Another week, another landmark event: the ODBE Annual Headteachers’ Conference. This took place in the delightful surroundings of Eynsham Hall and brought together nearly 100 school leaders from across the diocese. The theme of ‘Looking Beyond’ was both challenging and inspiring as we were invited by several inspirational speakers to think and act in an original and creative manner. With a clear focus on schools having the opportunity to innovate rather than respond, the conference covered areas such as synaptic potential and spirituality in children. The feedback from delegates was both positive and constructive and I was humbled by the positivity in the room throughout the time I was there. Our inspirational morning was capped off by being serenaded by the superb Bartholomew School Jazz Band. We all took time out from the pressures of budgets, SATs and Ofsted to enjoy great speakers and the invaluable opportunity to spend time with colleagues.


Talking of Ofsted, the new handbooks for inspections were launched last week and as expected there are some changes to the original draft consultation documents. Most notably the following:

Inspections for all but the smallest primary schools will now be 2 days in duration and announcements have moved earlier to 10.30 am on the school day before the inspection.

In addition, there will be a phone call with the lead inspector instead of the proposed presence of the lead inspector on site the day before the inspection and this will last for 90 minutes and focus on the school’s context.

We will of course be providing training and support for our schools to prepare for these changes and full details of the new inspection arrangements are found by clicking here.

Finally, this week I can give an update on the work that we are undertaking in partnership with the Department of Mission to re-imagine the relationships between churches and schools. I am delighted to report that we have identified a need for a Church and School Relationships Adviser. This will be advertised next month and we will be interviewing for this exciting new role in July. Watch this space!

Next week is half term, so ‘In-sight’ will take a break for week but will return all being well on 7 June.

‘Till then.