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Education leaders are urged to work together with ‘honesty and prayer’

14 February 2020

Archbishop Welby says ambitious vision must not be obscured

Church of England/Max Colson

Students speak at the National Education Conference in Methodist Central Hall in Westminster, last week

Students speak at the National Education Conference in Methodist Central Hall in Westminster, last week

EDUCATIONAL leaders should “work together with honesty and prayer” to prevent the Church of England’s ambitious vision for education from being obscured by day-to-day life, the Archbishop of Canterbury has said.

Archbishop Welby was addressing more than 800 students and teachers who attended the Church’s National Education Conference in the Methodist Central Hall, Westminster, last week, on the subject of “Visionary Curriculum Leadership”.

A new 40-page resource Called Connected Committed: 24 leadership practices for educational leaders, has been published. It was written by Professor David Ford of the divinity faculty at Cambridge University, and the C of E’s deputy chief education officer, Andy Wolfe.

It offers 12 pairs of leadership practices which are intended to inspire a vocation to education; communication between colleagues, teachers and students, and communities; and a commitment to faithfulness. It is designed to help teachers, headteachers, coaches, teaching assistants, and other leaders in education to be more confident, ambitious, resilient, and nurturing in their posts. It also encourages leaders to help to promote diversity, remove disadvantage, and to inspire faithfulness and humility in students.

The C of E’s chief education officer, the Revd Nigel Genders, writes in his introduction that the resource promotes a leadership style with “deep roots in the Bible, Christian wisdom, and in educational experience” and gives “pride of place” to the scripture.

Church of England/Max ColsonStudents speak at the National Education Conference in the Methodist Central Hall, Westminster, last week

He said at the launch: “This is neither a quick-fix solution nor a one-size-fits-all approach. It demands time for contemplation and discussion.”

In his foreword, the Bishop of Ely, the Rt Revd Stephen Conway, who is the lead bishop for education, writes that the Church has been developing its vision for a “deeply Christian” and rounded education for all since this was first published in 2016 (News, 15 July 2016).

“For those who in various ways identify with Christian faith and practice, we hope it can open up further dimensions and depths; for others, we hope that it can stimulate their thinking and educational practice, and encourage them to respond by bringing their own understanding into conversation with ours.”

The goal of this latest resource was to inspire exemplary leadership. “We hope that each leader and each leadership team, board of governors, and diocesan or other board of education, in whatever situation, will find our work worth thinking with, reflecting on in relation to their experience and challenges, and that they emerge with fresh thinking, energy, and vision for their own work.”

Archbishop Welby said: “The day-to-day can obscure the vision . . . to keep sight of the vision we need our colleagues, and to work together with honesty and prayer.”

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