Lewisham Council - Religious education
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Religious education

Religious education is a statutory subject in schools, though it is not part of the National Curriculum.

We have a Standing Advisory Council on Religious Education (SACRE) to advise us on matters connected with religious education. This is a statutory partnership group made up of representatives of local faith and belief communities, teachers, schools and elected members.

The Council works with local faith and belief communities to determine the content of religious education in Lewisham schools, and we review our local agreed syllabus every five years.

Why children have religious education

Religious education encourages pupils to learn about different religions, beliefs, values and traditions while exploring their own beliefs and questions of meaning.

It challenges pupils to consider and discuss issues of truth, belief, faith and ethics.

Religious education encourages pupils to develop their sense of identity and belonging. It enables them to flourish individually within their communities and as citizens.

Religious education has an important role in preparing pupils for adult life, employment and lifelong learning. It enables pupils to develop respect for and sensitivity to others, in particular those whose faiths and beliefs are different from their own. It promotes discernment and helps pupils to combat prejudice.

Legal requirement to provide religious education

The legal requirements governing religious education were set out in the Education Reform Act of 1988 and confirmed by the Education Acts of 1996 and 1998.

Religious education must be provided for all registered pupils in maintained schools, including those in reception classes and sixth forms.

In community and voluntary controlled schools, religious education must be provided in accordance with our local agreed syllabus.

In voluntary-aided schools, religious education must be provided in accordance with the trust deed of the school and the wishes of the governing body.

Right to withdraw from religious education

Parents have the right to withdraw their children from religious education and this right should be identified in the school prospectus.

Standing Advisory Council on Religious Education (SACRE)

The Standing Advisory Council on Religious Education (SACRE) advises the Council on the provision of religious education and collective worship.

A SACRE is made up of four groups in order to bring a wide range of interests and talents to this work, and to reflect local faith communities.

These groups are:

  • Group A: Christian denominations (other than the Church of England) and representatives from a wide range of other faiths and beliefs representative of Lewisham's communities.  
  • Group B: The Church of England.
  • Group C: Teachers' professional associations.
  • Group D: Elected members of the Council, with representatives of the Executive Director for Children and Young People and governors of Lewisham schools.

Members of these groups are nominated by their respective organisations.

What the SACRE does

Lewisham SACRE meets approximately four to five times annually.

The meetings are often held in a local place of worship in order to enhance members’ knowledge and understanding of faiths other than their own.

At the meetings, members discuss issues relating to religious education in Lewisham schools and other educational establishments and monitor the delivery of that education.

We develop ways of supporting schools in delivering the religious education syllabus. We develop and maintain links with local and national faith communities.

SACRE also produces advice to support schools at times of local, national or international difficulty.

We welcome contact and visits from representatives of interested organisations or individuals to our meetings.

Contact SACRE

You can contact SACRE via the RE Adviser: Denise Chaplin.

You can also write to the Adviser, c/o School Improvement Team, third floor Laurence House, Catford, SE6 4RU.

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