Committee details

Standing Advisory Council on Religious Education

Purpose of committee

The Standing Advisory Council on Religious Education (SACRE) is a County Council committee and its purpose is to advise the County Council, as the Local Education Authority (LEA), on all matters related to collective worship and religious education (RE) in community, voluntary controlled, trust schools and foundation schools without a religious character. Academies, Free schools & Voluntary-Aided schools lie outside the SACRE remit, but a good SACRE will try to establish links with any of these schools in its’ area.

In each local authority, SACRE’s role is to:

        advise the LEA on matters relating to RE and collective worship in community schools and some other schools.

        oversee RE and collective worship within the authority: advise on methods of teaching, choice of materials and provision of teacher training.

        require a review of the LEA Agreed Syllabus (by law every 5 years).

        monitor RE, collective worship and spiritual, moral, social, and cultural development. SACRE is also responsible for “determinations” – deciding whether a particular school can change collective worship away from the current requirement to be “wholly or mainly of a broadly Christian character”.

        produce an Annual Report which is submitted to the Department for Education (DfE) and the National Association for Standing Advisory Councils on Religious Education (NASACRE).


West Sussex SACRE meets three times a year and is made up of four statutory groups and co-opted members:


        Committee A: Christian denominations and other religions and their denominations, reflecting the principal religious traditions of the area (and specified in the SACRE’s constitution)

        Committee B: Church of England, with representatives nominated by the diocese

        Committee C: Teacher and headteacher associations invited by the LEA

        Committee D: Local Education Authority - ideally reflecting the range of political viewpoints across the area. This group may include representative of school governing bodies.


It is the responsibility of the Local Education Authority to provide funding and clerking to enable the group to function and ensure that minutes and agendas are made public.


Further information is available through the NASACRE website.


The LEA works with SACRE to:

        track and review the provision of RE and collective worship.

        consider with SACRE any action that needs to be taken in respect of support offered to schools.


The latest version of the Agreed Syllabus was produced in 2021 and is to be revised in 2026. SACRE has a development plan and in 2023 intends to host 2 “Religions and World faiths Roadshows”. One to be held in Chichester the other near Horsham. The aim of this is to promote contact and dialogue between school practitioners in relation to support and resources available from their local faith communities. SACRE has also produced a Primary and Secondary School Questionnaire to support a review of RE and CW provision across the Local Education Authority which will provide evidence to begin evaluating the current Agreed Syllabus. This will be circulated to schools late September 2023.




SACREs have their origins in the 1944 Education Act when the government established Local Education Authorities to maintain schools. One of their responsibilities was to establish a ‘conference’ to produce an agreed syllabus. Such a conference was to be established each time a local education authority believed that it needed the syllabus to be reviewed. A local education authority could also establish a ‘Standing Advisory Council on Religious Education (SACRE)’ if it thought it was appropriate in its local context. These SACREs were not mandatory and not all local education authorities had one.


SACREs were later reformed and reconstituted by the Education Reform Act of 1988, when they became permanent bodies with legal powers. The first SACRE meeting to be held in West Sussex was in 1983.


Contact information: Karen Hammond (External Advisor) on 07717 776696. Email:





Contact information

Support officer: Jack Bacon on 033 022 25075. Email: