View this email in your browser


10th June 2022

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

A School on the Edge of the Desert
In late April 2015, I found myself walking, with trousers rolled up to the knee, through the gentle surf of the Arabian Gulf, in baking hot sun. I was beneath the iconic Burj al Arab in Dubai.
I had taken the bold (and possibly questionable) decision to apply for a job as the headteacher of the primary years within a school called Kings Al Barsha, having had no experience of international schools whatsoever. I was in my fifth year at St Paul’s and was no longer executive headteacher at St Thomas Cantilupe. Although, I still enjoyed working at St Paul’s, I was beginning to search for a new challenge. My interview in London with the senior education adviser had gone really well and so I was one of two candidates who was invited to travel to Dubai to visit the school and attend the two-day interview process. Located on the eastern edge of the city, the schools was and still is a brand new palace of glass and gleaming brickwork. My initial tour revealed the most incredible facilities I had ever seen in a school. As well as multiple swimming pools, palatial classrooms and unbelievable sporting facilities, the ‘Head Chef’ was the late great Gary Rhodes and the Director of Cricket was England Batsman, Kevin Peterson. Positioned at the edge of the desert, I chatted to the deputy head of primary and watched the wild camels through his office window.
On day two, I was taken to visit the founder and chairman, Mr. Tayeb Al Baker. I was interviewed with his son and daughter present in an incredible room with marble floors and a very long table. He called for mint tea which was brought immediately to us all as he asked me some questions about my background and experience. While he and I spoke in English, the two siblings expressed their opinions to each other in Arabic. Mr Bakar was an imposing Emirati gentleman who commanded the room with obvious authority. When he asked where I was from, I thought ‘near Wales, in the west of England’ would be specific enough, but it wasn’t.
‘Yes, yes. Which part?’
I said that the closest big city was Birmingham but that wouldn’t do either, so I started naming counties. I wasn’t expecting what came next.
‘I know Ludlow.’ he said. He had somehow spent time in Shropshire in his youth.
When I boarded the Emirates plane to head back to the UK, I still didn’t know whether I was successful or not. Mr Baker, needed a little more reflection time and the decision was difficult. While flying over Iraq on my way back to Luston, I reflected on the incredible experience of recent days. It was easy to imagine the richness of the potential experience of living in a country where the calls to prayer punctuated each day. Where the dominant religion was not my own. Where summers were long and so hot that most people escaped to cooler climates.

Click here to continue to read Andrew's message.

Church of England Energy Footprint Tool 

The easy-to-use Energy Footprint Tool (EFT) will tell your school what your "carbon footprint" is, based on the energy you use to heat and light your buildings. This can help your school track how much progress you are making in your energy saving efforts - an essential for any Eco Committee! More information is available on the CofE national website.

We will be sending out details to our church school Headteachers and Administrators of how to use the Tool and as all of this information will be analysed to give a national picture, we would be grateful if you would kindly submit your data by Friday 24th June 2022. Once you receive your email, if you have any questions or need any help with the EFT, please do get in touch with the Education Team 

'Hands Up for the Planet' Environmental Workshops

'Hands UP for the Planet' is a small local charity offering environmental workshops free of charge to local schools in the last 10 years in Herefordshire primary and secondary schools.  The attached information gives details of their programme for 2022 - 23 and how to make a booking.

Are your pupils exploring diversity through RE Worldviews?

Religious Education is changing to include focussing on religious and non-religious worldviews as part of the curriculum. Find out how you can start to explore this new area with some simple tools to help in the classroom. We will explore how to broaden your pupils’ understanding of the diverse range of worldviews, whilst supporting them to articulate theirs too.  Together, we will explore the issues of teaching worldviews and explore how we can support pupils and teachers to examine beliefs and practices through the different lenses of worldviews.

Exploring Worldviews in RE 21st June 2022 9:30am-12:00pm FREE for partnership schools and £60 per delegate for non partnership schools.  Click on the link to book your place.

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.

We are currently developing our training schedule for 2022-2023, if you wish to indicate your church school training needs in advance, please do email the Education Team advising the type of training/support you would like and if it is for school leaders, staff or governors.  

The Mystery of the Trinity - Collective Worship


This Sunday is Trinity Sunday in churches so Mark has taken the theme of the Trinity for our worship for next week.  We use an orthodox  icon of the Trinity to help us reflect upon the mystery of the three in one. Along with exploring the events of Jesus’ baptism,  Mark ends the worship with a simple blessing action prayer that is often used in Messy Church.

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.
Fisherman’s Tail – 4 Front Theatre Company show and workshops  

An opportunity is available for schools who would like to book a workshop on the following available dates:
  • Monday 4th July (all day)
  • Tuesday 12th July (all day)
  • Wednesday 13th July (all day)
Cost for one performance: Usually £450 but ONLY £275 EACH THANKS TO GRANT FUNDING!

For the fishermen who sail on her, the sea of Galilee provides plenty of fish and stories! Local fishermen, Simon, Andrew, James and John have got a tale to beat them all; it involves a fishing competition wherein a strange man appears and blows everyone’s efforts out of the water. With a host of hearty songs and interactive story-telling, Fisherman’s Tail is an enriching and exciting production; a show not to be missed!
The show is a 1 hour long musical production exploring the life and miracles of Jesus from the Fishermen disciples' perspective. It’s a high energy musical, with plenty of audience interaction! We leave you with follow up worksheets (different for KS1 & KS2) so the children can reflect and learn from the production. The show is a recommended resource for the Understanding Christianity RE syllabus for Primary Schools. 
Book now to take advantage of the grant funding. You can also combine these with their workshop day bringing stories to life through drama  for your KS2 classes in the morning and whole school show for the afternoon (£450 for the day).
Find out more at 4front theatre | Home ( or email 
Andrew Teale's Message Continued...
Most of the people I met in the school and its sister school, had come from the UK education system. They were very similar to the teachers at home, just a little more sun kissed. Most stayed for a few years and then returned to the UK, so the cycle of recruitment and staffing organisation was fairly continuous. Apart from the Baker family, I don’t think I met anyone who was an Emirati citizen.

There was clearly a deliberate attempt to replicate or least mirror the UK education experience. Many of the thousands of pupils in the school were children of ex-pats. Qualifications and the inspection system seemed very familiar. There were some differences, of course, all the children learned Arabic at one level or another and as an Islamic country the annual and weekly pattern of worship festivals and the working week was different. School was open on a Sunday, for example. The level of resourcing and facilities was also ever so slightly different from what I had been used to at Pembridge or in Hereford. I found it fascinating that despite the vastly better facilities and what seemed like limitless resources, they were still building a school system which emulated the one I knew so well.
Another OfSTED call has meant I spent an intense few days in a small CE primary school this week. It was Burford’s turn to have a visitation, so I spent time talking with many staff over the two day, section 5. Many count their service of the school in decades not years. The love for the school and the community it serves was abundant. Staff look after each other as well as the children. Children really do love their teachers, one of whom drives from the northern edge of the diocese to Burford every day and wouldn’t have in any other way. Spouses were in full support once again both on site and holding the fort with family logistics. ‘Pick up chips’ was the instruction heard several times on mobile calls (including mine) on the two evenings before the final day. Ex headteacher, local authority and diocesan advisor, Kevin Bryant, took worship in school on Wednesday and the sound of children’s voices, filled the corridors in praise, lifting the spirits of staff and inspectors alike.
“What are you going to write for your bulletin, this week?” asked headteacher Emma Partridge, as the inspection activity began to subside. As I have done many, many times since spending those days at Kings Al-Barsha, I thought about the billion dirham facility on the edges of the desert, that in some respects at least, attempts to replicate what we do here in the Hereford Diocese.
God had other plans for me. A few days after my wife collected me from Birmingham Airport, I received an e-mail politely informing me that I had not been successful. The Teale family were not destined to move the United Arab Emirates, after all (much to the relief of the grandparents).
 I still feel very grateful to Mr Baker and Mr Kevin Stedman, the senior education advisor, who gave me the opportunity to experience such an incredible school and some wonderful people. It has also helped me to more fully appreciate the preciousness of the staff teams and ethos in so many of our schools across the diocese.
Collect for the days after Pentecost
O Lord, from whom all good things come:
grant to us your humble servants,
that by your holy inspiration
we may think those things that are good,
and by your merciful guiding may perform the same;
through our Lord Jesus Christ,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

I do hope everyone enjoyed a jubilant bank holiday weekend with lots of flag waving to celebrate the incredible service of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth. The mood of the nation was obvious when I went to Quarry Farm Butchers (one of the best in Herefordshire) and received my purchase in a Union Jack bag.
Prayers and blessings for the team at Brockton CE Primary who have also had a visit from OfSTED inspectors this week.
Congratulations to Kerrie and the team at St Edward’s CE Primary in Dorrington, whose OfSTED report has been published this week. Since taking on the Executive Headship in 2017 a few weeks after the school had been put into special measures, Kerrie and her staff both at St Edwards and Condover have been working to improve this school with the help of their multi-academy trust. Just before half term, OfSTED judged the school to now be a good school in all areas. Huge congratulations to everyone who have worked so hard for so long to achieve this sparkling result. A few days later, Condover CE Primary was inspected too, and I should be able to share some news on how that went, next week.
Thank you for all you are doing in schools across our beautiful diocese in this final half term of the academic year.
Blessings and best wishes for a restful weekend.
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.

Copyright © 2022 Diocese of Hereford Education Team, All rights reserved.

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp