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Starting a new job as the headteacher of a prominent city school midway through a pandemic is not what most would choose – but that’s exactly how things have worked out for Jenny Brown, the new head at Derby Cathedral School.
Jenny, who has worked in education for 22 years, was appointed to the post just before the country went into lockdown, so her first weeks and months in post will be particularly challenging.
Jenny said: “Yes – I have certainly picked my moment, haven’t I! Navigating through Covid will clearly be one of my main challenges as I continue to get to know everyone, but I am determined the pandemic will not stop the school in its aspiration to put quality at the heart of everything we do.
"And that’s not just in terms of academic achievement, but also in life education to set students up for whatever they choose to do next.
“My ambition is for every member of the school community to be the best that they can be and to fully embrace our FAITH values (fellowship, aspiration, integrity, tenacity, humility).
“The challenge is to remain focused on that ambition as the school grows, for everyone to have a clear understanding of the vision of the school and for this to be ‘felt’ and visible to all.
Jenny grew up in Bedfordshire before doing a maths degree at the University of Nottingham and making the city her home.
And she brings with her plenty of experience: “I have worked in Nottingham schools for over twenty years and have had various roles with increasing leadership responsibility.
“I have always taught maths, which is a subject that I dearly love, but have also taught a great deal of PSHCE and led both subjects for a number of years.
“Once I moved into senior leadership, I was asked to move to a school in Special Measures to help support its improvement.
"This was a seminal time in my career and gave me a real thirst for school improvement and development. I truly saw the impact that a school has on its whole community.
“I then moved to take up the headship of a new free school in Nottingham.
“Starting a new school is such a privilege, challenge and a responsibility. Having thoroughly enjoyed this process, I am delighted to bring my experience to Derby Cathedral School.
"The school is a fantastic community that is centered on providing the best possible education for young people.
“My balance of high expectations with focused support will enable the school to continue to grow in this vein.
“As it continues to develop and looks forward to moving to a new, state-of-the-art building, it is an incredibly exciting time for the school, and I am so pleased to be part of it.”
Help us to light up the world!
As part of Thy Kingdom Come 2020, join us in lighting a candle and placing it on a windowsill at 7pm every evening.
This will be your #candleofhope.
At the same time, pray the Lord's prayer.
We'd love to see your pictures of your window candles.
Please share them on social media and use the hashtag #candleofhope
This week (10-16 May) is Christian Aid Week and this year it will be somewhat different.
Churches across the diocese are being invited to stand in solidarity with the world’s most vulnerable people in new and innovative ways.
The coronavirus outbreak threatens the health of our neighbours near and far.
Together we must respond quickly to help the most vulnerable.
Coronavirus has shown us that our futures are bound more tightly together than ever before.
And now it is spreading across the world’s poorest countries, putting people living in poverty at great risk.
These people are already facing a lack of water, food and healthcare.
Some are homeless. Some are living with underlying health issues such as HIV.
As coronavirus infection rates speed up, they will feel the impacts of the virus deeply. We must respond now.
Coronavirus impacts all of us. But love unites us all.
Donations can be made via the website christianaid.org.uk or by telephone on 020 7523 2269.
Virtual prayer and reflections
Daily until Saturday 16 May at 11am
Live daily reflections from Christian Aid staff and partners overseas.
Christian Aid Community online
Daily until Saturday 16 May at 7.30pm
Daily fun quizzes for the whole family.
Hosted by Revd Kate Bottley, Dr Rowan Williams and Giles Fraser.
Put your thinking caps on for a pre-recorded quiz.
The Christian Aid Week website has a wealth of resources including:
Visit the Christian Aid Week website for more information, resources and to get involved.
The Rt Revd Libby Lane, the Bishop of Derby, has made her maiden speech in the House of Lords - and in doing so has become the first bishop to make their maiden speech virtually.
Bishop Libby spoke as part of a debate brought by the Most Revd John Sentamu, the Archbishop of York, on the case for increasing income equality in the light of the recent health emergency (Covid-19).
In her allotted two minutes, Bishop Libby drew particular attention to the disproportionate and detrimental impact income inequality and lack of sustainability has on children and their households.
Bishop Libby said: "In this national time of emergency, we know there is much to be done to respond to every child, to keep all our children and young people safe, to support the mental health and well-being of our children, and to protect children and their families facing increased financial insecurity as a result of this crisis.
"The inequalities that affect the more than 4 million children in poverty in our country run deep and are systemic, so solutions need to be long-term and sustainable.
"When asked about the Kindom of God, Jesus brought among them and said 'Of such is the Kindom of Heaven'.
"I thank your Noble Lords for your patience in hearing my plea that we put children at the heart of our work for a more just and equitable, sustainable society."
Yesterday, the Church of England and the Child Poverty Action Group released a joint report ‘No one knows what the future can hold’, calling for the suspension of the two child limit in Universal credit.
In her speech, Bishop Libby also made reference to the work of The Children's Society and praised diocesan staff, clergy and congregations for their work during the Covid-19 outbreak.
Whilst most pupils are learning from home due to Covid-19 here are some wonderful resources for RE generously shared by NATRE.
Barnabas in Schools is producing an expanding range of resources to support RE in the home in addition to the existing material. Website – https://www.barnabasinschools.org.uk/topics/re-home
Face book page https://www.facebook.com/Barnabas-in-Schools-714825645540620/?modal=admin_todo_tour
From Culham St Gabriel’s Trust: Teach: RE Courses: New Opportunities! We are offering those planning on undertaking Initial Teacher training from Autumn 2020, beginner teachers and all serving teachers two special opportunities until the end of August 2020:
We have launched a FREE self-study module Religion and Worldviews: Developing subject knowledge for teaching. More information is available here.
We are aware teachers may want to undertake just one module of the Teach: RE Tailormade or 60 Hour course rather than undertaking the whole course. We are therefore opening up the course so you can pick just one module of your choice, be tutored through the module and have your work assessed.
The cost for this is just £50. Please register for this here. In addition, our FREE primary introduction course remains available and is particularly suitable for primary beginner teachers, NQTs, HLTAs. More information available here.
If you have any questions or would like to have a conversation please contact email@example.com
You could join the wonderful Lat Blaylock for a webinar on the new REtoday resource Picturing Islam. Go to https://clicks.retoday-email.co.uk/view_online/view_online.php?token2=2snFN2jyrfKb_-Dz8Eb859G4zSsMT1aMt4eNKZjOQoMU6BOYZb-52hqQyKLujJR0n126A4XiN2SOPcldqRVLSg.
The Agreed Syllabus for Derbyshire and Derby City 2020-2025 schools is to be used in all Voluntary Controlled schools. In Voluntary Aided schools it is the responsibility of the governing body to decide on the syllabus for RE. However, the Board of Education recommends that VA schools also follow the Agreed Syllabus. REtoday have kindly shared the additional resource Building Progression through your RE Agreed Syllabus to support good planning.
It is also the expectation that Church schools will adhere to the Church of England Statement of Entitlement for Religious Education.
Each academic year there usually are two RE coordinator’s training sessions. The ones planned for May 2020 will not be happening due to Covid 19.
RE Coordinator’s Folder
This link will take you to documents which you might find helpful in compiling a subject leader’s folder. These are only exemplars or pro-formas and are offered as a way of support.
The Open Centre in Derby can help you arrange a visit to one or more places of worship. They also run a variety of workshops which will support teaching and learning in RE.
Derby Cathedral offer a wide range of educational visits which make for an excellent whole or half day and will enrich your RE curriculum.
REonline is a comprehensive website aimed at teachers and leaders of RE. As well as providing excellent material for professional development, it also acts as a portal to other websites which it deems to be of sufficient good quality.
NATRE (the National Association of Teachers of Religious Education) is the subject teacher association for RE professionals. It works to support those who teach and lead RE. It runs projects, provides teaching material and lobbies on behalf of the subject. In Autumn 2018 NATRE produced a very useful piece of Guidance: dealing with withdrawal from RE.
REQM (RE Quality Mark) is an award which recognises outstanding learning in RE. Several of our schools have achieved awards and have really felt the benefit of having to concentrate their efforts in doing so. Most recently these include Stretton Handley VC Primary and Dinting VA Primary who received a Gold award and St Oswald’s VC Infant who were awarded a silver.
RE and Continuing Professional Development Handbook is a very useful website designed for subject for subject leaders and teachers of RE. It covers nine areas: a short history of RE; religious traditions and beliefs; the RE curriculum; approaches to teaching, learning and assessment in RE; leading and managing, resourcing and planning RE; national policy organisations for RE; researching RE; RE and religious studies and theology; schools of a religious character.
Farmington Scholarships for teachers of RE and headteachers. Each year there are scholarships available for anyone interested in out of school study in an area of their choice but connected to RE and spiritual development.
All governors of Church schools have a responsibility to ensure that the Christian foundation of the school is upheld.
In addition Foundation governors are an important part of a church’s ministry to the school and local community. What is a Foundation Governor? gives an overview of the role.
Church School Governance is a useful booklet for all governors as it sets the task of being a governor in the context of Christian service.
Click here to find out the difference between voluntary aided and voluntary controlled church schools.
We are delighted that for this academic year (2019/20) we can offer a comprehensive governor training package which was put together for DDAT schools which DBE schools can now access.
We are very grateful to Jayne Hadfield for putting this together and for opening it up to all our Church schools.
Please note :
All church schools are inspected under the SIAMS schedule in order to ascertain, ‘How effective is the school’s distinctive Christian vision, established and promoted at all levels, in enabling pupils and adults to flourish.’
Details of training for schools who are expecting their SIAMS inspection in the next couple of years will be posted here once the Covid 19 lockdown is removed.
Under the 2018 SIAMS schedule one overall grade is awarded – excellent, good or ineffective.
In addition a stand alone grade is awarded in all schools for collective worship and in voluntary aided (VA) schools and former VA schools for Religious Education.
This grade is based on teaching and learning alone.
The inspection is funded by the DfE and now runs independently of Ofsted inspections.
If a school was judged to be a good or outstanding (or excellent under the 2018 schedule) church school in its last SIAMS inspection then it will be inspected within five years from the end of the school year of the last Section 48 inspection.
If it was judged to be satisfactory or inadequate (or ineffective under the 2018 schedule) then the next SIAMS inspection will be scheduled three years from the end of the school year in which the school was last subject to a Section 48 inspection.
The inspection has to be carried out by a trained and National Society registered inspector.
The diocesan Board of Education manages the process for schools and holds a list of inspectors. All inspectors carry a Church of England Education Office photo ID badge that confirms their DBS status.
In order to prepare for the inspection each school is expected to ‘ensure that a robust and continuous (Church school) self-evaluation is in place’.
This document is offered by the Church of England Education Office as a model which may be used, but schools are free to carry out their Church school audit/self-evaluation however they feel its appropriate for them.
This could be in the form of a mind-map, spider diagram, charts etc.
Some examples of these will be shown here later this term.
There is also now a separate form to be filled in to make the case for excellence.
Finally, there is a SIAMS reflection form which, if schools choose to use it, could best be used as an ongoing audit tool to share with governors, keeping them informed of progress in the school.
Here is a checklist to help ensure that your school celebrates on your website its Christian foundation and how it impacts on every aspect of school life.
Each year a summary of the inspections is compiled and presented to the Board of Education.
It may be useful for those schools waiting to be inspected to have a look at the strengths and weaknesses that were prominent.
The Church of England Education Office has produced a very useful book helping schools to think about spiritual development.
Various contributors offer different approaches with practical ways the they are applied in school.
Please go here to download a copy.
In October 2014 the Church of England Education Office produced a document called “Working Together – The Future of Rural Church of England Schools”. This document looked at the large numbers of small schools in rural settings who are facing tough challenges in the ever changing education landscape.
One of the solutions to some of these challenges was for small schools to work together in both formal and informal collaborations, so that resources and best practice can be shared to maximise school improvement and impact. This, in itself, is a challenge as the nature of the schools mean that they are sometimes in remote locations. There seemed to be a need for some sort of financial planning tool that would enable small schools to take a strategic approach to their future.
Drb Limited was asked to work with the Academy Adviser to look at producing a “Small Schools Planning Tool” which could be used by groups of small schools to model their budgets and funding to establish if working collaboratively or joining together as a Multi Academy Trust (MAT) would be sustainable for them.
Planning and modelling tool (June 2016)
Planning tool guidance (June 2016)