Headlines – 10 December 2021

Christingle Service – Message from April Gold

Dear Friends,

I know that many of you will have local Clergy helping you to organise Christmas Service and Collective Worship. However, there were a number of requests for a Schools’ Christingle again this year and so I have produced one. This doesn’t include lots of contributions from different schools but it does have a lovely new Christmas song in the middle that tells the Christmas Story.

There are a number of ways that you can use it:

I hope that it blesses you and your school community.  Feedback is always welcome!

Merry Christmas!


Ofsted News

Congratulations to Alveston CofE Primary which continues to be a good school following a section 8 Ofsted inspection on 2 and 3 November. Inspectors reported that “Pupils are passionate about their learning.” “Leaders ensure that all pupils, including those with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) study a rich and balanced curriculum. Pupils, and parents and carers, value the broad education on offer.” They also highlighted that “Leaders, staff and governors are deeply committed to ensuring that pupils, including those who are disadvantaged, develop skills that help them prepare for future life.” And that “Staff work closely together to ensure that pupils flourish in their care.”  Well done to Headteacher Anne Clewley and the staff and governors at Alveston.


Collaboration Between Church Schools for Interfaith Week

Blue Coat CofE School student Kelly Zheng was given the theme of neighbourliness to create a piece of art to capture the importance of community and connectivity during the pandemic. Using this theme as a starting point Kelly created a scene of harmony and togetherness with two hands meeting to form a heart shape – inside the heart were symbols that represented the many faiths found within our diverse society. This piece of art represents the diversity and difference found within society and reminds us all that we should love our neighbours and appreciate them as we reflect on the commandments of Jesus so that we ‘live life in all its fullness’.  This artwork was presented to Bilton CofE Junior School on the 2nd December by Mrs Hathaway, Assistant Headteacher, in recognition of shared ICONS status and the celebration of Interfaith Week. Blue Coat in return received an artwork created by Mrs Spraget, Mrs Palmer and Bilton’s worship leads.


Church of England Christmas Video

The Church of England has launched a short 4-minute video linked to #attheheartofchristmas. You can watch it here.  There is a family advent calendar you could put on your parents’ newsletter here.


CPD After the Christmas Break…

Worldviews Approach and Multidisciplinary RE – 5 January – 4.00-5.00pm on Zoom

Led by Jen Jenkins, this short session is a chance for Head Teachers and RE Subject Leaders to make sure they are up to date with the current national shift in the teaching of RE. This session will cover a worldviews approach to teaching RE, multi-disciplinary RE and the recent Ofsted Report on RE. It will be informative and support an audit into the quality of RE provision in your school.  Book your place here.

SIAMS Short: Courageous Advocacy – 11 January – 4.00-5.00pm on Zoom

Led by Jen Jenkins, this SIAMS Short will look at ways in which you can use your collective worship and curriculum to raise awareness of social injustice and empower pupils to take action.  Book your place here.

Headteacher Termly Briefing – 19th January – 2.00-3.30pm on Zoom


  • Opening Reflection – April Gold
  • Feedback from HTRAG – Chair of HTRAG
  • SIAMS Update – Jen Jenkins
  • Growing Faith update – April Gold
  • Services to Schools update – Joanne Evans
  • Education Update – Lindsay Nash
  • Closing comments and prayer – April Gold

Book your place here.


Headteacher Wellbeing – Your Story Has Power

This half term, Dr Kate Middleton’s message to school leaders is one based on the power of authentic story telling for opening up potential and possibilities. In this advent season, reflect on your own story and see how that promise of hope, light and life can be transformative to others.  Watch this (12 min) video by clicking here.


2022 Mental Health Awareness Calendar from Mentally Healthy Schools at the Anna Freud Centre

Mental health awareness days can provide a good opportunity for schools to promote positive mental health behaviours in students and staff. They also are a good opportunity for schools and colleges to emphasise their dedication to supporting students and staff with their wellbeing. This calendar is designed for use by education staff across primary, secondary and FE settings and covers awareness days and themes throughout the 2022

Some of the days included are: Children’s Mental Health Week; Mental Health Awareness Week; Safer Internet Day; World Mental Health Day; World Teacher Day; Anti-Bullying Week.

For each date, key themes are highlighted and suggested activities that schools and colleges could run. There are also lots of links to free resources to help students and staff mark the dates and explore related mental health topics.  Download the calendar here. There is also a list of all the mental health-related awareness days in 2022 for you to print and hang in your staff room – you can find that here.


Innovation in the Time of Covid: What Worked in Our Schools and Where Next?

Challenge Partners is a practitioner-led charity that enables collaboration between schools to enhance the life chances of all children, especially the most disadvantaged. They have published ‘Innovation in the Time of Covid: what worked in our schools and where next?’ based on research conducted between mid-January and mid-July in 2021 in the schools they work with.  The themes that emerged from the research are strongly influenced by the unique circumstances of the year. They are dominated by discussions of how schools contended with local and national lockdowns, the speedy adoption of EdTech to support remote teaching of (some) pupils, and the broader role that teachers and support staff played in their wider communities. But alongside these fascinating insights into a disrupted and challenging year, examples show teachers and leaders dealing with longer-term issues, notably the development of curricula, behaviour management, and attempts to close the attainment gap. They are testament to a profession that showed itself to be resilient and innovative under extreme pressure.  You can read the report here.


Project Earth Rock

Aligned to the National Curriculum and in use in over 300 UK schools, Project Earth Rock is an award-winning KS2 eco arts scheme of work. Through catchy songs and engaging animations your pupils will learn how to make a cleaner, greener and more climate-safe world. This award-winning musical approach is cross-curricular and will engage your class with concepts that can sometimes be hard to make relevant to their daily lives.  Each lesson module contains:

  • A lesson plan with curriculum references
  • Smartboard/PowerPoint slides
  • Song-teaching video with accompanying sheet music
  • Karaoke video and Lyrics sheet
  • An accompanying animation

To celebrate COP26, schools can use the code COP26PER to get a 20% discount if they sign up for a subscription by 31st March. If 5 or more schools order together there will be a further 20% off. Contact Jess@projectearthrock.com for group purchases. You can see the resource on the website here: https://projectearthrock.learnworlds.com/home

I think the materials that you are producing are ideal…it is educating the teacher at the same time as educating the children. Using the arts and music is a fantastic way to embed the basic knowledge as well as getting the children curious about the subject.” David Dixon – Headteacher Mulgrave Primary School


Some Advent and Christmas Events in Our Schools



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