Agenda item

Education Durham Report to SACRE


The Standing Advisory Council on Religious Education considered a report of P Hodgson, Education Durham which provided an overview and update of support provided since the last meeting along with information on Ofsted reviews and data around GCSE entries and attainment (for copy see file of Minutes).


P Hodgson advised that further to discussion at the previous meeting some further analysis of data had been completed and was in included within the report. He explained that 35% of GCSE students had been entered for RE nationally with 29.1% entered locally.


The report further provided detail around Ofsted deep dives along with Ofsted subject reviews. P Hodgson explained that Ofsted had begun to publish a new round of subject reviews, a future report on R.E. was awaited.


Moving on, P Hodgson reported upon support and resources provided for schools by Education Durham including training which had been recorded and was intended to be placed on the new schools’ portal which was to be live from April 2023.


He further provided details of networks taking place across the spring and summer terms. In addition, as part of the drive by Education Durham to build capacity for subject support in schools, consultation with head teachers had led to the addition of 5 R.E. subject specialists who will work alongside Catherine Robson as part of the Associate Advisor team. It was hoped that an update on the work of the team would be available to present at the next meeting.


Further discussion took place surrounding declining numbers of students studying R.E. and Councillor Varty suggested that the pandemic may have damaged R.E. In response P Hodgson added that the team needed to get a better understanding of this through analysis of data and this would be reflected in a future report to SACRE.


K Passmore commented that the report and data included within, gave SACRE real direction going forward. She acknowledged that the transition of pupils from primary to secondary was challenging for the subject and SACRE should explore ways to support that transition.


Discussion then went on surrounding higher attaining schools, literacy, and disadvantaged students. It was also suggested that it would be useful to obtain data from 2019 to assess the data published pre-pandemic under normal circumstances and further data surrounding where there had been no entry in core R.E.

L Burton suggested that it may also prove useful for head teachers to be asked to provide details of the core RE provision within their schools, however suggested that this request should come from Education Durham.


The Chair noted that there were different stories and realities behind all schools and many of those issues came back to RE specialist teacher recruitment, rurality and so on. K Passmore noted that this was a national concern and the RE Hub project which she was involved with were looking at ways to open conversations around this complex topic.




That the content of the report be noted.


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