First this week, I must apologise for the absence of an In-sight blog last week. I wish that I could claim that it was down to a multiplicity of school visits however, if anything it was the reverse. My usual ‘blog time’ was spent in the mist of rural Hertfordshire at our diocesan conference at High Leigh. The theme of the three days of our time together centred around how we are being challenged to ‘Put Out into Deep Water’, to explore unchartered territory and push beyond our usual comfort zones with all the hazards and rewards that this brings. This unique event in beautiful settings and with a real sense of fellowship provided me with the chance to take stock before the deep plunge into the next three years of our strategic development. To this end, we have written to the headteachers of all our 283 church schools to seek their views on their relationship with the Diocesan Board of Education on what we do well and we could do better. I am grateful to those colleagues who have taken the time to respond thus far. Their perspective is really helpful in shaping how we serve our schools and communities and I would encourage and welcome the contributions from all headteachers.

One of the key aspects of our development of ODBE has been ensuring that we have the key leadership structure and people in place. With this in mind, I am delighted to report that in the last two weeks we have appointed a new Deputy Director of Education (DDDE) to lead the quality and delivery of our support to schools. Frances Bartlett, who has worked as one our advisers and more latterly one of our principal advisers, will be taking up the post of DDDE from September. She brings exceptional experience, skills and vision and will complement the existing Strategic Leadership Team. Please be assured that we will be in contact with all schools to update you with any changes to your Link Adviser.

Finally, for this week, I am delighted to report that, together with our colleagues in the Department of Mission, we are working on re-imagining the relationships between schools and their churches and parishes. This work is critical if we are to grow faith in our churches, schools and households. I will have more news in seven days’ time.

‘Till next week.