Headteachers – book now for the leadership course “every head needs”


TIME is running out for headteachers to book onto a taster session for a course that gives them the chance to step back, further develop personal resilience and explore their leadership skills.

The event takes place on January 19 at the Wantage Convent and gives heads the chance to consider whether they would benefit from joining the 2018/19 Performance, Resilience and Support Programme.

Far from being a simple quiet day or retreat, the afternoon taster event provides a summary of the programme on offer with an opportunity to ask questions and provides a taster of the full course.  The full course offers a safe context to explore the successes and challenges of headship and supports heads in their own development and in their work of leading teams effectively to provide the best for the pupils in their care.

Christine Price-Smith, our diocesan school link adviser oversees the various programmes currently on offer to support headteacher well-being and professional practice. She says: “The diocese is completely committed to providing this as continuing professional development for our head teachers. Those who are already involved in the programmes are finding significant value in them and some are well into their fourth year.”

Feedback from headteachers who are currently involved  has been positive with one experienced head stating: “It’s what every head needs.” Another said: “I think this course should be compulsory for headteachers for their wellbeing.”

If you are a headteacher at a primary school in the Oxford Diocese who is interesting in this course, please contact christine.price-smith@oxford.anglican.org

Children enjoy reading on a new library with a difference

, ,

CHRISTMAS came early for staff and pupils at St Laurence’s CE School in Warborough as their new library with a difference was literally driven into the school grounds.

The wheels on this bus don’t go round but it does provide a great library for children from St Laurence’s CE School, Warborough. Photo: Jo Duckles

Children enjoy reading their favourite books on the new bus library at St Laurence’s CE School, Warborough.

Previously, a large bookshelf in the multi-purpose hall at the village school in Oxfordshire was hidden behind the stage. It was the only library facility.

Now pupils are excited as they board the brightly decorated bus, which has been decked out with bean bags, to read their favourite books.

“It gives us a new learning space as well,” says Nic Cooper, the headteacher, who spearheaded a fundraising campaign to buy the bus. “The Parents and Friends Association went out to the community to leaflet drop every house, asking people to buy a share in the bus. The fundraising really took off, everyone put their hearts and souls into it.”

Pupils are already enjoying the bus. Libby, nine, said: “I like it because it is bright and colourful.” Libby says she enjoys reading Jacqueline Wilson books because of the comedy in them.

Taylor, eight, says: “I like that you can come here and enjoy reading.” Arthur, eight, added: “I just think it’s great and different that our new library is a bus.” Arthur says his favourite books are the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series.

Refurbished buses are proving a popular way of increasing learning spaces at CE schools. In April 2016 the Door reported on a new library rolling into St Francis CE School in Oxford: www.oxford.anglican.org/watch-new-library-bus-roll-st-francis-ce-school-oxford/

In October 2015 a learning zone on wheels was driven into Earley St Peter CE School in Berskhire. Watch a video here https://www.oxford.anglican.org/learningbus/

Has your school found an innovative way to create a new library, gym or learning space? Contact Jo Duckles on jo.duckles@oxford.anglican.org or 01865 208227.

Diocesan schools trust continues to grow


PICTURED are business managers from 25 of the Oxford Diocesan Schools Trust schools. These included managers from Dr Radcliffe’s CE School in Islip and South Moreton Community School.

The photo was taken at a summer training day at Oxford’s Kassam Stadium. David Locke, the chief operating officer for ODST, said: “The school business managers and support staff at the schools are a talented group of individuals who are essential to the continued progress and sustainable development of our family of schools.” Since the training day Kidmore End CE School and Deddington CE School have joined ODST, taking the total number of schools in the trust to 27. Celebration ceremonies will take place at the schools that have recently joined the trust in September.

On the Money – schools


AS central government funding is squeezed, the range of services the Oxford Diocesan Board of Education provides for the 285 church schools it serves is becoming even more vital.
Just one per cent of money collected from parish share is used to fund ODBE and that funding is used to enhance the educational experience of thousands of children across the Thames Valley.

Fiona Craig, Acting Diocesan Director of Education, said: “We are working with clergy and parishes far more than we have ever done before. The DBE team is continuing to support our church schools to improve experiences for pupils. Local churches also have a real role to play in supporting their schools and where this works well schools are hugely appreciative of it. As more schools are becoming academies there is a real chance for churches to get together and employ chaplains and think about other support services.”

Types of church schools

OF THE church schools in the Diocese of Oxford, 62 are academies, 92 are Voluntary Aided (VA) and 131 are Voluntary Controlled (VC). VA and VC are still maintained by the local authority but with VA there is a greater church influence. Academies are independent state schools ultimately accountable to the Secretary of State.

For more click here.

Year Six pupils enjoy “Love Is”

ALMOST 400 Year Six pupils from church schools across the diocese enjoyed the annual “Love is” days of crafts, music and drama.

The event culminated in services at Greyfriars in Reading, Christ Church Cathedral in Oxford and Dorchester Abbey.

Children get creative making banners reflecting the four ‘loves’

For a full selection of photos and a video click here.

Church funds still helping as Bodicote school celebrates half a century

AT BISHOP Loveday CE Academy in Bodicote, a fund set up by the village church helps the school provide an excellent education for pupils.

Bishop Colin unveils a plaque at a new building at Bodicote’s Bishop Loveday Academy. He is pictured with Henry Blencowe, left, and Jane Ridley, right. Photo by Jo Duckles.

The fund was set up by the PCC of St John the Baptist, when the school, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, was built. It invites gifts from parishioners for “financing the new school and subsequent improvements.”

Jane Ridley, the headteacher, explained that among other projects, the fund pays for the Service Level Agreement with the Oxford Diocesan Board of Education. “It also pays more widely for the advancement of education within the parish,” she added.

One example is Achieve Maths, a resource that enables Year Six pupils to do maths online at home. “They can watch a little video clip of a teacher explaining how to do an exercise they may have done at school,” said Jane. “They do a quiz and take a test. Teachers and parents can easily see their progress.”

She explained how this is really useful when children are poorly. “One girl was off for three days. She was recovering but because she had been sick she couldn’t come back to school for 48 hours. I suggested to her mum that as long as the girl was up to it, they could watch it together and do the project and the test. It meant she wouldn’t fall behind.”

The school is considering investing in a similar resource for grammar and punctuation. At the end of the summer term the Rt Revd Colin Fletcher attended a special 50th anniversary assembly. He unveiled a plaque naming a new building after Henry Blencowe, a former chair of governors who is still involved in the life of the school. Bishop Loveday CE School recently became an academy by joining the Warriner Multi Academy Trust.


“Outstanding” Church schools awarded plaques to celebrate their success


MORE than 24 ‘Outstanding’ Church primary schools have received special plaques to recognise their hard work.

The schools were all deemed ‘Outstanding’ by the Statutory Inspection of Anglican and Methodist Schools (SIAMS). To celebrate, the Education Team at the Diocese of Oxford ran a competition, calling on church school pupils to design an ‘Outstanding SIAMS’ logo and a plaque. SIAMS manager for the diocese, Lesley Turville, arranged the competition and a SIAMS Outstanding Awards Ceremony.

The plaques were presented by the Bishop of Dorchester, the Rt Revd Colin Fletcher. They were funded by the Bayne Benefaction, which exists to support clergy and schools in the Diocese of Oxford. The benefaction’s trustees are the Dean of Christ Church, the Bishop of Oxford, and the Archdeacons of Berkshire, Buckingham and Oxford.

Schools that have so far been awarded plaques are; Binfield; Finmere; Tackley; Mortimer St Mary’s; Abingdon St Nicolas’s; Shiplake; North Leigh; Shellingford; Holy Trinity, Cookham; Earley St Peter’s;, Hazlemere; Wroxton; The Batt, Witney; Lewknor; Amersham St Mary’s; Great Kimble; Cookham Dean; Bloxham; Ashbury; Monks Risborough; Brimpton; and Maidenhead, St Luke’s. 


Congratulations to Churchmead’s James


CONGRATULATIONS to James Copley (right), a Year 12 student from Churchmead CE School in Datchet, Berkshire. He is one of 150 students selected from a pool of 1,000 from across the UK who has won a place on the Sutton Trust US Programme.

James Copley from Churchmead CE School in Datchet

He will attend a summer programme at one of America’s top universities with a view to taking a scholarship to study there when he completes his A Levels. Participants receive intensive support, delivered by the US-UK Fulbright Commission over a number of months. This covers admission tests, college choices and help with applications.

Bloxham CE School blossoms with success


BLOXHAM CE Primary School is celebrating a string of national awards and the opening of its new Cherry Tree Centre for families with children under five.

First, an OFSTED inspection found the school good, saying it had a “warm, open and supportive culture that enables staff and pupils to develop confidence and succeed in their work.”  Then, less than a fortnight later, the school heard the results of the Statutory Inspection of Anglican and Methodist Schools (SIAMS) which said: “Bloxham is an inclusive school, with a highly developed Christian ethos, which ensures rapid progress in learning by all pupils.”

Not long after this, headteacher Matthew Ingall was recognised as a ‘National Leader in Education’ under a Government scheme where the best school leaders and their teams offer support to other schools. And then at the end of March the school was awarded ‘Artsmark Gold’ which celebrates schools that champion the arts and strive for excellence in their provision.
Finally, the new Cherry Tree Centre opened, replacing the Butterfly Children’s Centre which was closed following Government cuts earlier in the year. It offers play sessions on Mondays and

Wednesdays from 9.30-11am for families with children aged five and under, with lots of toys, a baby area and arts and crafts activities. These achievements follow on from the school’s excellent SATs results in 2016 and previous years which show that Bloxham Primary is consistently in the top 10 per cent of schools in the country.

Headteacher, Matthew Ingall, said: “We have so much to be thankful for here at Bloxham Primary School. We wouldn’t have been able to open our new Cherry Tree Centre without the support of our local parish councils, for example. I’d like to thank and congratulate everyone involved with the school, not least our wonderful children and staff for all their hard work and commitment.”

“The next big goal, apart from all our usual academic, music, sports and arts activities, is our very own Festival in the playground, for music and fun on Saturday 17th June from 2pm to 9pm.”

Eco classroom kickstarts school expansion


by Jo Duckles

WORK on an innovative, modular eco-classroom as part of a plan to expand an ‘outstanding’ church school in Oxfordshire is well underway.

From left, Tom Fry, Building Surveyor for the Oxford Diocesan Board of Education, Darren Pace, David Waters, Kerry Cook, Sam King, headteacher, Terry Morris and some children at the start of the building work. Photo: St Peter’s Alvescot.

Terry Morris recently joined the children to dig the first foundations of the new classroom. Terry attended the school as a young boy, as did his father, son and grandson. St Peter’s CE Infant School in Alvescot only caters for children aged four to seven. Under the expansion plans, St Peter’s will become a full primary school, with pupils staying until they are 11 and ready to move up to secondary education. The school currently has 58 pupils from Alvescot and the surrounding villages and towns.

As an infant school, in the past children have had to leave St Peter’s when they are seven and have transferred to many different schools. This means that after three years in school, pupils “may be split from key friends, and the support and security that they provide, as they move on to their new school,” the report states. This can also mean that two siblings can end up at different schools, making life complicated for families.

The school, which has been ranked as ‘outstanding’ by OFSTED for the last decade, will be transformed into a full primary school, with four classes over the next four years. The school’s admission number will rise from 75 to 105 in the plans, which will be funded by the school and the Oxford Diocesan Schools Trust (ODST)
The report added: “Admission numbers over the past 10 years demonstrate the school’s ongoing appeal to local families who value the school’s ethos, their commitment to the individual child and the importance placed on developing a love of learning.”

Sam King, headteacher, said: “This is a very exciting time for St Peter’s as we prepare to become a primary school. We are delighted that the building work has begun on our new classroom and that we will be able to provide our children with the opportunity to remain at St Peter’s for all their primary years.”

From Cookham to Ethiopia


A PARTNERSHIP between Holy Trinity CE School in Cookham and the Gende Tesfa School in Ethiopia is going from strength to strength.

Children from Ethiopia celebrate the link with Cookham. Photo: Caroline Field.

Recently two initiatives have been launched for the charity Partners For Change Ethiopia. Over Lent children were encouraged to donate pennies for the Breakfast Club at Gende Tesfa. A Spring Clean for Ethiopia saw 281kgs of clothes handed in, which raised £112.40.

The link between Holy Trinity School in Cookham and Gende Tesfa School was initially set up two years ago by PFC Ethiopia Ambassador Sarah Parfitt whose sons Joshua and Jack attend the school. Sarah first visited the community of Gende Tesfa in March 2015 and returned in November 2016. Since then the school, Holy Trinity Church, Cookham Methodist Church and individuals have organised 14 fundraisers and raised over £14,000. A #woman2woman2017 campaign was launched by PFC Ethiopia on International Women’s Day. Sarah says: “The idea is to offer small business training and a recyclable loan to all the parents of the children at Gende Tesfa Breakfast Club. A donation of £100 funds a woman’s small business training and gives her a recyclable loan.”

If you are interested in becoming an ambassador, please contact Pete Jones on pete@pfcethiopia.org or call 07506 445515.

Praise from Ofsted for St Christopher’s CE School, Cowley

, ,

Children ‘can’t wait to come to school in the morning’

IMPROVEMENTS at St Christopher’s CE School in Oxford have been praised by Ofsted inspectors.

The inspectors, who visited the school in January, rated it as Good in all areas. The report stated: “The Headteacher’s vision and dedication has transformed the school. She has made sure pupils’ welfare and safety is the top priority and raised aspirations among staff of what pupils can achieve. As a result pupils are happy, keen learners who, as one parent said, ‘can’t wait to come to school in the morning’.”

The inspectors praised the curriculum, stating: “Pupils enjoy a wide variety of lessons taught by specialists, including Spanish, computing and art. Pupils further hone their literacy and numeracy skills across the whole curriculum; l

Children enjoy the trim trail outdoor play area at St Christopher’s.

eaders place an emphasis on ‘real life’ problem solving to develop skills of independence and leadership and to help prepare pupils for their next stages of education.”

Teaching and learning were praised, as well as personal development, behaviour and the welfare of children. The report stated: “Pupils from all backgrounds thrive in this inclusive school. The vast majority of pupils are confident, self-aware, and are happy to talk to adults about their school and their learning.”

Inspectors stated: “Pupils’ confidence and resilience is further developed through attending the forest school. Here pupils actively engage in activities such as rope-walking, learning to ask for help when they need it and to talk about their experiences positively. Leaders are now making sure that those pupils who need to, transfer these skills to the classroom.”

Sheenagh Broadbent, the Headteacher, said: “This is such a great outcome for our school which reflects on the all the hard work of my talented staff team over the last few years. Our children are just fabulous and I’m so pleased that the inspectors could see how much they all enjoy coming to school and being part of one large family here.”