To consider a draft annual report for 2015/16 prior to publishing a final copy.
The Gwynedd SACRE Draft Annual Report for the 2015/16 academic year was submitted for the members’ approval, prior to the publication of the final report.
(A) Miss Bethan James explained that the purpose of the Annual Report was to summarise the work undertaken by SACRE over the previous year, and the importance of bringing the recommendations in the report to the Cabinet’s attention. Members were guided through the report and the following main points were highlighted:
(i) Self-evaluations - Gwynedd SACRE was commended for its arrangement of receiving self evaluations by schools, and improvement was seen in the quality of self-evaluations. It was also noted that schools were appreciated for completing them. The number of self-evaluations received over five years was noted, and between eight and 14 were able to be scrutinised annually in Gwynedd. The Committee was reminded that agreement had been reached to name the schools. Reference was made to the issues that received attention.
(ii) Teachers' assessments - the Committee's attention was drawn to the recommendations and it was noted that GCSE and A Level specifications were available on the WJEC website. It must be ensured that schools gain access to the subject guidelines of the WJEC examination board.
(iii) In response to a member's enquiry with regard to raising the standard of results among boys, it was noted that the data did not reflect the nature of the cohort in every school. It was agreed that the recommendations for Gwynedd Council needed to include a reference to closing the gap between boys and girls. It was further noted that the AS material appealed more to boys.
(iv) The ESTYN review reports were referred to, noting that unerringly in Gwynedd there was some reference to Religious Education and collective worship. In terms of Collective Worship this was acknowledged to be generally good and very good at some schools. It was noted that some schools collaborated well with local Chapels and Churches as pupils learnt about religion in the local area. During the ensuing discussion, Members were of the opinion that the table at point 2.3.3 should be removed and a letter sent to ESTYN to ensure correct use of terms with regard to collective worship, noting that they welcomed the references to the partnership work undertaken between schools and religious groups. It was further recommended that it would be beneficial to add a question to the self-evaluation form so that schools could note the partnership work undertaken with religious groups.
(v) From a collective worship standpoint, it was hoped that SACRE members would be invited to schools to participate in collective worshipping sessions. It was noted that approximately three quarters of Môn SACRE members had attended sessions and had conducted useful discussion sessions at the SACRE meeting.
Resolved: (a) To accept, note and give thanks for the annual report along with the above mentioned observations.
(b) Send ESTYN a letter expressing Gwynedd SACRE's wish that the inspector ensure the correct use of terms with respect to collective worship and draw attention to and acknowledge the good partnership work undertaken between schools and religious groups in communities.