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4th February 2022

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

It’s not the same
 We had 25 of our headteachers at the online briefing today. I know it is not the same as being together in the same room, but it is still really great to see 25 schools represented on screen. From Whitchurch to Corvedale. Claverley to Goodrich. Burford to Brampton Abbots. Pencombe to Pembridge. I met with most DHMAT headteachers yesterday too. From Condover to Eastnor. Ludlow CE School to The Hereford CE Academy. Technology has facilitated a meeting with leaders from about half the CE schools in the diocese (as some lead more than one of our 78 schools) in the last few days.
The first telephone call was made in 1876. I’m quite sure that people said, ‘it’s not the same’ when comparing the first phone calls to face-to-face meetings? The reality is of course, that the phone call didn’t replace face-to-face communication. It allowed voice conversation where it simply wouldn’t have happened at all. I know that, given the business of school life, many of those headteachers would not have made it to Ludlow or Hereford for a meeting onsite.
I still hugely value visits to schools. I was in Ludlow Primary and Bishop’s Castle on Thursday, but I don’t feel the need to ask headteachers to drive to Hereford or Ludlow for an information sharing session. I don’t think we will ever do that again. These online meetings are ‘covid keepers’ ie new habits that we’ve learned through covid but now don’t want to lose. I hope we might want to drive to Hereford for a relaxed gathering in the Bishop’s Garden and/or a thank you service in the splendour and spirituality of the Cathedral (hopefully in the summer). I hope there will be a slice of cake, a cup of tea and some sunshine, which we can all see reflected in the waters of the River Wye.
For now though, to see the friendly faces from across the diocese, supporting each other, praying together. Talking and laughing together as we talk about Carbon Zero, SIAMS and capital projects. For now, this is OK and it is, I think, strengthening the networks of dedicated school leaders who talk and listen from their unique corner of the Hereford Diocese and decide what to do next. This is more important now than it has ever been. Leintwardine talking to Long Mountain. St James’ to St Michael’s.
No guilt please, for those who could not be there. We know staffing levels are very tight and it just isn’t always possible, even on Zoom. We hope to see you next time. If it is ever helpful to send someone other than the headteacher, please do but don’t worry.
If I’m honest, I don’t think it is the helpful messages from Mark or Sian or me, that are most important. It is that collaborative, sense of a connected family. A group of people facing the same challenges, fighting the same battles, called to the same vocation. Our schools are connected in name and in purpose, as well as geography. We draw strength and support from each other through God’s grace.
5th Sunday before Lent

(spot the point of pivot from Christmas to Easter)

Almighty God,
by whose grace alone we are accepted and called to your service:
strengthen us by your Holy Spirit
and make us worthy of our calling;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

Thank you for all your efforts in the fourth full week of the spring term. Blessings and best wishes for a restful weekend.
Kind regards,

Canon Andrew Teale
Diocesan Director of Education

Save the Date!
Church School Governors Online Termly Briefing
8th March 2022: 5.00 - 6.00pm

All church school governors, academy directors and local governing board members are invited to our termly update to receive the latest developments in governance for church schools and understand how they will impact the role of the governing board.  We hope to welcome representatives from all of the church school governing boards in the Diocese.  Please use this link to book your place.

Book your Place on the First Hereford Diocese Schools' Carbon Zero Forum 

Following the headteachers' briefing mentioned in Andrew's message, all agreed it would be very beneficial to share ideas and discuss the support church schools need to help reach the carbon zero target by 2030. Our first forum will be Wednesday 2nd March 2022, between 3.30 - 4.30pm.  Please forward this invitation to everyone involved in energy saving initiatives in your school community, the more participants we have the more creative we can be!  Please use this link to book your place.

Final Reminder - Bridge Builder Network
9th February 2.00 - 3.00pm 

 An open meeting for any churches supporting schools in the region.  An opportunity to meet together, to pray, reflect and share ideas and resources to aid your churches in ministering to local schools. 

Guest speaker: Jake Drake, from the iSingPop team, who will be sharing their new ‘Pop Box’ resources to help churches run children’s and family events that follow on from schools ministry.   

Meetings are held on Zoom once a half term, please click on link to register in advance for this meeting:
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email from Zoom containing information about joining the meeting (do check your spam boxes).

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 

Don't be like a disciple! Children's mental health week
Next week is Children’s Mental Health Week, so in the worship session we learn about Jesus’ struggle with his mental health and asking his disciples to support him. (Mark 14:32-42 Jesus prays in the Garden of Gethsemane). Only the advice is not to be like the disciples. How can we make more time to listen to and be there  for our friends when they are struggling? The take away worship sheet sent to Partnership schools also provides reflective activities from Prayer Spaces in Schools to help pupils deal with their own worries, plus a link to the excellent resources for school and home on the Children's Mental Health Week website.   
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.
News from Leominster Priory
Leominster Priory are pleased to be hosting a life-size sculpture of the Last Supper made out of computer keyboard keys until the middle of May.

An invitation to schools...
Schools are invited to bring their pupils to visit the sculpture to explore art, design and the Easter Story. There are symbols and text hidden on the sculpture for the children to find.  A visit could include 10-15 mins for small groups to explore the sculpture while other groups look around the church and learn about Holy Communion, the signs and symbols of Lent and Easter or the use of colour in the church year.(Visits between 30mins - 1 hour).

The piece is inspired by the painting of the Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci and we are also inviting pupils to produce their own artwork inspired by the Last Supper for an exhibition and competition in church over the Easter Holidays. If you would like to take part in the competition, please submit pupil's artwork by April 5th. We will not be creating the artwork in church but it could be something you would like to do back in school.  To book a visit or to find out more call Kathy on 07780 535571 or email

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

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