19 January 1999
The Bishop of Blackburn, the Rt Rev Alan Chesters, is to be the next Chairman of the Board of Education and the National Society. He will take up the post in April, following the retirement from the Board of the Rt Rev David Young, Bishop of Ripon. As Chairman of the Churches' Joint Education Policy Committee, the Bishop will speak on education matters for all the main denominations in the House of Lords, a role in which former chairmen of the Board have been instrumental in amending successive education and related Acts of Parliament.
Bishop Alan has an extensive background in education, having taught at both primary and secondary level, headed an RE department and served two schools as chaplain. As Diocesan Director of Education for Durham, he shared in the creation of the first joint Church of England/Roman Catholic aided primary school in England and was a member of the Standing Advisory Committee for Religious Education for both Durham County and Sunderland.
The Bishop has also been a governor of a number of schools and of colleges of further and higher education. He currently chairs the Board of Governors of the University College of St Martin, is a member of the Court of the Lancaster University and a Governor of Blackburn College (FE), chairs the Council of St Stephen's House, Oxford, and has chaired the Higher Education Funding Council for England and the Teacher Training Agency's Joint Advisory Committee for Church Colleges since its inception.
"I am very honoured and privileged," said Bishop Alan, "to have been asked to take on this position at this challenging time for education both in the Church and in the nation." Bishop Alan's particular concerns include the role of education in the Church's outreach to society, co-operation between statutory and voluntary provision, developing links between the maintained and independent sectors, promoting the needs and opportunities of further education and continuing the Board's good working relationship with the DfEE, whilst seeking to ensure that education is for all and for the whole of life and not simply a preparation for work.
Further information from:
Steve Jenkins (press) tel (0171) 222-9011 ext 357/364
Jonathan Jennings (broadcasting) ext 356/365
Martyn Halsall (DCO Blackburn) tel (01204) 384996