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School Leader Monthly Briefing

January 2021


God’s Test 

I work in a non-profit language development organisation with a culture where the pass-mark for any target is 100%. In traditional “traffic light” performance charts (Green = Good, Amber = Incomplete, Red = Failing), a Red rating is unthinkable. Having spent most of my career in commerce, it is proving harder than I ever imagined to explain to my colleagues that the “ultimate sin” is not to miss a target, but to not explain a variance and our learning from it. As I’ve considered this topic, I’ve been blessed with inspiration from Abraham.

Abraham occupies 12 chapters of the Old Testament (Genesis 12-23) but is referenced in the New Testament more than any other Old Testament character. He is also considered the father of faith for around half the people on our planet today, a fact which makes Abraham a good point of reference in some multicultural settings. Abraham’s story is a call to leadership that God explains & expands over time, and a series of tests Abraham faces to fulfil that call – most famously being asked to sacrifice his own son on the mountain that 2 millennia later would be the place Jesus was crucified. Here’s how it helped me.

God’s call was and is for us to live courageous, creative lives, wholly committed to the purpose for which we are called, persevering despite persistent challenges (tests) and sometimes long periods of time to see objectives met – having to accept that some of what we work for will be fulfilled by those who follow us. It is for this reason Abraham is commended for his faith. Abraham failed some tests, but that was a necessary part of him being refined and growing in his call. With the benefit of 4,000 years of hindsight we can see that everything Abraham worked for has been fulfilled, most of all in Jesus, but at the end of his life there was more Red & Amber on the scorecard of God’s promises than Green,


Practically, how I can use this with my colleagues is to encourage them that:

  • We should set our longer-term objectives as leaders courageously and creatively to see thriving communities and improved lives
  • We should have shorter-term goals by which we can hold ourselves accountable to do what we have said and honestly explain what is working, and what is not
  • We should expect that we will fall short in some things so that we can learn and grow

Ultimately, Passing The Test of faith isn’t about keeping a set of rules, but about a relationship with Jesus that grows over time as we follow his call. God is courageous, creative and persevering, we are his children, and he wants us to follow in his footsteps.

May that relationship be our inspiration as we consider our resolutions and objectives for 2021 for our schools, and for ourselves.

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As we start a new year there seems no better time to focus on some inspirational children that have overcome personal, social and cultural barriers to make a difference to their local community and in some cases, the wider world.
Take a few moments to reflect on the difference the following young people have made.  You will be moved…
Consider how you can further give your own children opportunities and the self-belief to know how they can, and do, make a difference to us all.  We are all special and precious in the eyes of God. And, we can all make a positive difference to our world.
Iqbal Masih was a Pakistani boy who fought against child labour until his death at the tender age of 12. When he was 4, he was sold by his parents to a carpet weaving company to work as a carpet weaver. In order to make sure he would not escape; he and other children were kept tied to chains. When Iqbal was 10, the supreme court of Pakistan declared child labour illegal and that gave Iqbal an opportunity to escape. His freedom didn’t last long though and he was caught by the police and handed back over to his employer. His second attempt was a successful one and Iqbal started studying while expressing a desire to become a lawyer to fight the evil of child labour. While returning from the USA from one of his campaigns, Iqbal was shot dead by a heroin addict who belonged to the Pakistani carpet mafia. He remains an icon for Pakistani children who are still unable to free themselves from the evil of child labour.
Tobias Weller has been awarded the inaugural Captain Tom Young Unsung Hero prize at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year show.  Nine-year-old Tobias has cerebral palsy and autism and uses a walking frame.  During the first UK lockdown earlier this year, he decided to walk 50 metres every day on his street in Sheffield.  Tobias managed to walk for 70 consecutive days and, by increasing his distance each day, completed a full 26.2 mile marathon.  But he was not finished there. In the summer, he set out on a second marathon, this time using a race runner that allowed him to run for the first time in his life.  He completed his second challenge on 1 August, having started on 14 June, and was joined by Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill for the final kilometre. 
Across his two marathons, Tobias raised more than £150,000 for his two favourite charities, Sheffield Children's Hospital and Paces School.
Nkosi Johnson was only 12 years old when he died after having Aids. He was born with HIV in Johannesburg, South Africa.
At the time he died in 2001 Nkosi was the longest-surviving child born with HIV. Nkosi's mum was also HIV positive and became too ill to look after him, so he was adopted by a public relations officer from an Aids care centre.
In 1997, when Nkosi was just eight years old, his name became known when a local primary school near where he lived refused to take him as a pupil. It was because of his infection.
It caused huge political issues for South Africa, which forced changes to the law there. New anti-discrimination policies were put in place and that stopped children being banned from schools based on their health.
After the law changed the school allowed Nkosi in and he started to campaign for other children with Aids.
His stepmother also helped him set up Nkosi's Haven. It's a non-government organisation helping to support mothers and children whose lives have been impacted by HIV and Aids.
As a result of his campaigning Nkosi became a key-note speaker at the International Aids conference in 2000 when he was just 11.
At the opening event he said: "Care for us and accept us, we are all human beings. We are normal. We have hands. We have feet. We can walk, we can talk, we have needs just like everyone else. Don't be afraid of us - we are all the same."
Nkosi died one-year later. Four years after that, to honour his efforts to raise awareness of the disease, the International Children's Peace Prize was created.
Since Nkosi's death there have been positive changes in trying to create a more accepting South Afr
World of Children Youth Award - Nicholas Lowinger remembers a teenage boy and girl who had to share a pair of shoes so they could take turns going to school every other day. The shared pair was a sparkly, pink pair of girl’s shoes that caused unending embarrassment for the boy. But thanks to Nicholas, a pair of new basketball shoes changed everything — the boy regained his self-esteem, got caught up in school and now hopes to go to college.
In homeless shelters throughout the United States, scenarios like this play out every day. Nicholas feels that homeless children shouldn’t have to worry about fitting in; they shouldn’t have fewer opportunities, like not being able to play sports or go to school because they don’t have a pair of shoes.
That’s why Nicholas started the Gotta Have Sole Foundation, initially as a community service project, to provide new footwear to children in homeless shelters in the U.S. However, he didn’t want it to stop there; he wanted it to grow and be something that would continue to provide shoes to homeless children. Today, Gotta Have Sole has donated new footwear to over 42,000 children in homeless shelters in 36 states throughout the United States. Nicholas’ goal is to reach as many children living in homeless shelters in the U.S. as he can.
The 17-year-old runs his foundation out of his family’s garage. It is full of new shoes donated from shoe companies and shoe stores. Nicholas takes orders for shoes from all over the country. If he doesn’t have the right shoe and/or size, he uses the donations his organisation receives to buy them. The shoes are then shipped out to whoever needs them and whenever he can, Nicholas delivers them in person.
Alex Scott was diagnosed with neuroblastoma when she was just a few months old. She would undergo various cancer treatments her whole life. 
When she was four years old, she thought it was time for her to give back. She decided to raise money to fund cancer treatments for other children, and she wanted to do so by holding a lemonade stand. This idea started a national movement that would thrust her into national fame, including appearances on The Oprah Winfrey Show and The Today Show.
Today, Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation has raised over $150 million since Alex’s first stand. 
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Starting term amid COVID-19 uncertainty: schools need collaboration, wisdom and hope
Please click here to read Rev. Canon Nigel Genders – Chief Education Officer for the Church of England’s thoughts.
The Children’s Society has a new TV campaign - Fighting for Hope.   The campaign announces The Children’s Society’s ‘fighting for hope’ in vulnerable young people and dramatises the work we do to keep hope alive when it is at greatest risk. ‘A thing called hope’ tells the story of hope in crisis as we follow Reece, a loving brother and son who is recruited unwillingly into ‘county lines’ drug trafficking. Reece’s hope is represented as a ‘hope meter’, fluctuating with the challenges of his young life and restored by a caseworker from The Children’s Society. The Children's Society Film Advert By BMB: Fighting for Hope | Ads of the World™   Please click here for the link.
Holocaust Memorial Day Trust This year’s theme is ‘Be the light in the darkness’ and the Holocaust Memorial Day is 27th January 2021. 
Our free to download HMD Together resources created for HMD 2021 are designed to be held in person, virtually, or blended activities to give schools maximum flexibility. HMDT also continues to provide our usual range of free to download resources on our website, such as our HMD prayerassembly script and presentationlesson plans and activities for different subject areas, tutor time activities and life stories of people who experienced the Holocaust or genocide. All our resources are designed to be accessible for all ability groups, and we have SEN specific resources too.  
If you would like more details, please click here or contact Genevieve Carnell at:
UNESCO International Day of Education January 24th 2021 - The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 24 January as International Day of Education, in celebration of the role of education for peace and development. Without inclusive and equitable quality education and lifelong opportunities for all, countries will not succeed in achieving gender equality and breaking the cycle of poverty that is leaving millions of children, youth and adults behind.
Today, 262 million children and youth still do not attend school; 617 million children and adolescents cannot read and do basic maths; less than 40% of girls in sub-Saharan Africa complete lower secondary school and some four million children and youth refugees are out of school. Their right to education is being violated and it is unacceptable. As the world marks the very first International Education Day, UNESCO calls on governments and all partners to make universal quality education a leading priority.
International days are celebrations and calls to action. They are for everyone to participate in. Please click here for further information.  
A Christian BookshopAslan Christian Books is a family-owned company with over 30 years in the book trade. We pride ourselves on offering a fantastic range of Christian titles across denominations and interests - all at the best prices around! We have our bi-monthly FREE magazine presenting titles hand-picked by our team to bring you the latest releases, best offers, and trending titles direct to your door. We also have a website where you find our full range. Whether you're buying for yourself, your church or your group, you'll find everything you need online at
Choice & ConvenienceAslan Christian Books puts thousands of recently published and soon to be published books at your fingertips. We feature the latest and best titles from the UK & around the world, and deliver them promptly, free of charge, direct to your door. Whether it's the latest Christian bestseller or that little-known title, which is meaningful to you, we want to make sure we offer the books you want.
Customer services are available Monday - Friday 8.30am-5.00pm (excluding Bank Holidays).
You can contact us:
By telephone - 01373 823451
By post: - Aslan Christian Books, 3 Woodland Industrial Estate, Eden Vale Road, Westbury, Wiltshire BA13 3QS
By email -
SDBE Social Media campaign for Trusts and SchoolsAs part of the SDBE Communication strategy, from January, we are going to be running a campaign on social media (Twitter and Instagram). The intention of this campaign is to spotlight each MAT/Trust in the Diocese of Salisbury, to highlight our schools to all our stakeholders who follow the DBE on Twitter and Instagram. We are looking to feature a Trust a month and by doing so, we wish to increase the profile of the Trusts that our church schools are part of.  Emma will be contacting all Trusts to give you dates when we would like to feature you. 
Additionally, we would still absolutely love to hear from all schools as you outlive your Christian vision in many ways.  Your work deserves to be celebrated and known by all so please do contact us if you would like your school to feature. 
Please contact:  
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RE-Juvinating and RE-inspiring RE Conference – The RE-Juvinating and RE-freshing RE Conference has gone virtual! – Click to Book your place for 31st March event (free for PSA schools and only £50 for others for a great day’s CPD). The event will be delivered through a series of Zoom workshops and you will be able to select your sessions once your place is confirmed. 

Lat Blaylock is our KeyNote Speaker and he will deliver his ‘Creative, Inspiring and Spiritual RE’ course as well as a session on Text cetnred teaching. We are thrilled to also have the following workshop leaders: Discovery RE’s Alison Harris, Wiltshire SACRE RE Adviser, Katy Staples, Dorset SACRE RE Adviser Dave Rees and our own Hub Lead Practitioners and Sarah Sprague. They will be delivering workshops including ‘How To – deliver RE digitally’; ‘Wriggly RE in KS1 and EYFS’; and practical, inspiring workshops on using texts in Judaism Sikhism and Christianity. Come along – as we promise you will be RE-inspired! 
The Wiltshire Standing Advisory Council to Religious Education (SACRE) is undertaking an RE Agreed Syllabus review. RE is the one subject on the curriculum which is locally determined, and it is reviewed every five years. The Wiltshire current agreed syllabus can be found here 
Wiltshire SACRE are canvassing your opinions about the current provision and ask that at least one person from your school completes this google survey, which should take less than five minutes. The deadline for this is 15 January 2021.

Your views and responses will support the working party in making decisions about future guidance and support for RE.

This review process is being facilitated by the new Adviser to Wiltshire SACRE: Katy Staples. Katy was a Secondary RE teacher for 23 years in London and in North Somerset and has served as an Adviser to the Diocese of Bristol since 2009. She has been adviser to Bristol and Swindon SACREs since 2011 and is Chair of the South West Association of RE Advisers.  

Should you have any queries regarding the survey or if you would prefer to send your comments directly to the SACRE, please email

Guidance for RE and Collective Worship created by advisers and Hub Lead Practitioners in April may be useful to review as you support home learning. Have a look on this page and also here.
RE Today and NATRE – have collated free resources useful for online learning – check here as they upload new materials on a regular basis. RE Today has also uploaded the last 6 years of magazine resources. Find them on line here with a reduced subscription for NATRE members. Look here for a sample REToday magazine.
Looking for new images to update your online learning materials? Try this Pinterest page which includes some Ethiopian Christianity ones.
The Oak National Academy has developed its online resources for teaching Religious Education in each of the key stages. You can search by the subject, or search by key stage.
No Single Story – is the theme of Bristol, Swindon and South Gloucester SACRE’s RE Conference which will be online on Thursday and Friday 28th and 29th January. Focused on supporting the teaching of worldviews and diversity in RE there are keynote speakers and primary and secondary seminars. Seminars cost £20 each or £50 for the whole conference. To read more see their Eventbrite page or contact
Mission, Aviation, FellowshipResources for key themes in Christianity such as forgiveness, Kingdom of God, suffering and Christian service and values.  They are written by Lat Blaylock and are fully resourced for primary and secondary teaching with PPTs, worksheets. Let us know how you use them!
‘Jack in the Box – Big Bible Storyis a new Imaginor resource for EYFS collective worship where children travel through the Bible to meet Big Bible heroes and learn about the life of Jesus and his followers. On the home page you can also explore their free downloads.

Caring for the Environment/Stewardship - If your school and parish are working to explore Ecology and how we might care for God’s creation, there are some useful resources here on The Diocese of Bath and Wells Ministry for Mission Web Page. Their environment team have produced the first of a monthly resource for church groups and households. Their information sheet challenges us to think about what we eat and where it comes from.

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SDBE - New Church School Leader
25th January 2021 9:30 -11am
I’m in a new post as the leader of a Church school – how can I make the most of the partnership with the Salisbury Diocesan Board of Education?
In your first few months of headship, getting to know your school as a church school is an important part of your work. Knowing how to get the most out of the partnership with the SDBE will help you as you lead forward your vision for the children and young people and the families in your school.
For more information and to book please click here.
SDBE - How Deeply Christian is your school?  
27th January 2021 9am - 3pm
The course will be inspired by a reflection on the Church of England Vision for Education and the articulation within of what a deeply Christian school is. We will cover this in 5 discrete sections.
“Parents who send their child to a school formed around this vision will not be disappointed as they discover an education that embraces excellence and academic rigour within the wider framework of spiritual, physical, intellectual, emotional, moral and social development and enables their children to flourish. We want pupils to leave school with a rich experience and understanding of Christianity, and we are committed to offering them an encounter with Jesus Christ and with Christian faith and practice that enhances their lives.”
For more information and to book please click here.
The Power of Faith in a Conflicted WorldIn a divided and fractured world, it can be hard to know where to begin with the issues that surround us.  Difference is a 5 session course that explores what it means to follow Jesus in the face of conflict.
Archbishop Justin Welby has brought together leading thinkers and peacemakers to create a course to help us join in with God’s work of restoring brokenness and transforming relationships.
The course is running online from 2nd February and focuses on the following:
  • God’s call
  • Crossing Divides
  • Disagreeing Well
  • Practising Forgiveness
  • Courage as Community
Please click here for further details

NCETM and Maths Hubs online resources available January 2021Materials to support teachers and schools planning and delivering maths teaching in school and remotely at both primary and secondary level are available from the NCETM. All are accessible from the dedicated Covid support page on the NCETM website.

For primary schools and teachers, the 180 primary video lessons produced during the first lockdown are still available. Each lesson has an accompanying teacher guide, and PowerPoint slides of the lesson for teachers to adapt themselves.

There are also resources linked to the DfE guidance published in July 2020. These include ready-to-use training materials, a short introductory video, and a suite of 79 PowerPoints focusing on the ready-to-progress criteria found in the DfE guidance. Additional training materials addressing the transition between Year 6 and Year 7 are also particularly relevant when pupils in Year 6 have had their maths learning disrupted.

For secondary schools, an evidence-based guidance document to support discussions about recovery curriculum content and pedagogy is available, along with a series of ‘Planning to teach…’ videos and PowerPoint slides offering advice on teaching crucial KS3 topics. CPD materials include a one-hour training session to help understand the implications for Year 7 of the DfE primary guidance, and six Departmental Workshops for any teachers able to engage in collaborative professional development.

The 40 Maths Hubs which support all state-funded primary and secondary schools across England are continuing to offer some opportunities for support and online professional development. Get in touch with your local hub to find out more.
Develop your own staff as teachers with Teach First’s TA Fast TrackYour best classroom support staff can fast-track onto Teach First’s Training Programme. They will get expert support to become qualified teachers, while still working in your school. You just need to nominate your staff and the Teach First team will do the rest. It is open to Teaching Assistants, Higher Level Teaching Assistants, Cover Supervisors and Unqualified Teachers in England who meet the eligibility criteria. For full details on the qualifications required and to nominate your staff member please visit the website.
If your school has a NOR of under 300 and serves and is eligible for the Rural Teaching Partnership Pilot, the trainee programme will be enriched with specific input relating to teaching in smaller, more rural schools. Read more here or contact for more details.
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Consult not your fears,
but your hopes and your dreams.
Think not about your frustrations,
but about your unfulfilled potential.
Concern not yourself with what you tried and failed in,
but what it is still possible to do.
Now is the time to put aside past and present setbacks and failures
and look with confidence to the new day called tomorrow.

Pope John XXIII


Alone with none but thee, my God,
I journey on my way.
What need I fear when thou art near
O king of night and day?
More safe am I within thy hand
Than if a host did round me stand.

St Columba (AD 522 – 97)


We hope you enjoy looking through the School Leader Monthly Newsletter and find the content helpful to you.  If you have any comments to make regarding the content or ideas for future editions, please do send an email to Debbie.  We value your thoughts and would be pleased to hear from you.  
Wishing you, your children and school community a very Happy and healthy 2021.

With very Best Wishes from all of us at the SDBE
Debbie, Emma and Nicola
Debbie Heritage
School Improvement Advisor & Strategic Lead for SIAMS
Tel Direct Mobile: 07469 859994
Emma Waters
Education Services Assistant
Nicola Coupe
School Improvement Adviser
Tel Direct Mobile: 07469 857 670
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Salisbury Diocesan Board of Education (SDBE) · SDBE · The Avenue, Wilton · Salisbury, Wiltshire SP2 0FG · United Kingdom

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