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Information for Potential Trustees

Information for Potential Trustees

The National Church of England School system is managed and developed through individual dioceses. Each Diocese has a Diocesan Board of Education (DBE) and a Diocesan Director of Education (DDE) who is the Secretary and Officer of the DBE. Schools in Portsmouth and Winchester Dioceses are served by a joint DBE and a joint education team – the only example of this in the country.

Previously, the DBE existed as an unincorporated association. To be compliant with the legislative revision of the Diocesan Board of Education Measure in 2021 the decision was taken to transition to a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO). The board received legal advice on this change which was also brought before both diocesan Bishop’s Councils. Both Diocesan Synods voted to approve the proposals and the Portsmouth & Winchester Diocesan Board of Education (PWDBE) became a CIO on the 1st of January 2023.

The Diocesan Director of Education, Jeff Williams, oversees the work of the team and is the lead officer in the development of the Board of Education strategy and policies for working with children and young people in CofE schools across both dioceses, and advises the Diocesan Bishops, Bishop’s Staff Teams, Bishop’s Councils and Synods of Winchester and Portsmouth in all aspects of Education from Early Years through Higher Education.

The Dioceses have oversight of 141 schools and academies, and have six Universities in our region, one of which, Winchester University, has an Anglican Foundation.

The PWDBE is currently chaired by Professor Bill Lucas, the Acting Bishop of Winchester’s nominee and meets minimally four times a year to consider strategy and policy matters. The work of the Board is supported by two permanent sub-committees, the Executive Resource Group (ERG) and Learning Environment Committee (LEC). Other fixed-term sub-committees and focus groups are formed to address current issues, for example: Academisation, LGBTQ+ matters.

The Board’s meetings typically last 2 hours and rotate in location between the dioceses for physical meetings, which on a rolling programme are from 10-12pm; 1-3pm and 6-8pm (evening meetings are online).

PWDBE Board Structure
TrusteesNumberDiocesan Representation
Ex officioFourThe Diocesan Bishop, Winchester & The Diocesan Bishop, Portsmouth (or her/his nominee) ie 2 The Diocesan Bishop of Winchester and The Diocesan Bishop of Portsmouth’s nominated archdeacons from each diocese ie. 2
Elected TrusteesSixThree people elected by the Diocesan Synods (but appointed by the CIO) from each diocese. These must comprise two clergy and one lay person, and one person being a member of the relevant Diocesan Synod. Potential trustees may or may not be practising Anglicans in the diocese.
Co-opted TrusteesTwoOne from each diocese
Permanent OfficersRole
Jeff WilliamsDiocesan Director of Education
Sam PowellClerk to the Board of Education

‘Observers’ are also invited to board meetings bringing valuable insights into the working context of diocesan schools. This includes representatives from Local Authority education departments and school leadership teams, including headteachers and governors. Employees of the Diocesan Education Team also attend, as appropriate, to present papers and contribute to specific agenda items.

The PWDBE supports and challenges the work of the education team so together work in partnership with schools and academy trusts, churches, local education authorities, communities and a wide range of other stakeholders. In doing so, the PWDBE fulfils its duty to promote education in each diocese that is consistent with the faith and practice of the Church of England. This includes high quality collective worship, Religious Education, opportunities for spiritual development and a Christian values-driven ethos underpinning every aspect of school life. The DBE is not the employer or line-manager of school leaders but derives its authority under legislation referred to as the DBE Measure 2021, a legal agreement between the government and Church of England. The DBE embraces the Church of England’s ‘Vision for Education: Deeply Christian, Serving The Common Good’.

Strategic Aims of the DBE

In light of the DBE’s purposes as outlined above, the current strategic aims of the DBE are as follows:

  • Support and confidently communicate the Diocese’s vision for children and young people
  • Enable church schools to stand confidently at the heart of the church’s mission to children and families across Portsmouth and Winchester Dioceses
  • Maintain close and influential contact with key agencies such as the Regional Director, the Department for Education and the National Society through the DDE
  • Act as an effective strategic partner and provider with Local Authorities, Teaching School Alliances and other statutory agencies through the DDE
  • Maintain oversight of schools, Single and Multi-Academy Trusts
  • Support and develop major projects to enhance the Christian presence in our communities and to assist with local mission plans to strengthen links between parishes and schools
  • Monitor the work of the Director and his team

Skills and experience sought for DBE trustees:

Board members will have a passion for education and be enthusiastic in promoting the Church of England’s vision for education to serve all the children of the Dioceses of Portsmouth and Winchester. An effective board will comprise a range of different experiences and skills; it is not expected that members will satisfy all of the criteria set out below but will have significant experience in one or more of the following contexts:

EducationCharity Management
Financial Strategy, Reporting and ComplianceLegal services
Communication and Reporting StrategyGovernance
Human ResourcesSafeguarding
Education PolicyAcademisation
Local Authority EducationLand and Buildings
CofE LeadershipOperation of a Diocese

Examples of relevant experience and skills include:

  • Commitment to Church School education with Christian understanding
  • Experience of working in education, charity, law, business or public service contexts
  • A grounding in local parish life
  • An awareness and understanding of current education policy and issues
  • An awareness and understanding of the net zero ambitions of the Church of England
  • Supportive of the CofE’s Growing Faith initiative
  • Ability to think strategically about implementation of the mission and aims of the DBE
  • Ability to critically scrutinise board papers
  • Ability to work collaboratively with other trustees and observers
  • Ability to analyse data, question and offer challenge
  • Good communication skills

Examples of DBE Discussion and Action Items

  • Revised OFSTED and SIAMS inspection frameworks
  • Revised DfE Relationship and Sex Education Statutory Guidance
  • Covid 19 – impact and support for schools
  • The Archbishops’ Anti-Racism Taskforce publication ‘From Lament to Action’
  • The role of Chaplaincy and Ex-Officio Governors in schools
  • Updated legislation – DBE Measure 2021
  • The Government’s Academisation White Paper
  • School buildings funding changes – LEC oversight
  • Diocesan model school admissions policy criteria – revised Schools Admissions Code 2021

The Term of Office for a trustee is a minimum of 3 years and a trustee may serve a maximum of 3 terms.

Timelines for application process

  • Applications to be returned by 5pm, Friday 31st March 2023 to Samantha Powell
  • All applications to be reviewed and elections to be held by both Portsmouth and Winchester Synods – 17th-28th April.  Election deadline 5pm Friday 28th April
  • Trustee appointments to be confirmed week commencing 1st May.


Applications to be returned to by 31st March 2023