Welcome back to the Autumn Term, and hope you have had a wonderful summer holiday – we’re delighted to share our next issue of ‘Called, Connected, Committed’, this time focusing on Removing Disadvantage.  All of the past issues of ‘CCC’ are available to download at:

Do share and forward to colleagues, and hope that you enjoy this issue!

Andy Wolfe
Deputy Chief Education Officer (Leadership Development)

Removing Disadvantage
The Christian message is centred on generosity, love and practical action for the poor, the marginalised, the oppressed and the lonely. In announcing his own ministry, Jesus quotes the ‘sleeves-rolled-up action-packed mission’ of Isaiah: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.” Luke 4.18), and our vision for education must show special concern for the disadvantagedIn planting the new church in Galatia, Paul was questioned by the other apostles as to his actions and motives. He writes, “All they asked was that we should continue to remember the poor, the very thing I had been eager to do all along.” (Galatians 2.10). Leaders understand that wisdom, knowledge and skills liberate children, giving freedom to create, grow, earn, flourish and relate. Their curricular decisions reflect this pursuit of emancipation and their doors are always open.
Removing disadvantage is invitational; it has implications for admissions policies and the extent they reflect the pursuit of social justice and equity. Jesus tells the story of an unlikely party: “But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame and the blind and you will be blessed.” (Luke 14.13). Social justice is proactive advocacy, seeking mercy, justice and compassion and having the courage to “speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights all who are poor.” (Proverbs 31.8). It is opening opportunity to learning experiences otherwise unlikely and redressing the impact of middle-class cultural subsidy, proactively advantaging those who are in most need. It is also financial – reflects the nature of God’s economy, in extravagant generosity (Matt 26.6-13 story of expensive perfume), in relationship between communities which need each other to flourish and survive (Corinth and Macedonia and the ‘grace of giving’ of 2 Corinthians 8 & 9), and simple meeting of need: “If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?” (1 John 3.17).
It is so central to the Christian message that it does not simply define the intended ethical behaviour patterns of believers, but the very nature of the worship that we are to bring to a God, who the Psalmist says “secures justice for the poor” (Psalm 140.12) and “deliver the needy…take pity on the weak…rescue them from oppression.” Isaiah is stern: “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free…to share your food with the hungry…to provide the poor with shelter..” (Isaiah 58.6-7), while Micah is concise: “And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6.8)
Leaders, who remove disadvantage, make tough decisions together about admissions, partnerships, relationships and curriculum. They take a road less travelled but do so with a deep sense of vocation, and thrive in networks who can support one another in this vibrant journey of love in action. There may be no more tangible way of extending God’s kingdom in a community than the removal of disadvantage through the transformative beacon of a school minded to choose this path.
Removing Disadvantage - how to make the change you know needs to happen?

One of the things we, as educators, are good at is finding solutions - either innovating our own or, more commonly, 'magpie-ing' those approaches others have tried and adjusting them to our own situations. There are times, though, when we need some thought starters - we know there is a challenge but we can't quite pin it down.  One resource that would really help you in that situation is the Ethos Enhancing Outcomes materials - link here - example page below.

Once you have a focus area then it's useful to see how other people have tackled a similar situation.  Our Peer Support Networks are really useful for this - so take a look below to see if there is one near you and if not, why not got in touch and see if we can support you and your local colleagues building up a network in your area. 
You may already be part of an collaborative network of schools yet prefer to research before discussing - if so, a useful starting point could be this report curated by Teach First Challenging Disadvantage Together.  It draws together experiences from around the country and, though published in 2017 to celebrate 15 years of Teach First, the themes and content are still relevant.  Individual case studies can be downloaded here.  
Comprehensive, practical and researched evidenced guidance can be found on the Educational Endowment Foundation's website.  In particular, if you were looking at ideas for increasing engagement of parents and carers to support removing disadvantage a great starting point would be the guidance Working with Parents to Support Children's Learning.  

'This EEF guidance report reviews the best available research to offer schools and teachers four recommendations to support parental engagement in children’s learning.

Parents play a crucial role in supporting their children’s learning, and levels of parental engagement are consistently associated with better academic outcomes. 

Yet it can be difficult to involve all parents in ways that support children’s learning, especially if parents’ own experiences of school weren’t positive.

This is why we’ve produced this guidance report, designed to support primary and secondary schools to work with parents – particularly those from disadvantaged homes.' Subject specific ideas and ideas for promising project that have a noteworthy impact are all accessible on the EEF website.


Do you have a case study about removing disadvantage that you would like to share?
This is an idea from Nic Baykaa-Murray, Deputy Head at Almondsbury CE Primary School and one of our Leadership Fellows working with the Foundation for Educational Leadership.  
He writes: Almondsbury CE Primary School is located in rural South Gloucestershire and on the edge of Bristol. Our school currently has 311 on roll.  At our last Ofsted we were judged as an Outstanding School (June 2017) and for SIAMs we were judged as Excellent (June 2019). The majority of our children come from prosperous homes and Free School Meals uptake is only 4%. Despite having a small cohort of children benefiting from Pupil Premium, we still regard removing disadvantage a high priority. Our Pupil Premium approach is predicated on our ethos, ‘Creating our Pathways’ underpinned by the Psalm ‘Show me your ways, Lord teach me your paths’ (Psalm 25:4), to encourage, motivate and support the children so that they can achieve their full potential. A project that has been extremely successful with Pupil Premium children in order to remove disadvantage has been our parental engagement programme. Now into its 5th year of operation, parents are invited to attend termly afternoon tea to celebrate and share learning with their children. Teaching Assistants, who work with the children, are available to talk with the parents about successes and how they can support and encourage their children at home. Although a very simple concept, we have seen that parent engagement has improved greatly. Conversations about the importance of attendance or reading at home with their child has become more relaxed, non-threatening and social over a cup of tea and a cake.

The example given by Nic, above, shows that simple solutions, done well and consistently can have a positive impact.  We would be happy to share your examples of removing disadvantage in future issues of Called, Connected, Committed - see contact details at bottom of page.
In need of a bit of inspiration about removing disadvantage?  Spend the next 12 minutes listening to Marian Wright Edelman, who fights for a level playing field for all children, so their chances to succeed don't have to depend on the lottery of birth.  The movement she heads asks critical questions about provision for those who are disadvantaged.  Though focused on USA, it would be interesting for all of us as leaders of education to reflect on the questions on their back-to-school worries page - do we have support in place for children who may have these worries? 
September Book Recommendations

Less is More - Spirituality for Busy Lives
Brian Draper

Within our busy lives and the pressures that this brings, Brian Draper, encourages us to ...stop ...pause...breathe in... breathe out... listen... and can we simply live?
This book is both practical and thought-provoking and can support both small and major life changes. It leads you to question what you already have and do and, of that, what is really important to you; to reflect on what happens inside you when you take the time to listen to the natural beat of the world; to find the way to make the difference in this world that only you were put on Earth to make.
Sometimes we, as educators, want to change the world.  We recognise the needs of our communities, which are manifold and wide ranging.  In Draper's book he suggests focusing on one thing at a time.  He says, 'We may not be able to change the world, but we can change the world around us. To be realistic about making a difference, however, we must focus on doing one small, simple thing at a time.'  What one small, simple thing will you put in motion next? 

Make It Matter - Kris Reece

Sometimes we believe that purpose is synonymous with career.  This book by Kris Reece invites us to reconsider and reflect on what we are doing here - 'purpose is what we were created for... career is just an expression of that intention'  or putting another way... 'career is what you do to make a living; purpose is what you do to make a difference'.  Whilst Kris writes from an almost evangelical point of view, her approach will give you , as a leader, both an alternative way of looking at your own life journey as well as supporting others who may be at a crossroads reflecting on their purpose. In my own school, there are many people who are not practising Christians, some are of other faiths, some do not follow any faith - this book has relevance for all - 'God calls you to influence the sphere He has placed you in'. What is it that God is asking of all of us when He puts us in places where we can remove disadvantage? - what would He do in your school if He were there?... that's His purpose for us today. 

News from the Networks 

Diocese Peer Support Networks – we are delighted to welcome Emily Norman to our Foundation team as our new Head of Networks. As part of her role, Emily is now overseeing a wide range of Diocese Peer Support Networks that are commencing in the Autumn and Spring Terms this year, looking at range of key leadership issues: Curriculum Development, Character Education, Wellbeing & Resilience and Growing Faith. Over 20 Dioceses have now committed to be part of this partnership delivery, and we look forward to seeing this continue to grow rapidly over the coming months.

South West News - We have just launched a Small and Rural schools Network in the Bath and Wells Diocese. This is a joint venture between the Foundation, the diocese and Somerset LA. We have 22 schools  so far and more are joining each week which is exciting. The network is made up of Church of England and LA schools/MATs and also includes Headteachers and Governors. As well as using the Foundation's materials, the schools also want to focus initially on Teaching and Learning in Mixed Age Classes of 3-4 year groups and the Mental Health and Wellbeing of Pupils, Staff and the Community in small rural settings.
Rural Schools Networks – there are 250 schools involved across 6 regions – Lincolnshire, Yorkshire, Cornwall, Somerset, Kent and Northumberland. There are a number of other Dioceses interested in launching these in 2019/20 – including Gloucester. Please do contact us if that’s something you’d value exploring.

Research Scholarships – we’re delighted to have appointed 5 Farmington Scholars to work with the Foundation throughout 2019/20 looking at 5 different aspects of the Vision being put into practice – including…Character Education, Wisdom in Curriculum Design, Vision-Driven ITT provision, HeartSmart leadership development, and theological reflection on the inter-faith dialogue between Christian and Hindu approaches to education. These scholars will be undertaking their research throughout the year and publishing in Summer 2020.

National Secondary Leadership Network (NSLN) – we were delighted to host 65 leaders from across the country last term to look at ‘Growing Faith’ – headteachers, senior leaders and chaplains coming together to begin this important work – all the slides from the day are at - our next event is taking place on 17 October, looking at Removing Disadvantage, where we’ll be joined by Robbie Coleman, Head of Policy at EEF, and Prof Becky Francis, IoE, to look at this crucial issue. Please book onto this event at

National Conference – SAVE THE DATE – 6 FEBRUARY 2020 – Visionary Curriculum Leadership –we’re delighted to confirm our National Conference will be taking place at Methodist Central Hall on 6 February, and featuring some fantastic keynotes and workshops on this very important issue. We’re looking forward to input from Mary Myatt, Paula Gooder, Nitin Sawhney, Allana Gay, James Bowen, Serdar Ferit, Tom Rees, Marie Hamer, Frances Ward, Sean Harford, David Ford, Leora Cruddas, Miranda McKearney, James Biddulph, Becky Francis, Floyd Woodrow, Jonathan Sharples, Lyn Swaner and many more – it promises to be another fantastic occasion – tickets £125+VAT are available at


Applications for 2020-21 CofEPQH are now open. The programme is now delivered nationally with 8 training centres in London, Oxford, Cambridge, Tiverton, Nottingham, Birmingham, Preston, and York. We will also be offering the option of mixed mode delivery for those who prefer to learn through self- led learning as well as some residential learning. For 2020-21 full DFE scholarship funding is available for all Church of England schools within dioceses which have a footprint within category 5 or 6 areas. This is most dioceses. Please see  for more information - closing date 4 November 2019.

MAT Leaders Network
LAST CHANCE TO BOOK: Please book by Wednesday 25th September

Our next MAT Leaders Network event, Building People Capacity will take place from 10.00- 3.30 on 8th October at Lambeth Palace.
At this event we will focus on putting people first as we think strategically about engagement, retention, and succession planning.
Join us to listen, learn, explore  and engage...
  • Listen to Simon Ashley, VP HR, Integrated Supply and Trading at BP share the impact of embedding BP’s values on employee engagement and retention of talent.
  • Learn from colleagues at DNEAT and Transform Trust about different approaches to building professional capital.
  • Explore with Leora Crudas, CEO at CST, how other Trusts attract, develop and retain diverse and values- led MAT Board members. 
  • Engage with colleagues in group discussions and network over lunch.  
If your MAT already has MAT Leadership Network membership then you have already paid for your place(s) for this event. However, please still let us know the names of attendees on the online booking form so that we can plan for you.
Tickets are available for £195+ VAT to all. This event will be relevant to those working as MAT CEOs or within a MAT leadership team, Executive Heads, directors of MAT Boards, and Diocesan Directors of Education.
We have a few remaining spaces for Chair and Vice Chairs of MAT Boards as well as MAT Directors to take part in this FULLY FUNDED programme. The FINAL application deadline is 14th October. This cohort will have a specific focus on what it means to embed the Church of England Vision for Education into realityFunding is provided by the DFE and we cannot guarantee that it will be available again.
By taking part, MAT Board Directors will:
  • Receive a personalised report describing the strengths and development areas for their own board
  • Attend a two day residential learning event on November 15-16th (Loughborough) which includes a focused session on leading with vision and values, based on the Church of England’s vision for education
  • Meet with a mentor to develop an action plan specific to own MAT 
  • Attend (or a colleague attend) two additional guest seminars
  • Have access to additional online learning content
  • Benefit from networking other MAT Directors from across the UK
Request a place for yourself or a colleague NOW
As we all begin this new year, the Church of England vision for Education will be fresh in our minds.  These issues of Called, Connected, Committed are here to encourage and support you in all you do, so that, working together, we can ensure that young people experience an education with 'Life in all it's fullness' at its heart. Please share this with colleagues – we welcome your feedback  -
Copyright © 2019 Church of England Education Office, All rights reserved.

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.