1. Skip to content

National Secular Society

Challenging Religious Privilege

Standing Advisory Council on Religious Education (SACRE)

Religious Education is the only compulsory subject which is locally determined largely shaped by religious groups.

Every local authority (LA) is statutorily obliged to appoint a Standing Advisory Council on Religious Education (SACRE). SACREs are responsible for advising local authorities on RE and Collective Worship.

Local Education Authorities were given the power to set up SACRES under the Education Act 1944, but this became compulsory under the Education Reform Act 1988.

Today, the RE Syllabus for each local authority is produced by its Agreed Syllabus Conference (ASC) which is a separate legal entity from the SACRE, but is made up of the same four committees (and often the same people). The agreed syllabus is reviewed every five years.

Every SACRE must have four committees: Committee A is made up of representatives of Christian denominations and other religions, reflecting the principal religious traditions of the area; Committee B comprises the Church of England representatives; Committee C is the teacher representatives (teacher associations) and finally, Committee D consists of local authority (LA) representatives.

SACREs do not require any non-religious representatives and any there are (usually Humanists), are the only representatives denied the power to vote.

We do not hold the view that any syllabus covering religion and belief needs to reflect local circumstances. We see no reason why any subject covering religion and belief cannot be arranged as a national programme of study as part of the National Curriculum.

Every pupil should have the same basic entitlement to non-partisan education about religion and belief, not RE controlled by local religious groups or faith schools.

Find out more Support the campaign

Help bring education about religion and belief into the 21st century