Cyber Schools


Rationale of the programme


The development of Anglican schools in Wales and England during the 1980s and 1990s was marked, in part at least, by the development of a deeper understanding of the importance of the ethos of the school and the ways in which this could be enhanced through worship, through the quality of Religious Education, through the relationships within the school community, through the schools care for the environment and through the schools commitment to justice and the needs of others.


As a result of the development of practice and the stimulus of inspection, many schools found that attention to these issues laid the foundation for significant improvements in the quality of education that they were able to offer to the children and young people in their care.


These developments must now be assumed to have taken root in most Anglican schools. Where this is so, the challenge now is to identify the directions in which the leaders of these schools should be looking to take their school in order to sustain a commitment to the development of exemplary practice in education, understood as the total experience of the child or young person within the Christian community of learning.


This is important for several reasons –

 

  • Schools are not static, they are perpetually moving, always in a state of becoming, as a result of the impact of new staff, new pupils and the changes in the demands laid on them by society.

  • School leaders need a vision of what might be, which can inspire those that is their responsibility to lead.

  • There are many pressures on schools to conform to expectations of others, be they politicians, journalists, inspectors, parents, church leaders or employers. Without an owned vision within the school, these, often conflicting, pressures can toss the school about like a fragile boat caught engineless in a violent storm.

  • Increasingly the continued existence of schools is justified by their contribution to social learning as well as the extent to which they develop their pupils’ knowledge, skills and understanding. This justification requires from schools the ability to articulate their own vision for how individuals and communities interrelate.

  • The importance of individuals learning to embrace diversity and to respect others is accepted and schools are expected to model this and to ensure its development amongst their pupils. Church schools must be able to articulate how this can be achieved not through studied neutrality, but rather as a result of a clear commitment to a Christian identity which drives a comprehension of and respect for the diverse views and cultural identity of others.

  • Every human being matters, not only every child. For church schools this understanding should be derived directly from the theology which underpins the working of the school. The challenge to reflect this understanding in practice is great and it is clear that some church schools still have further steps to make before they can truly claim that the understanding is well articulated and present in every aspect of the school.

 

At the level of the school the challenge is to ensure that every aspect of the life of the school, every minute for every person within the school community reflects the vision that the school has of how education should be in a Christian community set within the community which the school serves. This may appear to be a utopian dream, but if we do not strive for the very highest ideals how can we be certain that we have done our best?

 

The challenge is not simply to establish a Christian ethos, but to ensure that everything that happens within the school’s community is absolutely coherent with that ethos and the Christian vision that it embodies.

 

This programme is designed to provide professional development for the staff of Church in Wales schools that have a commitment to providing the best possible education for the children and young people in their care in the name of Christ.

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