Budding legal eagles from Berkshire become national champions

, ,

YOUNGSTERS from a Church school in Berkshire have been named as the national champions in this year’s Mock Trial Competition.

Second school governor conference at the River and Rowing Museum


THE second annual diocesan School Governor’s Conference takes place at the Henley River and Rowing Museum next month.

Speakers will include Sarah Hubbard from HMI, Jane Martin, psychologist and Mark A’ Bear from NLG. The evening will also see governors who have completed the two-year Excellence in Governance programme presented with plaques.

The conference takes place on Tuesday 10 July, 6.30-9.30pm. To book email donna.finlay@oxford.anglican.org or call 01865 208272.

Reading, writing, arithmetic and Religious Education


RELIGIOUS Education is regularly in the news. National reports have highlighted the difficulties with RE and religious literacy in wider society writes ANNE ANDREWS.

Read more

Goring CE School pupils on song at annual Headteachers’ Service

, ,

CHILDREN from Goring CE Primary School provided the choir for the Annual Service for Headteachers and Governors at Christ Church Cathedral.

Light was the theme for the event, which attracted hard working headteachers and school governors from Church schools across Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Buckinghamshire. The Rt Revd Steven Croft, the Bishop of Oxford, preached and presided, with readings and prayers done by the diocesan schools team and heads and governors.

Headteachers, governors and schools staff enjoy worship at Oxford’s Christ Church Cathedral.

Young musicians from Goring CE Primary School played during the service.

Jeanette Millward, headteacher at St Peter’s, CE Primary School, Cassington, reads the intercessions.

Children from Goring CE Primary School provide the worship.


Shine Winslow shine

, ,

‘Let your light shine’ is the new message being shared at Winslow CE School. The Rt Revd Alan Wilson, the Bishop of Buckingham, spoke on that theme at a special service attended by pupils, staff, and parents. The choir of St Laurence Church led by Derry French, their music director, joined in.

A competition saw 350 pupils design art work on that theme. The winners, Maisie from year five and Florence from year four, had their designs turned into bookmarks, produced by the nearby Waddesdon CE School. Special thanks were given to Waddesdon, a nearby secondary school and to the Revd Andrew Lightbown, who set up a chaplaincy from St Laurence Church to fund the bookmarks and support the school.

Cazz Colmer, head teacher said: “We are a school that is rated good by Ofsted and our inclusive Christian ethos welcomes all children aged three to 11. Each child is unique, reflecting some of God’s light every day in what they do and on those they meet. Each one will find excitement, discovery, warmth and friendship here in the glow of that light. These bookmark designs are just one example of our pupils flourishing as individuals and engaging with each other. Such light dispels all kinds of darkness, bringing clarity, hope and purpose to our school and to the local community”

Caption: Back from left, Derry French, Bishop Alan, Andrew Lightbown and Cazz Colmer. From are Alice, Rowan, Florence, Maisie, Darcy and Harry.

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

School children celebrate St Frideswide

, ,

A BERKSHIRE primary school and staff at Christ Church Cathedral teamed up to conduct a pilgrimage to celebrate the life of Oxford’s patron saint.

Yattendon CE Primary School suspends its teaching timetable one day per year to celebrate the life of a remarkable Anglo Saxon princess who fled to Oxford to escape the attention of Algar, the pagan king of Mercia.

Princess Frideswide healed many people and a well from the legend, which was reputed to have healing properties, is near to Yattendon and is the pilgrimage destination.
To celebrate the patronal festival each class spent the morning on creative activities inspired by the saint and were joined by history expert Ruth Buckley and Christ Church Cathedral Education Officer Jackie Holderness.

The younger children acted out the story of the princess’ adventures, while Years 3 and 4 played a game, which involved the children reading short extracts from the saint’s legend, written in verse. In the Cathedral, Edward Burne-Jones’ window tells the story in stained glass and the children had to match a laminated picture of the window to each verse.
The older children performed a group drama about the life of St Frideswide. After lunch the whole school gathered for the pilgrimage to the holy well for a service.

Jackie said: “While history and tradition are important, the story of Frideswide seems to resonate with the Yattendon children primarily as an example of witness. The children seem to appreciate her example of trust in God, to whom she had dedicated her life.

“They are also very aware of Frideswide’s compassion and kindness, courage and determination, and her desire for a contemplative and prayerful life.”

Photo: Children enjoy circle dancing during the day’s activities (Christ Church, Oxford)

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

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.