The Standing Advisory Council on Religious Education (SACRE)

The role of SACRE is to support and give advice to the local authority, schools, teachers, parents/carers on matters that are related to collective worship and religious education in community schools.

Blackburn with Darwen, SACRE is a statutory body, made up of people from a wide range of faith groups who volunteer to be members. It is not part of the local authority, which means that they can ask us to review our locally agreed religious education syllabus. They will also consider requests from schools that want to stop providing an act of worship (broadly Christian in nature) to some, or all of the children in the school.

The structure of Blackburn with Darwen’s SACRE is defined by law, and is made up of four groups or committees.

  • Committee A – Christian denominations and other religions reflecting the principal religious traditions of the area
  • Committee B – The Church of England
  • Committee C – Professional Associations and RE networks (primary, secondary, special/alternative provision)
  • Committee D – The local authority

Other individuals can be co-opted onto SACRE to support its work.

Why have a SACRE?

It is required by law that each local authority has its own Standing Advisory Council on Religious Education (SACRE)

Key functions of a SACRE

  • Monitoring standards of RE and collective worship
  • Requiring the review of an agreed syllabus for RE adopted by the local authority
  • Considering complaints about the provision and delivery of RE and collective Worship referred to it by the local authority
  • Supporting schools through advice on methods of teaching, choice of materials and provision of teacher training
  • Making a determination on collective worship when requested
  • Advising the local authority on matters connected with RE and collective worship
  • Publishing an annual report of its work

The main function of SACRE is to advise the local authority on matters related to the teaching of religious education which follows the agreed syllabus, and on collective worship in schools.

The Blackburn with Darwen agreed syllabus for religious education 2017-2022 was adopted from RE Today. It is the syllabus to be used by all community schools and is recommended for, academies and free schools. The full document has been distributed directly to all schools. Any schools requiring the full version to be resent should contact For agreed syllabus details please contact Sharifa Valli on 01254 666462 or email

The Agreed syllabus will be reviewed in 2021-22 and a new/revised version will be published in 2022. Until notified otherwise schools should continue to use the 2017-2022 version.

Details on the legal framework, rights and responsibilities can be found on the GOV UK website.

To comply with copyright requirements the agreed syllabus licensed for use in Blackburn with Darwen Schools must not be distributed to schools or teachers working outside of/beyond the local authority.



The membership of SACRE is split into four committees:

  • Committee A - Christian denominations and other religions
  • Committee B - The Church of England
  • Committee C - Teacher Associations
  • Committee D - The local authority

Committee A

Buddhist (1)

Kelsang Pagpa

Hindu (1)

Madhu Pandya

Muslim (5)

  • (Maulana) Rafiq - Chairman LCM
  • Shahiesta Raja - LCM
  • Mohamed Sidat - LCM
  • Abdul Alim - LCM
  • Imam Reeyaz Bala - LCM

British Jews (1)

Jeremy Michelson Vice Chair (Education) JRC of Greater Manchester & Region

Sikh (2)

  • Harkirat Singh
  • Vacancy

Christian Denominations (3 Free Church 2 Catholic)

  • Cllr John East - URC
  • Rev Stuart Smith (Superintendent Minister of the West Pennine Moors Methodist Circuit)
  • Vacancy
  • Bob Beardsworth - RC Salford Diocese
  • Vacancy

Committee B

The Church of England (2)

  • Lisa Fenton (Vice Chair) - Blackburn Diocese
  • Helen Sage - Blackburn Diocese

Committee C


Chris Speight

NEU (1)

Liz Beaumont - NEU

NAHT (1)

Chris Dudgale - NAHT

ASCL (1)

  • Vacancy
  • Shanaz Rehman - SIG 1
  • Michael Parker - SIG 2
  • Joanne Cottam - SIG 3
  • Ann Marie O’Neill - SIG 4
  • Kathryn Bolton - SIG 5
  • Jemma Kellow - SIG 6
  • Greg Sharples - SIG 7


Jenny Savage - LA Networks


Clare Aimee Taylor - LA Networks

Committee D

The local authority (6)

  • Cllr Sylvia Liddle - BWD
  • Cllr Suleman Khonat - BWD
  • Cllr Julie Gunn - BWD
  • Cllr John Slater - BWD
  • Cllr Lilian Salton - BWD
  • Alison Ashworth Taylor (Chair) - BWD


  • Jo Siddle (JS), Head of Education, Blackburn with Darwen
  • Dot Thomson (DT), Independent Consultant
  • Sharifa Valli (SV), School Effectiveness Co-ordinator (Clerk)
  • Paula Johnson (PJ), Solicitor, Democratic Services
  • Gillian Emmott, Solicitor, Democratic Services