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15th July 2022

This academic year's final message from Andrew Teale, Diocesan Director of Education 

A Bright Star of Resilience and Hope
It was wonderful to welcome 40 of our Church of England schools to Hereford Cathedral yesterday. Of the 800 people who came to the two services, most were year 6 children. The services were led by Bishop Richard, Dean Sarah and (in the morning one) Archdeacon Fiona. We also welcomed support staff, teachers and significant number of headteachers from across the diocese too. We had readings from pupils representing the secondary sector too. The wonderful iSing Pop energetically lead our singing and dancing. Thank you to the Dean and Chapter and all the volunteer stewards, who hosted us with such warmth and hospitality in the Cathedral. It was a really wonderful celebration at the end of a seven-year long journey through primary school.

The theme of the service was the Parable of the Sower. Children wrote their hopes and aspirations for growth at secondary school on a seed label (lolly stick) and said a personal prayer as they planted it into the earth. I read one after the morning service, which said, ‘to be a bit less shy and to make new friends’. Such a humble thought and prayer, captured and shared by a single one of those eight hundred children. I love that somewhere in that ancient building, a young mind, prayed to God for something so precious and pure. I prayed hard too that whoever wrote that would flourish with growing confidence and lots and lots of friends in their new school next term.
I should say that not all of the prayers were what we might have expected. One child, for reasons I don’t fully understand, wrote ‘bananas’. I hope there is an abundance of those too!
Consider just how much change takes place for children between their first day at primary school and their last. On day one, children have very little sense of how school works or even how they themselves ‘work’. They have to learn how to learn. They have to learn how to build positive relationships. They have to learn independence. They have to learn effective communication skills. They learn the importance of empathy. They have to learn resilience and, yes, they have to learn to run along while balancing an egg on a spoon (without using a thumb to hold it in place). Possibly with the exception of the last one, these are skills which are needed for a lifetime of flourishing not just to pass a test.
They also learn the value of spirituality to their own mental wellbeing. They learn that they are known and loved by God for exactly who they are, as they are.

 Click here to continue to read Andrew's message.

Nearly There!
Church of England Energy Footprint Tool Data Submission 

Thank you!  We are now over 80% of church schools who have completed their data submission and there is still time, if it is on your 'to do list'!

If you have any questions or need any help with the EFT, please do get in touch with the Education Team 

Young Leaders Awards at Burford CE Primary 
Our bulletin has often included information about the Archbishop of York's Young Leaders' Award detailing how your school can empower Young Leaders to transform society and to inspire others to do the same.  For the last 3 years Burford CE Primary have done just that and we wanted to share the impact of their YLA with you...

The YLA is a structured programme that teaches children the skills of being a leader.  Our children at both Key Stages have flourished during the project and have continued to use the skills learnt.
KS2 painted benches and filled planters for our local hospital garden and wrote letters asking for donations of plants from the local garden centre - they were really impressed with their amazing persuasive writing!  Luke explained, "I was excited to do Young Leaders. I love gardening and my Mum works at the hospital and it made me feel happy to do something for the people at the hospital. My Mum's going to be so proud of me." 
Our KS1 parent comments really do say it all:

“The awards were fantastic, and all the children tried and worked very hard.  Loki helped out around the house taking the recycling to the bin and helped to put his clothes away.”

"I think the awards teach children to be kind and helpful and encourage them to build self esteem and establish kindness and care in the community, what a fantastic idea the young leaders awards are."

For more information about the Young Leaders Awards in the Hereford Diocese, please contact Mark at 
iSingPop Grants
For those who enjoyed the songs led by Jessica at the year 6 services this week. iSingPop run the main event. This involves their team teaching songs in school, recording an album and then putting on a pop concert at the local church.
There are a limited number of match grant funded projects available across the Diocese with the added bonus of a year’s subscription to their Classroom Worship resource. Find out more information here.
Andrew Teale's Message Continued...

We saw children from Pencombe and Tenbury and others come to the front of the cathedral to read prayers. Reading to 400 people in the cathedral is something most adults will never do, let alone 10 and 11 year olds. They were all brilliant, but one child in particular stood out to me. I didn’t catch her name, but I knew she had only been at St Thomas Cantilupe CE Primary, since May. She looked incredibly smart and only a tiny bit nervous. She wore her school uniform proudly as she made her way to the front of the packed cathedral and began her reading at the end of the afternoon service with the Bishop of Hereford and 400 others looking on. The microphone didn’t work initially and she had the presence in the moment, when all eyes were on her, to stop wait and begin her prayer again.
She read clearly and without a stumble. Given where children begin their early reading journey in a primary school, to read with such confidence in such a situation is perhaps miraculous enough. But she was one of many children who have joined schools in the diocese from Ukraine in the last few months and so her performance was even more powerful. At the start of the school year, she could surely not have imagined she would be walking up the aisle at Hereford Cathedral in the United Kingdom. She initially came to the UK alone, but was joined by her mum a few weeks later and thankfully she too was with us in the cathedral, watching her daughter shine like a bright star of resilience and hope. An inspiration to us all.
I can only guess at what that amazing year 6 girl wrote on her lolly stick when she planted it in the soil in Hereford Cathedral. By the end of the second service we had 800 of them. I pray to God that her prayers are answered.
Words of Blessing from our Year 6 Leavers Service
May God bless in our going from here today
May God bless us in our arrival at our new school term
May our path be smooth
May our studies be enriching
May our time at school be full of friendships
We go from here knowing that we take God’s love with us.

Our schools are miracle factories. They act like a chrysalis of transformation for children, and it is always an emotional moment for staff too, as the latest crop of butterflies flutter away to their next phase of education and a life full of promise.
In this final message, as the 2021-22 academic year draws to a close, can I thank everyone for their dedication, creativity and courage in serving the children and families of the diocese throughout this year. It has been so, so difficult at times and yet somehow you have found a way to continue to enable flourishing in the children and young people in your care.
I’d also like to thank the brilliant teams I work with, in support of all our schools, for all of their hard work and dedication to lightening the load and strengthening the foundation in our schools. A special mention for Mark Harrington who has created wonderful worship videos faithfully throughout the year and who put the service together for the year 6 children. I can certainly tell his worship videos have been enjoyed by many, as at one point he was signing autographs yesterday!
The end of term seems slightly more staggered than usual, so once you do break for summer, please pray for all those schools who for various reasons, have a few extra days to go!
Blessings and best wishes for a restful and restorative summer holiday, when it arrives.

Canon Andrew Teale
Diocesan Director of Education

Andrew, Sian, Mark and Toni wish you a wonderful summer break and we very much look forward to seeing you all again in September!

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

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