As promised, we are back following the half term break and embracing the challenges of a busy week both nationally and locally. On a national and indeed global level, I was struck by the divergent and contrasting reactions to two events in the last few days. In the early part of the week there was a distinct polarity as to how Donald Trump’s visit to the UK was received. This was reflected in both the political and media sphere. Compare this then with how the commemorations of the 75th anniversary was reported and the public outpouring of respect for what took place across the channel three quarters of a century ago. The events of 6th June 1944, and the marking of its anniversary, brought to mind the quote from the late Jo Cox MP, “We are far more united and have far more in common than that which divides us.”

On a school specific note, I was privileged to be able to visit two contrasting but wonderful Church of England Schools. On Tuesday, I took part in a governance review at Padbury Church of England Primary School. This was part of the school effectiveness support provided to the school by the Oxford Diocesan Bucks Schools Trust. It also provided me with the opportunity to meet the headteacher, Lucy McFarlane and see how the school is enabling its pupils to ‘Aspire, Achieve and Grow Together’. Ranelagh School in Bracknell Forest was the venue for my second school visit of the week. In the company of Beverley Stevens, the headteacher I was fortunate to witness how the school’s unique atmosphere develops confident, resilient and independent learners.

Finally, with the maxim that we are all learners in my mind I am pleased to be able to use the commercial slot in this week’s blog to highlight two excellent development opportunities:

The Church of England Professional Qualification for Headship is open to aspiring headteachers for the next cohort starting in Spring 2020. This is delivered in seven centres across the country with the possibility that a centre in the Oxford diocese may be available in the near future. Further details can be found here.

Finally, I have just been informed of a fantastic opportunity for a teacher secondment to become a Farmington Scholar at University Church Oxford. This is a unique position that strengthens the link between churches and schools. An aspect that we as a diocesan board of education are deeply committed to. Further details can be found here.

‘Till next week,
Tony