Headlines – 7 October 2022

Fully Funded NPQ Leading Teaching with Inspire Education Trust

Inspire Education Trust, which has Blue Coat CofE Academy and Walsgrave CofE Academy as part of its family of schools, is leading the new NPQ Leading Teaching course for Coventry & Warwickshire region. There is still time to sign-up for your staff to be a part of this!  ALL teachers and leaders employed in state funded schools and state funded organisations including those that offer 16-19 places in England will be able to access a fully funded NPQ.

Why NPQs?

Accredited by the Department for Education (DfE), National Professional Qualifications (NPQs) are a nationally recognised suite of qualifications for teachers and school leaders at all levels; from those who want to develop expertise in high quality teaching practice, to those leading multiple schools across a trust or other group of schools.

For further information on the qualification – see the Church of England NPQ Prospectus here.

Applying for an NPQ

Applications for our next NPQ Cohorts are still open and close on Sunday 16th October 2022.  If you would like to make a late application for one of these programmes, please contact npq@churchofengland.org for guidance. (Please ignore deadline contained in the Church of England NPQ Prospectus as this has now been extended due to the pandemic.)  OR for more information, email mathew.thomas@ietrust.org to find out additional information on teacher workload commitment and how the course will be run over the course of the 18 months.


CPD Coming Up After Half Term…

Click on the links below for more info or to book.

Secondary RE Online Network (with Leicester DBE)

Tuesday 01 November – 16.00 – 18.00 online

Offered through Leicester Diocese, Secondary RE Development Training, with Angela Hill and Fiona Moss from RE Today. Content will be agreed with group. Contact Alison Watson to book a place.

Christian Distinctiveness Deep Dive Short – Accountability

Monday 07 November – 16.30 to 17.30 on Zoom

How do you hold people to account and have difficult but necessary conversations within a flourishing environment? Led by Jen Jenkins, this session will look at ensuring ‘speaking the truth in love’ is at the heart of flourishing and impacting on standards.

Christian Distinctiveness Deep Dive Short – Behaviour

Monday 14 November (re-arranged from 03 Oct) – 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.

Governor Drop-in Discussion Network – Governing through Challenging Times

Tuesday 15 November – 19.00 to 20.00 on Zoom

Led by Joanne Evans and Helen Gibson, this session will invite governors to discuss the multiple challenges schools are having to deal with as well as how to hold in this role the balance of accountability and support.

Understanding Christianity Refresher Training – Free for DSA Subscribers

Dates:     15 November 2022 / 14 March 2023  – 16.00 to 17.30 – online via Zoom

This two-part course has been designed for schools that are not currently making the most of their Understanding Christianity resource. This might be because those that originally undertook the training have left, or that current teachers are unsure how it fits into the wider curriculum or that the scope of the resource is overwhelming. Whatever the reason, these sessions will consolidate and clarify the best use of this rich and exciting resource. Delegates will go away feeling more confident in their RE teaching and practice. This course assumes that the school has previously engaged with Understanding Christianity and has access to the full resource.

RE:Search Group with Jen Jenkins

Tuesday 29 November – 16.30 to 17.30 on Zoom

This group looks at how educational research can positively impact RE teaching in our schools. In this session the group will be joined by Kate Christopher co-author of ‘Teaching Islam as a Worldview’ by Kate Christopher and Lynn Revell.

If you would like to join the group please contact Alison Watson to book a place and receive the required pre-reading.


RE Subject Knowledge Training for ECTs

Natre are offering free monthly webinars for ECTs to help with RE subject knowledge.  These online sessions are FREE and designed to support development of subject knowledge skills. It will also provide evidence to meet the ECT standards.  The first one, on 10 October 4-5.30pm, is on Islam. Register and see the full programme here.

The DBE is also offering:

Early Career Teachers – RE Subject Knowledge Programme

Run by Leicester Diocese and led by Fiona Moss. This 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 RECost: £40 for DSA subscribers

The Intent of the RE Curriculum

12 January 2023 – 16.00 to 18.30 – online via Zoom

What is the intent of RE in the curriculum? In your school?  What are effective teaching and learning strategies to implement RE in my primary classroom?

Religion and Worldviews

19 April 2023 16.00 to 18.30 – online via Zoom

This session will explore different religion and worldviews taught in primary RE as well as looking at the effect our own biases can have on our teaching.  With a focus on Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism and non-religious worldviews this session will improve subject knowledge and share knowledge rich teaching and learning strategies.

You can book here.


CofE Survey finds Younger People more Likely to Pray than Older Generations

Younger adults are more likely to pray than older generations, according to a survey for the Church of England showing that nearly half of UK adults report having ever offered up some form of prayer. The Revd Dr Stephen Hance, National Lead for Evangelism and Witness for the Church of England, said: “These findings really challenge the all-too-common assumption that young people are not interested in faith or spiritual things. In fact they show us that – more than simply being interested in spirituality – they are already exploring it in practice, to a greater extent than their elders. “In an age when mindfulness and meditation are more popular than ever, prayer makes sense to people. And with pressures mounting and people of every generation facing huge uncertainty, many people of all ages are drawing strength from God in prayer. “This also confirms what other research has told us, that while younger people may be under-represented in church, this isn’t indicative of a lack of interest in faith. That’s why the Church of England has made engaging young people one of our top priorities for the decade.” If you would like to re-visit the prayer and reflection opportunities in your school,  Jen Jenkins, the DBE’s RE and Spirituality Officer has produced a creative prayer resource pack which you will find helpful. You can find it on the DBE website under Collective Worship Resources (use the passcode Education to access).


RE – Two New Free Self-study Short Online Courses from Culham St Gabriel’s

  • Digging Deeper: Religion and Worldviews
  • Digging Deeper: Curriculum

These build on the popular Introduction courses and are available for FREE from Culham St Gabriel’s. See these, and other free short courses on their website here.


Inter Faith Week 2022 – Sunday 13 – Sunday 20 November

Each year, Inter Faith Week begins on Remembrance Sunday, and runs until the following Sunday. It is hoped that the additional Sunday provides the opportunity for other weekend events to take place as well as those linked to Remembrance Sunday. Remembrance Sunday was chosen as a start day to encourage people to remember together the contributions of all faiths and none, and to consider how best to create a just, peaceful, and harmonious world.

The Inter Faith Network for the UK, which leads Inter Faith Week, has recently produced teacher resources for Primary and Secondary teachers, as well as a series of videos for use in assemblies/ collective worship. These can be found here, along with a downloadable poster about shared values and the Golden Rule.

The picture shows pupils from Blue Coat CofE School, Coventry celebrating Interfaith Week in 2020.


New Survey for RE Teachers

 The project “Foregrounding Teachers’ Voices” is finding out what teachers in England and Wales really think about the current state of RE and its future. The survey is open to all primary and secondary teachers of RE at all types of schools. Project leaders are Dr Tim Hutchings (University of Nottingham) and Dr Celine Benoit (Aston University), and the project is funded by Culham St Gabriel Trust. The project team will be creating new, free CPD resources for RE teachers in spring 2023, so this survey also asks what teachers would find most helpful. The survey is completely anonymous and should take 15 minutes to complete: https://nottingham.onlinesurveys.ac.uk/teachers-voices-on-re

Please forward this link to all colleagues who teach RE!


Practical Ideas for World Mental Health Day – 10 October 2022

Ideas for Teachers and Staff Wellbeing

Here are some simple wellbeing activities that you can do with your staff team to help raise awareness and promote positive mental health in your school community.

  1. Why not start the day with a mindful minute?Encourage everyone to take a minute to sit quietly and focus on their breath. This simple mindfulness practice can help to centre ourselves and set a positive tone for the day ahead. This is also a very quick and easy activity to start mental health day with.
  2. Take a break!Make sure that everyone takes a proper break for lunch – away from their desks if possible. Eating well and staying hydrated are essential for maintaining good mental health, so encourage your staff to make time for a healthy lunch. Maybe even provide some healthy snacks for them to munch on during the day!
  3. Get moving! A little bit of exercise can do wonders for our mental wellbeing, so why not incorporate some gentle movement into the day? Even ten minutes of stretching or walking will make a difference. Alternatively, you could hold a ‘virtual’ fitness class at the end of the day – there are loads of great options on YouTube.
  4. Connect with nature. If you’re lucky enough to have outdoor space at your school, make use of it! Spend some time outside in the fresh air, surrounded by nature. If you can’t get outside, bring nature into the classroom with some plants or flowers.
  5. Check in with each other.At the end of the day, take some time as a team to check in with each other. How are we feeling? What’s been tough today? What’s been good? This is a chance for everyone to offload any concerns or stressors they might be carrying, and to receive support from their colleagues. Letting things build up can lead to burnout, so this regular check-in is an important part of preventive self-care.

Ideas for Pupils and Students

‍Mindfulness is all about being present in the moment and paying attention to your thoughts and feelings without judgement. It’s a great way to improve your mental wellbeing, and it’s something that everyone can benefit from. There are lots of simple mindfulness and wellbeing activities that you can do with your pupils to help them relax and focus on the present moment. Here are just a few ideas:

  1. Breathing exercises: Focusing on your breath is a great way to bring your attention to the present moment. You can try out different breathing exercises with your students, such as 4-7-8 breathing (breathe in for 4 counts, hold for 7 counts, breathe out for 8 counts) or belly breathing (place one hand on your stomach and breathe so that your hand rises and falls with your breath).
  2. Sense scavenger hunt: This is a great activity for young children. Get them to pay attention to all of their senses by going on a scavenger hunt around the classroom or school grounds. They can tick things off their list as they find them, such as something that smells nice, something that feels soft, etc.
  3. 5 things you can see/hear/touch: This is another mindfulness exercise that is suitable for all ages. Get your students to close their eyes and think of 5 things that they can see, 5 things that they can hear, and 5 things that they can touch. This exercise will help them to focus on the present moment and notice the world around them.
  4. Gratitude journal: Encourage your students to start a gratitude journal where they write down 3 things that they’re grateful for each day. This could be anything from having a delicious dinner to being able to play with their pet dog. Focusing on the positive things in our lives is a great way to boost our mental wellbeing.
  5. Strengths spotting : This activity is all about focusing on our strengths and the positive things about ourselves. Get your students to think of 3 things that they’re good at, 3 things that they’re proud of, and 3 things that make them happy. This exercise will help boost their self-esteem and confidence essential for mental health and wellbeing.
    These tips are from the ‘Worth-It’ website. You can find out more and download free resources by going to their website: https://www.worthit.org.uk/free-mental-health-resources


Messy Money – All Age Session Linked to Courageous Advocacy

Linking with Courageous Advocacy – something for either you, or your church to look at with children.  This Messy Church session explores issues of money, justice and ethics using the story of Zacchaeus and has lots of creative activities to get children talking and learning together. This Messy Money session was developed in partnership with the Bible Reading Fellowship. An at home version is adapted for families to use at home. Find it here


Small Grants Available from St Peter’s Saltley Trust

Useful to Support Pupil’s Courageous Advocacy Projects?

St Peter’s Saltley Trust’s small grants fund can offer funding to schools and RE support organisations for discrete, time limited projects in school religious education where a few hundred pounds might make a big difference. For more info on eligibility see: https://www.saltleytrust.org.uk/what-we-support/ or contact: bursar@saltleytrust.org.uk


For Black History Month

WANTED: Effective Allies Who Take Meaningful Actions

I don’t want you to just dress like me, but to call out behaviours that hurt, harm, and hamper my progress at work.

I don’t want you to just speak like me, but to speak up for me when policies and procedures block my progress, and for other Black people who can’t or don’t get seen or heard.

I don’t want you to just live near me, but to oppose the gentrification that destroys our long-established neighbourhoods and our communities.

I don’t want you to just eat Caribbean food, but to support other Black businesses and enterprises, and the communities behind them.

I don’t want you to just listen to Black music, but to listen to, appreciate and recognise those that created it and be an ally to their communities.

I don’t want you to just decolonise the curriculum, but to employ more Black educators and support staff and embed Black history into the curriculum.

I don’t want you to just celebrate Windrush Day and Black History Month, but to challenge inequalities all year round and recognise the power and potential of equality, diversity, and inclusion to create stronger teams, new ways of working and more successful organisations.

I don’t want you to just accept me and be your ‘black friend’, but to be an ally to other Black people and listen to their experiences and opinions, because I don’t represent or speak for all Black people.

I don’t want you to just acknowledge white privilege, but to use the platforms you have to take action and enable a marginalised individual or group to progress, thrive and fully contribute.

I don’t want you to just take nominal steps to improve the status quo by using me as a token Black presence, but to open doors to other marginalised groups and become a more equal, diverse, and inclusive workplace.

I don’t want you to just open up opportunities for change and then leave me to fix things on my own, but for us to work together to find solutions and make our workplace the best it can be for everyone.

I don’t want you to just talk about and enjoy the fun stuff about my culture, but to have some real conversations and get to know the real me, including my ambitions, my concerns, and my potential. My culture offers far more than music, sport, dance, and food – for me and for you.

I want you to know that as an ally, you will be privy to and enjoy rich cultural resources and share the benefits of achievements and contributions that are still being revealed, and those yet to come, still waiting to be discovered. There is a Caribbean saying that perfectly describes the need to work together and support one another’s self-realisation for the benefit of society as a whole… “Today for you, tomorrow for me!

By Lynda-Louise Burrell and can be found on

the Black History Month website.


Coping with the Menopause at Work – Free Webinar from Laughology

Monday 10th October 22 | 12:00-12.45am

In this interactive 40-minute FREE webinar, Laughology facilitators Sarah Creegan and Laura Drury open up discussions about the trials and tribulations of going through menopause. An opportunity to bust the myths, connect through shared experiences, and offer some practical tools to help you FLIP your perspective and give you the gumption to carry on. Laura and Sarah will explore:

  • Some of the science and biology behind menopause
  • How to open up conversations by reducing the stigma
  • The facts of menopause and at the same time, dispelling the myths and assumptions
  • Practical ways to help yourself and others through their FLIP it Thinking model

So if you’re looking for support and practical advice on managing menopause in the workplace, sign up here.


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