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27th May 2022

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

Too Imaginable
On 13th March 1996, I was in a mobile classroom at Wigmore Primary School. It was a Wednesday and I was clearing up at the end of the day. Marking waiting in a pile, on my desk. The classroom was isolated half way between the main primary and secondary school buildings and I used to switch on the radio after the children had left for the day and catch up on news and events or listen to some music while preparing for tomorrow’s lessons. It felt like anti-freeze suddenly running through my veins, when the headlines were read out. A mass shooting in a primary school in Dunblane. In a primary school? 16 young children and their teacher, Gwen Mayor were killed. They were in the middle of a PE lesson.
Early on Wednesday morning, I was heading north on the A49 on my way to Condover CE Primary. Kerrie Lewis had received the OfSTED call the day before, (only 22 days after receiving the one for St Edwards in Dorrington). My head was full of what was to come that day. How best to support Kerrie and the team. What the challenges might be. What our answers might be. I switched on Radio 4 and felt the anti-freeze flow once again. 19 children and two teachers at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. Unimaginable horror. Except for those working in schools, it isn’t unimaginable. It is all too imaginable, in fact.
Some of the eye-witness accounts that are now emerging are almost unbearable to hear. One little boy recounted that he heard the gunman tell his victims it was time to die, before he opened fire.
As Christians, we ask the same questions as non-believers, how could God let this happen? I know my brother’s faith has been shaken at times by the number of headlines like this, he has had to read out over the years. I don’t have any answers except that when I feel such powerful empathy for those that are in suffering, I also feel an answer from the Holy Spirit that swells and strengthens and comforts.
I can’t say much more today. I don’t feel qualified to talk about gun laws in the US. but I will quote Mick North, whose 5 year old daughter, Sophie, was killed in Dunblane in 1996.


Click here to continue to read Andrew's message.

End of Summer Term Headteachers' and Chairs' Gathering

Invitations have been sent out this week to all Church School Headteachers and Chairs of Governors to our end of term gathering in the Great Hall and Bishop's Gardens at The Palace, in Hereford at 3.00 - 5.00pm on Monday 11th July 2022To reserve your place please follow the link and complete our booking form.  We very much look forward to seeing you.

Blessing and Commissioning of the new Diocesan Board of Education Members 

By kind invitation of the Dean and the Chapter of Hereford Cathedral, the blessing and commissioning of the members of the new DBE will take place during Evensong on Tuesday 21st June 2022.  Bishop Richard Jackson and the Venerable Fiona Gibson (Chair of the DBE) will both be in attendance.

All are warmly invited to join this open service in the Cathedral at 5.30pm and if you would like to join us afterwards for light refreshments, please do let us know, we would be delighted to see you.  Please email to advise: 

Are you making the most of your Pupil Led Worship?

Now that schools are worshipping together again, how can we enable our pupils to become worship leaders who confidently prepare, lead and evaluate the worship in our schools?  Our course will take you through different ways of encouraging your pupil leaders and ideas to support both you and them in this process.

Book your place here: Developing and Energising your Pupil Led Worship held on Wednesday 8th June 1:00 - 4:00pm online course via Zoom.  

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  - Pentecost


As well as  the Jubilee celebrations Sunday 5th June is  Pentecost Sunday, when many churches will celebrate the events of the birthday of the church.  In our worship this week, Mark reflects on how the Holy Spirit transformed Peter and to think about where we need to see things being transformed too. 

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.

Rise up and Serve

A new hymn especially commissioned for the Platinum Jubilee, helping us to reflect on what it means to both take a stand and to serve as a leader.

Andrew Teale's Message Continued...
“After Dunblane, it was recognised by many in Britain, including the families of the victims, that the most significant factor in the tragedy had been the ease with which the perpetrator had accessed guns, in his case high-powered handguns. At the time, UK legislation allowed him to own these legally. The Dunblane families and others campaigned to have handguns banned and we didn’t allow ourselves to be distracted by those who said gun ownership was not the issue.
It should go without saying that no matter what other factors are involved, the only one common to all mass shootings is that the person responsible had a gun. Thanks to massive public support, which was channelled through the Dunblane families, other campaigners, the media and a significant number of politicians, the successive Conservative and Labour governments passed legislation in 1997 and introduced a ban on the private ownership of handguns. The changes not only reduced the availability of a dangerous type of weapon but indicated the direction the UK wanted to take, one which minimised the use and availability of guns and always placed public safety at the top of the agenda. Since the late 1990s the levels of gun crime in Britain have fallen significantly, gun homicides are rare and there have been very few other multiple shootings.”

I can ask everyone to take a moment to pray for those families and the Texas community, so far away and yet so close for those who spend their days in schools. To pray a blessing on those children everywhere who die in violence and fear. To pray for those families who are left behind with shattered lives. To pray for the wounded whose pain lives on with them. To pray for the survivors who heard and saw things they should never have had to see. To pray for humanity that we might find a way to stop the senseless killing.
As we mark the Ascension of Jesus this week after death was overcome.  We know those innocents have ascended too, to a place of safety and peace where they will only ever be surrounded by love. They can no longer be harmed in this cruel world that has failed them in every way, as they are untouchable in His loving arms. For those left still hurting in His earthly Kingdom, we can only try to find ways to learn from what has happened to find ways to keep our schools and precious children safe from those who would harm them. We must do better.
Collect for Ascension Day
Grant, we pray, almighty God,
that as we believe your only-begotten Son our Lord Jesus Christ
to have ascended into the heavens,
so we in heart and mind may also ascend
and with him continually dwell;
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

Thankfully there has also been love and joy across our diocese this week as the tweets and post show countless celebrations for the platinum jubilee of HRH Queen Elizabeth in recognition of the decades of loyal service she has given to this country. These events are so important for our school communities. They make memories that will last a lifetime. I still remember winning a small toy car after winning the sack race at a silver jubilee event in 1977. It was orange (and remains my greatest ever sporting achievement). I know how much extra work goes into organising these events behind the scenes. So, our education system is in need of refreshment once again, but thankfully, half term arrives today. I hope everyone has a peaceful and restful break and that you enjoy some restorative time with families and friends.
Blessings and best wishes,

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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