13th September 2023
A Message from Revd April Gold – Diocesan Director of Education
I hope that you had a relaxing summer break and returned to the new term restored. I have spent some time over the summer reflecting upon the words of Psalm 46:
1 God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
3 though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.[c]
4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy place where the Most High dwells.
5 God is within her, she will not fall;
God will help her at break of day.
6 Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
he lifts his voice, the earth melts.
7 The Lord Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.
8 Come and see what the Lord has done,
the desolations he has brought on the earth.
9 He makes wars cease
to the ends of the earth.
He breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
he burns the shields[d] with fire.
10 He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”
11 The Lord Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.
This Psalm reminds me that whatever is going on in my life and my work that there are larger forces at play but in the middle of the highs and lows God is always there. In the crazy good pre-summer period of Alive 2023, ordination when I felt I had nothing left to give I visited a Church in Market Bosworth and this was the Altar Frontal (picture right). It was as if God was saying ‘I’ve got you’.
On my final summer mini break, with my daughter on a Jane Austen pilgrimage to Hampshire, we entered the Church in Alton and yet again another Altar Frontal (picture left). It was as if God was saying I’ve still got you and remember whatever is going on, you can stop and be still and rest in that, that was before the RAAC issues! So my prayer for you as term begins and you may feel that you are in a swirling storm that you will take a moment and just be still and know that you are loved by the creator of the universe for just being you.
As always, the DBE team are here to support and serve you so do get in touch!
Best wishes – April Gold
Touching Base – Short Meeting with Your Deanery HTRAG Rep
Wednesday 20 September – 16.00-16.30 Zoom Link to Attend
In advance of the termly Headteacher Reference and Advisory Group Meeting (HTRAG), this is an opportunity for Headteachers to talk confidentially in deanery groupings to touch base, network, share common challenges and give any feedback to the DBE via the deanery representative.
The meeting is informal and short – 30 minutes – and will be on Zoom with no DBE staff present.
The aim of the meetings is to bring local context to the DBE at the HTRAG so that we can serve and support. But also that it may well generate other useful networking conversations and support for less experienced leaders… or indeed those who just need colleague headteachers to hold a confidential space for them to talk.
If you can’t make the meeting you can still email your HTRAG representative. Here is a list of the Deanery Reps and links directly to their email addresses.
- Alcester Deanery – Andy Simms – Headteacher of Bidford upon Avon CofE Primary
- Coventry Deanery – Allison Underhill – Headteacher of St Andrew’s CofE Infants
- Fosse Deanery – Lindsey Oscroft – Executive Headteacher of Wellesbourne and Tysoe
- Kenilworth Deanery – Tracy Drew – Headteacher of Berkswell CofE Primary and Sarah Rayson – Headteacher of St Nicholas CofE Primary
- Nuneaton Deanery – Hannah Carvell – Headteacher of Queen’s CofE Academy
- Rugby Deanery – Jill Vavasour – Headteacher of Knightlow CofE Primary
- Shipston Deanery – Sam Welsby – Headteacher of Newbold and Tredington CofE Primary
- Southam Deanery – to be confirmed – you can email the DBE or your nearest rep
- Warwick and Leamington Deanery – Suki Owers – Executive Headteacher of St Margaret’s CofE Junior Warwick
Invitation for Pupils to Sing World Changers at Bishop Christopher’s Leaving Service
As you will be aware, Bishop Christopher is leaving Coventry Diocese and there will be a farewell service at Coventry Cathedral on Saturday 4th November at 2.00pm. We are looking for schools who would be willing to bring pupils to sing ‘World Changers’ together in a big children’s choir of up to 100 children. The DBE will fund transport. We recognise that this is a Saturday event but it would be wonderful to have schools present and taking part to say farewell to Bishop Christopher. If you are interesting in being involved please do let us know.
Headteacher Termly Briefing 21 September 2023
Don’t forget to join us for the Heads’ Briefing on Thursday afternoon 21 September 14.00-15.30 on Zoom. Book a place here.
- Opening Reflection and DBE Update – April Gold
- HTRAG update
- Feedback from HTRAG – Chair of HTRAG
- New Agreed Syllabus Update – Jen Jenkins
- Ofsted update – Carl Thornton
- Closing Comments and Prayer
Induction for Heads and Senior Leaders New to a Church School
Monday 18 September – 16.00 to 17.00 on Zoom
Are you new to Headship or Senior Leadership? Or is this your first Leadership position in a Church School?
Enjoy some afternoon refreshments (delivered to your school) and meet with the DBE. This online event which will bring you up to date with the essential and distinctive elements of life in a Church of England school in Coventry Diocese. We will cover mission, vision and values, SIAMS, collective worship, requirements for RE and answer any of the questions you might have about preparing for success in your new role. Book here or please forward this booking link to senior leaders new in post or new to your school.
SIAMS Termly Update
11 October 2023 – 16.30-17.30 – online via Zoom; or book to receive the recording. Book a place here.
Led by Jen Jenkins, DBE RE and Spirituality Officer, these termly sessions are intended to support those schools who are due for inspection within the next two academic years. The session will guide delegates responsively depending on what schools need, and there will be an update on any local and national information on good practice.
Just a Reminder to the Last Few Schools…
Please do return your Diocesan Service Agreement Form as soon as possible. The subscription gives you access to all forthcoming CPD events, support and all previous resources on our website. If you need any further information or have any questions contact Alison Watson.
‘Growing Faith, Sustaining Hope’
The Church of England Education Office National Conference – 1 February 2024
The Church of England Education Office is inviting you to their 6th National Conference, which is taking place on Thursday 1 February 2024. This flagship event draws hundreds of leaders together across the country every year, for a range of inspirational keynote inputs, worship, younger voices, prayer, seminars, workshops and practical takeaway resources for your leadership journey. This year the event at being hosted at SAINT, Hackney (which is the church from which the first Church of England schools of the National Society were founded back in 1811) – the day runs from 10.00-15.30 and there will be four inspirational keynote speakers including the Most Revd Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury. They will all be speaking on the theme of ‘Growing Faith, Sustaining Hope’. To see more information and to book a place see the CEFEL website https://www.cefel.org.uk/NC24/
New Spiritual Development Resource
Jen Jenkins has produced a list of pupil behaviours regarding spirituality based on Andrew Rickett’s ‘paddling, snorkelling and diving’ metaphor for how pupils approach spiritual development. You can access the document here. The new SIAMS Framework assumes spiritual development is being considered routinely through curriculum (IQ2), collective worship (IQ3) and beyond. A whole-school approach to, and language for speaking about, spirituality is also assumed and a spirituality policy is recommended. Please also see the spirituality document we shared last academic year: ‘Spiritual Development: What is it and how do we do it in Church Schools?’ and our previous CPD on Spirituality and the SIAMS Short on Spiritual Pathways. These are available in the SIAMS Resources area of the DBE website using the password SIAMS.
Archbishop of Canterbury’s Address on Reconciliation and Launch of ‘Difference’
On Thursday 6 July 2023, Archbishop Justin delivered his annual keynote address on reconciliation. His speech focused on young people and equipping them as peacemakers and reconcilers. In the address, the Archbishop emphasized the importance of empowering young people to lead peace efforts – both for their flourishing as well as for the Church and the world as a whole – that is at the core of the Christian story and mission. One of the Church of England’s strategic priorities is to be younger and more diverse, doubling the number of children and young active disciples by 2030. Equipping young people to navigate a fractured and conflicted world is an essential part of this work. Reconciliation is one of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s three personal priorities for his ministry and he has set a vision for the church to be a reconciling presence in the midst of conflict. As part of this, Archbishop Justin Welby has brought together leading thinkers and peacemakers to create Difference. Difference is a free resource designed for churches which equips people with three formational habits to cross divides, navigate disagreement and pursue a just and flourishing world. Bespoke versions of Difference are being created for schools and church-based youth groups, due to be launched in early 2024. Click here to view a short (7 min) film with highlights from the event.
iSingPOP Classroom Worship for Autumn Term
You should have received details to access classroom worship for another term from iSingPOP. If you haven’t or need it again, do contact us and we’ll send it out to you.
Archbishops’ Young Leaders Award (AYLA)
Free Information Webinars this Month to Support Courageous Advocacy
Have you been involved in the programme years ago, or never taken part? These webinars are a great way to find out how the AYLA works. Just 40-45 mins, the sessions help you think about how you might develop courageous advocacy in your school and equip the next generation of young leaders. They will unpack how the Award helps learners grow and develop in key leadership skills and character virtues and the kinds of social and environmental action projects our schools get involved in within their communities. Register here for a place: www.abyyt.com/events
PopUK – Free Song Resources to Start the New Academic Year
The PopUK free song library includes themes of living in the wider world; relationships; health and well-being and Christmas. They have updated their website to make it easy to navigate, providing quick access to 6 libraries containing a total of over 100 songs, along with additional resources like backing tracks, lesson videos and music scores. You don’t need to be a music specialist to use the resources: the song videos are straightforward to use, loading instantly, with synchronised tracks and lyrics. Click on the link above to access.
Mental Health Awareness Calendar and Resources for Autumn Term
Mentally Healthy Schools have produced a calendar of curriculum themes and occasions linked to mental health for the 2023 autumn term, with activity ideas and free resources for each theme. The calendar covers awareness days and themes for this term, including:
- the return to school and transitions
- Black History Month
- World Mental Health Day
- International Stress Awareness Week
- Anti-Bullying Week
Click on the link above to access.