Even more Church schools celebrate ‘Outstanding’ success


ANOTHER 28 of our Church schools have been awarded special plaques to celebrate being classified as Outstanding by SIAMS. Read more

Tree planting to celebrate “Outstanding” SIAMS


A SPECIAL collective worship was followed by a tree-planting at Kirtlington CE School in Oxfordshire recently.

The event was held to celebrate the school being ranked as “Outstanding” following a Statutory Inspection of Anglican and Methodist Schools (SIAMS).

“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. 


Our ‘Outstanding’ church schools


AS well as facing mainstream Ofsted inspections, the Diocese’s 284 church schools have their Christian distinctiveness assessed by the Statutory Inspection of Anglican and Methodist Schools. Here, some of those classed as Outstanding by SIAMS tell their stories. 

A café  and a procession pave the way

by Frank Venables.

Bishop Colin visits Shrivenham.

Bishop Colin visits Shrivenham.

AN inspector from SIAMS raised Shrivenham’s rating from Satisfactory to Outstanding following an inspection last December.
The result was a tribute to five years’ inspiration from head teacher Vicky Sammon, and hard work from her staff, governors and helpers. The inspector rated the school as ‘Outstanding’ in all four areas of assessment: distinctiveness and effectiveness as a Church of England school, meeting the needs of all learners through its distinctive Christian character, impact of collective worship on the school community, and effectiveness of its leadership and management as a church school.
Two initiatives that impressed the inspector were a Holy Week procession and Café Inspire. The Holy Week procession began at St Andrew’s Church, and processed through the village with children enacting the Easter story.
In a Tweet, the actor Michael Sheen sent the school a good luck message: “Great to hear you were inspired by the Passion Play we did in Port Talbot. Hope the weather is on your side but be ready to go with whatever happens. I wish you the best with your performance. Always try to keep the reason you’re doing it in focus.”

Café Inspire

Café Inspire is a joint outreach project of St Andrew’s and the Methodist Church in Shrivenham. It meets in Shrivenham CE School hall on the second Saturday of each month except August. The hall is set up with tables, seating, craft and play areas, catering and newspapers. Drinks, cakes and bacon butties are all offered. There is a ‘Thought for the Day’/’God Slot’ and the organising team comprises Anglican, Methodists and Baptists. Café Inspire started in 2010 and has grown until now the hall is full to bursting every time. The initiative raises funds for a young boy’s education in Uganda.
Some young families have been drawn into Sunday congregations, a fundraising evening with Fiona Castle was a great success, and our sixth birthday this year was celebrated with a Tea Party Sunday Service in the school hall in April, and a coach trip to the seaside in a 100-seater double-decker bus in June.
Following the SIAMs inspection, Bishop Colin also visited us in June.

Frank Venables is the Diocesan Foundation Governor at Shrivenham CE Primary School.

Delight as Great Horwood moves from ‘Satisfactory’ to ‘Outstanding’

by Paula Shaw

STAFF, students and Governors at Great Horwood CE School were delighted to be judged as Outstanding in their recent SIAMS inspection in May. It was the perfect opportunity for everyone to demonstrate the commitment and the high value we place on being a Church of England school.

The banner at Great Horwood CE School.

The banner at Great Horwood CE School.

At the end of a long and exhausting day we were able to celebrate our huge achievement of moving from being Satisfactory to Outstanding. All the children and staff were amazing and keen to show the inspector that our school values of love, perseverance and respect, rooted in the biblical teachings of Jesus, are lived out in our daily lives. The inspection was a rewarding and positive experience and we appreciated the recognition that “We are a nurturing and inclusive Christian environment in a welcoming and worshipping community, meeting the needs of all our children and families.”

Great Horwood School has a strong Christian vision. This vision is shared by the community and everyone at St James’s church, alongside the Oxford Diocese which has played a major role in supporting the school in its spiritual journey during the last five years.

Paula Shaw is the headteachter at Great Horwood CE School, near Milton Keynes.




‘Hard work and determination’

by Susan Calvert

LAST year was quite a challenge as I was executive Headteacher of both Braywood CE First School and The Royal School, Windsor, which were both expecting SIAMS inspections. I am delighted to have achieved ‘outstanding’ for both schools.

Braywood has been working hard to maintain its Outstanding SIAMS from five years ago. Our main initiative was to challenge our worship leaders to lead our collective worship. It has been fascinating to watch how these young children have strengthened their skills and risen to the task.

At the Royal School, although we had been judged as ‘requires improvement’ by Ofsted in December 2014, when I started working with the school in September 2015 it became very clear that the spiritual guidance and pastoral growth of the children was extremely strong. The children are a real credit to the school and our success was down to them and the impression they delivered to our SIAMs inspector.  I am very proud of the hard work and determination of the staff, governors, children and parents at both schools.

A beacon of faith

HELEN Ball, Headteacher of Polehampton CE School in Twyford was delighted when the school received its third Outstanding SIAMs result in March. She said: “Polehampton holds its church school status in high regard; we are always keen to ensure that the spiritual life of the school is given top priority in time and space so our community can flourish.

“Our children love learning about our Christian values and make real links between the values and their daily lives. We benefit from the fantastic support of Revd Simon Howard and our church team. One of our favourite quotes from the inspection report reads… ‘The strong partnership of the school and church is a beacon of faith, hope and love in the local community.’

“The report inspires us to continue with this important work, to make our school Outstanding every day, for our whole community.”


“An excellent example” in Frieth

Staff and pupils celebrating their Outstanding SIAMS report at Frieth CE School.

Staff and pupils celebrating their Outstanding SIAMS report at Frieth CE School.

PICTURED right are staff and students at Frieth CofE School, which was rated Outstanding by a SIAMS inspector in April. As part of the inspection, parents, pupils and staff were all anonymously canvassed for their opinion.

Pupils said: “I like learning about things I don’t know yet” (Yr 1 pupil). “It’s good to learn. Everyone is helpful” (Yr 2 pupil) “I like this school because it is all very friendly and we all have collective worship (assembly) together” (Yr 4 pupil)  Pupils said: “I like learning about things I don’t know yet” (Yr 1 pupil). “It’s good to learn. Everyone is helpful” (Yr 2 pupil) “I like this school because it is all very friendly and we all have collective worship (assembly) together” (Yr 4 pupil)

Comments from the parents included: “The school is an excellent example of an educational establishment nurturing children both academically and morally.” Another parent said: “Our experience as parents is that Frieth is a very spiritual, nurturing and inclusive school, and we consider ourselves exceptionally lucky that our children have been to and continue to attend the school.”
The Headteacher, Jo Reid said: “We are absolutely delighted that the inspection recognised the outstanding learning, progress, behaviour and spiritual development of our pupils, as well as the dedication, fantastic teaching and spiritual guidance given by every member of the staff team. The support provided by the Governing body and the Church is instrumental in enabling us to provide an excellent school community for our parents and families. This is an incredibly proud day for Frieth CofE. School.”

“Together we Succeed” in Knowl Hill

by Nichole Bourner

WE WERE inspected by SIAMS in February 2016 and were delighted to have received an outstanding grade in all areas. We became an Academy within a newly formed Multi Academy Trust in September 2014 under new leadership with Isabel Cooke as Executive Principal and Nichole Bourner as the Head of School.

Since then, the school has been on a spiritual journey developing our Christian distinctiveness and building our links with the Church and local community. We are very lucky to be located next door to St Peter’s Church and regularly worship there, inviting parents and the community to join us. Christian values are at the heart of Knowl Hill CE Academy and these are most clearly seen through the behaviour and attitudes of our bright, confident, thoughtful and caring pupils. The SIAMS process was very positive and our inspector Jacquie Coles really captured the flavour of our Church school and Christian understanding of our motto ‘Together we succeed.’

Praise for the Piggott

by Derren Gray

I AM very pleased that the inspectors concluded that “The distinctiveness and effectiveness of The Piggott School as a Church of England school are Outstanding.” The report is available on our school website some highlights include:

• Achievement is significantly above floor standards. Floor standards are the minimum achievement standards set by the Government. (77% 5A*-C including English and Maths) and progress is outstanding.
• Christian love (agape) is the cornerstone of the school which leads to a meaningful and effective education for all pupils, particularly for those who are vulnerable. The values are lived out by all, and the Christian ethos now lies at the heart of strategic planning.”
• The effectiveness of the leadership and management of the school as a church school is outstanding.
• The school, through its distinctive Christian character, is outstanding at meeting the needs of all learners.

My sincere thanks to all who contributed to this outstanding grade. It truly reflects our Christian Values of Respect, Honesty, Dedication, Equality, Courage and Love.

Derren Gray is the Headteacher at The Piggott CE Academy in Wargrave, Berkshire.

Buckland’s “inspirational learning environment”

by Louise Warren

Archdeacon Judy at the Summer House at Buckland CE School.

Archdeacon Judy at the Summer House at Buckland CE School.

OUR SIAMS took place in January and we were delighted that the Christian ethos we have nurtured was recognised as having a significant impact on both the achievement and personal development of our learners.
The report stated: “Buckland CE Primary School creates an inspirational learning environment which successfully embodies ‘small, school, big hearts, encouraging outstanding learning’, firmly built upon upholding Christian values daily.” As we don’t have space inside our small school, our prayer space is in our summer house within our school house garden. This special place was blessed by the Ven. Judy French, the Archdeacon of Dorchester, in February 2016.

Louise Warren is the Headteacher at Buckland CE Primary School.


Thirsty to learn at Queen Anne’s in Windsor

WE are a small school on the edge of the Long Walk in Windsor, writes Headteacher, Judith Street. Because our Christian values are embedded in our behaviour expectations across the school, pupil attitudes and behaviour are excellent, with pupils self-assured, confident, happy and thirsty to learn.
Recognising that the majority of our children are White British and Christian, we actively plan opportunities to deepen their understanding of Christianity, to widen the children’s understanding of other cultures, to promote British Values and prevent radicalisation and extremism.

Recognising that the majority of our children are White British and Christian, we actively plan opportunities to deepen their understanding of Christianity, to widen the children’s understanding of other cultures, to promote British Values and prevent radicalisation and extremism.

We undertake a whole-school diversity focus each year which has included topics such as India, Windsor and Beyond, Families, Elderly People and ethnicity through International Day. As a result, our children are able to debate and discuss, challenge stereotypes and celebrate similarities and differences

Our annual International Day reinforces the diverse nature of our own school’s population. It raises the profile of other cultures and faiths throughout the school. The children not only learn about diverse cultures, but understand more about the customs of their classmates, which in turn fosters understanding and harmony and reduces conflict.

We were delighted when our SIAMS inspection recognised that as a result of the combination of annual events, and enrichment opportunities, our children gain a good understanding of the similarities and differences of their own and others’ faith, culture, values and beliefs.

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.”

Churchmead School celebrates success

by Jo Duckles

THE new school term saw celebrations at Churchmead CofE School in Datchet, Berkshire as major improvements were praised by both Ofsted and SIAMS inspectors.

Chris Tomes with staff, upils and officials from Churchmead along with Cllr Eileen Quick, the Mayor of the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead. Photo: The Windsor, Ascot and Eton Express

Chris Tomes with staff, pupils and officials from Churchmead along with Cllr Eileen Quick, the Mayor of the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead. Photo: The Windsor, Ascot and Eton Express.

The leadership of Chris Tomes, who became headteacher in 2013 after the school had been plunged into special measures, was highlighted in the Ofsted report published in January. Their comments were echoed in a similar Statutory Inspection of Anglican and Methodist Schools (SIAMS) report, also published last month.

“It’s the first time in 17 years Churchmead has been classified as ‘good’ by Ofsted,” said Mr Tomes. “Both of these reports are real accolades for the school. It was a highlight of my career to share that outcome with the students and talk to them about how they made an impact on both inspections.” The Ofsted report stated: “The headteacher is passionate about wanting the very best outcomes for all pupils in the school. His clear leadership has led to rapid improvements in all aspects of the school’s work since the previous inspection.

Later in the report they said: “Pupils value the respect that they are shown and the many opportunities to get involved in the life of the school. They enthusiastically embrace, and recognise how they benefit from, taking on leadership roles within the school community, such as: heads of house; membership of the school council; leaders of literacy; student wordsmith; student poet laureate and sports ambassadors. Some older pupils take on the role of blue guardian angels to mentor and support younger ones.”

Similarly, the SIAMS report stated: “Every student is valued as a child whom God nurtures, and this is demonstrated through the emphasis on emotional wellbeing, including the Blue Guardian Angels scheme, and strategies to improve attendance.”

Chair of Governors, Steve Buckeridge, who is also one of the leaders at the Datchet Gospel Chapel, said: “This is such an answer to prayer and a real credit to Chris and his team. The atmosphere as you walk around is wonderful. There are students from such diverse backgrounds, and 45 different languages are spoken, and yet the Christian ethos runs through such a diverse group. We have really appreciated the support we have had from the diocese as we have worked for these improvements.”

And what do students enjoy about their school? Preet, from Year 10, said: “The Churchmead values allow us to become a community and we consider our school to be like a family.” Liam said: “I like how the school has changed in the few years I have been here. It is more comfortable and I feel safer.” Daniel added: “I like to come and learn more. I really like art, drama, PE and maths.”

Former Diocesan Education Advisor Eddie Carmichael was the chairman of the Interim Executive Board, which was set up to support Churchmead as it worked to improve. Eddie said he was thrilled and elated but not surprised by the Ofsted and SIAMS inspectors findings.

“At every stage in the school’s recent journey from inadequate to good, it has been Mr Tomes’s quite unassuming but inspirational servant leadership, determination and high personal standards that have driven the school forward.” Mr Tomes said the next goal is to become classified as “outstanding” in all areas by Ofsted. He said: “It’s been an incredible journey and one that everyone at Churchmead should feel proud of.”

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.

John Henry Newman Academy aims for excellence.

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Children enjoy silent reading outdoors at John Henry Newman Academy. Photo: Jo Duckles.

Children enjoy silent reading outdoors at John Henry Newman Academy. Photo: Jo Duckles.

OFSTED inspectors have noted major improvements at Oxford’s John Henry Newman Academy.

Their report, published just weeks after official Church schools inspectors praised the diocesan academy, has given head teacher Jackie Ranger and her team encouragement that they are on the right track. Despite the school being classified as ‘requiring improvement’ the inspectors noted the following strengths:

• Children make good progress in the Early Years Foundation Stage

• There are good relationships between adults and pupils throughout the school

• Pupils spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is promoted well

• Improvements to pupils’ behaviour are helping them to make the most of learning opportunities

• The academy trust and governors play a key role in holding leaders to account

John Henry Newman was the first primary school to become a member of the Oxford Diocesan Schools Trust. The trust is working hard with leaders at the school to pave the way for major improvements.

Andrew Bevan, Chair of Governors, said: “We believe that our pupils deserve the best possible opportunities to maximise their potential. I am pleased that the inspectors have acknowledged the improvements in behaviour which show that pupils are also committed to making the most of the opportunity JHN offers. There is a good partnership between pupils, parents and carers, the staff, governors and Oxford Diocesan Schools Trust, which the report recognises. This provides a sound basis for continuing improvement with the inspirational leadership of the Principal, Jackie Ranger.”

Mrs Ranger said: “I am extremely proud to be the Principal of John Henry Newman Academy. We (pupils, parents, staff, local community partners, Governors, Diocese) are a formidable team who recognise that the pursuit of excellence not only takes time but hard work, love and courage from our whole school community. Our dedication, determination and commitment will ensure that we accomplish our vision of excellence.”

The report was published following an extremely positive inspection from the Statutory Inspection of Anglican and Methodist Schools, the Church version of OFSTED.

The report praised Mrs Ranger for her “Christian vision and commitment, despite challenging circumstances, resulting in strong, inspirational leadership.”

After school clubs, including Samba drumming and cheer leading, as well as a Good to BE Green initiatives were praised. The Revd Margreet Armitstead, the Vicar of St Mary and St Nicholas Church in Littlemore, was praised for leading regular worship in the school.

Fiona Craig, Deputy Education Director (School Improvement) said: “It has been an absolute privilege for the trust to work with a great team of committed staff and governers who have transformed the culture of the school into a place where all stakeholders are valued, expectations are high and pupils are cared for and nurtured to help them be the very best they can be. We now have the foundations to move the school forward in terms of academic achievements.”

Anne Davey, Director of Education for the Diocese of Oxford, said: “The governors and ODST are very proud of the progress that pupils in JHN are making and the people they are becoming.

“We are delighted that everyone’s hard work has been recognised and we will continue to work closely with the school to help it develop further. We believe in the power of the Littlemore community to give its children the best chance to succeed in life and to therefore be able to make a difference to the lives of others. We are thrilled that this report acknowledges the school’s role in this.”

Mrs Ranger said the next steps were to raise standards in reading, writing and maths.

The school, Oxford Brookes and the Diocese are co-writing a leadership course for all teachers which focusses on improving teaching and learning and rising standards across the school. She said a parent partnership worker will be helping ensure parents are also equipped to support their children in the learning they do at home.