School children get ready to run

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CHILDREN from the Hendreds CE School in Oxfordshire are gearing up for their annual cross country running event with regular 10-minute runs during the school day.
The school is following in the running steps of St Ninian’s Primary School in Stirling, which has made national headlines with its ‘daily mile’ in which children put down their pencils and run a mile every day. The running is proven to help with fitness, concentration and prevent obesity.

At the Hendreds, the running is done on top of a varied PE curriculum that includes judo and gymnastics. Chris Savage, who teaches years four and five, said: “We have been running November cross country running events on the land of a local farmer who has two children at the school. He clears any animals off the field and we get sponsorship every year,” says Chris. “We feel we are building a mental toughness in the children through the regular running. Although it’s only a mile, that can feel a long way if you are seven or eight. Regular running makes them more robust and in terms of fitness, it will be interesting to see the results of our cross country this year.”

The children are called to run just before or just after break, so the exercise does not interfere with lessons and to complete a mile, they must run 9.5 laps of the football pitch.  The Hendredsforweb“We get them to run as far as they can within the 10 minutes and they record their own distance and see if they can better themselves. It’s a determined approach where they are all trying their hardest and the main thing is they are all up for it.”

Welcome to the Oxford Diocesan Schools Trust


THE two latest additions to the Oxford Diocesan Schools Trust (ODST) are North Leigh CE Primary School (right) and Bampton CE Primary School (below). Photos: David Cousins. 
NorthLeigh Bamptonforweb

Heading back to school

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The start of the new term means a fresh start for the thousands of children returning to classrooms in the 284 Church of England schools in the Diocese of Oxford. The Door focuses on some of the fun – and more serious elements of life in our schools. 

Anne Davey

Anne Davey

by Anne Davey

For all connected with schools, September brings a new start as we return, hopefully refreshed and energetic after the summer break. Small four-year-olds in school uniforms slightly too large for them stand nervously at the school gate, clutching the hand of a trusted adult. Outwardly confident 11-year-olds stroll independently into secondary schools, probably not giving that same adult a backward glance as they rush to the bus, but probably feeling just as nervous inside. There will also be approximately 50 new headteachers in schools in this diocese, and hundreds of other new teachers and school staff.

Those who work out of Diocesan Church House for the Board of Education and our multi academy trust, the Oxford Diocesan Schools Trust (ODST), are, by now, well used to change. Since I was appointed four years ago, we have recruited 25 new staff to the central team, mostly to new posts. We have moved from a dual system of the church working alongside local authorities – a system which has prevailed since 1870 – to take control of education coming through academy companies.
The May 2015 election result makes it clear that this change is permanent. This represents a considerable opportunity for the Church, since those we appoint are now accountable for schools’ academic effectiveness and financial stability, as well as their Christian character. This also presents considerable risk. If we value our church schools, we need to secure them, in this new world where statute no longer protects us and where we can no longer rely on our historical educational contribution to secure our place in the market-led future.

Now more than ever, we have to be excellent. We run our academies directly, using local church members, parents, and others as trustees who must ensure all pupils make good progress. In these times of increasing financial austerity, they also have to achieve more, with less. School governors and academy trustees now need to be outward-facing, business-minded, effective drivers for change. Quite simply, being accountable means we have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to run our schools directly. But if we do not run them effectively, the opportunity may be given to others instead. The central education team has undergone an immense period of change to be ready for this. We need every church community which has a school in it to join us in the mission to secure our schools as effective church schools within this changing world.

Peace and quiet at children’s retreat

by Diana Bagshaw

ON the hottest day of the year 13 children from the Sulhampstead and Upton Nervet CE Primary School were treated to the first peace and quiet themed retreat day organised by St Mary’s Church.
The youngsters walked across fields to St Mary’s Church, Sulhampstead, pausing for drinks of water and a tour of St Michael’s churchyard at Sulhamstead Bannister, given by the Revd Anthony Peabody.
At St Mary’s, a variety of activities were offered including a relaxation exercise in the peace of the churchyard, Bible readings, a tour of the church and churchyard, drawing/designing a window, writing poems and quiet reading.
About 20 people shared lunch in the Parish Room and the children served the adults. The retreat finished with prayers in church and each child was given a book of the parish history recently written by David Pearse. It is hoped the day will be repeated next year.

A slice of Army life for Grove pupils

ON Friday 10 July the pupils and staff of Grove CE Primary School joined the Army for the day. Groveforweb

The aim was to learn about the skills needed in the Army and to involve families of children at the school who are based at Dalton Barracks, Abingdon. The day began with flag making and each team proudly displayed their colours as they visited the seven different activity stalls throughout the day. The most popular activities were a drill session on the playground, tasting army rations and a bean bag grenade range.





A neolithic trip to Waylands SmithyWaylands Smithyforweb

CHILDREN from St Peter’s CE Infants, Alvescot in Oxfordshire recently visited Wayland’s Smithy, a Neolithic site near the Uffington White Horse, and wrote about their adventures:
“When we arrived at Wayland’s Smithy we met a man called Andy with his dog and he told us a legend about a Blacksmith and some treasure. After hearing the story we searched for treasure in holes in the stones. We found lots!
“We put the treasure back and walked to White Horse Hill where we had a picnic, watched the trains and flew kites. Mr Wise wasn’t very good at flying the kite at first but then Mrs Honour helped him to fly it! Then we got back on the coach and went to Court Hill, where we had a drink, a snack and played in the woods.
“In the evening, we had a delicious dinner. We then went for a walk with Keith where we found fossils and saw a Roe Deer with its baby! Back at Court Hill we collected sticks to make a camp fire and toasted marshmallows. We were all very tired, so then had hot chocolate, a bedtime story and went to bed. We all had a fantastic time!”



Seventh year of improvements at Slough and Eton

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Posted on 20.8.2015

SLOUGH and Eton Church of England Business and Enterprise College can reveal its seventh year of improvements as 62 per cent of GCSE students got five A* to C grades, including English and maths.

That marks an increase of five per cent from last year. The school can also reveal that it 99 per cent of its pupils got five A* to G grades, with 100 per cent gaining 4 A* to Gs.

Paul McAteer, the head teacher, said “ This is the seventh year in a row that our results have improved and this would not have been possible without such a tremendously dedicated staff that give so much to help every pupil achieve the best they can.

“Every pupil matters to us and this means that every pupil has made enormous progress, regardless of what level they came to us with. Every pupil got qualifications that will help them move on to the next stage of their lives and become even more successful in the future. Girls do particularly well at Slough and Eton and our A* and A grades have gone up this year by 18 per cent.”

Paul added: “One boy, Moin, is blind and has completed five years at Slough and Eton, taking a very full part in school life, achieving five GCSEs grades and now going on to college. He is a very special young man and we wish him the very best for the future.”




Record breaking results at Churchmead School

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Amina Ghafoor & Jasmine Joanes, students at Churchmead CE School, celebrate their GCSE results in August 2015.

Posted on 20.8.2015

STANDARDS at Churchmead Church of England School in Datchet, Berkshire, have risen significantly this year breaking all previous records with 57 per cent of students achieving five A*- C grades including English and Maths. The best ever results for Churchmead School.  Students also achieved 67 per cent five A*- C GCSE grades. The number of students achieving the top grades of A and A* also continues to rise

Aidan Ward and Scott Palmer-Elder celebrate their GCSE results.

Aidan Ward and Scott Palmer-Elder celebrate their GCSE results.

Commenting on the results Chris Tomes, Headteacher at Churchmead School said “I would like to congratulate our students on achieving record breaking results. I wish them well as they move onto their sixth form studies. I would also like to thank their teachers and parents for the commitment they have shown in raising the aspirations of our students.”

Special mention must go to five students who each gained 10 or more GCSE’s with a number at A*-A:  Jasmine Joanes; Churchmead School’s Head Girl, Denise Loeri Fernandez; Courtney Gamble; Joseph Buckland and Jasvir Nandra.  Jasmine Joanes achieved nine GCSE grades at A*- A; Denisa Loeri Fernandez achieved six GCSEs at A*-A grade and Courtney Gamble achieved five GCSEs at A*-A.

Results across a number of subjects have performed exceptionally well.  English, Maths and Science as well as the creative arts subjects of Media, Photography and Art continue to be very successful subjects for students at the school.  Ebacc subjects, Geography and French also did particularly well and there has also be a significant improvement in RE and Statistics.

Chris Tomes added “I am delighted with our results and the transformation that is taking place at Churchmead School. I look forward in confidence to our results next year, which we are planning to be another record breaking year.”

David Cameron opens the new community room at Great Rollright CE Primary School

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PUPILS, staff, parents and members of the local community were all delighted to welcome The Prime Minister to Great Rollright Primary School on Friday 3 July. David Cameron  was there to open a new community room recently completed and funded entirely by the school. The new room is a classroom during the school day and then available as a community resource at other times.Cameronforweb

Anne Hewett, co-headteacher, commented: “We were delighted to welcome Mr Cameron. We are very proud of the way in which the whole school community has supported our fundraising efforts. The local village community have also been very generous. We needed a full size fourth teaching area and sadly there was no external funding available. We waited for two years before we decided we must raise the money ourselves. We are thrilled with the new room – it is so much larger and is really light and airy.”

After greeting the two head teachers, Mr Cameron visited all the children in their classrooms before moving outside to cut the ribbon and officially open the new building. He commented that the ideas of ‘The Big Society’ were reflected in the way the school and the local community has worked so successfully together.

Retreat day for school children in Sulhmapstead

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by Diana Bagshaw

ON the hottest day of the year 13 children from the Sulhamstead and Upton Nervet CE Primary School were treated to the first peace and quiet themed retreat day organised by St Mary’s Church.

The youngsters walked across fields to St Mary’s Church, Sulhamstead, pausing for drinks of water and a tour of St Michael’s churchyard at Sulhamstead Bannister, given by the Revd Anthony Peabody.  At St Mary’s, a variety of activities were offered including a relaxation exercise in the peace of the churchyard, Bible readings, a tour of the church and churchyard, drawing/designing a window, writing poems and quiet reading. About 20 people shared lunch in the Parish Room and the children served the adults. The retreat finished with prayers in church and each child was given a book of the parish history recently written by David Pearse.

The children behaved really well throughout the day and are a credit to the school. It is hoped that the day will be repeated next year.


Love Is service at Greyfriars, Reading

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CHILDREN from Church schools across Reading took part in craft activities, singing and drama, at the annual Love Is service for Year Six pupils at Greyfriars Church, Reading. The event culminated in a service in the church on Wednesday 8 July. Services have also taken place at Christ Church Cathedral in Oxford and in Bucklebury. IMG_8540 IMG_8548 IMG_8563 IMG_8628 IMG_8648 IMG_8673

Church school children raise £1,000 for Oxfam

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CHILDREN from St Edburg’s Church of England Primary School in Bicester visited Oxfam’s humanitarian warehouse to present the charity with a cheque for £1,000.St Edburg's photoforweb

The children, aged five to 11 raised the money for the charity’s Nepal appeal following the earthquakes in April and May. After hearing of the disaster in a school assembly, the school pupil council met and talked about how they could help. They decided that every class would hold its own event to fundraise, ranging from sponsored silences to triathlons. The school is attended by just 150 children and this is the largest amount the school has fundraised to date.

Head Teacher Margaret Kunzer said “After the first earthquake, we talked to the children about what had happened in our assembly. The children then talked about it and told us that they wanted to raise money and help. Our school often discusses how everyone can make a difference and it’s wonderful that the children took this message on board and led the way on the fundraising”.

Oxfam and its partners are working in seven of the worst-hit districts in Nepal. So far the charity has helped more than 270,000 people and is aiming to reach 400,000 by the end of August. As well as distributing tarpaulins, hygiene kits, food and clean water, it has been supporting farmers to sow new crops for the coming year.

St Edburg’s pupil Alfie, aged 10 said: “We all worked as hard as possible to raise the most money we could because we really wanted to show our support and help as much as possible.”
The children presented their giant cheque to Jon Hanson, Oxfam Finance Officer who is about to travel to Nepal. He spoke to the children about how their money will be spent and showed them the water and sanitation equipment in the warehouse that would be send out in an emergency.

Lisa Rutherford, UK Regional Media Manager said “I was in Nepal after the earthquake and saw first-hand how donations enabled Oxfam to provide clean water, hygiene kits, tarpaulins, emergency toilets and food assistance to people who were forced to live in camps after their homes were destroyed. It’s wonderful that the children have raised money to help people and we are really grateful for all their fundraising efforts”.

Headteachers challenged to feed the 55,000

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Children for web

Year Five Pupils from Woodstock CE Primary School


The Rt Revd Stephen Conway

Headteachers were given a welcome day away from their busy school schedules at their annual diocesan conference in June.
Feeding the 55,000: Mission Impossible was the theme of the day, which aimed to empower and inspire headteachers in their work. There are 55,000 pupils in the 284 church schools in Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Buckinghamshire.
Year Five children from Woodstock CE Primary School told the story of the Feeding of the Five Thousand before talks were given by Dr Peter Shaw, who has worked in several Government departments and written many books on leadership. Peter spoke on leadership, humility, handling power and decision making.
The Rt Revd Stephen Conway, the Bishop of Ely, who has taken over from Bishop John as the Church of England’s lead bishop for education in the House of Lords, and the Chair of the National Society Council which supports the CofE’s work in education, also spoke, on church schools for all and for the whole person.
Bishop Stephen encouraged headteachers, talking of the way church schools are not places where children are brainwashed, but encouraged to flourish and where it is perfectly normal to embrace and investigate the spiritual as well as the cognitive and emotional in their development. “We are proactively open communities in which all children are welcome from all faith backgrounds and no faith background. I have found myself talking to Imams who rather than have state Muslim community schools, say they want Church schools they can send their children to. We do not run faith schools in the Church of England but church schools for everybody.”
Bishop Stephen said the National Society is working on a new vision statement that encapsulates what the CofE stands for in terms of its work in education.
The event ended with a Eucharist, at which the Rt Revd Alan Wilson, Bishop of Buckingham and the Chair of the Oxford Diocesan Board of Education, presided.

Retiring schools advisor, Jo Fageant, who has worked in the Diocese for more than 17 years, was presented with a book on knitting, flowers and a handbag as retirement gifts.

Jo Duckles


School celebrates £25,000 award

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IT is not every day a headteacher learns their school has won £25,000 as the South East finalists in a national competition. Which is why Wendy Heritage is so proud of her team at St Andrew’s Primary School, Chinnor, after they were presented with the cash after winning the region’s Department For Education/TES Pupil Premium Awards scheme.

Wendy Heritage with Nina Hussain Nick Clegg and David Laws

Wendy Heritage, second from right, is presented with the award. Photo: TES


“It’s wonderful, we have just been so excited about it,” says Wendy. “You don’t normally get money like that and it shows how hard the staff have worked to improve the life chances of our children. Perseverance is one of our Christian values. We are always looking to improve and try that bit harder.

“The award came about because the Department for Education recognised that in Key Stage Two our pupil premium children had made very good progress.” Wendy was presented with the award at a ceremony in London. “We were the only school in Oxfordshire and the only Church of England School to win,” she said.

Pupil Premiums are additional funding to help close the gap between disadvantaged children and their peers. The Pupil Premium Awards are a prize given to schools that have used the pupil premiums wisely to achieve this. Wendy said: “We have won this by putting interventions in place over and above the first class quality teaching these children were getting in the classroom.” Interventions have included one-to-one sessions with children who were behind, and extra lessons both after and before school. “One of the most important was early morning interventions. Our teaching assistants start at 8.30am and identify children who work with them until 9am in groups of about four, doing writing, reading and maths.”

Wendy and her team are still working out what to do with the money. “Children like to use iPads so we may purchase tablets for a pupil premium homework club,” she said. “Also we are looking at creating a cooking area that can be used not only in curriculum time but after school for healthy eating or an outdoor classroom which would really benefit our children.”