The Church of England has launched a new publication outlining its hopes for students, teachers and educators to flourish across the schools system.
Underpinned by the Church’s 2016 Vision for Education, the new document, entitled ‘Our Hope for a Flourishing Schools System’ makes recommendations including a once-in-a-generation re-imagination of Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) funding, provision, training and development, wise and compassionate accountability systems for school inspections and performance measures and steps to ensure teaching is again regarded as a vocation in which adults can truly flourish and commit long-term.
The document sets out the importance of collaboration in different local contexts, particularly between schools in smaller rural areas, to ensure every child in every community receives an effective provision.
It concludes with recommendations for four leadership levels: Schools, School Trusts, Dioceses and Government, and invites dialogue and engagement across the sector to develop flourishing partnerships.
At the School Leadership level, the document includes encouragement of further development of young leaders with increased proportions of under-represented groups, while alleviating negative pressures on work-life balance for all staff.
School Trust Leaders are encouraged to prioritise formation of character and spiritual, moral, social and cultural development, focusing on the needs of particular communities and supporting those schools in need of the greatest support – including small schools, while fostering deep collaboration between school trusts.
For Diocesan Leaders, there is encouragement to provide pastoral and wellbeing care to leaders, focussing on the sustainability of schools within the mission of the wider diocese. Dioceses should encourage continuous improvement with particular regard to RE, collective worship and with support for SIAMS inspections, and recruit and retain governance leaders. Children and Young People should be at the heart of the diocesan vision and strategy.
For Government leadership the recommendations include a major re-imagining of SEND funding and provision, reduced anxiety in the system, developing compassionate accountability through re-imagined inspection processes, restoring the attractiveness of teaching as a long-term vocation in which all can flourish, and developing broad curriculum models which balance academic, vocational and technical pathways for children to develop as global citizens who understand the vital role that religious literacy plays in the world.
The Church of England’s Chief Education Officer, Nigel Genders, said:
“This document offers transformational hope for the continued development of a schools system which enables the flourishing of children and adults alike and brings the richness of broader, deeper, social, moral, cultural, relational, spiritual life that is far beyond the usual metrics schools get judged on. We must flourish together, not alone.
“Deep collaboration and mutuality in each local context through a range of partnership arrangements can ensure that no school is left behind.
“The partnership between church and state is a vital part of the educational landscape and we will continue to work proactively with government to shape policy in these areas, bringing the insights of dioceses and school leaders from across the country who are part of our national movement for education.”