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Training and Events

Please note that most of our courses have been postponed for the foreseeable future. However we will be running a number of virtual courses, please see below for further details. 

Our courses – and we run nearly forty every year in addition to monthly drop-in sessions at the Discovery Centre – focus around those aspects of education that are distinctive within a Church school setting.

None of them costs more than £100 per person (for subscribing Church schools) and they are arranged at convenient locations in every area of the diocese.

Bookings are made through CPD Online (Schools' Choice) for most of our courses or you can contact Jacqui Studd.  A highlight of the course calendar is the Annual Church School Leaders' Conference. The date for next year's conference is Wednesday 18 November 2020.  For details of this year's Conference and previous conferences, please see below.  Another highlight is the Diocesan Service of Celebration of Church Schools which takes place in October each year.  Please see below.

Courses 2019-2020

We are planning on running the following virtual courses in the summer term, more may follow and this page will be updated: 

Basics of RE - Wednesday 29 April AM
Suitable for teachers new to RE / subject leaders / busy Headteachers / NQTs / TAs, and HLTAs in all primary schools, this course will introduce the Suffolk Agreed Syllabus for RE in a clear, practical way and demonstrate clearly what needs to be taught and why, including a look at the programme of study, assessment in RE, and support materials.

Basics of Collective Worship - Wednesday 29 April PM
A practical introduction for heads, governors, clergy, NQTs and others interested in Collective Worship in primary schools.  

Leading a Church School - 7 May, 4.00 - 5.30pm
The final session in our series is on Embedding Christianity and will look at the leadership of a distinctively Christian church school and leading SIAMS; offer a look at engagement with the parish church, diocese and worldwide church; and look at how difficult situations are handled in the light of our faith.

To book or for any queries, please contact Jacqui Studd, tel:01473 298570.


Diocesan Service of Celebration for Church Schools 

Hundreds of pupils and parents filled the cathedral on Sunday 6 October for the annual service of celebration of church schools. The Dean welcomed all the schools and the Ven Dr David Jenkins, Archdeacon of Sudbury and pupils from King Edward VI School led parts of the service. The theme this year was one of Jesus’ sayings in John’s gospel: “I am the vine”, and pupils from Barnham CEVCP School discussed this with the Dean during the service.  Pupils from Ixworth CofE Primary School performed a dance to Psalm 23, pupils from St Margaret's CEVAP School, Ipswich sang Let your Love Shine and pupils from Risby CEVCP School led the final prayer. There was also a reading of John 15 by Ella Bedford, Debenham High School and another pupil from the school, Polly Cox sang an acapella version of Amazing Grace. These annual services are always a joyful occasion, where we give thanks for the work of church schools. 

The date for next year's cathedral service is Sunday 4 October 2020.  For any queries, please contact Jacqui Studd.

Annual Church School Leaders' Conference 2019

This conference was held on Wednesday 6 November and over 50 people attended, most of whom are Heads, Deputies or foundation governors in church schools across Suffolk. Phyllida Hancock from Contender Charlie led an inspirational morning on influential leadership, drawing lessons on leadership from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. Delegates reflected together on the key challenges facing our schools, including meeting the needs of pupils (particularly special educational needs) within significant financial constraints.

Pupils from Tattingstone CEVCP led an act of collective worship after lunch. Delegates heard how Walsham le Willows CEVCP had developed its school vision, resulting in a beautiful mosaic which reflects the village and Biblical themes of roots, living water and bearing fruit. We launched the Archbishop of York’s Young Leaders Award which helps to develop character and leadership skills in children and young people. Gill Mitchell, Headteacher at East Bergholt CEVCP, led a session on working with parents, which was full of practical advice. There was also a presentation by Wesleyan on financial support to schools.  All in all, a valuable day of networking and equipping our church school leaders. 

Jane Sheat, Diocesan Director of Education writes "It is always a joy to welcome heads and governors to our annual conference. We aim to provide a range of resources and support for church school leaders which helps them in their vital work.” 

Annual Church School Leaders' Conference 2018

 About 70 delegates attended, most of whom are Heads, Deputies or foundation governors in church schools across Suffolk. Bishop Mike gave an inspirational keynote address on leadership and Katie Staples, Schools Adviser in Bristol Diocese led an interactive session on Valuing All God’s Children. Katie wrote this national guidance for church schools on tackling bullying. Year 6 pupils from St Marys’ CofE Primary in Hadleigh led an act of collective worship after lunch. Afternoon sessions tackled bereavement and developing links between church and school and the day ended with Helen Matter looking at how pupils can be courageous advocates of change and social justice.

Jane Sheat, Diocesan Director of Education writes:  “It is always a joy to welcome heads and governors to our annual conference. We aim to provide resources and support for schools which helps them to deliver the Church of England’s vision for education.”

The programme and presentations are available:

  • For a programme of the day please click here
  • For The Rt Revd Dr Mike Harrison's presentation on Leadership with Dignity please click here.
  • For Katy Staples presentation on Valuing All God's Children please click here.
  • For Helen Matter's presentation on Courageous Advocacy, please click here.

Feedback from the Conference was very positive:

An excellent day thank you!

Bshop Mike was inspirational.

I am very proud to be involved in a church family that is leading the way on LGBTQ.

Thank you the sessions were really thought provoking and helpful.

An exceptionally well organised day with motivational speakers.

A really well-run, positive Conference - useful for church school heads and great for networking and informal idea sharing!

Next year's conference will take place on Wednesday 6 November 2019 - more on this conference will follow in due course.

Previous Conferences

Thursday 2 November 2017

 60 people attended our conference at the St Nicholas Centre on 2 November last year.

 During the morning, Stephen Fischbacher from Fischy Music introduced us to a number of songs aimed at helping children cope with
 cyber-bullying, self-esteem and anxiety, all issues which schools are dealing with.

 Andy Wolfe then introduced a range of resources produced by the Church of England’s Foundation for Educational Leadership. These will help   schools to think through leadership, pedagogy and theology and can be used on INSET days, at staff and governors’ meetings. They prompt   deep discussion about the CofE’s vision of education- Deeply Christian, Serving the Common Good - please click here for further details. 

Feedback from the Conference was very positive:

Good to have time away from school to consider the vision and purpose of the school 

A fabulous day 

The day was very enlightening

Lots of ideas that will have a positive impact back in school

Thank you, super relevant CPD as usual

Great to have time to network and meet others from the schools in the Diocese

Wednesday 9 November 2016

This was a hugely successful church school leaders’ conference. Heads and governors from schools across Suffolk gathered at the St Nicholas Centre in Ipswich. Last year Phyllida Hancock from the company Contender Charlie drew out lessons in leadership from Shakespeare’s Henry V. 

Over 70 attended four workshops in the morning and pupils from St Margaret’s CEVAP in Ipswich led an act of collective worship after lunch. In the afternoon schools heard from several different presenters. Helen Matter outlined the national Church of England’s vision for education, then Jane Sheat updated schools on academies (see slides here) and finally three Headteachers, Andrew Frolish, Lorna Rourke and April Grimes described their work on school effectiveness. Feedback includes the following comments:

Inspirational and empowering

An excellent inspiring day

I really enjoyed the collective worship led by children

Probably the most inspirational course that I have attended

Stunningly inspirational

Inspiring and relevant

Highly inspiring and accessible

Very informative and helpful

It was all excellent

An excellent inspiring day

10 November 2015

The Right Revd Martin Seeley gave the keynote address on Leadership in Challenging Times. He spoke about vision, determination and collaboration. Bishop Martin recommended two books which he had found helpful: Ron Heifetz’s Adaptive Leadership and Edwin Friedman’s A Failure of Nerve.

Jim Davis, MBE, Head of Community Participation at the Children’s Society then spoke about the impact of poverty. Drawing on a wealth of experience of listening to children and young people from across the country, Jim spoke of the recent findings of the Children’s Society report “At what cost? Exposing the impact of poverty on school life”.

In the afternoon, Helen Matter spoke about the new resources available for teachers on Christianity in RE. Jane Sheat updated Headteachers and governors on the Diocesan Multi Academy Trust. 

Three Headteachers gave us impressive examples of best practice from their schools: Sue Todd from St Matthew’s CEVAP in Ipswich, Tamsin Little from Thorndon CEVCP and Cheryl Wass from Cavendish CEVCP. 

From the evaluations, it was another very enjoyable and useful conference.

The day ended with a presentation from Russell Stables from Parish Buying. This is the Church of England’s national procurement service, which helps schools, cathedrals, churches, and diocesan offices to make savings. They focus on IT hardware, telecoms and energy.