Hampshire Standing Advisory Council for Religious Education (SACRE)

SACRE is classed by Hampshire County Council as an advisory committee/panel, not a select committee.

“RE is part of the basic school curriculum, it is not part of the English National Curriculum. Instead its content and management are determined locally. Standing Advisory Councils for Religious Education (SACREs) are the local committees that advise local authorities responsible for education on matters connected with RE and religious worship.”[268]

In 2007, the SACRE for “Westminster adopted the 2004 Agreed Syllabus of Hampshire, Portsmouth and Southampton, subject to some minor amendments relating to content[269], for teaching in Westminster community schools with effect from September 2007.”[270]
Ansar has been a Group A (Religious – voting) member of Hampshire SACRE since Tuesday, 26 February 2008:

“The Chairman led the Members in welcoming Mohammed Ansar to his first meeting as Sunni Muslim representative and Mahmood Nurmohammed to his first meeting as Shia Muslim representative.

The Chairman informed Members of a recent email received from the London School of Islamics relating to Honour Killing. It was agreed that there would not be a response by Hampshire County Council to this email.”[271]

Thus, when Ansar says “we”, here: “Hampshire is at the forefront of RE. The agreed syllabus for RE we developed has already been adopted by Westminster #SingleAttainmentTarget”[272]
, Ansar doesn’t mean “we” as in “including me”, for that would imply that he had been involved in developing the syllabus that was adopted by Westminster, which would have been impossible as he didn’t join the Hampshire SACRE until 2008.
Mohammed Ansar also “carries out RE monitoring visits”[273], presumably as part of his involvement with Hampshire SACRE:

@MoAnsar: “I’ve ‘inspected’ (we say monitored, in the RE world) many schools”[274]

Evolution and Creationism

In March 2009, the National Secular Society reported that: “Hampshire SACRE has recommended that evolution and creationism be taught jointly in RE and science lessons. The aim, says the SACRE, is for pupils to explore the science and theology together, then come to their own conclusions. The new unit of work was set up after Clive Erricker, county inspector for RE, was asked to examine the suitability of a dual approach. According to a local newspaper report Erricker said: “The tensions between religion and science should not be denied but nor should we paint a black and white picture. He added that the evolution-creationism debate was “complex” but could be simplified – and he has written a teachers’ guide with subjects for pupils to study. When asked how it would work in practice, Mr Erricker said: “There are no models. We will create a new model of learning.”[275]

” THE guide has received a mixed from religious groups. [SACRE] Panel member Mohammed Ansar, representing Sunni Islam, criticised the guide for looking through “tinted spectacles of Christianity versus evolution.” He said: “I would like to see another section towards the end that looked at the wider aspect and other great faiths.” Mr Erricker said this would make the guide too complex but promised to add a reading list with references to Islam.”[276]

In August 2010, Taylor & Francis published Primary Religious Education – A New Approach: Conceptual Enquiry in Primary RE[277], written by Hampshire County Council’s County Inspector for RE Clive Erricker, Hampshire SACRE RE Advisor and religious education author Judith Lowndes[278], and Winchester University educationalist Elaine Bellchambers[279]


British Humanist Association

Hampshire SACRE has had a (Co-opted – non-voting) Humanist representative since 2 November 2004[280]. In the summer of 2010, a letter was received, by all chairs of SACRE, from the British Humanist Association (BHA) “urging SACRE’s to consider extending membership to Humanists”. A proposal was made at their 23 November 2010 meeting that Hampshire “SACRE considers the proposal of extending membership of SACRE group A to include Humanist representation”[281]. Ansar was not present at the November 2010 meeting[282].
At the 1 March 2011 meeting, it was decided to set up a sub group to discuss “Humanist Representation on [Hampshire] SACRE”. Ansar and six others volunteered to form the sub group.
On 4th May 2011, the SACRE subgroup met, but came to “no consensus about clear criteria to apply to any organisation wishing to become members of Group A [Religious] on Hampshire SACRE.”[283].
On 8 November 2011, the sub group reported their second meeting report, where the “group was informed that 130 SACREs have co-opted Humanist members, but only 17 have made them full members in group A. It was generally agreed that group A (Christian denominations, other than Church of England, and other religions and denominations) might not be the appropriate place for Humanists or any other non-theistic groups”[284].
On 21 February 2012, the legal advice received, following the application by the British Humanist Association to be included in group A, which has full voting rights, [285] led to Hampshire SACRE sub group recommendation that “a recommendation is made to SACRE regarding the inclusion of non-theistic members on Group A as voting members, that SACRE maintains the status quo within the SACRE constitution.[286].
The Hampshire SACRE spent one-and-a-half-years and several sub group meetings, including the seeking of legal advice, to duplicate advice already provided by NASACRE executive[287]. NASACRE FAQ 20[288] had already proposed an answer to the question of full-voting rights for Humanist SACRE representatives, in full, by March 2008.



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