The scope of the awards
The Accord Coalition’s Inclusivity Award is doing something different over the coming year. So far the Award has been open to schools in England and Wales, but for the 2017 Award judges are only inviting nominations from Standing Advisory Councils for Religious Education – the local authority committees that monitor the Religious Education and assemblies that most schools provide. Award judges have previously always paid very close attention to the RE that schools provide, so reviewing the often overlooked work of SACREs is an extension of these concerns.
Ofsted’s 2013 triennial report into the provision of RE described the subject as making ‘… a significant contribution to pupils’ academic and personal development. It also plays a key role in promoting social cohesion and the virtues of respect and empathy, which are important in our diverse society. However, the potential of RE was not being realised fully in the majority of the schools surveyed for this report.’
RE has many expectations placed upon it in terms of what people want it to achieve, while the standing of the subject has been challenged in recent years. In England RE GCSE been left out of the high profile English Baccalaureate school performance indicator, while SACREs have – as local authority committees – suffered as local Councils have been required to make significant savings. The 2017 Award seeks to reward those SACREs in England and Wales that, despite current demands and pressures, have worked hardest and gone that extra step to help boost the growth of inclusion, cohesion and mutual understanding between those of different religions and beliefs.
SACREs will not be disadvantaged for being located in a diverse or relatively mono-cultural area, though judges will be interested in how a SACRE’s approach may have been tailored to meet local issues. SACREs will also not be disadvantaged because of the number of schools that must follow its syllabus, though judges are interested in any leadership a SACRE may provide to local schools that aren’t required to follow the local syllabus. Other features of the SACRE’s approach that would be of interest include how it may:
- recognise the diversity which exists within and between communities and amongst individuals
- enquire into what enables different individuals and communities to live together respectfully for the well-being of all
- assist pupils in agreeing or disagreeing respectfully
- develop pupil’s analytical tools and human sympathies needed to appreciate and understand different beliefs and values while developing and adhering to their own life-stance and identity
- complement school’s general duty under the 2010 Equality Act to advance equality of opportunity, foster good relations and tackle discrimination
- support school’s governing body in upholding their requirement under the 2006 Education and Inspections Act to promote community cohesion
Each SACRE will be evaluated through the nomination form received on its behalf. Given the nature of the information requested, forms should be completed by someone involved in a SACREs work. If you know of an inclusive SACRE that you think should be considered then please suggest that they apply – and tell us about their strongest attributes, and we will ask them to consider submitting a nomination as well.
Applicants that go over the word limit will be penalised. Judges also cannot accept hard copies of extra information, so if you wish them to see extra information in support of the SACREs work please consider including web links. If you only have supporting information in hard copy then please consider scanning and hosting a copy of it somewhere and then linking to it. Download a nomination form here. Topics that the judges are interested may have already been seriously considered in the SACRE’s annual report.
Previous Award judges have included former Secretary of State for Education, Lord Baker of Dorking; the Chair of the House of Commons Education Select Committee, Neil Carmichael MP; the Bishop of Buckingham, The Rt Revd Dr Alan Wilson; and journalist Polly Toynbee. Joining Accord’s Chair – Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain MBE – on the panel of 2017 Award judges were another diverse and respected panel of experts:
• former National Lead for Religious Education within Ofsted, Alan Brine
• member of Parliament’s Joint Committee on National Security, Baroness Kishwer Falkner
• Chief Executive Officer at the Religious Education Council of England and Wales, Rudolf Eliott Lockhart
• Anglican Priest and broadcaster, with interests in interfaith dialogue and conflict resolution, the Reverend Ruth Scott
How to apply
Please complete the contact and SACRE details sections and answer the three remaining questions contained in the application form, and return it to firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline for entries is Monday December 12th and prizes will be announced in the New Year. Please contact Accord’s National Coordinator, Paul Pettinger, at email@example.com or on 020 7324 3071 with any queries.