CURRICULUM FOR WALES
- Meeting of Standing Advisory Council for Religious Education (SACRE), Tuesday, 1 February 2022 10.00 am (Item 5.)
The Chair welcomed the Principal Education Manager to his first SACRE meeting.
The Principal Education Manager introduced the item on the Welsh Government’s new Curriculum for Wales which was due to come into effect in September 2022. He was grateful to the RE Adviser for his presentation and explanation of the Religion, Values and Ethics guidance which had recently been released.
The RE Adviser explained the requirement for convening an Agreed Syllabus Conference to prepare an Agreed Syllabus to be adopted by the local education authority. The intention was to record and circulate the presentation to participants in order to inform that process. In addition to SACRE representatives it was hoped that as many teachers as possible could attend the Agreed Syllabus Conference which had been provisionally scheduled for 14 March 2022.
The RE Adviser gave a presentation which provided an overview of the Curriculum for Wales and explanation of the Religion, Value and Ethics (RVE) guidance.
Areas covered within the comprehensive presentation included –
· curriculum and assessment legislation requirements
· an introduction to the six areas of learning and experience and further specifics and language used – ‘statements of what matters’, ‘principles of progression’, ‘descriptions of learning’ and ‘designing your curriculum’
· specific reference to the statements of what matters for the Humanities area which encompassed context, skills, knowledge and concepts for development
· links to web pages including a summary of legislation with specific legislation relating to RVE guidance and how it could be adopted as an Agreed Syllabus
· the change from religious education to religion, values and ethics to reflect the expanded scope and inclusion of non-religious beliefs including humanism, atheism and secularism
· legislative changes governing the Agreed Syllabus Conference and SACREs to reflect both religious beliefs and non-religious philosophical convictions
· aims of the Agreed Syllabus with the RVE guidance having been written as a basis for the Agreed Syllabus with a high level of collaboration
· legal requirements for an Agreed Syllabus Conference and questions for them and SACREs to consider
· the removal of the right to withdraw from RVE in the Curriculum for Wales
· the purpose of the RVE guidance to provide additional support on how RVE could be taught in the Humanities area and those who must have regard to it
· the context of spiritual development in RVE which remained a key aspect
· designing the curriculum for RVE to include: cross-cutting themes, cross-curricular skills, skills integral to the four purposes, the statements of what matters, RVE concepts and the RVE lens
· learner progression and learning journeys in RVE with illustrative examples, and
· points for schools/settings to consider when designing their curriculum for RVE.
In closing the RE Adviser acknowledged the wealth of information contained within the presentation but highlighted that the Curriculum for Wales and full RVE guidance was far more comprehensive. The recorded presentation and PowerPoint slides would be circulated to SACRE members and schools to view and consider the content at their own leisure.
The following matters were raised during the ensuing debate –
· the RVE guidance was a comprehensive document and a link to the relevant webpage had been included on the agenda for members to access and consider at their leisure; the presentation, whilst also lengthy, had broken-down and summarised elements of the guidance for ease of reference and use
· confirmed the Welsh translation ‘Canllawiau ar Grefydd, Gwerthoedd a Moeseg’ for ‘Religion, Vales and Ethics Guidance’ as detailed in the presentation
· Councillor Meirick Davies referred to the current UK Consultation on banning the right to proselytise and potential implications for religious teachings. The RE Adviser had been unaware of the proposals but advised that there was legislation in Wales to protect the teaching of Christianity within the current curriculum and thanked Councillor Davies for bringing the matter to attention
· there was some debate on the purpose of the guidance to be pluralistic and teach what people believed across Wales, not indoctrinating people and telling them what they believed, and whilst church schools may have a different purpose regarding RVE and its delivery, there would still need to be a pluralistic element to that reflecting the differences of the people and beliefs in Wales
· the legislation which underpinned the RVE guidance clearly stated that it must reflect that the religious nature of Wales was Christianity in the main and then other principal religions together with non-religious philosophical convictions, so there was a sense and history of Wales tied in with those teachings
· it was the responsibility of schools to make students aware of the dimensions of morality and spirituality and the learning journeys in RVE were cited as an excellent vehicle for students to explore their own faith and beliefs, with the freedom to make their own personal choices and decide for themselves
· the right of withdrawal would no longer be needed after the implementation of the new curriculum because of the way RVE was taught
· it was clarified that Collective Worship had its own set of laws and philosophy behind that which currently had to be wholly, broadly Christian
· teacher representatives reported upon the plans and developments in their own schools regarding the new curriculum and welcomed the presentation delivered which provided greater clarity in the teaching of RVE going forward and thanked the RE Adviser for all his hard work in that regard.
The Chair thanked the RE Adviser for his interesting and informative presentation which had been well received by SACRE and would also be of huge benefit to schools in developing the new curriculum and teaching of RVE.
RESOLVED that the presentation by the RE Adviser regarding the Religion, Values and Ethics guidance be received and noted.