Living in the good of God's promises
Proverbs 3 teaches that as we humbly trust God and acknowledge him, He promises to give his direction. The Education Team had constantly to exercise this kind of trust throughout 2015 and as we look back we are aware that He graciously guided.
We give thanks for his direction in the huge task of supporting and leading our 86 diocesan schools, serving around 22,000 children and young people. Our services expanded, excellent head teachers were recruited and many heads, governors and school staff members commended the services we provide. Our schools again improved their Ofsted and Church School inspection grades with over 80% of Ofsteds deemed Good or Outstanding.
The Good Shepherd Trust (GST), our multi-academy trust, expanded to eight schools and others are keen to join. The Government’s Regional Schools Commissioner gave his top grading to GST because of the way it is improving standards, particularly at schools once in difficulty.
Through the year staff worked hard to create a worshipping, Christian community where spiritual enrichment is prized alongside academic achievement. Prayer Spaces in Schools and Open the Book initiatives were shared with parish teams and schools enthusiastically embraced our religious education guidelines launched last autumn. We acknowledge with thanks the huge efforts parishes make to serve their local schools.
A number of our schools expanded to take more children and we also welcomed a new affiliated school – Englefield Green Infants.
Our buildings team succeeded in securing four government grants for major school rebuilds and a large number of others had major improvements.
There was further encouragement in the development of chaplaincies for colleges of further education and our prayer is for more to be introduced. University chaplaincies remain strong and serve huge numbers of students from many nations.
The term of office of the Diocesan Board of Education came to an end in December, so it is an appropriate time to thank those who served at a time of considerable change in our education system. Significant progress has been made.
2015 certainly presented many challenges, but throughout the year we were constantly aware of the Lord’s guidance and blessing, for which we give thanks.