Standing Advisory Council on Religious Education

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A Standing Advisory Council on Religious Education (SACRE), in the United Kingdom, is an independent body which considers the provision of religious education in the area under the jurisdiction of its Local Authority, advising it and empowered to require a review of the locally agreed syllabus for Religious Education (RE). A SACRE is made up of representatives of the Local Authority, the Church of England, Association of Teachers and representatives of other faith or other Christian groups, as well as, increasingly, humanists and other interested non-religious groups.

Each SACRE has wide-ranging statutory powers [1] including:

  1. to ratify AS’s written for them by the Agreed Syllabus Conference of their Local Authority;
  2. improving quality of Collective Worship;
  3. monitoring quality of RE teaching and SMSCD provision and assisting where necessary or informing head teachers or governing bodies of difficulties;
  4. recommending speakers;
  5. recommending places of worship to visit;
  6. designing supplementary teaching materials;
  7. contributing to teacher training and teachers’ in-service training, and;
  8. fostering interfaith and community links especially to the end of community cohesion [2]

Several difficulties with the SACRE process have been recorded. Firstly, the ability of SACRE to represent the interests of the Buddhist community is highly questionable as minority religions often fail to be properly represented at all.[3] In practice, it would take a great deal of trouble to update Agreed Syllabuses to reflect the latest trends in faith community composition or to reflect new pedagogies of RE.[4] Even to monitor the national picture of AS content is difficult as they are often available only locally [5]


  1. ^ Grove, J. 2009 A Handbook for SACRE members, London: NASACRE, 16f.
  2. ^ QCA 2008 SACREs and Community Cohesion: QCA annual analysis of SACRE annual reports from 2006/7, London: QCA.
  3. ^ Rose, D. W. 1998 'A Survey of Representative Groups on SACRE', Journal of Contemporary Religion 13(3): 387
  4. ^ Revell, L. 2008 'Religious Education in England', Numen 2-3: 218-240
  5. ^ Bausor, J. and Poole, M. 2002 'Science and religion in the agreed syllabuses - an investigation and some suggestions', British Journal of Religious Education 25: 18-32., 20.