The Diocese of Ely Education Directorate


Diocese of Ely Schools December 2019

Advent, end of term and Christmas

The DBE team are looking forward to working with all our schools in 2020 and beyond.

Happy Christmas to all…

Christmas in schools is an amazing time, Nativity plays, Christmas productions, parties, presents, decorations, Christmas trees…so many things to do, on top of the everyday school activities. We would love to receive some news about the Christmas activities at your school, especially around the Nativity story.

Please do send information electronically so we can add to the website, i.e.
writing, art work.
Send to

Download your newsletter here – .pdf

Our team and details are:

Andrew Read—Diocese of Ely, Director of Education,

Christine Page—Head of School Performance

Rev’d Sue Martin—Bishop’s Officer for Schools and Mission

Caroline Vinall – Lead Officer for SIAMS and Foundation Governance –

Sally Batchelder – DBE Administrator/Info Organiser

Projects in our school

Ad Orientem

This term we have been working with the Education and Outreach team at Ely Cathedral and James Olsen, a composer, on an exciting project to compose a new piece of work performed by our school children.

Ely Cathedral has commissioned composer James Olsen to compose a new work to be performed by local schoolchildren alongside Ely Cathedral boy choristers and girls’ choir, Cathedral musicians and professional orchestral musicians from the Britten Sinfonia on June 22nd 2020.

The piece will contain dramatic elements telling the story of the earliest days of Ely Cathedral and the destruction of the original Anglo-Saxon monastery in Ely by the Vikings in the ninth century. The piece will also feature specially-written texts by the acclaimed local writer Francis

There is a beautiful video of the children at Ely Cathedral on a training day this term. Another training day to be held in the Spring Term and then a live performance of the new work in June 22 nd.

See our events calendar…

Inspired Classrooms

An amazing new project which enables children to visit local churches and engage with a cross curriculum approach to exploration in a church building to explore all aspects of the curriculum.

The project has been established in the Norwich Diocese over the last two years and is hugely successful in using the church as a resource and enabling children to go to the local church for interest, to learn and to explore with inside and outside the building.

We have been successful in engaging with Inspired Classrooms and are part of the Phase 2 programme and some of our schools are now part of this pilot project. They will be making a visit to Norfolk church where it all started, devising their own lesson plans that will be included in the project and encouraging their teachers to use Inspired Classrooms as part of their future planning.

Exploring together…

Young Leaders Award

About the Young Leaders Award
The Young Leaders Award is a fully resourced leadership and character education programme, designed by the Archbishop of York Youth Trust, to be delivered by teaching staff within the classroom. The Award has empowered over 90,000 pupils from 700 schools to learn and practice key leadership skills and character virtues and to transform their communities through social action.

Available at KS1 to Post 16, the YLA has clear links to SMSC, British Values,
PSHE, Character Education, Citizenship, RE and SIAMS.

You can find more information here about the Young Leaders Award.

Projects in the Pipeline
We are also working with other organisations to engage with projects to inspire children and young people both in the Christian faith and to become adventurous minds. These include …Christian Education and RE Hub in Cambridge for all our schools

Bishop Stephen’s Lent Challenge 2020

The bountiful earth…

God’s Creation… A gift or a loan?
As we enter 2020, this is the right time to be engaging with young people about our planet. What is going to happen in the future? How as children and adults can we keep this beautiful world thriving for all inhabitants?

We will be working with Christian Aid and their Global Neighbours programme.
We will be looking at The Green Flag Award for Eco schools.
We will be looking at the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

We will be working with all our schools, developing projects, asking children to write, draw or make Letters for Creation to go to Bishop Stephen and the Archbishop of Canterbury.
In brief… the Lent Challenge will take place over 5 weeks in Lent from February 26 th , Ash Wednesday to March 27 th .

• We will be compiling an Act of Worship for each week.
• We will be compiling ideas for class or whole school projects for the 5 weeks.
• We will be linking in with organisations to support the work too.

More info will be sent in early January to help you plan the work.
We hope you will join us in Bishop Stephen’s Lent Challenge in 2020
and make a difference in this world.

Leadership Forum

On 5 th November the first Leadership Forum took place in The Grace Building in Ely.

The main objective for introducing what we hope will be a termly event, was to bring leaders of church schools together in order to share ideas, make new contacts, relay up to date information and support well-being.

Sharing experience together…

The event was very well attended and a series of short presentations from head teachers willing to share new or embedded initiatives were extremely informative.

The wide range of subjects included “The Children’s University”, “The learning Environment”, “Ward Rounds – a different way to encourage classroom observations” and” Buddy – the emotional well-being dog”. Jeremy Fisher from Guilden Morden Primary provided a detailed
account of their recent Ofsted inspection, which many head teachers found to be very useful in supporting their own schools’ preparations.

Debbie Higham presented the 2019 well-being pilot, which has been such a great success. It is hoped that a further project will go ahead in the New Year.

Thank you for all the feedback and suggestions for the Spring meeting, which will take place on 17 th March. If you have any further ideas for the format of the day, please contact anyone in the DBE team.
Contact: Christine.Page@elydiocese .org

SIAMS Update

This academic year has been a very busy one for all schools across the Diocese of Ely with regard to SIAMS. There have been a total of 10 inspections this term, with four from LA / single academy schools and six from DEMAT. A further 14 schools are to be inspected this academic
year and twenty-one next academic year. We have been delighted with such positive comments made by inspectors about the wonderful work in our schools.

Unfortunately, due to our knowledge of scheduling for the academic year, we are unable to come into schools for SIAMS support in the year of your inspection. However, the intention is that each LA / single academy school due in 2020-2021 receives a SIAMS EDRA visit as part of the four EDRA visits per year. This visit or time can be used as best fits your school.
Caroline Vinall will be contacting schools early next term to arrange visits / time for trainings etc

Please do think about how we can best support you pre-SIAMS, so that you are receiving the support you need for your school.

Some schools have asked for clarification about RE percentages. In February the national society re-issued the RE Statement of Entitlement, which the Diocese of Ely is supporting. Please refer to the following link RE Statement of Entitlement – Feb 2019 for this information.

VA schools should also refer to their Trust Deed, single academies should refer to their funding agreement for their designation for RE and VC schools should be following the structure / content of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Agreed Syllabus. Please do note that Understanding Christianity is a resource to help with teaching of Christianity and is not a
scheme of work for RE.

Although pedantic, we have found that referring to Understanding Christianity as a scheme of work has caused some issues during inspection, as it does not address the whole RE curriculum.

  • Website for Cambs / Peterborough RE
  • Glossary and Primary Assessment can be found on the Agreed Syllabus tab on the above website.
  • Agreed Syllabus Content Agreed Syllabus
  • Rev’d Sue Martin and Caroline Vinall are currently training to become SIAMS inspectors. The training consists of four taught days in London, two shadow inspections, visits to schools to observe RE and Collective Worship and a sign-off inspection in another diocese. Wish us luck as we embark upon the final stages of our training. We may see some of you on shadows early next term.
  • Finally, the first port of call for anyone external to your school is your website. Please do ensure that your governance information is up to date, that you have your school’s distinctive Christian vision displayed prominently on the front (and subsequent?) pages and that your previous SIAMS report can be found easily. Some schools have put different sections for courageous advocacy and community and living well together, using the website as a mini evidence base.


Building something new…

Our website is currently being updated, we are creating a much improved site with a new look!

We have made changes to the Acts of Worship and they are now current to the end of the Spring Term 2020.

Over the holidays we will make it current to the end of this academic year. We will also convert all the information into a .pdf which can be easliy downloadable.

This term you will see it has a slightly different feel, and you can access all the usual pages. We will be adding more information to the site, and in the New Year, the plan is to have a different layout and increased capacity and capability.


Head Teachers’ Forum, as above, 17th March 2020, 10.00– 15.00 includes lunch.
Current issues at Head Teacher’s Forum for every term. A chance to meet and share ideas and to explore current issues. Please contact Christine Page to let her know if you are able to join us.

Christian Distinctiveness / SIAMS Training for new staff and governors.
For any further info please contact Caroline Vinall
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This will be available in February and will also be available on our website.

Do let us know about your up and coming projects and we can share them.

The DBE Team wish you a very Happy Christmas and New Year…

…the celebration of Jesus into our world…

Our print newsletter uses the free, Open Source font FreeSans
Christmas Tree image: T. Rampersad– Creative Commons, Unsplash
Web Design Image: Eftaker Alam – Creative Commons, Unsplash
Christmas Bauble Image: – Creative Commons, Unsplash
Earth image – Courtesy of NASA, USA
Nativity image: Alasdair Elmes – Creative Commons, Unsplash

Diocesan Department of Education (DBE)
Grace House, High Street,
Ely, Cambridgeshire,

Reflecting on Christmas, reflecting on Education…
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