15th December 2023
A Message from Revd April Gold – Diocesan Director of Education
I am writing to you as we enter the final week of the longest term I can remember! I hope that you are all still hanging in there and are able to experience some of the joy of Christmas through the eyes of the children and young people we all serve.
I have been reflecting on the Church’s season of Advent and the discipline and experience of waiting. Whilst the rest of the world begins to trim their houses and party in anticipation, the Church sits in the darkness of the beginning of creation waiting for Jesus. This is not just waiting to re-tell the story of a baby born 2000 years ago, it is the anticipation of how that event changed the world. The Church reads passages in the Bible which for-tell the return of Jesus and how this will transform the world to be as God intended it to be. In the waiting there is an act of defiant hope, that in the birth, death and ressurection of Jesus, God is telling us that he is not done with the world or with us. The end of Mary’s waiting began a cosmic rescue plan which is not yet complete.
That is the story told in the Christingle service. Jesus, the light of the world, through his birth, death, and ressurection enables us to have faith that the story is not finished. Advent reminds us that the waiting continues, that whilst Christmas will come and we will celebrate the light dispelling the darkness, the story is not yet over, there will be an even bigger celebration when Jesus returns.
So rather than a Christmas passage, I want to leave you with this promise of the future to mull over during the Christmas break!
Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
With love and prayers for a final week full of joy and a restful Christmas from the DBE Team.
School News –Advent and Christmas
The children at Barford St Peter’s CofE Primary have all written prayers of peace which now decorate the school Christmas tree. Their Christingle service last week at St. Peter’s church raised money for the Children’s society.
Advent Prayer Stations
Lucy Bosley, Headteacher of Harbury CofE Primary School writes:
“Collaborating with All Saints Church in Harbury, we set up 8 advent stations between school and church. All classes visited these advent stations and enjoyed some moments of calm reflection in this busy season. We were all impressed with the children’s reflections, thoughts and prayers. Stations included: good news, waiting, joy, gifts, peace, light, hope and love.”
‘Let us not love with words and speech but with actions and in truth’
1 John 3:18
Headteacher Termly Briefing 24 January 2024
Don’t forget to join us for the Heads’ Briefing on Wednesday afternoon 24 January 14.00-15.30 on Zoom. Agenda to be confirmed after Christmas.
Upcoming CPD Session – Global Christianity in RE
Date: 30 January 2024
Time 16.00-17.30 – online via Zoom; or book to receive the recording
Cost: Free for DSA Subscribers
Hosted by Jen Jenkins and with content from invited speakers, this RE CPD session will focus on the Christian worldview and the diversity of Christianity as a worldwide religion. Book your place (or to receive the recording) here.
‘Growing Faith, Sustaining Hope’ – CEFEL National Conference – 1 February 2024 – Still Time to Book
The Church of England Education Office’s 6th National Conference is taking place on Thursday 1 February 2024. This flagship event draws hundreds of leaders together across the country every year, for a range of inspirational keynote inputs, worship, younger voices, prayer, seminars, workshops and practical takeaway resources for your leadership journey.
This year the event at being hosted at SAINT, Hackney. The day runs from 10.00-15.30 and there will be four keynote speakers including the Most Revd Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury. They will all be speaking on the theme of ‘Growing Faith, Sustaining Hope’. To see more information and to book a place see the CEFEL website https://www.cefel.org.uk/NC24/
NPQs with Stour Federation MAT
The Stour Federation MAT will be running two NPQ qualifications in association with The Church of England. The cohort will start in the spring.
They are offering:
Further details and how to apply can be found on the Trust’s website here. The applications window will close on 2nd February 2024
Understanding Christianity CPD Available in January from RE Today
Primary – Understanding Christianity 16/01/2024
Get the confidence and subject knowledge to teach about Christianity: Text Impact Connections through this tried and tested course which is supported by a substantial whole school teachers handbook. Many locally agreed syllabuses include requirements for teaching Christianity that are directly supported by this resource. This resource supports good quality teaching about Christianity and can be used within the requirements of your syllabus guidelines.
Understanding Christianity Concepts: Salvation 17/01/2024
Are you using Understanding Christianity in your school? Does your agreed syllabus teach through key concepts? This session is designed for anyone using Understanding Christianity to increase their subject knowledge on the concept of Salvation, use some of the resources and think about planning. This session is ideal for class teachers or anyone who wants to increase subject knowledge to support in the teaching of this concept.
For more information and to book either course see the RE Today website here
Religion and Worldviews Leadership Scholarship Programme with Culham St Gabriel’s
Culham St Gabriel’s are offering a programme that aims to provide opportunities for emerging Religion and Worldviews leaders to expand and deepen their reflections on educational leadership in the subject, through receiving mentoring, structured challenges, research insights, inspirational networking events, and experience of professional development delivery.
Applications open on 22 January and in the meantime you can find out more about the programme, and other resources, CPD and scholarships, on their website here.
Empathy Week 2024 – 26 Feb-1 March
There are some amazing events happening during Empathy Week 2024 which are now live to sign up to. Empathy Week are offering a variety of FREE opportunities for your school community. Join live primary school assemblies, engage in teacher CPD and immerse your students in an ‘Empathy Week Live’ in-person extravaganza of film, music and storytelling.
Schools not registered can do so any time for free and join the fun. Limited spaces are available so act soon. Find out more or sign up now here.
Free New Year Staff Wellbeing Workshop
‘Staff and Teacher Self-Compassion for Wellbeing’ from Worth-It Positive Education.
Staff and teacher wellbeing remains a high priority for many schools, but finding simple and effective cost-effective ways to improve teacher wellbeing can be challenging. This FREE positive psychology based workshop with guest expert and teacher Hannah Dunn, explores how self-compassion can support schools to improve staff and teacher wellbeing as part of ongoing stress reduction work.
Register to join the workshop on the 24 January 2024 16.00-17.00
Presentation Slides from the Schools & Academies Show
The Schools & Academies Show took place in Birmingham last month but if you were not able to attend, the slides from many of the presentations are now available to download. You can look through them and download them here.
The National Parent Survey 2023
The National Parent Survey 2023 results have been released this week. Parentkind surveyed over 5100 parents across the UK to gather their views on education. The survey revealed that parents don’t feel listened to or supported, and they are worried about their children’s anxiety and addiction to electronic devices. It highlighted that 1 in 3 parents are concerned about the costs of their child being at school, with concerns around uniform, school trips and meals. Read the full report here.
For Your Parents’ Newsletter – Supporting Children’s Wellbeing over the Christmas Holiday
Place2Be’s Principal Educational Psychologist, Dr. Julia Clements, shares some simple and helpful tips and advice for parents to make the most of the school holidays with their children.
Link to their website on your parents’ newsletter:
The Football Association Celebrates Christianity
The FA and Wembley Stadium hosted a special Celebration of Christianity and Football on Sunday 3 December. The FA’s ‘Faith and Football’ series has seen thousands of people from various faith groups engage with football through education and faith events across the country in recent years and to celebrate Christmas 2023 fast approaching, over 600 people came to worship at the national stadium. Read more about the event here.