Monmouthshire County Council recently hosted a meeting of the Wales Association of SACREs (Standing Advisory Councils on Religious Education) attended by 45 representatives from different faith groups as well as teachers and councillors.  The meeting took place at the council’s headquarters in County Hall, Usk.

 The Wales Association of SACREs meets each term in different venues across the country and religious education consultant Gill Vaisey who coordinated the gathering said: “Monmouthshire was delighted and privileged to host the event and welcome SACRE colleagues from the other 21 Welsh local authorities”.

 The Chairman of Monmouthshire County Council, Councillor Jim Higginson welcomed delegates and opened proceedings before handing over to Councillor Liz Hacket Pain.  Councillor Hacket Pain talked enthusiastically about her role as chair of Monmouthshire SACRE and the importance of its work in supporting schools to deliver effective religious education.

Three presentations were made on the development of the new curriculum, in line with the Welsh Government’s report, Successful Futures:  Sharon Perry-Phillips of Monmouth Comprehensive School on teaching religious education within a humanities curriculum, Manon Jones of Welsh Government on the work of the pioneer school network and the humanities and Owain ap Dafydd of Ysgol Gyfun Cwm Rhymni on enriching the modern curriculum from a pioneer school perspective.  All were well-received.

 As well as the formal meeting a number of colourful displays were provided by faith representatives, the council’s Flying Start initiative and Goytre Fawr, Shirenewton and St Mary’s RC Primary Schools.  In addition, delegates were greeted by singing on arrival from the Shirenewton and Cantref Primary School choirs while the Monmouth Comprehensive School musical ensemble provided a lunchtime performance.

 Councillor Hacket Pain who is also Monmouthshire’s cabinet member for schools and learning said: “This was a particularly stimulating and vibrant meeting and it was good to network with colleagues from across Wales”.

 Paula Webber, secretary to WASACRE added: “It’s been a brilliant day, it’s been welcoming and very well-organised”.