Headlines – 23 September 2022

SIAMS 2023 – A National Update – 03 November

All staff, governors, and clergy of Church of England and Methodist schools are invited to attend this national online session which will be led by the National Director of SIAMS. Dr Margaret James will set out the ways in which SIAMS will develop from September 2023, explaining what the developments will mean for schools.  Led by Margaret James, National Director of SIAMS and David Tait, Deputy Director of SIAMS. Here are the links to attend whichever session is more convenient for you. Please feel free to forward them to your staff, governors and clergy.


Remembering Her Majesty the Queen

Gemma Neale, Class teacher and SENDCo at All Saints CofE Primary, Nuneaton visited Windsor last Sunday with her family to take letters, written by Year 6 pupils, flowers and a holding cross.  Gemma was asked to leave the flowers at the gates of Windsor castle and as there were hundreds she was quite confused how anyone would be able to enter the castle. Whilst visiting, the grass at the ‘Long Mile’ was clear of any flowers, she was delighted to see how the flowers that had been left at the gates had been so carefully places to create a beautiful border for the funeral procession. Gemma said how lovely the atmosphere was, and how glad she was to have visited with her two young children.


St Andrew’s Benn CofE Primary took 8 of their Year 6 children down to London to lay flowers and pray in Green Park where all the flowers were being laid after the death of Queen Elizabeth II.  After looking at all the flowers and reading many of the cards, they went to many of the places that would be part of the funeral. They went to Buckingham Palace, outside Westminster Hall, to Westminster Abbey and stood on Tower Bridge to look at the people queuing to see the Queen lying in state.

Abi Huggins, Headteacher writes: “We feel that, although a lot of organisation, it was worth it, especially when we saw the children’s reactions and the things that they said. One of the children commented on the flowers in Green Park ‘You can tell that they have been laid with love’. Another child commented after the funeral that she had spotted many of the places and realised that ‘she was part of history.’ An amazing trip that we hope they won’t ever forget.  The children who did not come to London, went and laid flowers at Caldecott Park. You can see more on our school Twitter page @StAndrewsBenn.”


The Six Core Theological Concepts and Courageous Advocacy

This week Jen Jenkins was joined by Caz Wier, author of the CofE ‘Courageous Advocacy’ Guidance. The session was about how the theological concepts can help church schools deliver courageous advocacy ‘beyond the bake sale’ – pupils being advocates of justice and change rather than fund raisers.  There were some fantatic resources and ideas and if you missed the (1.5 hour) session you can watch it here. And the accompanying resources can be found on the DBE website with the password DBECPD


Upcoming CPD….

All CPD, unless otherwise stated, is free for schools who subscribe to the Diocesan Service Agreement (DSA). Click on the links below to book a place.

Reading Christianity Forwards: A Provocation for Black History Month

Tuesday 27th September – 16.00 to 17.00 on Zoom

In readiness for Black History Month, we are offering a one hour Zoom to explore the telling of Christianity forwards, so that the impact of Black Theologians and African saints can be fully appreciated and perhaps incorporated into your classroom work or collective worship for October and beyond. Join Jen Jenkins for this thought-provoking and important session.

Christian Distinctiveness Deep Dive Short – Behaviour

Monday 03 October – 16.30 to 17.30 on Zoom

What roles do dignity, respect and reconciliation play in managing behaviour in your church school? Led by Jen Jenkins, this session will explore behaviour management systems that focus on relationships and not just rules.

Please encourage your middle leaders to sign up for this new cohort…

Flourishing Through Leading: A Two-Year Programme for Middle Leaders – new cohort for 22/23

Tuesday 04 October – 16.00 to 17.30 on Zoom  (No cost to DSA subscribers)

This two-year programme is suitable for anybody with a role as a middle leader for subject development or pastoral care. It includes twelve sessions; one 1.5-hour session per half term, conducted remotely on Zoom. The programme assumes that particulars around subject leadership, monitoring and curriculum development are already being covered through other CPD or in-school support and so will focus on developing middle leaders as people – nurturing them as leaders with a distinctively Christian focus, with Christian values recognisable through their leadership. There will be a mixture of input and reflective discussion at each session. (see further information on the course booking link above).


Diocesan Racial Justice Logo Competition 

With Accompanying Resources inc. Collective Worship and Lesson Plans for Primary, Secondary and Sixth Form

The Diocese of Coventry (Race Equality Advisory Group) are launching a brand new and incredibly important competition and they need the help of pupils in all our CofE schools.  The competition begins a search for a logo that will capture the importance of racial equality not only for our diocese but for all people living in community. The details of the competition, including dates and the requirements for the logo, can be found in the competition brief and there are categories for primary, secondary and sixth form. Lesson plans and collective worship resources have been developed to support you as you introduce pupils to the important concept of racial justice and the competition.  Find all the details and resources on the DBE website under the general resources area – look for ‘racial justice resources.  The closing date has been extended to 10 October.  We can’t wait to see what your pupils produce!


Equip your School with Free Financial Education Resources

The Just Finance Foundation works directly with schools to improve financial education through the LifeSavers programme. Engaging your students with values-based money lessons is important and develops key life skills.  Through their LifeSavers Programme you can access flexible lesson plans, beautiful storybooks, assembly resources and much more! JFF’s financial education experts will also provide convenient CPD training and help connect you with other teachers.  All of their programmes, training and resources are delivered at no cost to your school.  Find out more and get involved: https://bit.ly/3S3pECH


RE – Visits and Visitors

Now that places of worship are opening up their doors, just a reminder to visit the SACRE suggested list of visits and visitors which was updated in May this year.   Please contact alison.watson@coventrydbe.org for the password


Schools Sustainability Guide From WWF

 A new Schools Sustainability Guide from the World Wildlife Fund UK gives loads of tips on how to take action for climate, nature and sustainability in your school.  Climate change and nature loss are two sides of the same coin – we can’t tackle one without the other and we need to do so in a sustainable way. Schools have the power to take action on both of these environmental issues today; by making schools planet-friendly we can make space for nature, protect the atmosphere and produce less waste overall.  The WWF schools sustainability guide is designed to be used by those in senior leadership roles as well as classroom teachers. Supported by Eco Schools, Learning through Landscapes, PSTT and Let’s Go Zero, we hope this guide will inspire schools around the UK to start up, or continue on, their sustainability journey!

Download it and check out other free eco resources on their wesbsite here.


Navigating Chaos? Me Too – A Reflection from Jaz Ampaw Farr

(trigger warning: this reflection mentions end of life care and bereavement)

Funerals are a series of moments. Like weddings, they can bring us together whilst simultaneously reminding us why we spent so much time apart in the first place.  I’ve spent the last week alternating between observing the ecosystem of humanity that developed around the Queen’s funeral and driving back and forth to my home town to visit my Aunty Pat in hospital.  She’s actually my Nan’s sister which technically makes her my great aunt (she prefers ‘fantastic’ to great!) but she’s always been Aunty Pat and is the last adult alive with any link to my lost history as a child.  Last week, before I knew she was poorly, I wrote about loss. I was floored by the responses I received. Especially this one: “Your email was just what I needed to read as I’m sitting trailing through emails trying to distract myself from the pain I’m feeling. My mum died suddenly on 1st August. I miss her so much. Everything is just so different now. But I’ll find someone to help me with the next part of my story. Thank you.”  I love the reference to the ‘next part of my story’. Even in the middle of the immense pain of grief, this brave lady makes a choice to tilt her head to the heavens and acknowledge there is a next. That’s ambitious resilience in action. It requires the strength to resist the pull of the past and the distraction of the future to stand firmly in the chaotic hot coals of the present.  Also, being in the present is exhausting. I don’t mean the act of focusing on your eight year old explaining the minute differences between each her 437 Pokémon cards, although yeah, that’s no picnic. I’m talking about being the ‘being present’ that happens when you are holding the hand of a someone you love while they die. That level of presence requires every ounce of your body and mind to be on high alert…

I had to pause writing and I’m finishing this email in the car, after leaving the all too familiar hospital in which my sister was born, my nan passed away and where I once came to identify my brother’s body.  Just as the queen’s coffin left Westminster Abbey I received a phone call from the consultant looking after my Fantastic Aunt Pat who advised that it was time to stop treatment and make Aunty Pat comfortable. Since then I’ve lived on the M1 travelling the seventy miles between us back and forth to hold her hand, stroke her hair and entertain her by reading the tamer sections of her rather racy Mills & Boon-esque novel out loud.  When I talk about resilience, it’s not just talk. I know the strength needed to pick yourself up, stand with those in trauma and constantly choose gratitude over guilt.  Life is a series of moments with multiple opportunities to cry, laugh, do the Conga, snog someone you love, stand up to a bully and collapse in a heap of despair. Whatever moment you’re in right now, make it a good memory.

And remember, there is always a next.  My Best – Jaz


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