My presence on the Standing Advisory Council on Religious Education is an indication that modern RE teaching goes beyond Christianity, and that secularism is also addressed.

As a life-long atheist I never attended RE lessons as a school pupil; I also avoided school assemblies that had any hint of religion in them. I would file in for the notices at the end of the assembly. My parents were keen that I avoid all religion.

I am more relaxed about exposure to faith than my parents. I think children should be taught about religion, all religions. I also think they should be made aware of the various types of secularism, and this chimes in with modern attitudes to curriculum.

The SACRE meeting began with a debate on lapsing membership, and it was proposed that anyone missing three consecutive meetings would be taken off the council. If apologies for absence were tendered then this would count as attendance for the purposes of deciding whether to terminate someone’s membership. This, of course, does depend on everyone being properly informed about meetings times and venues; and if someone could prove that they had not received a meeting notice then this would also be taken into account.

The meeting start times were also discussed, with a suggestion that it be moved to 4pm.

Later on the Schools Survey 2016 was discussed. This will be going up on the Borough Council’s website soon. this survey is just about the religious education on offer in the borough’s schools.

The meeting was chaired by a man (Kevin Ryan), and the assembled were nineteen in total: eight females and eleven males.

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