It was a register call with a difference when 14 new headteachers at diocesan church schools gathered together for a day of welcome, training and sharing at the diocese’s Education Centre.
As well as extending a warm welcome to the diocese, the day provided the headteachers, all new to headship, with intensive day training on both leading a church school and ensuring that their schools are distinctively Christian, with Christian values and virtues emphasised throughout the curriculum.
The day, led by the diocese’s Education Department, drew headteachers from right across the diocese, from Kingston, Surrey and Hampshire.
Diocesan Director of Education, Canon Derek Holbird, said: “We have never had so many appointments in such a short space of time. It is a reflection of the age-profile within the teaching profession, that there is currently an increase in retirements.
“For some it was promotion from within their own school, others had moved from one diocesan church school to another or from another diocese and others from a community school. For one or two, this is their first experience of being in a church school.
“The role of a headteacher has changed dramatically since my headship in Soho, London, 15 years ago. The pressures and demands are significant, with an expectation from government of ever rising standards.
“Our schools perform well in comparison with the local authority and national averages. What our schools provide as an added dimension to high academic standards, is living and learning in a school community where God is at the centre and the spiritual development of each child is nurtured.
“It was exciting to hear of some of the activities they are already using to enrich the spiritual lives of the children in their care. For church schools, parish links through the clergy and congregation are a rich source of support.
“We ask each parish to pray for their headteachers, whether new or not, staff, governors and pupils as they work together each day.”