Dear colleagues
As we approach the end of a busy Summer Term, we’re delighted to share with you our final ‘Called, Connected, Committed’ of the academic year, focusing on ‘Sustaining Vision. All of the past issues of ‘CCC’ are available to download at:
Do share and forward to colleagues, and hope that you enjoy this issue!

Andy Wolfe
Deputy Chief Education Officer (Leadership Development)

Sustaining Vision
I was recently talking to a Deputy Headteacher, who had been in the same role for nearly 25 years in the same school – they were approaching the moment of a celebration and were reflecting on that time they had invested. During the conversation I asked them whether they’d ever thought to move on to headship, or another school, as they were such a great leader. In reply, they said something really important about vision, and the idea of hope which really stuck with me: “Hope is sticking around”. They went on to explain the importance of consistency for families and communities of constant presence, and even that they were now teaching the children of students they had taught at the very start of their career. Literally thousands of young lives impacted by this incredible teacher and their passion to serve this particular community.
Often, in leadership discourse, we can become easily fixated on the ‘new’ – the creation of new vision, the sharing and implementation of new ideas – and in many ways this is crucial, not least in a system which is so constantly changing, and metrics that schools are regularly having to re-adjust their practice to meet. We might consider, for example, how many significant changes of education policy there are likely to be during the usual 7 year journey of a primary or secondary student. In both cases it seems highly unlikely that our new Reception or Year 7 students in September 2019 will be spared that constant change. However, an issue that sells far fewer leadership books is simply ‘sustaining vision’ – not simply going round the track repetitively without thought or evaluation, but the longer term view that will ultimately result in deeper and more sustained impact.
Sustaining Vision means understanding that school improvement is rarely a uniformly upwards straight line graph (even though that’s what it’s supposed to be), and that there will be twists and turns, highs and lows. Schools are sometimes forced into much shorter term thinking in one year cycles because of the pressing staffing/budget/performance issues they are facing. However, a vision (defined as ‘do we know where we’re going?’) needs to be sustained long after it’s been announced and painted on the walls. This is a key role for governance in the school, not least in empowering leaders to hold their course in a stormy season.
In the Bible there are lots of examples of things changing very quickly, miracles and lives changed in very quick order, and that is of course a wonderful part of our Christian narrative. However, there is also a deeper patience and longer narrative which features strongly, and can be seen in the longer term leadership journey of Moses or Joshua, for example, in the Old Testament. On taking up his new role following the death of Moses, Joshua is told multiple times in the same chapter: “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1.9). One could also consider the growth of the early church, which despite its very early energy and dynamism, needed many generations to really establish. 
Equally, the new Ofsted framework and its focus on curriculum has unsurprisingly provoked a huge amount of thinking in schools about the curriculum, and this is sometimes unfortunately presented as a brand new concept, as if it is something schools have not thought about before! In the midst of the rushing to articulate the curriculum in a new way, there’s a danger of thinking everything needs to be new, and thought through from scratch. However, part of sustaining vision is being grateful and celebrating that which is already good, and sustaining it. This requires courage and patience in the leader, but is crucial for students, particularly those who crave stability and structure in a chaotic world.
So let’s throw ourselves into really evaluating how our vision is translated into practice, and indeed what difference it makes to our day-to-day leadership decisions. Much of this will lead to new things and creation of new vision. However, let us also recognise that sustaining vision is quite different to just implementing new policies, and requires us to take the longer view together, and in the words of my perceptive colleague above – to ‘stick around’.
Why Are We Here... What Difference Will You Make?

At this time of year, whilst the academic year is ending, it's likely that leaders are already thinking months ahead but will also have their eye to those beginning of term training days; first team meetings of the year and be contemplating how to ensure everyone is still bought in to the vision.  The questions below may be just the thing you need -  to take as they are or inspire thought. You will probably be already planning to re-share your school/academy vision at your first meeting but the way this is done can inspire buy-in and reinvigoration or be like wallpaper.  The top tips below might help shape your plans:-
1. Does the way you are communicating the vision invite reflection, participation and conversation?
Think about the team coming up with, say, their top 3 examples of the vision lived in practice last year; give different groups part of the vision to unpick - what would they see, hear, experience if that was lived out in practice... time limits and moving groups around adds speed of thought; ask different groups to present how vision would look in practice in their team/department
2.How will you ensure a shared understanding of the vision exists throughout your whole staff team?
In larger teams it might be that more than one person is leading this activity - think about ways to ensure a consistent message - could you make a film clip that starts off each presentation or do you have facilities to use Zoom so you can start of each briefing 'live'?  Is there something that each of the teams will reduce to show their shared understanding - could this be part of a staffroom display to keep the vision alive throughout next academic year?
3. How do you communicate your vision beyond the staff team?  
What ways of communicating your vision will you continue to do as you did this year? Will you look at new ways to make sure the vision remains visible and lived on a daily basis? How do you employ social media to reinforce your messages re lived vision? How are your wider team, including your governors or local board members, living the vision?
4. How will your team carry the vision with them throughout the year?  
Launch days are great for that initial impetus - how will you ensure your team carry the vision with them and live it on a daily basis?  What visible reminders and celebrations of lived vision are there for pupils and staff - maybe noticeboards; social media celebrations; lanyard cards (see below for example - values/vision one side; staff complete other and carry on lanyards) .


This quite lengthy clip features Simon Sinek, who talks about the importance of ensuring that people understand the 'why' of what you do not just the 'how' or the 'what'.  It is quite a long clip but might help shape your thinking about that first staff meeting and the way you might share the messages about the 'why' of the ethos of your organisation. 

July Book Recommendations
Every Tribe edited by Sharon Prentis

Every Tribe, edited by Sharon Prentis, delves into the lives of a selection of saints. In particular, their character. It explores how the saints remain true to their faith often through adversity and persecution. ‘Instead, it is to recognise their diverse humanity; people of grace who stood firm in their faith. They too, like us, were following a call to holy living, pursuing it with integrity and through difficult times. ’ The book also contains personal reflections and question to ‘provoke further thinking about what it means to live in a contemporary society where there are numerous challenges to holiness in everyday life.’

Living with Never-Ending Expectations by Peter Shaw and Graham Shaw

Living with Never-Ending Expectations is a short book which focuses upon expectations of leaders and specifically leaders in Christian contexts. It identifies expectations and how they are changing; explores biblical themes, in particular how Moses and Jesus handled expectations of others, and draws insights from experiences and perspectives of other leaders.
Shaw and Shaw refer to the expectations on Moses. His leadership of the Israelites was challenging to say the least! They complained about when he returned to Egypt and throughout their journey in the wilderness; about the lack of food and water and directly about his leadership. So how did he cope with all of these expectations placed upon him? The book draws upon three things: he delegated, he spent time with God and he remembered his calling.  As a Christian leader, taking time for reflection is important. Moses knew this when he was faced with many complaints from his people; he shared this with God. And finally, our calling as any type of leader, Christian or otherwise, sets our course and our purpose.  Maybe, this summer, you are planning on taking time to reflect; to share your thoughts with God and to reinvigorate your calling - this book could help you steer that course.


News from the Networks 

Rural Schools Networks – these are continuing to grow, with around 250 schools involved across 6 regions – Lincolnshire, Yorkshire, Cornwall, Somerset, Kent and Northumberland. There are a number of other Dioceses interested in launching these in 2019/20 – including Gloucester. Please do contact us if that’s something you’d value exploring.

Research Scholarships – we’re delighted to have appointed 5 Farmington Scholars to work with the Foundation throughout 2019/20 looking at 5 different aspects of the Vision being put into practice – including…Character Education, Wisdom in Curriculum Design, Vision-Driven ITT provision, HeartSmart leadership development, and theological reflection on the inter-faith dialogue between Christian and Hindu approaches to education. These scholars will be undertaking their research throughout the year and publishing in Summer 2020.

National Secondary Leadership Network (NSLN) – we were delighted to host 65 leaders from across the country last week to look at ‘Growing Faith’ – headteachers, senior leaders and chaplains coming together to begin this important work – all the slides from the day are at - our next event is taking place on 17 October, looking at Removing Disadvantage, where we’ll be joined by Robbie Coleman, Head of Policy at EEF, and Prof Becky Francis, IoE, to look at this crucial issue.

National Conference – SAVE THE DATE – 6 FEBRUARY 2020 – Visionary Curriculum Leadership –we’re delighted to confirm our National Conference will be taking place at Methodist Central Hall on 6 February, and featuring some fantastic keynotes and workshops on this very important issue. We’re looking forward to input from Mary Myatt, Paula Gooder, Nitin Sawhney, Allana Gay, James Bowen, Serdar Ferit, Tom Rees, Marie Hamer, Frances Ward, Sean Harford, David Ford, Leora Cruddas, Miranda McKearney, James Biddulph, Becky Francis, Floyd Woodrow, Jonathan Sharples, Lyn Swaner and many more – it promises to be another fantastic occasion – tickets £125+VAT.


Applications for 2020-21 CofEPQH are now open. The programme is now delivered nationally with 8 training centres in London, Oxford, Cambridge, Tiverton, Nottingham, Birmingham, Preston, and York. We will also be offering the option of mixed mode delivery for those who prefer to learn through self- led learning as well as some residential learning. For 2020-21 full DFE scholarship funding is available for all Church of England schools within dioceses which have a footprint within category 5 or 6 areas. This is most dioceses. Please for more information - closing date 4 November 2019.

MAT Governance Leadership Programme 
Do you have a chair/ vice chair of your MAT board or a MAT board director who would value taking part in a FULLY FUNDED Church of England MAT Governance Leadership programme this year?
The Church of England are running a MAT Governance Leadership Programme in partnership with the Confederation of Schools Trust specifically for MAT Governance leaders to increase capability and skills in this challenging and unique leadership role. This starts in Autumn 2019. If you are a MAT, you are entitled to one fully funded place. £500 grants are also available to fund second participants from each MAT (course fee, therefore £1200 +vat). Last remaining places still available- book today
MAT Leaders Network
The next MAT Leaders Network event will take place on 8th October at Lambeth Palace, on the theme of Building People Capacity. We will hear from Simon Ashley, VP for HR at BP, Leora Cruddas from Confederation of Schools Trust, and both DNEAT and Transform Trusts talking about best practice and their experiences in succession planning, broadening the diversity of governors, and increasing staff engagement. Opportunity for discussion and networking for MAT CEOs, MAT Senior Leaders and DDEs. Book your tickets today (£195+vat). 
That’s all for this month – enjoy your summer break and we’ll be back in September with more. Please share this with colleagues – we welcome your feedback too  -
Copyright © 2019 Church of England Education Office, All rights reserved.

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.