Religious education - SACRE

Standing Advisory Council for Religious Education (SACRE)

Every Local Education Authority (LEA) is required by law to have a SACRE. Its origins go back to the Education Act of 1944, but the Education Reform Act 1988 and the Education Act 1996 strengthened its place in an LEA. The responsibilities of SACRE are:

  • to provide advice to the LEA on all aspects of its provision for Religious Education (RE) in its schools (this does not include Voluntary Aided Schools)
  • to decide whether the LEA's Agreed Syllabus for RE needs to be reviewed and to require the LEA does so
  • to provide advice to the LEA on Collective Worship in its schools (this does not include Voluntary Aided or Voluntary Controlled Schools)
  • to consider any requests from Head teachers to hold Collective Worship that is not of a broadly Christian character
  • to advise on matters relating to training for teachers in RE and Collective Worship
  • to publish an annual report of its work

A SACRE is made up of four committees: 

  1. representatives of Christian denominations and other religions and their denominations which reflect the principal religious traditions of the borough
  2. representatives of the Church of England
  3. representatives of the teaching profession
  4. representatives from the LEA, including Councillors and RE advisors

The LEA provides a clerk to the SACRE and a small budget for general running expenses, this budget rises in the years when a review of the syllabus is due. It is the duty of the SACRE to ensure that a revision of the locally agreed syllabus takes place every five years.

The Royal Borough’s SACRE meets three times a year

A SACRE is quorate (has enough members present) if at least one member of each committee is present. Each committee has equal voting rights, one vote per committee vote.

Schools are required by law to provide a daily act of collective worship which ‘shall be wholly or mainly of a broadly Christian character’, one of the duties of a SACRE is to offer advice to head teachers and governing bodies and disseminate good practice. A SACRE should also discuss any determinations (exceptions from broadly Christian collective worship). However, the Royal Borough has never had any applications for such a determination.