News and Updates Issue 7 19/20
In this edition:
  • A message to you from Canon Richard, Diocesan Director of Education
  • National SIAMS Update
  • Letter from Revd Nigel Genders, Chief Education Officer, Church of England
  • Religious Education
  • Collective Worship
  • Adviser Visits
  • Partnership between Churches and Schools
  • September Training Offer
  • A message to you from Bishop Helen-Ann
One Thursday evening, deep in lockdown, as we clapped for the NHS, I said loudly to neighbours ‘and the others on the frontline, especially the teachers' . I thought about the many of you who bravely and selflessly were trekking into school to support those children who needed to be there and in that moment I prayed for you all. A hymn came into my head, the one sung to the Dam Busters tune, with the words taken from Psalm 46: ‘God is our strength and refuge, our present help in trouble, and we therefore will not fear, though the Earth should change. Be still and know your Creator, uplift Him in the nations, God the Lord of hosts is with us evermore.’ I hoped you would all know something of God’s presence, His strength, refuge and sustaining love in these troubling times.  

On behalf of the diocese, the Board of Education and the Education Team I offer my thanks and admiration for all that has continued to take place in our schools, academies and multi-academy trusts. We know this same message of thanks has been sent from our local authorities, our MAT CEOs and even the DfE. We add our thanks to theirs for all the amazing work to get us to the end of the most challenging academic year I have ever experienced in 32 years in education.  

We know there are still more challenges to come and certainly more DfE briefings. But now it is time to rest, to put things down, to stop. It is essential that everyone from caretakers and cleaners, teaching assistants, administrators, to teachers, leaders and managers makes some time to recharge and refresh. We are aware that local authorities are going to desist from sending communications to schools and the DBE will do the same. There are a few final messages below, perhaps the most important one being about SIAMS for next year.  

In conclusion I return to some of those words from Psalm 46, ‘Be still and know your creator’. We know so many of you are worn out and for some there is sorrow and anguish as you have seen and continue to see loved ones, friends and colleagues suffer as a result of the virus. We will pray that the summer will be a time of healing, of emerging and restoring. May your summer be all you need it to be and in the stillness - up a mountain, in the dales, by a lake, in a garden and even down the pub, we pray you know something of the Creator’s presence.  

Thank you, take care, stay safe and God bless you.  

Canon Richard
We are now able to update you on a number of things, including SIAMS. There are also a number of statutory implications for Church schools following the latest DfE guidance and we hope that the following summary will be helpful. Remember we are here to support you and there will be someone available from the Education Team throughout the summer.   
As you know, inspections have been suspended during this time and we have been awaiting further clarification about SIAMS for the new school year. Below is the text of a letter from Nigel Genders, the Church of England’s Chief Education Officer, which outlines the current position until at least January 2021. You can also access the letter  here.   We will update you further in the Autumn Term when we hear more. In the meantime, your named adviser will continue to work with you to celebrate and develop your vision and distinctiveness as a Church school, which supports your community each and every day and not just for inspection. 
To all Church of England Schools Headteachers and Governing Bodies   

Section 48 – SIAMS Inspection Autumn 2020   
Thank you for all that you have been doing in these challenging times to enable pupils to continue to access education which is so vital for their wellbeing and future. We know that the complexity of the challenge is huge and that you are working tirelessly for the benefit of your pupils, staff and communities.   
This note is particularly concerned with denominational inspection under s.48 otherwise known as SIAMS.   
The obligation for schools with a religious character to ensure that they have a s.48 inspection is currently disapplied as part of the Coronavirus Act and accompanying legislation. Guidance issued by DfE to schools about September 20 explains how Ofsted will be expecting to operate as schools fully open in September. Whilst Ofsted have the flexibility to ‘inspect’ in a different way under s.8 there is no equivalent for s.48 inspection and so inspection under s.48 cannot be reintroduced until the disapplication is lifted, which will happen at the same time as s.5 inspections are reintroduced for Ofsted. Currently this is expected to be January 2021, but it may have to be later and that will be reviewed during the course of the Autumn 20 term and a final decision will be made by the DfE towards the end of this calendar year.   
This means that there  will definitely be no s.48 SIAMS inspections for the remainder of 2020  and we will be in touch in the Autumn term once we are clear about how the scheduling of inspections will happen in 2021 to enable us to catch-up with inspections for schools that will have missed their inspection between March 20 and January 21 and also rework our scheduling timetable for the future.   
Please be assured that we will be working both nationally and at a local diocesan level to ensure that the reintroduction of SIAMS will happen in a timely way that enables schools to continue to focus on the many challenges and complexities that you will face as schools, underpinned by our commitment to ensuring that the Christian character and ethos of our schools continues to promote our vision for education which seeks the flourishing of all.   

Yours with warmest greeting   

Revd Nigel Genders   
Chief Education Officer  
Religious Education
Following some enquiries about RE we restate the following: the law, which requires that all pupils in all schools are taught RE, unless they are withdrawn by their parents, has not changed and RE is mentioned specifically in the guidance in reference to ensuring a broad and balanced curriculum.  RE is a core subject in a Church school and we advise that all Church schools should ensure that RE continues to be provided in a way similar to the provision of other core subjects. Not to do so is likely to put the school trustees in breach of trust.  Schools are allowed to make some short-term modification to the curriculum and whilst this may influence the breadth of RE for a short time, it should not mean RE is removed from the curriculum.  In KS4, in  exceptional circumstances  and only if it is the best interests of pupil, a subject can be ‘ discontinued ’. However, Church schools need to be aware of their obligations under their trust deed and the legal requirement to provide core RE for all pupils on roll would remain. The Diocesan Education Team are available to advise schools about decisions for their particular context.  
Collective Worship
The legal position of collective worship remains unchanged, hence we advise that all Church schools ensure that there continues to be an act of collective worship for all pupils on roll (except those withdrawn by law).  We have already seen some wonderful, creative examples and the Education Team will continue to support, advise and share resources as collective worship is held in class / form/year group bubbles. It would be great to hear your experiences, including where pupils have led worship too. The guidance issued earlier in the term can be found  here.  We also know that there will be staff new to leading worship for he first time in 'bubbles' or groups. Please see our training offer below for support on this.
Adviser Visits
Your adviser will liaise with you about the nature of ESP and bespoke visits from the autumn term. Much of this will be guided by a school’s risk assessment and the practice of other third party organisations such as the local authority and Ofsted.  We may be able to gauge this better in September but at this stage, we would envisage that there will be a mixture of school based visits and online meetings with head teachers, governors and subject leaders. The balance of these may change as the 2020/21 year progresses.  At all times, we will work with the school to ensure that safe practice is paramount.  
Partnership Between Church and Schools
There have been some inspiring stories of how schools and parishes have worked together during this period, whether supporting food deliveries, Collective worship support or pastoral phone calls. These and more remind us of the power of partnership. 
Going forward, there are a number of aspects of the DfE guidance which may have an impact on the partnership between church and school. These include:  
  • Volunteers can work in school but their work across groups should be kept to a minimum, and they should remain 2 metres from pupils and staff where possible.  
  • Schools are advised against organising domestic overnight and overseas educational visits but can, in the autumn term, resume non-overnight domestic educational visits. 
  • Schools should make use of outdoor spaces in the local area to support delivery of the curriculum.  
  • Groups should be kept apart, meaning that schools should avoid large gatherings such as assemblies or collective worship with more than one group  
We would encourage church and school to work together to consider how the partnership can be maintained and developed under this guidance. There are opportunities to consider the pastoral needs of the school community and engagement with families alongside opportunities to think creatively about opportunities for, and resourcing of, collective worship and extra-curricular activity. The church’s role in governance will also be an important aspect of support for Church schools during this time. 
September Training
We are working hard to review our training in light of Covid. Below are the online courses which are available in September and we will send you more details about future training at the start of term.
All can be booked through Eventbrite.
Headteacher Appraisal
6pm - 8pm
An introductory online course for governors new to headteacher appraisal or for those who just want a refresher. Course content includes:
Governor responsibilities, The role of the external adviser, Objective setting and Next steps in a church school context.
Curriculum: Recovery, Wellbeing and Rebuilding Relationships
6pm - 8pm
£25 ESP Schools
£40 Non ESP Schools
This course supports school leadership teams and governors to consider curriculum provision for the academic year. Course content includes:
Establishing routines and normal practice, rebuilding relationships and community, curriculum pillars and core concepts, supporting mental health and wellbeing.
Collective Worship Under Current Restrictions
10am - 11.30am
£25 ESP Schools
£40 Non -ESP Schools
This course is aimed at offering possible approaches to enable collective worship to continue to thrive at this time to the benefit of the whole school. Suitable for school leaders, including governors, the course content includes:
Creating opportunities for effective small group / class worship, staff and pupil leadership of small group worship, resources and ways to of keeping worship collective across the whole school.
Autumn term training will include: New to the SIAMS Framework (9/11/20 am), Developing Children's Spirituality (19/10/20 am) , RE training.
 Look out for details at the start of term.
September Networks
18/9/20 2pm - 4pm
25/9/20 2pm - 4pm
28/9/20 4pm - 6pm
A message from Bishop Helen-Ann Hartley the Chair of the Leeds Diocesan Board of Education
© Anglican Diocese of Leeds, 2019
Diocesan Education team
Church House, 17-19 York Place, Leeds, LS1 2EX
 0113 200 0540

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