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School Leader Monthly Briefing

May 2021


Painting by Paul Gutsche 'Pentecost' 1912
Displayed in the Cathedral of St John the Baptist, Savannah, USA.

Alleluia, Christ is risen! Who would have thought a year ago that we would have been celebrating Easter again still under the shadow of Covid? 
With large parts of the world in lockdown, social distancing and mask wearing becoming a new way of life, staff in our hospitals running on empty, and much of the economic life of our country paused, Covid-19 has been humbling for the human race, we are not quite the masters of the universe that we thought we were. 

This means that it was a strange Easter, we couldn’t gather to embrace and celebrate as we would wish, we couldn’t belt out joyful Easter hymns. We seemed to be stuck somewhere between Holy Week full of pain and tragedy and the usual joy of Easter. The resurrection – some sort of resumption of a more normal life – is appearing on the horizon, it is promised but not yet fully realised. It is all the stranger because Spring, that physical resurrection of the natural world that normally resonates so strongly with Easter, is happening all around us, but for humanity, it is as if someone has pressed the pause button. We are in the ‘now but not yet’, we are still waiting but this is time we can use to contemplate and pray for the future. 

Being in the ‘now and not yet’ can be very much part of the Christian life. The resurrection is a life changing event for us individually and indeed for the whole world, but for it to be a reality in our lives, we need to respond to God, respond to the resurrection and be open to its possibilities in our lives. Those areas of hurt and shame, those intractable problems where our relationships seem stuck and God absent, the sense too that somehow our love for God has grown cold. Contrast the Book of Genesis when God comes walking in the garden in the evening to meet with Adam and Eve and discovers their disobedience, with Easter Day when Jesus is walking in the garden at dawn and meets Mary, it’s a new day, a fresh start, she and we are being offered a fresh start. The price of our sin and shame is paid, Mary stands for all of us that first Easter morning when she is offered the opportunity of a fresh start. 

Secondly when we read the resurrection stories, we realise the resurrected Jesus was the same but also different. There was continuity but also difference. Mary doesn’t recognise him until he calls her by name. Jesus manages to materialise inside a locked room and physically eat with the Disciples before disappearing - continuity but also difference. 

Humanity will be offered a fresh start after Covid-19, when the restrictions are lifted, we will have choices to make. Crises function like crucibles, they test, refine and purify and this crisis has brought out some of the best in us. The re-discovery that there is such a thing as society, that we belong together and need to look out for each other, the countless heart-warming stories of people’s love and care for their neighbour, these are things we can choose to cherish and keep. Then of course, we will want to get back to some sort of normality, some continuity with the past, socialising with friends and working with colleagues face to face rather than by Zoom - but we can also opt for difference. We can choose to keep the new and good habits and behaviours we have learned through this crisis. 

The same will of course apply in our Schools. There will be things we’ve learnt in our response to Covid, such as the scope for online learning and how some children have thrived in the virtual environment, which we will want to develop and keep but equally it will be a joy to resume some of the activities we’ve missed so much. 

Continuity and yet difference lie at the heart of the Easter mystery, let us pray that the gift of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost will give us the wisdom to discern what we wish to keep and what we wish to change in the post-COVID world.



In the Bible, God tells us that children are a blessing and a gift! Their spirits are filled with innocence, joy, and laughter. Jesus actually tells us to be like children and to come to Him full of faith and trust.
This month’s School Leader Monthly Newsletter has a focus on Faith and Politics which we hope you will find helpful. We hope this will support you as you open-up different opportunities for your children and young people to explore issues in today’s world. Let us continue to be inspired by our children and enable them to flourish and grow in a complex and challenging world. 
British Youth Council: The Role of the Members of Youth Parliament During their term of office, Members of Youth Parliament (MYPs) work with their MPs, decision-makers, councillors and local youth groups on the issues of greatest concern to their constituents.
Nationally, the views of young people are represented in the UK Youth Parliament manifesto, which contains statements on the issues Members of Youth Parliament think are most important. Members of Youth Parliament across the UK work to give young people a voice – listening to marginalised groups, organising events, making films, meeting MPs, lobbying for change, organising campaigns and appearing in the media, all to amplify the views of their peers.
The role of a Member of Youth Parliament is increasingly being recognised at a local and national level. Some local authorities have given their MYPs equal status to their MPs, and the UK Youth Parliament works hard to enable Members of Youth Parliament to meet regularly with Government Ministers, Members of the Opposition and civil servants.
The UK Youth Parliament also works to promote the role and influence of Members of Youth Parliament to service providers, e.g. the transport industry and health services. For further details please click here.
Young Christians in Politics aim to inspire and equip young Christians to engage in politics in the most fruitful and compelling way possible. The project is led by a group of young Christians from different political parties and church traditions – people who gain life by encouraging and inspiring others to flourish.
They provide training, events and a forum where they can share experiences, opportunities to get involved and prayer requests, as well as supporting each other in our political journeys. And over the past few years they have seen members volunteering, standing for election, engaging with the media, attending conferences, training and much more. 
Please click here for further information.
Youth Politics UK is an award winning, youth led organisation dedicated to engaging young people with the political process and providing them with a platform to express their views. Through debates, talks and workshops from experts across the country we hope to equip the youth with the skills needed to successfully implement social change. We offer free, valuable training in debating, public speaking, campaigning, economics, political journalism and policy-making.
For further information please click here.
The School Run.Com Politics is often considered to be ‘grown-ups’ business’ and not something that children need to be concerned about. But although a child may be years away from voting age, it’s never too soon to start cultivating their interest in how government and the law work.
We know that young people aged 18 to 24 who don’t vote say it’s because they weren’t taught about politics at school, and therefore don’t understand it, so it’s important that we begin to introduce children to politics at an early age. Teaching your child about politics isn’t just about making sure they vote once they’re able to. Politics governs everything we do in life, and is relevant even to young children. Even in the first year of primary school, children will learn about concepts like fairness, sharing and equality. For further information please click here.
Learn with the Lords online is a live Q&A session for your school. This session is suitable for school groups with over 10 students. This session is not suitable for Home Education groups.
By engaging directly with a member of the House of Lords, your students will develop an understanding of the role and function of the House of Lords within the UK Parliament. For further details please click here
The Church of England Youth Council seeks to actively represent, enrich, and engage young people (16-25s) in the Church of England and to encourage growth in faith and discipleship. Twice a year, CEYC representatives from across England meet for a day in April and a residential event in November. These youth-led occasions include:
  • Worship, Bible focus and prayer
  • Discussion and debate
  • Opportunities to learn more about the Church of England
  • Experience of the different traditions and views within the Church of England 
  • A lot of laughter and friendship.
Three members are elected by their peers to represent CEYC on General Synod.
To find out more please click here.
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New Spring Church When’s the last time you learned something from a child? Children and Young People have a unique perspective to offer, but not many people listen. Usually, the adults have something to teach the children (and we do!). But we can learn something from them, too. Jesus wants us to have a child-like faith, but not a childish faith.  Here are three things children can teach us about growing in our relationships with Jesus. 
15 Tips for Instilling Leadership Skills in Children Many leaders also serve as parents, happily balancing a daily workload with ball games and family dinners. Along the way, most of these leader-parents also realize the influence they have over young minds. Today’s children are tomorrow’s leaders, especially if those children have parents who are leaders. While leadership skills can come naturally, children learn lessons along the way that significantly impacts them later in life. The right words at the right time can make all the difference. Here are 15 great tips to help you instill the right skills in the future leaders in your life.
10 Ways Parents Can Teach Their Children To Be Leaders All parents want their children to be successful. Parents naturally want their children to be viewed as courageous leaders, willing to take on any challenge. However, instilling leadership traits in children takes a lot of practice and patience.
We could probably debate all day on what it means for young people to reach their maximum potential, but there are a few things psychologists agree can set a child apart. Read the full article here.
Politics for Beginners answers the questions that people are afraid to ask, offering a no-nonsense guide to what politics is all about. Topics covered include political systems, elections, voting and government and issues including feminism, human rights, freedom of speech and fake news, all explained with clear text and bright, infographics style illustrations.
Available at Amazon here

The Accidental Prime Minister When Joe tells a local news reporter exactly what he would do if he were leader of the country, the video goes viral and Joe's speech becomes famous all over the world! Before long, people are calling for the current leader to resign and give someone else a go . . . and that's how an ordinary boy like Joe ended up with the most extraordinary job. Now the fun can really start . . .
Hats for cats!   Pet pigs for all! Banana shaped buses! Swimming pools on trains! A hilarious story of one boy's meteoric rise to power!

Available at Amazon here.

Teenpreneur is a manual and a guide for every young person that wants to start their own business, create some wealth and make a difference in the world. "As a teenager I had natural entrepreneurial and leadership skills but I found it difficult to focus at school. There were no resources available to teach me how to channel my natural skills and talents positively. So, I went off track. This new book Teenpreneur will help book smart and street smart you people to start their businesses right now. A must read for any young person or young adult, anywhere in the world."  The book provides practical, inspiring information for young adults to be able to get started and succeed in business.
Available at Amazon here.
If you have any School News, do send it in to Emma Waters at Read about what other schools have been up to here.
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Thy Kingdom Come is a global prayer movement that invites Christians around the world to pray for more people to come to know Jesus. It runs between Ascension and Pentecost, and this year will take place from 13th – 23rd May. New resources for schools and churches have been created to help include children and young people. Eg the Cheeky Pandas – an 11-part fun-filled and Bible based video series, with songs, animated stories, prayer and interviews with special guests. – overview here and resource page here. For older students see new Youth Reflections here which are daily reflection videos recorded by special contributors including GuvnaB, Jamie Jones Buchanan and Pippa Baker and will be accompanied by helpful step by step discussion plan for use with groups.  Downloads include a digital Family Prayer Map here and Steven Cottrell, Archbishop of York’s Prayer Journal here. Watch the launch here.
South West Awake  Saturday 19th June 10.30am. Create a ring of prayer on the South West Coast Path. Read more about it here.
Rocks Tells Stories - Patti Rokus uses rocks and pebbles to tell the resurrection story of Jesus Christ. See the story of Easter in short video, through the use of storytelling, Bible quotes and animated stones. See webpage here.

Lost Sheep Online Story books - Several stories relating to Easter that can be read together can be found on the Lost Sheep Website. Their blurb: If you like Black Beauty you will love Dave the Donkey - Jerusalem. A lone rider approaches. The cheering crowd swarm to greet him. The King has come, mounted upon his mighty steed Dave the Donkey! Join Dave, his Grandpa and Jesus in this epic Easter tale of power, courage, death and resurrection.

The Time to Wonder YouTube Channel  With six reflective story telling videos Time2Wonder is a way of telling stories. Devised originally as a multifaith tool for the RE classroom, the method promotes contemplation, reflection and stillness and takes much inspiration from Godly Play and Deep Talk (Both are acknowledged and recommended methods of storytelling). The YouTube videos are silent. The scripts are in the book which is £13.99 and can be bought on Amazon or by emailing Katherine Taylor, the author at In the run up to Easter, Wells Cathedral presented 'Wondering about Holy Week' told by Katherine Taylor (suitable for 4-9yr olds). Save the link for next year or Watch it here.

Picture News are offering all Salisbury Diocese Schools a free Picture News poster tube free of charge! They are also offering a free 4-week pilot. Each Friday morning, your school will receive a full Picture News pack which includes their poster with a big question, full pack of teaching resources and a short pre-recorded virtual assembly to watch with children.
If you’d like to be added to the list to receive the resources, add your details here.
To receive your hard-copy poster pack containing an A2 glossy poster and pack of teaching resources, email with your name, school address with ‘Salisbury Diocese Pack’ as the subject title.
Devon Faith and Belief Forum – Peace Prayer Book 2020 This interfaith prayer booklet was originally written in 2016 as part of Interfaith Week. In 2016, it represented a milestone in the way people of different faiths and beliefs can come together as fellow citizens of Planet Earth. The prayer book was re-edited last year in response to Covid and contains prayers of peace from a number of religious and non-religious worldviews.
Pentecost Our recent PSA collective worship training included useful resources and ideas for Pentecost, summer term planning, Creationtide and outdoor prayer spaces. Check out the website for the CofE’s Faith At Home Pentecost resources. Imaginor has a free download resource ‘Journey into Pentecost’. See here for a 2.5min video about the Holy Spirit from REQuest- Christian Beliefs and here for some Learn, Teach, Lead RE Planning for Y4 based on Understanding Christianity Text, Impact, Connection.
Our RE-Juvenating and RE-Freshing RE Conference was a great success with 100 attendees enjoying inspiring talks from Lat Blaylock and a choice of workshops inspiring RE teaching and leadership from EYFS to KS5. Typical feedback was “It ran incredibly smoothly, a very well organised event!” and “In these times it was fab, thank you!” Don’t miss next year’s date – put 31st March 2022 into your diary now! (It is free with your PSA subscription)
Padlets for RE - BCP SACRE ‘Padlet’ - Cheryl Smith, HLP and SACRE member in Bournemouth Christchurch and Poole has created a Padlet for RE. Whilst it has been set up specifically for the BCP SACRE area, it has a lot of useful information on it and can be accessed from this link.
Cumbria SACRE have pulled together a Padlet filled with a rich collection of virtual tours of religious and spiritual sites to help RE teachers and students discover more about faith. The places include those in Cumbria as well as examples further afield. There are also ideas for helping pupils search for and explore other sites too. Click here.
BBC One’s BEING …. Sikh, Hindu, Christian, Muslim, Jewish series can be watched again/in school with students as all programmes have been saved to YouTube. Information about Ramadan – The Islamic Holy Month of Ramadan began on Monday 12th April and will end on Tuesday 11th May with the celebratory days of Eid al-Fitr. See newCBBC video material here.
Real People, Real Faith is a series of interviews filmed in locations across Berkshire, featuring local faith communities answering questions about their faith. Two questions, specific to each key stage were asked across the range of venues and in most venues, several people answered each question. This allows pupils and teachers to explore some of the diversity both between and within faith communities. The same six communities were interviewed at each key stage (KS1, KS2 & KS3). On the NATRE Website here. Each film has a page of notes outlining the key questions and concepts, with a brief summary of the answers and some suggested follow-on activities.
Two more resources have been accredited to the Understanding Christianity project: Tales from the Miracle Book‘ a collection of fun and engaging short films, designed for the teaching of RE in Primary Schools’ and a unit of work form the Wintershall Education called ‘Why Christians communicate the gospel through the arts’ This is described as an ‘RE Enquiry Unit that offers an exciting exploration of the long-standing and dynamic Christian tradition of communicating the Gospel using dramatic arts’.  Click to find out more.
Culham St Gabriel RE News: The Research for RE website has been incorporated into RE:ONLINE - The research projects are now easily available to explore here. April’s research of the month sees Emeritus Professor Trevor Cooling talk about his research on what the shift to worldviews means for teachers. Follow the link to find out more, including the option to watch a 7-minute clip explaining his research.
Voices from Religions and Worldviews – collated conversations can be found here.  
Over A Cup of CoffeeShort Blogs on a number of topics – such as ‘How I…. enable SEND pupils to understand Creation’ and ‘How I…. am writing a rigorous primary curriculum’.  
‘In Conversation With’ Culham St Gabriel Wednesday 12th May 7-8pm- Visual communication in a digital age. Why innovation matters for today’s teachers of religion and worldviews. Features a conversation with Emily Downe and Jason Ramasami on how animation and illustration can be used as powerful tools for classroom learning. They will share examples of their work and some of the principles around engaging today’s pupils with complex ideas, particularly in religion and worldviews using visual narrative forms. The event will include a showcase of a new animation about the concept of worldview.
Wednesday 26th May 6.30-7.30pm- In Conversation with Alexandra Brown
Theme: Writing towards an anti-racist RE curriculum. More details and how to book can be found here. And previous ‘In Conversation’ interviews are still available to watch here.
Mirror Me Write Showcases books that tell stories representing a diverse range of children, young people and adults. Ayesha Ansari-Choudhury is the founder of Mirror Me Write, a Manchester start-up indie bookseller which promites, inclusive, own voice books and authors.  See this webpage for lists of books for different key stages or follow them on Instagram. Books 2 All - See this blog for more inclusive
Make the Most of Time – RE in English  A Teacher resource from Katy Staples, RE Adviser to Wiltshire SACRE. It includes practical guidance to make links between the English curriculum and Religious Education learning. Click here on Right Choice (no need to log in). 
NATRE Spirited Arts competition runs until 31st July 2021 To enable teachers to incorporate the art competition into their RE lessons, many schools have an ‘Spirited Arts’ unit of work, or a special learning RE/arts week. Some schools host their own Spirited Arts competition and send in their 10 winning entries (chosen by children). Partnering with the Jo Cox Foundation a new theme called “We have far more in common with each other than that which divides us.” How might your pupils answer the question - Are we one human race, despite our differences and divisions? Click to download all the themes and details and/or watch Lat Blaylock’s 45 minute YouTube Briefing.
Do let the DBE know if you are running something like this and send us some of your photos to showcase on our website in School News. Please email
Primary RE 1,000 is a grant-funded project to support schools in developing their RE teaching. Especially useful if you have not accessed NATRE resources before, or you have new subject leadership. Email to see if your school is eligible. (For just £55 a school can get two years of a Bronze NATRE membership saving £95 and giving benefits value of over £600. ) For the latest news and CPD opportunities from RE Today View the online version and read the NATRE Local Groups April Newsletter here.
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SIAMS Nuts and Bolts for school leaders - 18.05.2021 1pm – 3pm
This 2 hr session is for school leaders who are new to the SIAMS Evaluation Schedule or for those school or SIAMS leaders in schools who would appreciate a refresher. We will look at how the SIAMS Schedule fits in with the Church of England Vision for Education and think about how the Christian vision, values and theological underpinning of the school are essential elements across the whole inspection framework. We will look at each strand in turn and unpick some of the main elements – highlighting opportunities to deepen Christian distinctiveness along the way. Book here.
Introduction to using the Understanding Christianity resource for all Primary schools – 20.05.2021 9am – 4pm
The course will be virtual and delivered in a series of sessions with breaks in between. The session is the first day of a 1.5 day course which will be completed on 29th September. You need to be able to attend both sessions. This course is aimed at RE leads new to post, or colleagues who have not had training on the use of the Understanding Christianity resource which can be used for teaching Christianity in EYFS, KS1, 2 and 3. The day will explore some of the key concepts of Christianity and will include strategies and resources which can be adapted for use in other areas of the RE Curriculum. Open to Community Schools as well as Church Schools. Book here.
Developing Spirituality across the curriculum – 26/05/2021  9am – 4pm
The course will be virtual with several workshop-style sessions and breaks in between. It will give a brief overview of the requirements of Ofsted as well as SIAMS in the development of spirituality across the Curriculum. Nationally recognised models supporting spiritual development and spiritual encounter in schools will be shared, and together we will review and update a suite of existing resources for attendees to take away. Time will be given to experience moments of reflection and to carry out curriculum planning. Please bring details of resources you have found useful for the teaching of Spirituality to this useful hands-on day. Book here.
How Deeply Christian is your School?  23.06.2021  9am – 4pm  
A Day Exploring What Leading a Deeply Christian Church School means for Headteachers and a Governor from each School.  A member of the church community is also welcome to attend. What is it that distinguishes your school as a church school? What does it mean to be a spiritual leader in this context? What impact does your own spiritual leadership have in your context?
This day conference will enable delegates to reach a better understanding of what makes a church school deeply Christian and the role played by spiritual leadership in enabling this.
Book here.

Becoming a church school leader  - getting ready!  29.06.2021  4 – 6pm

Are you getting ready for headship, or do you know someone thinking about it? Come along to this virtual twilight to find out what’s next! This is an opportunity to develop knowledge and understanding of some core aspects of school leadership, including those particularly relevant to Church schools. The twilight will include information on what you might do to build up your experience before applying; how to tailor your application to the person specification and how to prepare for interview.  Book here.

Creating your SIAMS SEF – 06.07.2021  9:30am – 11:30am  
This course will support you in writing your SIAMS Self Evaluation Form. The SIAMS SEF is an essential tool to support the understanding of progress as well as areas to develop linked to the school’s Christian distinctiveness. This course will give you some example structures in which you can record the impact of your church school work. There will be time to reflect on key aspects of the SIAMS Schedule and how these should be underpinned by the Christian Vision, values and theological underpinning. Book here.
National Professional Qualifications (NPQ) reforms 

From September 2021, a reformed suite of NPQs will be available for teachers and leaders looking to develop their knowledge and skills in school leadership. The Church of England (in partnership with the Catholic Education Service) has been chosen as a national provider by the DfE to offer the full suite of NPQs to teachers and school leaders.

  • NPQEL - Executive Leadership & NPQHHeadship programmes
  • NPQLTD - Leading Teacher Development; NPQLT - Leading Teaching; NPQLBC - Leading Behaviour and Culture and NPQSL - Senior Leadership
All programmes will be led by ‘delivery partners’ including local system leaders, MATs, Teaching Schools and Teaching School Hubs in the South West. 
Keep informed by following on Twitter @CofE_EduLead and @CofE_Education And go to the CEFEL NPQ web page for more information on being a delivery partner or to find out about taking part on a course next year.
For government information on the content of the PQ programmes please visit this link
Developing children's spoken language through stories.  Guest speaker: Charlotte Raby. 
This workshop will focus on the development of pupils’ listening, comprehension and language skills by reading aloud and talking about stories, poems and non-fiction books. There are two dates:
  • Nursery, Reception and Year 1 focus: Tuesday 22nd June 1.30pm—3pm.
  • Year 2 and beyond: Wednesday 23rd June 1.30pm—3pm.
These workshops are fully funded by the DfE through Ramsbury English Hub. To book, click here.
Ofsted Blog 
Read the blog that outlines what schools can expect in a summer term inspection. Schools can see how inspectors will aim to recognise the Covid-19 context – including how they will inspect the curriculum, Attendance and RSHE. For RSHE, inspectors will check:
  • That schools have taught some of the new curriculum during the academic year 2020/21.
  • That schools have published a policy and consulted parents on it.
  • Where schools have not been able to fully implement the new RSHE curriculum because of the pandemic, they will have had regard to the statutory guidance and can provide a good rationale for what they have put in place and have clear and effective plans to address any gaps before the end of the 2021/22 academic year.
If you haven’t finalised your school’s documentation and curriculum yet – see the DBE RSHE page to help you form your policy and follow the link to curriculum resources for CofE Schools at ‘Goodness and Mercy’.
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Oh Lord,

I ask You to captivate my children’s hearts.

I long for them to love what You love.

Give them a love for mercy and justice, for truth and grace.

Tutor me in how to show my children what it looks like to be

A lover of You and to develop a heart like Yours.


Thank you for being amazing leaders in our church schools. 

With our Very Best Wishes
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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