group.

·         The Friary School, provision at KS4.  There was currently no discreet RE provision for non-examination groups at KS4.  It was questioned whether the school Focus Week approach met the requirements of the Agreed Syllabus, and it was suggested that SACRE may want to raise further queries about this.

The RE Consultant commented that the RE leads in the schools had valued the opportunity to discuss provision, and had fed back that they were grateful for the Agreed Syllabus.  The exercise had highlighted some really good practice.  In relation to next steps, it was suggested that SACRE may wish the new RE Consultant to do some additional monitoring work, or they may wish to commission a similar study on Primary Schools.  Members were referred to an article from NATRE which outlined the complaints process available to SACREs. 


SACRE agreed that it was important to handle this issue with sensitivity, and it would be better to follow up the initial findings before starting on the Primary sector.  It was suggested that it would be helpful to go back to the headteachers and governors to ascertain if the visit and report had had an impact, and offer help with any action plans.  Bob Spencer pointed out that Codsall was his division, and he had a meeting booked with the headteacher of Codsall Community High School.  It was agreed that it would be very helpful for him to start a dialogue with the headteacher around RE provision in the school.  The new RE Consultant pointed out that an information booklet was produced for senior leaders and governors of schools each term, and suggested that a list of questions could be included which governors could ask around compliance.  The Chairman expressed the view that it was important to pursue this issue in a firm but polite and constructive way, and undertook to take this forward with the RE Consultant.



a)    A letter of congratulation be sent to schools with full provision, and aspects of good practice be investigated further;

b)    Further clarity be gained on the legalities of provision at KS3 and KS4, particularly in relation to the outcome of the two test cases currently in court and the further guidance given by the DfE regarding investigating complaints in relation to RE provision;

c)    Schools be contacted where issues needed further investigation to clarify the school position; and

d)    Consideration should be given as to whether certain aspects of the Agreed Syllabus need to be re-worded, changing “should” to “must”.

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