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23rd September 2022

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

Joy is the Hallmark of Heaven
 Like so many others, I spent most of Monday transfixed by the funeral of Queen Elizabeth. In contrast, I spent Tuesday at a family funeral in Lower Machen Church near Caerphilly. The points of contrast between the two events were fairly obvious. Tuesday was a relatively small gathering of people to celebrate the life of a former Herefordshire teacher, long retired. There were no bagpipes or bearskins. Delphine Coleman, like so many teachers of past and present, has made a positive difference to countless children over the years, but in contrast to Queen Elizabeth II, most of the world would not now notice that she has left us.
Less obvious perhaps, were the similarities between the two funerals. Both had two young great-grandchildren in the spotlight who were trying to make sense of what was going on around them. Two of those great-grandchildren were called Charlotte.  I noticed that on both days, the pairs of children seemed to gain comfort, reassurance and guidance through talking to each other in the midst of it all. The adults on both days were inevitably focussed on what they needed to be doing and in a small way the children looked after each other. We see this in our schools every day. Relationships between children are as, if not more, more important for mental wellbeing than their relationships with the adults. This is why, when these relationships hit a problem, it can cause huge upset for children, to the point where they may not want to come to school at all. Those close connections between children are a pure and precious thing.
Another thing I noticed that was the same at both funerals, was the central role that Christian teaching, prayer and liturgy played. We didn’t have Archbishop Justin with us on Tuesday, but we did have a lovely Church of Wales vicar who guided us through from lament to thanksgiving with familiar prayer and theology. For me bubbles and rainbows have less of an impact than the practical teaching of Jesus Christ, explained and highlighted by someone who has studied and understands it better than I do. If you haven’t yet watched Bishop Richard’s video from yesterday, you really should take five minutes to do so. There is great comfort in it for anyone who has lost someone. It will also help you understand the title of this reflection.
Monday and Tuesday both brought a family together. Grant you, the families are just  a little different from each other, but that doesn’t really matter. It is such an important thing to come together to support each other in times of loss. Inevitably there are some family members that are only seen at these events and perhaps there are one or two we have grown distant from. That always seems such a shame on these days. ‘We must meet up again on a happier occasion’. I hope we/they will.

Click here to continue reading Andrew's message...

We are very excited to announce that we have been awarded a research grant from the Growing Faith Foundation for an action research project to explore developing prayer resources for children.

We are now actively looking for church schools and their churches to get involved in this exciting initiative. The project will explore, ‘How can we as churches and church schools encourage primary school children to develop a prayer life outside of the school setting?

Mark Harrington will be leading the research over the next 14 months (October 22 – Dec 23) and will explore children’s attitudes to prayer in school, church and home. Resources will then be created to support children’s prayer and reflection at home, school and church.

After the resources have been trialled by the local schools and churches, the children will be re-interviewed to evaluate their impact, before the final report and recommendations for resources are shared.

If you would like to know more about how your school and local church can be involved then please register your interest via email to

The suspension of inspections during the period of National Mourning has ended. Inspections processes have resumed for those schools expecting an inspection this year.   

Important National SIAMS Online Session Update 

Thursday 3 November from 10am to 11.30am or 6pm to 7.30pm –  All staff, governors, and clergy of Church of England and Methodist schools are invited to attend this national online session which will be led by the National Director of SIAMS. Dr Margaret James will set out the ways in which SIAMS will develop from September 2023, explaining what the developments will mean for schools. 

The National SIAMS Team thank all who have already registered. Due to high demand they are now asking Diocesan Teams to share the session links with those who are interested in attending and have yet to register. 

Please contact to request your live link, stating which session you would like to view.

Important Governance Reminders for Chairs and Clerks

The autumn term is often a time for change in governing boards and we politely request that the Diocesan Education Team are immediately updated of any changes to your Chair of Governors, Clerk or any Foundation Governor resignations, as they are notified to you.

At this time of year it is also important for your governing board to review:

  • Admissions Policy - (VA and Academies) this should be reviewed annually for any required changes and needs to go out for consultation at least every 7 years.
  • Complaints Policy - this should be reviewed annually.  The policy needs to be bespoke for your school setting and factor in your C of E foundation.
  • C of E Code of Conduct for Governors - as a church school your governing board should commit to a specific C of E Code and it is good practice that this is understood and agreed to on an annual basis.  The Hereford Diocese's template model is available here
Please get in touch with the Education Team  if you need any guidance regarding the above. 

Governing Boards may find the following useful:

Governors for Schools are holding their annual online conference on the 27th and 28th SeptemberClick here to find out more on the many useful seminars and sessions freely available online over the two days. 

The NGA (National Governors Assoc) have published a short video as part of their 'Visible Governance' campaign designed to highlight the vital role governance plays in helping schools and trusts to flourish and the impact it has on your local community. The aim is to raise the profile of governance and encourage more people to volunteer.  The NGA are asking all to share amongst their communities. 

Applications for VA School Conditions Allocations 23/24

All Heads and Chairs of our VA schools will receive an email today regarding their SCA application for 2023-24.  Please ensure your application is submitted by 30th November 2022 with the relevant documentation to  Please do get in touch with the Education Team if you need any support or further information regarding your application. 

Forthcoming Diocesan Online Training & Development 

SIAMS courses for those due to be inspected this year:
Thank you to those who have already confirmed their Partnership Agreement for this academic year. 
Please see our Education and Training Events page for a full list of our training courses dates currently on offer.  An unlimited number of places at the majority of our courses are included for all  Partnership Schools.

The Diocesan Partnership Agreement can be found on our Services to Schools webpage .  Please do get in touch with the Education Team if you wish to discuss our Partnership Agreement and the support on offer.

Collective Worship Videos
Next week’s worship video is ready for you to use in school. If you haven’t received your video link yet then please check that you have submitted your Partnership Agreement (see details below).
PLANK VISION: Collective Worship Video
For the next few weeks we are exploring the ‘Teachings of Jesus’ as our theme for our collective worship videos. This week we explore Luke chapter 6 verses 41-43, where Jesus teaches about hypocrisy or not doing what you say you do. Do we have plank vision?  
The reflections sheet provides further ideas for prayer and reflection to be used both in school and at home. It is designed to be sent home to help families, who wish to, continue exploring the worship theme.  

The video link and further reflections sheet will be sent directly to schools who have signed up to this year’s Partnership Agreement.  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.
Andrew's message continued...
Distance and busy lives meant we were in the company of my wife’s grandmother, Delphine, relatively rarely in recent times. We spent even less time in the presence of Her Majesty, of course. She would be on our television from time to time, but that was largely it. In both cases their lack of physical presence was the day-to-day norm, even in life, so why do we feel such sadness when they die? Of course, the absence is different when someone has passed away. I don’t see my brother that often, but that separation feels different because I know, if I do reach out, he will be there.
Henri Nouwan wrote a comforting reflection exploring the power of memory and the relationship between presence and absence in his book called ‘The Living Reminder’.
‘One of the mysteries of life is that memory can often bring us closer to each other than can physical presence. Physical presence not only invites but also blocks communication. In our pre-resurrection state our bodies hide as much as they reveal. Indeed, many of our disappointments and frustrations in life are related to the fact that seeing and touching each other does not always create the closeness we seek. The more experience in living we have, the more we sense that closeness grows in the continuous interplay between presence and absence.’
A close friend of mine is headteacher of a Catholic primary school in north Wales. We went to Wigmore School together and have been friends for 36 years. His dad, who was also a Herefordshire teacher for a time, died this week after a short illness. My friend’s grief will be different. Sharper. Deeper. Irrepressible. Their lament will last well beyond the funeral day and they will need some support from those closest to them.
May the memory of those we’ve lost keep us near them. May the knowledge of a life eternal brought though Christ’s victory over death, bring comfort to all those who mourn. May precious, sustaining friendships flourish in all of our schools and in our daily lives. We pray for all those we’ve lost. May they all rest in peace and rise in glory.
From the last page of CS Lewis’ ‘The Last Battle’
The term is over: the holidays have begun. The dream is ended: this is the morning.’??
And as He (Aslan) spoke He no longer looked to them like a lion; but the things that began to happen after that were so great and beautiful that I cannot write them. And for us this is the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at least they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on for ever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.

For the first time ever this week, I received a letter to say that His Majesty’s inspectors would be visiting our diocese. Prayers and best wishes for Rebecca Manning and the team at St George’s CE Primary in Clun who had an OfSTED inspection on Wednesday. We pray too for Anna Cook and the team at Clunbury CE Primary who have a SIAMs inspection next week. The Clun Valley seems to be busy (as well as beautiful) at present.
At our Diocesan Board of Education meeting yesterday we finalised a new guidance document for Hereford Diocese CE schools exploring academisation. This new publication from our DBE will be sent to you in the coming days and will no doubt be a subject for further discussion this term. There is nothing seismically different from what we have said many times before, but it will hopefully add some usefully clarity, in response to the continuing progress of the education bill through parliament and the options for CE schools in this diocese in the years ahead.
The Lord bless you and keep you in the days ahead, as we navigate though the next week in school.  Have a restful weekend.
Canon Andrew Teale
Diocesan Director of Education
Burley Gate CE Primary School are celebrating 50 glorious years of the school on 30th September at 2.45pm and all past pupils, parents etc... are welcome.  Click here for more info!

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

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