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1st April 2022

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

Eleven Minutes, Six Seconds.
 In 11 minutes and 6 seconds, Mark Harrington tells the Easter story in a way which is accessible for children of all ages. At the same time, he explains what on earth a chocolate egg has got to do with it all. 

Worship time in school can sometimes be a moment where some staff can get other things done. The children are settled and supervised for a half hour. It might be the only chance in the day to make that phone call or finish that important e-mail or grab a well-deserved coffee. With the staff absence levels still being high and all the cover work being so high, those flexible moments in school are even harder to find and with the best will in the world, not every member of staff will be in worship every day. 

However, for this video worship, if you are in a school and you possibly can, I hope very much that you will be able to sit with the children as they join in with this simple but effective worship session. Our inclusive worship with children has a power all of its own and I think it helps grown-ups and children alike. No one has to pray if they don’t want to but everyone can learn to pray, if they are not sure how to. 

I watched the video by myself this morning. I joined in with the prayers and it made for a wonderful start to my day. A moment of mindfulness to stop, reflect and to feel a little closer to God than would otherwise have been possible. Office 365 can’t do that. 

When we do worship together, as a whole school community…. when we pause together and breathe a sigh of relief, clearing the thoughts of yesterday and tomorrow, grounded in the present moment, it can significantly help our mental wellbeing. The gathering together of all those people doing the same thing seems to act like an amplifier.  It is harder to be still when everyone around you is busy but when everyone stops, it is somehow more comfortable psychologically. 

We manged to get a routine going each Monday morning when I was at St Paul’s. We walked the children the very short distance to church and had whole school worship. 430 children and perhaps 30 staff. Sometimes I would lead, sometimes our vicar or curate or another member of staff. We quickly found that staff valued the experience, just as much as children. The walk, the fresh air, the building of the atmosphere, the music, the prayers, the stillness, the security of a known pattern, the sense of community connection, the Holy Spirit. 

By the way, none of this is for a SIAMs inspection, any more than an MOT is for the the certification you need to get your car insurance. None of it is affected by the latest government announcements or our ever-changing education system. An act of worship (still compulsory each day in every type of school) provides an encounter with God. It is a public act of gathering and at the same time a private spiritual moment of contact. It is about living life in all its fullness.

 Click here to continue to read Andrew's message.

Church of England schools will be at the heart of the school system for the future

As the Government published its White Paper on Education this week, the Church of England’s Chief Education Officer, Nigel Genders gave the Church of England's response to providing the foundation for fruitful partnerships that support all pupils to flourish. Click here for full article.

Pupil Led Worship Project - One week left to send your entries!

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)

Last chance 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.

Easter Collective Worship Video 

Easter Worship - Empty but Full
Next week’s Easter Worship video is available to all our schools  and ready for you to use in school and to send to pupils who may be isolating.  Mark retells the Easter events from 2000 years ago with pictures and a poem that explores how an empty tomb was full of hope for the world. In the video images of Easter eggs are sued to help provide a visualised prayer as a reminder for pupils over the holidays. We also learn the Easter acclamation or shout as used in many churches.  

Partnership schools will also receive an email with a take away worship sheet for home and class use.
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.

Spiritual Development Resources

Secondary Schools Lessons in Spiritual Development:
Learning from Leading Christian ethos Secondary Schools
This NICER project explores the impact and leadership of spiritual development in church secondary schools. There are PowerPoints and downloadable booklets in the toolkit to guide those leading schools as Headteachers, leaders, governors/board members and chaplaincy roles. Access it here.

Primary Schools Teacher Action Pack:
Exploring spirituality session

This resource provides a downloadable PowerPoint with accompanying animation  and script to help teachers in primary schools start to explore spirituality with their classes. It can be used as a whole school worship or in class.  Access it here under the Teachers Action Pack Tab.

Congratulations Alfie!

We are delighted to share the news that Alfie Craddock, a Year 8 pupil at The Hereford Church of England Academy in Hereford, is one of 8 overall winners in the national Heroes of the Pandemic stamp design competition. Chosen by HRH the Prince of Wales, the eight winning designs will now feature on Royal Mail Special Stamps. HM The Queen approved all eight winning designs.  The Royal Mail are also displaying Alfie’s stamp design on a number of bus stops throughout Hereford and Worcester.  So keep a look out for his design, when you next catch a bus!

Andrew Teale's Message Continued...
If you no longer work in a school and you can’t sit with a school community to worship. Don’t worry. The video is for you too. It wasn’t just Mark’s words and images that filled my thoughts this morning, it was the knowledge that across the diocese, in countless schools, thousands of children would be doing the same. They would be coming up with all sorts of answers to Mark’s questions. Just beginning to learn and think for themselves and reflect on important messages and learning the stories we all know so well. I thought of the teachers and support staff who would be sitting (on fairly uncomfortable chairs) around the edges of school halls from Cressage to Whitchurch. They would settle the children into place and, although keeping the radar switched on at all times, might just get a precious moment of worship time for themselves too.
The Darkness of the Tomb
Jesus, in the darkness of the tomb,
you were surrounded by love,
by grief and by fear,
as your body was prepared for burial.
Walk with us
May we feel the comfort
of your love for us.
And may we turn outwards
to share that love with others,
with the same generosity and gentle loving kindness
that you showed to all.
Walk with us Jesus,

Our prayers and best wishes go to headteacher Tim Milne and all at St Mary’s CE Primary Fownhope, who welcomed our friends from OfSTED this week.
Blessings and best wishes to everyone in our schools, as well as those who take a keen interest in our schools, for a restful weekend and a happy final week of our Spring term. Our continued thanks for all you are doing in every one of our communities across this diocese.
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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