Headlines – 3 February 2023


Dr Margaret James, National Director of SIAMS has released an updated list of schools likely to be inspected this academic year (see Church of England website).  Due to delays caused by Covid and the late Queen’s death it has become apparent that some schools will now have to be moved to the next academic year and be inspected under the New SIAMS Framework.  For the Coventry Diocesan schools to whom this applies, the DBE has already been in contact. For schools who have not been personally notified it is anticipated that you will remain on the list to be inspected this year as expected.  If you have any further concerns or questions about this please do get in touch.


SIAMS – Guidance on Key Areas

In preparation for the new SIAMS Framework, three new documents have been written for schools by Jen Jenkins the DBE’s RE and Spirituality Officer.  These address the three highlighted areas for development on most SIAMS inspections reports from the National Team’s analysis:

  • Theologically-Rooted Vision
  • Spiritual Development
  • Courageous Advocacy Beyond Fundraising

Please feel free to use them with your staff and governors. You can also find them under the SIAMS section of the DBE website. Please contat Alison Watson for the passcode


DBE Team News

As many of you will already know, due to ill health Jen Jenkins is off work now until half term. If you are trying to contact her, or require RE or SIAMS support, then other members of the team will pick that up for the next few weeks. In the first instance for any enquiries contact joanne.evans@coventrydbe.org  We all wish Jen a speedy recovery and pray that this time of rest and restoration will be healing for her.


Alive! 2023 – Just a reminder…

We are waiting on a few last schools to book their places before we can offer this amazing opportunity out to associate schools.  If you have not yet signed your school up please get in contact. Thursday 15th June is filling up fast, but there is more availability on Friday 16th. Remember there is up to a £5 per child contribution to coach transport to and from the event.


Coventry Cathedral – ‘Story Tent Day’ for Years 5 and 6

Due to popular demand, Coventry Cathedral Schools Team are again joining up with Story Tent to hold the second set of ‘Story Tent’ days from the 19 – 23 June.  Aimed at years 5 and 6, this is a magical day full of storytelling, fun and multi-faith themed activities in Coventry Cathedral.  During this event your students will have the chance to hear from different faith leaders who will share stories from their faiths and scriptures, ask important question and gain a deeper understanding of the importance of storytelling across all faiths.  They will also have the opportunity to use what they have learnt in creative exercises that allows them to explore exactly what storytelling can mean to us. Developed with links to the Religious Education curriculum, this event promises to be both a fun and valuable experience for your children. Find out more about the day here.  £9 per pupil for a full day experience. 19 June – 23 June 2023 – 09:45 -14:15  Book now to secure your school’s visit.


Safer Internet Day – 07 February – Free Resources

The UK Safer Internet Centre have education packs including lesson plans, assemblies, posters, and other quick activities. For all key stages, the packs are all free to download and available here. The BBC have a wealth of resources for primary and secondary here.  PopUK have related songs that are free for primary school here.

  • ‘OPEN YOUR EYES’ – valuing time spent with friends rather than online
  • ‘WILL YOU ‘LIKE’ ME?’ – the importance of face-to-face friendships rather than online ‘likes’
  • ‘WALKING IN THE LIGHT’ – promoting kindness and compassion online


Children’s Mental Health Week – 06-12 February

Children’s Mental Health Week starts on 06 February, and this year the theme is ‘let’s connect’, looking at the importance that connections with others have on our mental health.  Healthy relationships with family, friends and others are vital for children and young people’s wellbeing, offering a strong protective factor against poor mental health.  Connections within a school setting are also very important – pupils should feel that they belong to, and are a valued part of, a school or college community. Their relationships with adults in the school or college should be positive, consistent, and based on trust and mutual respect.

Mentally Healthy Schools have free resources to help you explore the theme of connections with your pupils, and celebrate the week in your setting. Primary and secondary Toolkits are available here.

Place2be also have resources and activities for primary and secondary on their website here.

School of Kindness have free video lesson plans focussed on all aspects of kindness, which are a great resource for Children’s Mental Health Week. They cover topics such as the impact kindness has on our physical and mental health, the importance of self-kindness, and how kindness can help us connect with others. Our lesson plans are designed for Key Stage 1 & 2, and meet many of the aims and objectives of the PSHE curriculum. Find them here.


Pop UK – Easter in a Day

A one-day enrichment workshop to help children understand the Easter story through learning 3 specially written sons. Working with whole schools or chosen year groups, the day is a good way to engage parents through an end of school assembly and engage with the local church.

Cost £440. To find out more go to the PopUK website: https://www.popuk.org/easter-in-a-day


Recommended Books for Black History Month

February is Black History Month, and it’s an important time for reflection, celebration and acknowledgement.  Save the Children have put together a list of 19 children’s books that send an important message about celebrating Black history to inspire boys and girls this month – and all year round. Find them here.


Free Resources for Talking to Pupils about Teacher Strikes

Whether or not you are one of the more than 100,000 teachers who are planning on striking in the UK, it is important to be able to talk to your students about what is happening and why many teachers feel it is necessary to take this step.  Strikes are intentionally disruptive, which can be particularly challenging when you work in a caring profession. By building context, developing compassionate outlooks, and communicating clearly, you can help your learners to feel secure, aware, and engaged in this issue.  Global Dimension have put together free resources are good for secondary pupils but could be adapted for upper KS2. Find them here.

Connections to the curriculum:

  • History: Learn about the history of the labour movement, why it formed, and what it has achieved.
  • English: Write a short story that explores the emotions of someone considering whether to strike or not.
  • PSHE: Explore workers’ rights, the responsibilities of school management, and the dilemmas of policy makers.
  • Drama: Use the Morningside Centre’s resource to roleplay a teachers’ strike and its various possible outcomes.
  • Maths: Calculate how the average wage has kept up with inflation over time.


‘The Wild Escape’ – Get Your Pupils to Picture a Future for UK Nature

Join ‘The Wild Escape’, a major creative project for museums and schools inspired by the wildlife found in museum and gallery collections.  Taking place from January to July 2023, and building towards a nationwide moment on Earth Day 2023, The Wild Escape invites primary school children (ages 7-11) to find a favourite animal in their local museum and create an artwork imagining its journey to a natural habitat. Their pictures will be brought together in an epic collective artwork unveiled on Earth Day.  Led by Art Fund and supported by Arts Council England, The Wild Escape is an opportunity for the next generation to join in the conversation about biodiversity. Leading artists, creatives and environmentalists are also imagining animals’ journeys to inspire children to take part.  Schools and families can take part in The Wild Escape by finding a workshop or activity hosted by a museum to attend, or by planning a self-guided visit or in-classroom activity by downloading free resources on the Wild Escape website. They are free to use and have been drawn from existing materials created by museums, arts organisations and learning professionals.  There is some background information to the project on the BBC website here.  Or go to the Wild Escape website here for details of how to get involved.


Back to news page