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Bedford SACRE - Humanism now represented

By Ian - Posted on 31 August 2017

We are delighted to report that at the SACRE meeting on 15th November 2016, Charles Baily was accepted as a co-opted member. This means that our views can now be formally expressed as part of the Committee's proceedings. However, due to the wording of the local constitution we cannot be enrolled on any of the four sub-committees which form the 'electoral college', so we have no vote.

Members and Associates will recall that since 2010 Bedfordshire Humanists made numerous approaches to join the local SACRE (Standing Advisory Committee on Religious Education), which sets the Religious Education syllabus for schools in Bedford Borough. Our approaches were rejected on a number of occasions. Despite this, our team made efforts to attend each and every meeting (as members of the public can) in order to understand the workings of the committee, to dispel any misconceptions and to demonstrate our commitment - in fact we believe that our attendance during that time wasn't bettered by any committee member.

Humanism is now a part of Religious Education, which is legally required to be interpreted with "Equal Weight" as part of Religion and Ethics so it is, of course, iniquitous that we should continue to have no vote and we will continue to campaign to rectify that.

In the meantime, Charles brings significant experience in education to the SACRE (as both a teacher and a governor), along with in-depth knowledge of Humanism, and we intend to co-operate fully with the other members to play a positive role in contributing to the workings of the committee. And, of course, we'll represent the views of those schoolchildren who share a Humanist worldview and try to represent those with no religious belief. According to the various bits of published data (confirmed by feedback from RE teachers to us in schools), these are probably well over 70% of Bedfordshire school children.



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