Venue: CONFERENCE ROOM 1a, COUNTY HALL, RUTHIN
Contact: Committee Administrator (KEJ)
Councillor W.N. Tasker, S. Cameron and D. Oakes.
DECLARATION OF INTERESTS
Members to declare any personal or prejudicial interests in any business identified to be considered at this meeting.
No Members declared any personal or prejudicial interests in any business identified to be considered at the meeting.
URGENT MATTERS AS AGREED BY THE CHAIR
Notice of items which, in the opinion of the Chair, should be considered at the meeting as a matter of urgency pursuant to Section 100B(4) of the Local Government Act 1972.
No items were raised which in the opinion of the Chair, should be considered at the meeting as a matter of urgency pursuant to Section 100B(4) of the Local Government Act, 1972.
To approve and sign as a correct record minutes of the previous meeting held on the 21st October, 2015.
The minutes of the Standing Advisory Council for Religious Education (SACRE) meeting held on the 21st October, 2015 (previously circulated) were submitted.
1. Apologies:- The Challenge Advisor for GwE (CA) informed Members that a letter of thanks had been sent to Mr Gavin Craigen for his input to the Committee.
12. Date of next Meeting:- The CA explained that due to health problems suffered by the respective member of the teaching staff the meeting was being held in Ruthin and not Ysgol Dinas Bran, Llangollen as previously agreed. Alternative school venues had been sought but had not been available. However, positive links with a number of High Schools had been established.
Members were informed that letters of congratulation had been sent to schools involved in the Estyn process, stating the positive comments received as part of the reports.
RESOLVED that, subject to the above, the minutes of the SACRE meeting held on the 21st October, 2015 be received and approved as a correct record.
To receive the analysis of recent Estyn Inspection Reports.
The Challenge Advisor GwE (CA) submitted a report (previously circulated) which provided an analysis of Estyn Inspections Reports published in the Autumn term, in relation to the provision of Religious Education, SMSC and collective worship, in three schools between November, 2014 and January, 2015.
Inspections had been carried out at St Asaph Church in Wales Voluntary-Controlled Infant School, St Asaph, Ysgol Bro Dyrfrdwy, Cynwyd and Ysgol Hiraddug CP School, Dyserth, and details pertaining to each of the respective schools had been incorporated in the report and were summarised by the CA.
The CA provided Members with a brief resume of the findings relating to each school, and the positive comments and outcomes were noted by Members. The CA explained that the comments received had been brief and he made particular reference to the following:-
Positive Comments - Current Performance indicated that staff provide very good opportunities for pupils to develop their spiritual, social, moral and cultural education (Hiraddug).
Key Question 1: How good are outcomes?
· They develop a good understanding of their role in the local community through strong links with the cathedral and visits to the local hospice. (St Asaph V.P.).
· Pupils organise activities to raise money for a number of charities which had a positive effect on pupils’ awareness of the needs of others. A successful coffee afternoon held to raise money for the Nepal appeal. (Bro Dyfrdwy)
· Younger pupils had developed a valuable understanding of respect, care and concern for others, in the school and wider world (Hiraddug).
Key Question 2: How good is provision?
· Visits from local businesses, links with the cathedral and extra curricular activities enrich pupils’ learning well. (St Asaph V.P.)
· Good understanding of global citizenship through involvement in European Day and a project of support for a child in Borneo. (St Asaph V.P.)
· Good range of various and interesting experiences across the school, which met all the requirements of the Foundation Phase, the National Curriculum and religious education effectively. (Bro Dyfrdwy)
· Wide range of valuable opportunities provided to raise pupils’ awareness of global citizenship through thematic work, and links with other countries such as Lesotho. (Bro Dyfrdwy)
· Provision for promoting good behaviour and developing pupils’ social and emotional skills is effective. Regular opportunities for pupils to reflect and develop their spiritual, moral, social and cultural attitudes through regular whole-school assemblies and other activities in the local community. (Bro Dyfrdwy)
· Interesting links with India and China helped pupils develop valuable knowledge and understanding of other cultures and customs, which enriched the caring and respectful ethos of the school. (Hiraddug)
Care, support and guidance:-
· Staff develop pupils’ spiritual, cultural, moral and social development well. Visitors and visits out of school provided worthwhile experiences to assist in pupils’ social and cultural development. (St Asaph V.P.)
· Regular opportunities for pupils to reflect and develop their spiritual, moral, social and cultural attitudes through regular whole-school assemblies and other activities in the local community. (Bro Dyfrdwy)
· Highly beneficial opportunities provided for spiritual, moral, social and cultural development. The school’s strong international links developed pupils’ spiritual and cultural understanding effectively. The high quality provision for personal and social education in the Foundation Phase lead to pupils developing a strong understanding of the values of honesty, fairness and respect for others. (Hiraddug)
· A very inclusive community where staff treated all pupils equally, fairly and with respect. Staff promote diversity and equal opportunities successfully and ensured that all pupils had equal access to every aspect of school life. The school’s caring ethos encouraged pupils to have respect and tolerance for others. (St Asaph V.P.)
To consider a report analysing the examination results for 2015.
The CA submitted the Summary of Examination Results 2013-14 Report (previously circulated) which included details of:-
- GCSE Religious Studies – Full Courses.
The CA highlighted the data provided in respect of:-
- Prestatyn High School - Large number of pupils entered for Full Course.
- Dinas Bran Llangollen – 25% reduction due to possible time allocation. Contact made with Line Manager.
- Rhyl High School – Members agreed that SACRE visit the new school when operational.
- Ysgol Brynhyfryd – Suffered number reduction but still above national average figure.
- Blessed Edward Jones, Rhyl - Looking for further improvement through utilisation of shared resources.
Members agreed that the CA send letters of congratulations from SACRE to Rhyl High School, Prestatyn High School and St Brig, Denbigh acknowledging their respective achievements.
The CA provided a comparison of figures for All Wales in respect of Full and Short Course figures during the past twelve months. Confirmation that although Short Course provision had been eliminated in England it would be continued in Wales.
- GCSE Religious Studies – Short Courses.
The CA highlighted the data provided in respect of the Short Courses. Concerns were expressed in relation to:-
- Rhyl High School - figures of 4.4%.
- The Chair commended collaborative working between schools.
- GCSE Religious Studies – A - Level.
The following issues were highlighted in respect of:-
- It was acknowledged that A Level figures were predominantly lower.
- The effect of the Welsh Baccalaureate in terms of the option blocks was highlighted.
- Concerns were expressed regarding the low numbers recorded, and the reasons for the decline.
- The impact of the non-provision of A Level courses in Rhyl College had been significant.
All Religious Studies.
- Table 1:- GCSE Results 2015: All Religious Studies.
- Table 2:- GCSE Results 2014: All Religious Studies.
- Table 3:- GCSE Results 2015: All Religious Education Short Courses.
- Table 4:- GCSE Results 2014: All Religious Education Short Courses.
- Table 5:- GCSE Advanced Level Results 2015: All Religious Studies.
- Table 6:- GCSE Advanced Level Results 2014: All Religious Studies.
During the ensuing discussion it was agreed that the CA inform the Lead Member for Education of the concerns expressed by Members regarding the reduction in numbers, and a request be made for action and assistance to address the problems highlighted.
RESOLVED – that, subject to the above, the the Summary of Examination Results 2014-15 be received and noted.
To review the impact of the Welsh Baccalaureate on Religious Education.
The Challenge Advisor GwE (CA) referred to the review on the impact of the Welsh Baccalaureate on Religious Education. He explained that WASACRE had sent a survey to all schools to assess their responses regarding the impact of the Welsh Baccalaureate, particular reference being made to the influence on the GCSE timetable which reduced the availability of short courses in Denbighshire.
Members were informed by the CA that the responses received, from Head teachers and Heads of Department, had indicated that there had not been a detrimental effect on Religious Education across Denbighshire, Wrexham, Flintshire and Conwy in terms of GCSE.
It was confirmed that by the CA that the completed surveys would be passed to WASACRE.
RESOLVED - that the report be received and the position noted.
An update on the development of a new Curriculum for Wales.
The Challenge Advisor GwE (CA) explained that Huw Lewis, Minister for Education and Skills, had agreed to accept all of the recommendations from Professor Donaldson review of the curriculum. A document ‘Curriculum for life’ had been written to lay the plans for how the new curriculum would be developed.
A PowerPoint presentation was provided by the CA, which outlined the development of the new Curriculum for Wales as proposed by the Curriculum for life document, and the following salient areas within the presentation were highlighted by the CA:-
The following responses were provided to questions and issues raised by Members:-
- The CA agreed the list of pioneer schools, which was available on the Welsh Government website, could be presented to a future SACRE meeting. It was also agreed that schools included on the list be invited to attend SACRE meetings.
- Members were informed that teacher training days would be available for members of the teaching staff.
Following further discussion, it was:-
RESOLVED - that the report be received and its contents noted.
Promote teacher representation through the school to school collaboration.
The Challenge Advisor GwE (CA) provided an update on the proposal to support school to school collaborative groups. He explained that schools in Denbighshire, Wrexham, Flintshire and Conwy had been asked if they wished to participate in school to school collaborative groups focusing on Religious Education and Collective Worship, with a view to promoting teacher representation through the school to school collaboration. The CA explained that schools had been given up until Friday, 13th February, 2016 to register, with approximately eight Denbighshire schools having expressed an interest.
The aim of the initiative had been to provide teachers with the opportunity to meet and interact, and possibly address the lack of teaching representation on SACRE. The Group acknowledged the difficulties experienced by teachers in attending meetings, and it was explained that it was intended to hold more SACRE meetings in schools.
RESOLVED - that the report be received and its contents noted.
DATE OF NEXT MEETING
Date of next meeting – 20th June, 2016.
The Chair felt that increased representation from the respective schools would be important and welcomed. Members agreed with the suggestion that the CA extend an invitation to all schools to attend a future meeting of SACRE.
The meeting concluded at 11.55 a.m.
(i) To receive the minutes of the last meeting of the Association at Ebbw Vale on the 25th November, 2015.
(ii) To agree attendance to the next WASACRE on the 8th March, 2016 at Haverford West.
(iii) FYI - Denbighshire SACRE to host the spring meeting of WASACRE on the 23rd June, 2016.
(a) Minutes of WASACRE – 25th November, 2015
The minutes of the meeting of the Wales Association of SACREs (WASACRE) held in Neath Port Talbot on the 25th November, 2015 (previously circulated) were submitted for Members’ information.
The CA invited Members attention to Pages 4 and 5 of the Wales Association of SACREs minutes, which highlighted major changes to the GCSE: WJEC in respect of Religious Studies. A summary of the impact of the revised specifications was provided for Members by the CA.
RESOLVED – that, subject to noting the above, minutes of WASACRE held on the 25th November, 2015 be received.
(b) Attendance at WASACRE meeting - 8th March, 2016
The Chair agreed to liaise with the CA regarding his possible attendance at the next WASACRE meeting, to be held at Haverford West on the 8th March, 2016.
(c) Denbighshire SACRE to host the spring meeting of WASACRE on the 23rd June, 2016.
Confirmation was provided that Denbighshire would be hosting the spring meeting of WASACRE to be held in Ruthin on the 23rd June, 2016.
(d) Nominations for new Members of the WASACRE Executive Committee.
A copy of an invitation for nominations for the WASACRE Executive Committee had been circulated at the meeting. Members agreed that Reverend B. Huw Jones name be forwarded as a nomination for the WASACRE Executive Committee.