Every local authority must establish a permanent body, called a Standing Advisory Council for Religious Education (SACRE). Its role is to advise the local authority on matters concerned with the provision of RE and collective worship; and an occasional body which must be convened to produce and recommend an agreed syllabus for RE, called an agreed syllabus conference.
What is the function of a SACRE?
A SACRE's main function is to advise the authority upon such matters connected with religious worship in county schools and the religious education to be given in accordance with an agreed syllabus as the authority may refer to the council or as the council may see fit.
- it can require the local authority to review its current agreed syllabus; and
- it must consider applications made by a head teacher that the requirement for collective worship in county schools to be wholly or mainly of a broadly Christian character shall not apply to the collective worship provided for some or all of the pupils at that particular school
The broad role of a SACRE is to support the effective provision of RE and collective worship in schools. The local authority works with SACRE to review the existing provision for RE and consider with the SACRE whether any changes need to be made in the agreed syllabus or in the support offered to schools. Similarly, it works with SACRE to monitor the provision of daily collective worship and to consider with it any action which might be taken to improve such provision.
The advice offered by a SACRE carries no statutory force. However the local authority or school should always give careful consideration to advice offered.
SACRE has produced the following guidance documents for schools:
- Religious Observance Absence Guidance 2020-2021
- Faith matters in physical education
- Fasting during the month of Ramadan - guidance for school leaders
SACRE reports and minutes
SACRE must publish an annual report on its work. You can view the most recent reports here:
Reports from all SACREs, including Harrow can be found on the National Association of Standing Advisory Councils on Religious Education.
Preparing an agreed syllabus for religious education
For the purpose of preparing an agreed syllabus for religious education, a local authority must convene an agreed syllabus conference. A conference is a separate legal entity from a SACRE and, although common membership is permissible, it must be separately convened.
The role of a conference is to produce and recommend an agreed syllabus for RE which fully meets the requirements of the 1988 Act and is educationally sound. Only an agreed syllabus conference may recommend an agreed syllabus and its recommendation must be unanimously agreed by the committees constituting the conference.