Double praise for Hailey CE School

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INSPECTORS from both Ofsted and the Statutory Inspection of Anglican and Methodist Schools (SIAMS) praised the efforts of staff at Hailey CE School, in West Oxfordshire.

Ofsted inspectors judged the school to be ‘firmly good’ and highlighted many strengths including good pupil progress, strong leadership, good quality of teaching, excellent pupil behaviour and highly effective safeguarding.

SIAMS judged the school to be outstanding commending its vision and drive and for the cultural development of its pupils as well as the strong, supportive and caring relationships between all members of the school community, based on the school’s values of love and tolerance.

Debbie Davies, head teacher, said: “At Hailey School we instil strong moral values in our children, helping them develop confidence and independence as well as becoming kind and respectful individuals. This is balanced with a requirement for consistently high teaching standards and excellent academic progress for every child.”

Bishop blesses new banners at Great Horwood

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greathorwoodforweb2THE Bishop of Buckingham, the Rt Revd Alan Wilson blesses banners at Great Horwood CE School. He is pictured above with the Vicar, the Revd Andrew Lightbown. One of the new banners is draped over the piano and the other will be marched between the school and the church when the children attend services.

James Watt, the Deputy Head teacher said: “The banners were designed by our pupils in a competition we ran between Lent and Easter and our church warden and foundation governors produced them.”

Leafield’s Sue retires after 35 years

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Sue Philcox as she retires after 35 years at Leafield.

OVER 35 years Sue Philcox has worked with eight headteachers and around 3,000 children at Leafield CE Primary School.

So it was no surprise that the Church was packed for her retirement party, where the lunchtime supervisor and teaching assistant was presented with a book of memories from children, families and staff past and present, flowers, cards and a substantial quantity of garden centre vouchers.

Sue began volunteering at the school in 1981 when her children were pupils. She became a lunchtime supervisor in 1987 and a learning support assistant in 1993. Until her retirement she also ran one of the school’s breakfast club sessions. She has also run cooking clubs and helped on the schools residential trips.

Christian McGuinness, headteacher, said: “It has been my absolute privilege to work with Sue. Her care and commitment for the children of our school is outstanding.”

Jamie, a Year 6 pupil said: “Mrs Philcox has been a wonderful teaching assistant through my years at Leafield. She is always so kind and has a golden heart”
Deb Brown, school business manager, said: “Sue is the kindest, most thoughtful person you could wish to meet, always thinking of the children and others before herself. Every school needs a Mrs Philcox. She will be dearly missed.”

Reflecting on the Queen in Bicester

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The children gathered in the Royal Round for the prayer space reflections.

CHILDREN reflected on the Queen’s Christian faith during a special Faith Day at St Edburg’s CE Primary School in Bicester.

Pupils from Chesterton and Launton CE Schools were part of the day and the theme was taken from the Bible Society’s The Servant Queen and the King She Serves.
The children used extracts from the Queen’s speeches to reflect and consider her faith and how she has fulfilled the promises made at her Coronation. The children had time in the school’s Prayer Space to think and pray about others who need our help, for world peace, and looking after our ‘neighbours’. They worked together to make a long string of bunting covered in flags of different nations which was used at the Churches Together Support for Refugees stall at Bicester’s Big Lunch.

The activity day, which included a special service led by Revd Verena Breed and a tea party, enabled the children to meet others ready for the transition into secondary school.
Margaret Kunzer, head teacher at St Edburg’s CE said, “The day was a great success because it gave the children an opportunity to be together for a spiritual experience. Often in schools there are opportunities to do joint sports or music activities so it was good to take time to think about faith – especially as our children move on to secondary school.”

New Church led schools trust aims to work for excellence in education in Reading

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A PARTNERSHIP between an ‘outstanding’ Church school and its neighbour that had previously been judged by Ofsted as failing led to the formation of a new Multi Academy Trust.

When New Town Primary School in Reading was placed in special measures by Ofsted, the local authority asked for support from St John’s CE Primary School, which is nearby. Angharad Brackstone, the Headteacher of St John’s, became Executive Headteacher of both schools. She led a joint staff-team which has worked to see St John’s remain outstanding while New Town is now out of special measures and is continuing to improve. The leadership of New Town school was judged good at its recent inspection.

The success of the partnership has spearheaded the launch of the brand new Royal County of Berkshire Schools Trust. The new trust, with strong links to the Diocese of Oxford, (the Church of England for Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Buckinghamshire) launches today.

It is based on the successful model of the Oxford Diocesan Schools Trust (ODST) which launched in 2012 and now boasts 18 schools. Like them, RCBST will help schools pool resources to provide the best possible education to pupils. It will also continue to secure some support services from Reading Borough Council and to draw on the expertise and experience at the Oxford Diocesan Board of Education which is responsible for more than 284 Church schools serving a total of 60,000 pupils.

Anne Davey, Diocesan Director of Education, said: “We were delighted to see the success of the joint working between these two schools in Reading. We hope this is the start of another successful Multi Academy Trust that will help us to offer an excellent, inclusive education to more children of all faiths and none.”

David Langshaw, Chair of Governors, said: “This is really good news for both schools as it allows us to continue working together to provide a great education for the children in our neighbourhood. Our partnership has shown that we work very well together and we are looking forward to continuing with this work.”

Angharad said: “Becoming part of RCBST is great news for our community. It will enable our schools to go from strength to strength allowing the partnership between New Town and St John’s to continue to develop and flourish.”




Children ‘clip the church’ in Steventon

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Watch children revive the ancient tradition of clipping the church at St Michael and All Angel’s, Steventon.

Thy Kingdom Come for children in Hanborough

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CHILDREN from Hanborough Manor CE Primary School joined members of the church in Hanborough to respond to the Archbishops’ call to prayer in the week leading up to Pentecost.

School children from years three to six visited Christ Church, Long Hanborough throughout Friday 13 May, using 10 imaginative prayer stations themed ‘Thy will be done’.  Prayer stations ranged from washing hands and thinking and praying about washing the bad things away in our lives; to using mirrors to recognise how we are made in God’s image; to weaving prayers on a loom.  Several children asked if they could ‘stay all day’, and several of the children came back to a station on silent prayer because they enjoyed the ‘peace’.  The Revd David Tyler said: “We work very closely with our local church school, and were delighted that they could come and join us in our response to the Archbishops’ call.  The children really enjoyed the prayers stations and there was a lovely peaceful atmosphere throughout the day as the children joined us”. The Revd Sue Spankie said:  “We enjoyed the opportunity for the children to have significant conversations as they used the prayer stations.IMG_0697 IMG_0709 IMG_0715 IMG_0718


Watch tree planting at Oxfordshire’s newest Church school building

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ALMOST 1,600 homes, a sports pavillion and playing fields, a hotel, more schools and a host of other developments and facilities were still being built when St Edburg’s CofE School opened its super-modern new building on the Kingsmere Estate in Bicester. Hear from the head teacher and watch the tree planting ceremony here:

Bishop Alan in conversation with Lord Carlile



CHURCH school head teachers and governors were invited to listen to the Rt Revd Alan Wilson, Chair of the Diocesan Board of Education in conversation with Lord Carlile.

Lord Carlile, in his role as overseer of terrorism legislation, led the drafting of the 2011 ‘Prevent’ strategy, which gave rise to the ‘British values’ agenda. The impact this agenda will have on schools was addressed during the meeting, which was part of the RIGHT Programme, the Diocese of Oxford’s development network for Chairs of Governors of our Church Schools. The programme offers members the chance to meet together to discuss and share good practice (through Sharing Events) while also hearing from and debating with key thinkers and leaders of today’s educational landscape (through Thinking Events). Full details are available here.  

Bishop Alan in conversation  with Lord Carlile. Photo: Alex Baker Photography.

Bishop Alan in conversation with Lord Carlile. Photo: Alex Baker Photography.

The Christingle is making a difference in Adderbury

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SINCE the Church of England’s Children’s Society first introduced the Christingle service, it has helped to raise millions of pounds to change the stories of children at risk or living in poverty. One project it raises funds for is the Oxford Project, which provides a range of services for newly arrived refugee, asylum seeker and new migrant minors in Oxfordshire. Boy with Christingle

At the Christopher Rawlings CE School in Adderbury, the Christingle event is arranged along with the Adderbury Committee and the Children’s Society. The Christingle takes place at St Mary’s Church on a Friday evening in December. At an assembly a few weeks before hand, the meaning of Christingle is discussed with pupils. Committee members source the materials and visit the school on the morning of the day of the service, where they run a Christingle Workshop with Year three pupils.

Teacher, Ruth Peverill, said “The children thoroughly enjoy the opportunity to work alongside the adults to create the Christingles, and are empowered due to their full involvement in the project. Working with the adults from The Children’s Society helps them to deepen their understanding around the significance of each element of the Christingle and what it represents. During the morning, the children also gain the opportunity to develop their hosting skills, preparing and serving refreshments to their visitors.”

Having made the Christingles, the children are keen to attend the beautiful candlelit service in the early evening, along with other children from the school, their parents and siblings, and the wider community. The children bring their collection box candles containing donations to the service at St Mary’s and receive a Christingle as part of the service.

Headteacher Phil Goldsworthy added “Our school values are Compassion, Peace and Service, and the workshop fits nicely with service, allowing the children to think about how their involvement with preparing the Christingles and hosting and working with our guests is making a difference.”

The Children’s Society website has more details of how you can get involved with Christingle, or you can call their Society Supporter Care team on 0300 3030 555.
Rachel Brockie is the Regional Fundraising Manager for The Children’s Society. She is on: on Tel: 01367 241273 Email:

Top marks for The Blake School

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A CHURCH of England Primary school that recently signed up to the Oxford Diocesan Schools Trust (ODST) has been classed as ‘Outstanding’ by national inspectors.Narniaforweb

The Blake Church of England Primary School in Witney was praised in the recent National Society Statutory Inspection of Anglican Methodist Schools report. Inspectors noted: “The school has productive links with a school in Nigeria and the multi-cultural Christ The Sower School in Milton Keynes. These links give pupils a personalised understanding of diversity and a genuine empathy.

“Governors are skilled at strategic direction exemplified by the careful way in which the Academy process was undertaken and the joining of the ODST to secure the school’s long term interests.”

They also noted the strong links between the school and St Mary’s, Cogges. They added: “The astute parish priest makes a commendable contribution to this church school pastorally and in governance. The school also makes good use of visitors such as the Prime Minister and the Bishop of Dorchester to enhance pupils’ appreciation of others and their place in the world.”

Right is the school’s version of Narnia as Year Five studies The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Photo: The Blake CE School.

A girls’ football festival

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by Jess Barker
IN October, thirteen Year 5 and 6 girls from Wheatley CE Primary Academy took part in an FA Girls’ Football Festival along with many other schools around Oxfordshire. The girls took part in a wide variety of activities including refereeing workshops, freestyle skills sessions, reaction games, goalkeeping and football skills training, as well as having their hair braided, getting the school logo face painted on and of course, playing matches. girls footieforweb

The girls did really well in the matches, especially considering that many hadn’t played much or any football before, and won three out of their four matches. We also got the opportunity to meet and do a Q & A session with Oxford Women’s Super League players Kayleigh Hines and Kat Nutman, as well as getting autographs and having a selfie taken with them.
Jess Barker is the PE Co-ordinator at Wheatley CE Primary Academy.