West Sussex SACRE
(Standing Advisory Council for Religious Education)

What is a SACRE?

Every Local Education Authority (LEA) is required by law to have a SACRE. It's 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 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 Headteachers 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.

SACREs have no power; they can only advise the education authority.

Here is a link to West Sussex County Council SACRE: West Sussex Grid for Learning. You can view minutes of meetings and see the agenda for the next meeting. The point of contact is the RE advisor.

Structure of the SACRE

The SACRE comprises four voting groups of members. Each has an equal vote.

Church of England

Christian and other Religions (including Catholic, Jew, Sikh, Buddhist, Baptist, Bahai, Hindu)

Teachers' organisations

West Sussex County Council

There are no Humanist/atheist members. SACRE refused to allow a Humanist member for 10 years (see meetings below). In 2016 they said that a Humanist non-voting member could be admitted but none has been found who is willing to join as a second-class member.

Reports on attended meetings

These reports contain observations made by the Humanist observer.

20th June 2011 Steering group to oversee writing the new RE syllabus to exclude the non-religious, despite appeal from councillor.

8th November 2010 No mention of Humanist application for membership. Social Cohesion discussion continues to ignore the non-religious.

9th November 2009 New SACRE membership chaired by Peter Griffiths (who rejected Humanist representation).

22nd June 2009 Consultation of new government guidance. New local guidance on Collective Worship from WSCC.

9th March 2009 Results from public examinations. Continuing self-assessment. Collective worship.

10th November 2008 SACRE considered the Annual Report 2008 and began a self-evaluation exercise

16th June 2008 SACRE publishes the new RE syllabus and asks where it is going in the future.

10th March 2008 The new syllabus is approved for the next 4 years; what a missed opportunity.

12th November 2007 School feedback supports new syllabus. OFSTED report highlights weaknesses in RE, and the need for SACREs to promote social cohesion, diversity and citizenship.

18th June 2007 Draft 2 of the 2008 RE syllabus made less inclusive of secular worldviews. Daily act of worship in crisis.

12th March 2007 Draft 1 of the 2008 RE syllabus presented. Overwhelming opposition to the inclusion of secular worldviews.

13th November 2006 Embarrassing minutes of previous meeting are doctored. Humanist PowerPoint presentation goes down well.

19th June 2006 Application for Humanist representative placed before the SACRE. Decision taken to hear a presentation at the next meeting.

3rd March First attended meeting.


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The Chichester Observer made a video and wrote an article covering the laying of a Humanist wreath after the main religious ceremony. A transcript of the speech can be downloaded here.

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