Standing Advisory Council for Religious Education (SACRE)
Each SACRE has four groups, one of which is comprised of teacher representatives. Most local authorities ask teacher unions to nominate someone for this group and the Voice Volunteers' Committee would be glad to hear of people who might be willing to fill this role, if only for a short time.
Representation on a SACRE committee helps to raise Voice’s profile, both with the general public and also with local authorities. It is also a great way to meet people from other backgrounds who are not in education but offer an equally useful point of view on RE.
This is about Religious Education and acts of collective worship in schools, so it is not necessary for a teacher representative to belong to a religious group. Indeed, it is probably quite healthy to have a mix of teachers which represents the mix in schools.
You will also have the chance to contribute to community cohesion and to explain to keen amateurs what actually goes on in schools and what education, rather than indoctrination or religious nurturing, is about. This is particularly significant when SACREs are writing guidance for schools and parents on specific issues.
More importantly, you will be able to influence your local authority and contribute to the locally agreed syllabus. The main requirement is that you can put across a realistic teacher’s point of view to lay people who are representing either a religious group or the local authority. This is an important element when formulating a new policy or creating a RE resource to be used in a classroom.
For more information, see: National Association of SACREs.
Health and Safety Representatives
Health and safety representatives work with employers on the health and safety of their colleagues and their interests. The function of the health and safety representative is set out in the Safety Representatives and Safety Committees Regulations 1977 and there are Codes of Practice and Guidance covering all four home countries.
Health and safety representatives are elected by their colleagues and cannot be appointed by the employer or in a school by the head teacher or governing body. It is a different role from the employer’s health and safety officer who will have health and safety duties in his/her job description.
A Voice health and safety representative will have the right to:
- investigate potential and actual hazards and dangerous occurrences;
- investigate colleagues’ complaints;
- present colleagues’ concerns to management;
- carry out workplace inspections;
- as much time off with pay as is necessary to carry out those functions and reasonable facilities and assistance;
- paid time off for necessary and reasonable training; and
- receive information relevant to any matter that might impact upon the health, safety and welfare of the people that they represent.
As a Voice health and safety representative you will be well placed to help develop and encourage a safe and healthy workplace. This might include setting up a safety committee to give advice to management in respect of matters that may arise.