Headlines – 26 November 2021


Congratulations to St James CofE Academy for their recent SIAMS grading of ‘Good’ following an inspection on 12th November.  The inspector stated that:

The inclusive and distinctive Christian vision in which everyone is loved, is the hallmark of this academy. The vision ensures that everyone’s potential is unlocked, enabling all to flourish. Everyone at St James’ gains the joy of lifelong learning. The vision and associated values are the driving force for the strategic direction senior leaders endorse. The linchpin of this aspiration for all, is the headteacher, who embodies the vision. Her Christian witness effectively unites all members of this academy family in their commitment to the vision and their passion to be a distinctive, nurturing Christian academy. Throughout the pandemic it has been this vision that draws the academy community together in God’s love and light.

Well done to Headteacher Jane Cook and all the team at St James.  You can read the full report on their website or by clicking here.


Welcome to Paul Crouch New Headteacher at Ilmington CofE Primary

Paul Crouch has been recently appointed as the new Headteacher of Ilmington CofE Primary School from January. Paul will take over from current Head, Rebecca Hughes-Noon next term when she departs for her new role as Head of Pre-Prep at Cheltenham College.  Paul is already a valued member of the Ilmington Primary School team having joined the school in September 2020 teaching Years 3 and 4.  Commenting on his appointment as the new Head Teacher, Paul Crouch said:  “I am absolutely thrilled to be appointed head teacher at Ilmington Primary School. The school is a fantastic, safe and engaging learning environment with great children and supportive parents. I am looking forward to working with an amazingly committed staff team and a dedicated governing body who all work hard to help our children thrive.”


Don’t Forget to Book For…

Do book even if you can’t attend as most of the sessions are recorded and can be sent out afterwards.

‘Theologically Rooted – Understanding Your School Vision’ for Governors

Monday 13th December – 17.00 to 18.00 on Zoom or book to receive the session recording

Encourage your governors to book for this session lead by Jen Jenkins, the DBE’s RE and Spirituality Officer, ‘Theologically Rooted’ will support you in exploring your church school’s distinctive vision, its biblical foundation and how Christian theological concepts underpin all they do as a church school, so that you can speak confidently about these things as governors and can effectively monitor Christian distinctiveness.  To book a place click here

Worldviews Approach and Multidisciplinary RE

Wednesday 5th January 2022 – 16.00 to 17.00 on Zoom or book to receive the session recording

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. To book a place click here

SIAMS Short – Courageous Advocacy

Tuesday 11 January 2022 – 16.00 to 17.00 on Zoom or book to receive the session recording

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.  To book your place click here

Headteacher Termly Briefing

Wednesday 19th January 2022 – 14.00pm – 15.30pm on Zoom

These sessions aim to inform Headteachers of key updates from across the educational landscape. These include updates from Ofsted, SIAMS, DfE, the Church of England, LAs and research bodies. In addition, there will be information on new resources, funding opportunities, charitable projects and the work of the Heads’ Reference Group. Please let us know if there is anything specific you would like us to address.  To book your place click here.

Courageous Advocacy and Social Justice Peer Support Network

Not too late to join this network… next session Weds 26th Jan 16.00 to 17.30 – on Zoom

A new offering this academic year led by Nicola Coupe, a professional associate from Salisbury Diocese where she is a School Improvement Adviser and Strategic Lead for RE, Worship & Spirituality.  The term ‘courageous advocacy’ was a new concept in the 2018 SIAMS schedule. This Peer Support Group Network has been formed to enable schools to explore the concept of courageous advocacy and social justice and what that might mean in the unique context of each school. Participants will also be able to reflect on the opportunities they might provide for pupils to thrive in this area and share good practice and ideas with colleagues to enhance professional development. Most importantly, it aims to join the dots in this area of their work, between collective worship and curriculum time, to whole school approaches – and lead to passion and action where children and young people are ‘facilitated by’ adults and not ‘led’ by adults.  Please note this is not a recorded session so participants will have to attend to get the optimum benefit.  For more information and to book a place click here.


Free Advent and Christmas Resources

From the Diocese of Portsmouth and Winchester – Based on a beautiful and moving children’s book ‘An Angel Just Like Me’

The is a free resource for Advent that supports Christmas celebrations, curriculum and teaching, while concurrently addressing many of the issues stated in the Church of England’s  ‘From Lament to Action’ Report (The Report of the Archbishops’ Anti-Racism Taskforce).   This mini project for Christmas has been developed around a now out-of-print but timely and significant book by renown author Mary Hoffman, about a little boy who searches for a Christmas angel that looks like him.  Look on the DBE website (contact alison.watson@coventrydbe.org for the password) for the project booklet with pages of activities, ideas and links to RE curricula, and an accompanying Worship PowerPoint presentation that links to Mary Hoffman reading the book which you can access by clicking on the picture below (8 min YouTube video)

From the Diocese of Guildford – ‘Everyone is Welcome’ Advent Calendars for Secondary and Primary. These Advent calendars do not contain pictures of elves and snowmen, instead each day takes you to a passage or story from the Bible which is about welcome and inclusion. When you click on the door you will find: an image; some wondering questions; a video of the story or a song; the Bible reference for the story.  Click here to see the resources on the Guildford website.  The Diocese of Guildford has other Advent resources suitable for both primary and secondary such as prayer and reflection stations – please contact alison.watson@coventrydbe.org for the link to access these.

Picture News are inviting primary schools to ‘Share the Light’ with this free resource.  They say “This Christmas time, we’d like to help share some joy. Whilst the festive period is a happy time for many, there are some who find it a trickier time, perhaps feeling lonely or sad.  We’ve chosen a special image by illustrator Lucy Burvant called Christmas Kindness to help inspire you to think of kind words to use during the festive period. Once written, your messages can be shared with others in your community. Perhaps posted or used as part of a presentation to residents in a local care home, shared with parents and families or as part of a Christmas display.”  Get your free resource pack from Picture News by signing up here. If you don’t want to sign up – ask Joanne Evans for a copy.


A Reading Event for Rugby Schools

Reading Aloud for Pleasure: The Rotary Clubs in Rugby, celebrating 100 years of Rotary in the town, invite Rugby people of all ages to join together in a mass celebration of reading for fun as part of the Centenary.  Week beginning 4th April 2022 (2nd April is International Children’s Book Day).  Ofsted talk a lot about a ‘Culture of Reading’.  This may help us all show them what a community week of that looks like!  HOW?  We intend to organise live reading in town centre locations on each day of that week, inviting people of all ages over 16 (sixth formers and college students welcome when they can) to join in.  This is primarily about a sense of community, but we’ll collect for local charities while we do it.  We are aware of the difficulties of the present time in schools.  We chose a Reading Aloud idea in the hope that this activity will make fewest extra demands on all members of a school, so they can join in during the school week while still fulfilling their curriculum plans?   Rotarians would be glad to visit at times when schools are doing this reading, if the regulations and schools permit.  But at its simplest we hope this will be Covid-proof but still community-wide.

  1. If a number of schools were prepared to consider an extra complication, we could try to arrange a Reading Relay across the town, so that each day, or for a set day, this reading was happening somewhere in a school at all times of the school day? Half-an-hour here, then half-an-hour there, and so on.  It could give each participant the further sense of being part of something big across the town (we hope!).  Every person who takes part will receive a certificate in thanks.
  2. Schools would be able to decide what they read on these themes (a lot of books could be worked in somehow!), but if a school signs up to do this, Rotary will also buy a few books on your chosen theme, suitable for your age-group, from Hunt’s Bookshop, and donate them.
  3. Any recorded readings, or visual art, or poems, or songs etc on the themes can be sent to rugbyrotary@gmail.com and we will seek to arrange a display in the Rugby Museum and at the Centenary Dinner in the Benn Hall on 9th June. It would be excellent if we can provide some recordings (or even live visits by then?) for care homes, hospital radio, various support groups for the lonely, etc.
  4. If you have a brilliant idea to develop this in your school in a way which puts these ideas in the shade, PLEASE let us know.

If you are interested, please let me know as soon as you can at rugbyrotary@gmail.com and we’ll come back to you to ask the scale and numbers likely to be involved in your school.   It’s important for planning that we hear before Christmas how tiny, modest or huge this exercise may be!


Education Staff Wellbeing Charter – Updated

The DfE have recently updated the Education Staff Wellbeing Charter to include support staff. The charter was co-created with unions, mental health charities and schools and colleges and is a tool to help you create your own wellbeing strategies to protect, promote and enhance the wellbeing and mental health of staff.


CPD Webinar Events in the New Year from Independent Thinking

Click on the titles for more information and booking.

A Leveller Not a Label – Helping Disadvantaged Pupils Thrive with Haili Hughes

13th January 2022 – 7.00-8.30pm – £38.29 per delegate.  For all secondary schools looking for ideas to help bring the best out of children and young people from poorer socio-economic backgrounds.

Fit Your Own Mask Before Helping Children with Andy Vass

19th January 2022 – 7.00-8.30pm – £38.29 per delegate.  For primary, secondary and special school teachers with practical ideas to help them develop personal well-being and resilience in these stressful times.

Sanity in the Classroom with Andy Vass

31st January 2022 – 7.00-8.30pm – £38.29 per delegate.  For all teachers looking for practical ideas to help develop supportive, positive and effective approaches to classroom management.

The Bottom of the Iceberg – Curriculum Design for Primary Schools with Jonathan Lear

3rd March 2022 – 7.00-8.30pm – £38.29 per delegate.  For primary teachers and leaders looking for ideas and inspiration to help them with creative and innovative approaches to curriculum design.

For a taster – here is a reminder of the Independent Thinking ‘CPD Jukebox’




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