David Thorpe, Deputy Director of Education, shares a write-up of this years' annual school leaders' conference
'Hope University was the venue, on Wednesday 13th, for the annual conference where our diocesan headteachers, and other school leaders, met to ‘Celebrate the spiritual life of our schools’.
The day began with Eucharist and Bishop John preached on John 2:3 … ‘They have no more wine’. Delegates were reminded that Jesus can make the ordinary into something extraordinary. The service also provided an opportunity for each of our schools to be prayed for and blessed at the start of the new academic year.
Following on from the time of worship, Bishop John gave the keynote speech of the conference, encouraging us that our vocation in education is a God-given gift and then, using John Wesley’s Quadrilateral, he challenged us to be scripturally literate, to use the variety of church traditions to enrich our own spirituality, to use our brains wisely and that, as people with senses, we need to experience God’s love for us in our own life. The keynote concluded with the challenge to make sure that we all have Sabbath time.
Dr Margaret James, the National Director for Church School Inspection (SIAMS) passionately spoke about how inspections need to be undertaken in a Christian way … respectfully and humbly. She reassured delegates that inspections would be a conversation with the school not something ‘done’ to the school.
Rev. Mary Hawes, the former National Children and Youth Adviser for the Church of England, delivered an impassioned plea in the final keynote speech for schools (and churches) to not squash the spirituality of our young people, that they deserve a first-class, rather than an economy class, education that includes developing spirituality as well as the formal curriculum.
The whole day celebrated how spirituality is a central aspect to our Church of England schools in the diocese. 119 schools all doing amazing things for over 35,000 young people and their families. As part of the conference, our ‘Growing Faith Adventure’ was launched. This will bring together even more intentionally, Churches, Schools and Families working together to see more people being introduced to Jesus. It will encourage a deeper relationship with Jesus and challenge the raising up of more Christian leaders.'
Growing Faith Adventure