A new vision for church education which embeds Christian values into the school framework has been set out by the Church of England’s Chief Education Officer at a conference for head teachers meeting in Harrogate.
But the Revd Nigel Genders (pictured left), a keynote speaker at the annual diocesan headteachers' conference, warned that the vision needed to be ‘lived and not simply laminated’. The Chief Education Officer for the Church of England has lead responsibility for the development of the Church’s national strategies and policies and set out the Church of England’s Vision for Education, recently published in the document ‘Deeply Christian, Serving the Common Good’.
Nigel Genders told around one hundred head teachers meeting at Rudding Park, that the vision was not just for church schools, but was a Christian vision for education as a whole at a time of big changes in the system because of recent legislation.
“This is a moment to be bold and ambitious, to offer more than an apologetic for church schools but to offer a Christian vision for education”, said Mr Genders. “At a time when the Church of England is the largest single provider of education in this country, and when many non-church schools are looking for a vision of education to enthuse and inspire them now is not the time to retreat into a distinctively Christian corner and say ‘we’ll just look after our bit’. We have got something to offer the whole nation.” (Pictured right, speakers at the conference - Nigel Genders, Bishop Jonathan, Phyllida Hancock, Richard Noake, Diocesan Director of Education)
Speaking about the role of head teachers, the Chief Education Officer said that their work has never been more vital. “In the fast changing policy environment for schools, the role of school leaders has never been more important and never been more demanding…..it remains crucial that school leaders promote this rounded vision for education… Leadership in education can be a very lonely calling at the moment.”
Chair of the Diocesan Board of Education, Bishop Jonathan Gibbs (pictured left), gave the second keynote talk, and outlined how the diocese is building on the new Church of England vision but also incorporating the emerging diocesan vision of ‘Loving, Living, Learning’. “We are talking about trying to shape a culture, one that builds on the best that is happening already in our schools and colleges and one that helps set a tone and direction for our future development”, he said.
Worship at the opening of the conference was led by students from Immanuel College, a Church of England secondary school in Bradford.
Later in the conference, former RSC actress and motivational speaker, Phyllida Hancock (pictured below left), inspired delegates with an outline of leadership lessons from Shakespeare’s Henry V.
To read the Church of England’s Vision for Education, ‘
Deeply Christian, Serving the Common Good’ follow this link.