21st July 2021
As this academic year draws to a close, I wanted to write to you on behalf of the DBE to say a huge thank you for all that you and your teams have done to continue offering a loving and nurturing environment for children, young people and families in your schools. It has been another year of continual change and each time you have been asked to do the seemingly impossible you have risen to the challenge. This time last year we hoped that when schools returned in September, despite some initial mitigations, we would be back to “normal” by now. Of course we know that is not how things have played out and instead many of you are still facing the additional daily challenges of protecting the health of your school communities by operating test, trace and isolate procedures. You have adapted the curriculum and your teaching delivery so many times in the last 18 months you must be dizzy with it all. Talk of “freedom-day” and a return to “normal” by September, I fear, neglects the reality of life in school at the moment.
There is always, however, a reason for hope. Indeed the Christian story is one of what might seem from the outside, a ridiculous hope. Christian belief is centred on a God who becomes incarnate, dwells among us as a human, is murdered for being “different” and making the powers that be uncomfortable. But he is not defeated by death and rises in his human flesh and takes that fleshliness back into the Godhead. Once again God in three persons, trinity, looks upon the flesh of creation and can say “it is good”. We do not have to do anything to earn this – it is a gift. We are not left alone with God the Father and Jesus viewing us from afar, because the third person of the trinity, the Holy Spirit is amongst us, loving us, supporting us, giving us the strength to go on when things seem hopeless, until Jesus comes again to restore all creation back to what God intended it to be. Some of you will share this hope, some may not, but for me it has been the thing that I have returned to again and again throughout the pandemic. Indeed every time I speak to one of you, or think of the work you are doing, I sense the Holy Spirit saying “It’s all good, I’ve got them”. So I hope that you will sense the love which surrounds you, which holds you when you feel alone and unable to carry on, and builds you up and cheers you on when you regroup and step out again. The words of this ancient blessing have been a support for me and many others in the last year and it is my prayer for you. You can take five, close your eyes and listen to it being sung over you here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GjWI4CLmBbE
I hope that you will have time to rest, to relax and recharge over the summer. To spend time with family and friends and to do things which make your soul sing.
With every blessing
Gary Watson – St John’s CofE Academy
Congratulations to Gary Watson, Headteacher of St John’s CofE Academy who has been announced as a bronze award winner for Headteacher of the Year in a Primary School in the 2021 Pearson National Teaching Awards. Well done Gary!
Happy Retirement to Marion Jones and Liz Banyard
Our prayers and best wishes go to Marion Jones, Headteacher of Wootton Wawen CofE Primary and Liz Banyard, Head of School of Wilmcote CofE Primary who are retiring. Both long standing Heads in their church schools, we thank them for their service and wish them well for the future.
Headteacher Wellbeing Teaching Session – Watch Here
Dr Kate Middleton recorded her Headteacher Wellbeing teaching session on Wednesday. Her teaching is about ‘dealing with disappointment’. You can watch it here. Dr Kate will record her sessions next academic year so that all Heads can access the teaching. She will then provide a drop-in session on zoom for those that want to discuss further. Dates will be published at the beginning of the autumn term.
Culham St Gabriel’s Grant Award
Coventry DBE are delighted to announce that we have been awarded some significant funding to run a project looking at the plurality of Christian worldviews and the impact these have on action and advocacy, therefore linking a worldviews approach to teaching RE with the concept of ‘courageous advocacy’ in the SIAMS Inspection Schedule. Jen Jenkins will be leading the project and working alongside sociologists of religion from two universities affiliated with TRS-UK. We will share with you how you can participate in the project in the new academic year.
Collective Worship for Autumn Term
Jen Jenkins has produced a set of collective worship sessions for the autumn term on Creation. Click here for the sessions or look on the DBE website. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for the password to access these sessions.
New Admissions Code 2021
The new draft School Admissions Code 2021 has been awaiting parliamentary approval which has now passed. Therefore, the Admissions Code 2021 and all its provisions will come into effect from 1 September 2021. The new School Admissions Code 2021 can be found here. Admission authorities should familiarise themselves with the all new provisions of the Code 2021 in order to ensure that they are ready to comply with it when it comes into force. Action for own admission authorities: Please ensure that your amended/updated wording and definitions of IAPLAC for your 21/22 and 22/23 policies have been approved by governors/trustees; inform your relevant stakeholders and ensure they are in place for 1st September. If you need any support or have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact email@example.com
Exciting Addition to Next Year’s CPD Programme for Early Career Teachers
Two Year Programme – Subject knowledge for RE
Offered in collaboration with our colleagues at Leicester Diocese, this online programme is essential for all new teachers, whether starting a teaching career in a CofE school or community school. The recent OFSTED RE research report and the ECT framework are clear on the essential nature of subject knowledge CPD. RE is often a subject that teachers feel less confident teaching and this 2-year rolling programme of CPD will improve both RE subject knowledge and confidence. There is also the opportunity to complete gap tasks for a short self-study course through Teach RE.
Led by Fiona Moss of RE Today and the fee is £40 per academic year. To reserve a place for your new teachers, contact Alison.firstname.lastname@example.org Online booking will be available soon.
Bible Chat Mats – a new resource from Bath and Wells Diocese
The Go Team and Education Department at Bath and Wells are excited to be unveiling 19 brand new Bible Chat Mats! The new series of Bible Chat Mats have been created following a suggestion from Headteachers from across the diocese. They have taken the 19 values that are most commonly used in our Church of England schools and have linked each one to a well-known Bible Story. Revd. Andy Gray, part time Faith Sharing Enabler for Bath and Wells and illustrator, has used his incredible gifts and talents to bring the Bible Chat Mats to life. There are a number of free downloads here including ‘It’s Harvest’, ‘Jesus the miracle maker’, ‘The Lord’s Prayer’ etc. Series 2 of the Bible Chat Mats is now available to purchase from the online shop as a downloadable pack for £20.00. Each Bible Chat Mat includes a Bible story, questions to discuss, things to find and an opportunity to pray and/or reflect.
God and the Big Bang
CPD for Teachers for the Autumn Term
The God and the Big Bang team have put together a series of one-hour CPD courses, which are delivered using Zoom. The courses are informative and interactive, equipping teachers to tackle tricky areas of the curriculum where science and faith collide.
- Tuesday 28th September- Designed or doubtful? Exploring the spiritual, moral, social and cultural dimensions of secondary Biology
- Wednesday 29th September- Created or coincidence? Exploring the spiritual, moral, social and cultural dimensions of secondary Physics
- Thursday 30th September- Transformed or turbulent? Exploring the spiritual, moral, social and cultural dimensions of secondary Chemistry
- Tuesday 5th October- Headteachers as Christian leaders in the area of science and faith
- Monday 11th October- Lower Key Stage 2: Rocks and Fossils- How do billions of years and the days of Creation coincide?
- Tuesday 12th October- Upper Key Stage 2: Evolution and Genesis- Sources of Knowledge for Creation
- Tuesday 19th October- Upper Key Stage 2: Planets and Purpose- What is there to learn about God from the Solar System?
- Wednesday 20th October- Governors: How do whole school communities engage with questions of science and faith?
Bookings are £50 per teacher. All courses begin at 4pm and run for one hour. For more and information see the website: https://gatbb.co.uk/teachertraining/ and to book contact: email@example.com