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Summary of Board Proceedings: 6th December 2012 Print E-mail

On 6th December the Board of the RE Council met for the first time in its new location to discuss matters relating to the running of the organisation. The RE Council has agreed to make a summary of the meetings available, to make it easier for all member bodies to feel well informed about work carried out in between Full Council meetings.

To see a summary of business discussed, issues raised and decisions taken, please click "Read More" below.


The Board met for the first time at the Ashurst building in Appold St, round the corner from the new REC office in Elder St.  All were grateful to Sandra Teacher for her work in finding these premises and to Brian Gates and Sophie Agrotis for handling the move from Shoe Lane so smoothly.

1. Board membership. Two co-options were made: Gavin Craigen and Tania ap Sion were invited to join the Board with immediate effect (co-options are for a term of one year).

2. Finance. Trevor Cooling presented the final draft audited accounts which would be brought to the AGM in May. He then presented a report on the current financial situation and noted that the surplus was now reducing year on year.  He also noted that the work carried out by the REC in recent months provided a very high level of value for money. He would bring a paper to the January Board meeting with strategic proposals on income and expenditure.   The Board agreed (a) to ask the Resources Committee to revisit the issue of membership fee, and (b) to open a Virgin Giving account which offered the best value option for handling income from the sponsored walk. 

3. Projects. Joyce Miller gave an update on the RE Quality Mark which was going extremely well (more details available on its website at www.reqm.org) .  Brian Gates had sent a paper giving details of proposed arrangements for housing the REC archive and Board members welcomed this initiative but had further questions. Sarah Smalley spoke about the REC 40th anniversary sponsored walk; the first dedicated newsletter was now ready to go out and she emphasised the importance of all members doing everything they could to make this event a success (newsletter on REC website; to sign up to receive it please contact  )

4. RE development

·         Government/DfE contact.  John Keast reported that his planned meeting with Elizabeth Truss, Minister for Schools, had been postponed until 24 January.  A meeting between DfE National Curriculum Review team and RE Subject Review representatives had now been scheduled for 7 January.

·         RE Review. Janet Orchard attended the Board meeting to speak about the RE Review and reported a qualified measured positive response to the consultation so far; mostly people felt that on the whole the report had captured what they thought was the current state of play in RE.  The Steering Group was making cautious plans to get Phase 2 started by mid February and would be putting out the advertisement for expressions of interest in Task Group membership on 7 December. 

·         Review Steering Group. Mike Castelli, as chair of the SG, presented its recommendations: (a) that the proposed timeline and arrangements for Phase 2 be agreed, recognising that they might be modified in the light of consultation feedback, and (b) to delegate agreement on the final version of the Phase 1 report to the SG at its January meeting.  Both recommendations were agreed. 

·         Professional Development Committee. Phil Leivers reported on the work of the PDC, including its correspondence with Michael Gove on teacher training and bursaries and its plans for developing a PD portal; funding had now been obtained for this.

·         Resources Committee.  Sandra Teacher reported on the RC's work, including the new premises, a home for the archive, securing funding from trusts and the question of patrons for the REC.  It was agreed that Board members would correspond on criteria for selection of people to approach and further names would be added to the initial list for further consideration on 31 January.

·         Young Ambassadors.  Sarah S gave an update on this.  Hugo Whately had been appointed as a teacher associate to work on the scheme; information to schools would be made available on the REC website from January.  Hugo would also be working alongside Barbara Wintersgill on the All Party Parliamentary Group inquiry (see below).

·         Governance Committee.  Deborah Weston reported that revisions to the Memorandum and Articles were being considered by member organisations and agreement on these would be sought on 31st January. The website redevelopment had met an impasse following the failure of the developer to carry out the work; the REC had severed its contract with him (legal advice had been given to the effect that there were no grounds for him to challenge this).  The Board agreed to offer a new contract for the work as soon as possible to the company which had been runner up in the original applications.

·         Public Relations Committee.  John Gay reported on the wide ranging work of the PR group.  There had been a considerable amount of general media work and this was what was likely to make an impact on ministers.  The REC's PR partners were about to launch the ReThink RE campaign to generate more publicity and public engagement.  The APPG inquiry on the supply of and support for teachers of RE had sent out a call for evidence (closing date 14 Dec – see REC website).  The first meeting of the APPG to receive oral evidence had been held on 28 November. It was chaired by Stephen Lloyd and was successful even though a depressing picture emerged in relation to the training and professional development of teachers of RE.

·         Strategy Plan Review. Each of the committees had reviewed their work against the targets of the Strategic Plan and had proposed revisions in the light of work completed or initiated and tasks that no longer seemed relevant or necessary.  It was agreed that the energy released by the plan's activities had led to workforce capacity issues and it needed to be made more manageable.  Issues of committee membership and of budgetary constraints also needed to be revisited. It was agreed that John K would produce a reformulated version of the plan on the basis of the committees' own re-evaluations and would bring this to the next Board meeting on 31 January.

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