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25th March 2022

This week's message from Andrew Teale, Diocesan Director of Education 

Is anyone in need of some refreshment?
 On Sunday, we will be 4 weeks into Lent. If you are still sticking to a Lenten vow to go without something until Easter, you will certainly be feeling it by now. I thought I’d give alcohol a miss for a while and I am certainly missing the odd glass of red wine, especially with a nice meal.
If you’re really struggling, it might help to know that this Sunday, (the fourth in Lent) is traditionally known as Refreshment Sunday. The Gospel Reading is the story when Jesus is faced with 5000 people who have come to hear him speak. Presumably many had made a long journey (‘from the towns’) and were rewarded by hearing Jesus speak. It seemed obvious to the disciples that this great crowd of people, as the day drew to a close, were themselves in need of some refreshment. They thought it best if Jesus sent them away to find their own. In other words, to fend for themselves. Jesus had other ideas and fed them all from 5 loaves and two fairly small fish. Miraculously, there was more than enough for everyone.
Even if you haven’t given up wine or crisps for Lent, as someone working in or with schools at the moment, you are certainly going to be in need of some refreshment by this stage of the term. The very high levels of staff absence in our schools in the last week or so has added to the pressure as schools try and cover all the gaps with fewer and fewer staff available. The good news I can share, is you are reading the Diocesan Education Bulletin and that means it must be Friday again. Furthermore, there are only 10 more school days until the Easter break, perhaps that is a helpful thought too.
It became a tradition long ago, for people to travel back to homes and loved ones on this fourth Sunday of Lent to break bread together and share some precious time with family. That turned into spending time with those who ‘do the mothering’ in our families, usually (but not always) our mums. So we eventually established the other name for the fourth Sunday in Lent, which has become far more well-known. Mothing Sunday.
I think the two traditions are still closely linked, we can gain refreshment through switching off the e-mails and electronic distractions for a time and spending some quality time with the family we love, especially our mums. Make it extra special with a nice meal together. You are even allowed to pause those Lenten vows for a day, if it helps.
In schools, we are surrounded by family life every day as the pushchairs come trundling into schools each morning. Every person working in schools knows how important that motherly bond is for the flourishing of our children. I often used to set homework this weekend for children to simply take extra care to treat the person doing the mothering in their house with extra kindness. Show a bit more love than usual and refresh the precious bonds of family.

 Click here to continue to read Andrew's message.

New Bridge Builder Event

On Wednesday 30th March, online from 2-3pm we will have another Bridgebuilding Network Meeting for churches supporting schools in the region.

This event is open to anyone from local churches in the Diocese of Hereford region who would like to meet, pray and share ideas for supporting ministry with their local schools, be it a  church or community school, primary or secondary focussed.  

Please do pass the details onto any one you think may be interested in your churches.

If you have a resource or ideas that you’d like to share then do get in touch before hand so I can plan time for you.

As always please register with this link. 

You will then receive an automated zoom link from Zoom directly to allow you to access the meeting.

Year 6 Leavers' Celebrations 2022 UPDATE

Thank you to those schools still booking their places and we have nearly filled our day!  Please note the last spaces are now only available for the afternoon session on 14th July 2022 from 1:00-2:00pm at Hereford Cathedral. For those unable to join us in person we are also offering a pre-recorded service pack like last year, so you can lead a service in your own school or church.  The booking form is online here
We will be running an Art competition for Year 6 pupils as part of the lead up to the services too.

Pupil Led Worship Project - Extended Deadline!

We would love to use photographs of collective worship from across our schools showing pupils' involvement. These will need permission to be shared beyond school, as they may be used in the final course materials. We have decided to extend the deadline to close of day on Friday 8th April to include the opportunities for photos from your Easter worship as we know many pupils will be involved in leading at these services.  Please email your high quality photos or a link to download them. 

Send your photos and you could win...  
All schools who contribute photos will be entered into a draw to win a free copy of the primary RE resource book Inspirational People’ (RE Today).  The competition deadline has been extended to 4.00pm, 8th April 2022 (last day of term)

Countdown to book your place at the Carbon Zero Forum: 7th April 2022

Following our first session this is a call to all Headteachers, School Business Managers, Governors, SLT and Eco Group Leads that work in this important aspect in our schools.  We look forward to seeing representation from all our church schools.  To book your place on Thursday 7th April 2022 at 3.30 - 4.30pm, please click on this link

Forthcoming Diocesan Online Training & Development Highlights

SIAMS Training and Support

RE & Christian Ethos Governance

If you would like to talk through any of the support and training on offer from the Education Team, please contact us via email at or call on  07539 372748.

Collective Worship Video 

Tempting Choices - Collective Worship
Next week’s worship video explores how we deal with temptation. What voices do we listen to? How did Jesus cope and what can we learn from his responses?  It also contains a pointless Bible answer and giant carrots! Partnership schools will also receive the take away worship sheet with further ideas for prayer and reflection for home or in school.
If you would like your school community to benefit from our weekly Collective Worship Videos, please contact the Education Team at or call on 07539 372748 and we can talk through the Partnership Agreement options available to you.

Free Thy Kingdom Come Resources

To celebrate the Platinum Jubilee and as part of Thy Kingdom Come 2022, we have 500,000 free storybooks for primary school children. This small colourful book has a royal theme and is based on the Fruit of the Spirit - faithfulness. Faithfulness is like loyalty, trustworthiness and commitment rolled into one, and the Queen has set an excellent example of this. Schools can order by clicking here for free (including free P&P)
We are also providing assembly plans, activity packs, and take-home sheets for those that want them. The book is linked to one of the 5 animated TV episodes that we are providing to resource children and families this Thy Kingdom Come. These programmes have been produced by BBC animators to help children and families grow in their faith and learn about the bible in a format that will engage them most at a critical age for faith formation. The TV series and accompanying resources will be released on in time for Easter. We hope that you find these a helpful resource for your school.

Prayer for Ukraine Booklet
Free prayer and reflection booklet for families/schools from Muddy Church.  Great to use as wandering wonderings in forest school. Download it from here Community | Muddy Church

Andrew Teale's Message Continued...

If you’d like some homework from me this weekend (probably not) it would be to make your own family the focus and keep the laptops in your bags as much as possible. Spend some time together in our sunny diocese and perhaps say a prayer of thanks that you have each other.
Mothering Sunday Prayer
God in heaven,
We thank you for the precious gift of love, which we receive from our Mothers, family and friends.
We give you thanks for the ability to care, nurture and love which you have set deep within us.
Help us to use these gifts for the good of our families and friends and to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, the one who loves us so much, that he gave his life for us.

 (Canon Robert Townsend)
We held a positive first meeting of our new Diocesan Board of Education on Wednesday. Our thanks and prayers for all those volunteers who have agreed to serve in this new triennium in service of schools across the diocese. Thanks to the education team too, for the huge amounts of preparation and paper writing that went into preparing for this important first meeting. Archdeacon Fiona Gibson was re-elected as chair and made an excellent start by ensuring we didn’t overrun.
Also on Wednesday, we welcomed first and second year curates to the Hereford Church of England Academy for a training day on working with schools. Mark Harrington introduced our next generation of clergy to headteacher Michael Stoppard and incumbent and team Rector, Rev Anne Dowdeswell. They toured the school and met some pupils while learning about Church of England schools and their incredible potential. I joined the training in the afternoon and it was really wonderful to see the bubbling missional enthusiasm and passion to make a difference. We also sang happy birthday to Joe who was very much looking forward to his celebratory curry, later on.
Blessings and best wishes for a refreshing weekend and our continued thanks for all you are doing in every one of our precious schools.

Kind regards,
Canon Andrew Teale
Diocesan Director of Education

For further information and updates from the wider Diocese please see the regular bulletins issued by the central communications team.

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