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ISSUE 4 - JUNE 2019 - INSPIRING FAITHFULNESS

Welcome to the latest edition of ‘Called, Connected, Committed', in which we will be focusing on a 4th area of the Leadership Practices Matrix – Inspiring Faithfulness. We are so grateful for all the extremely positive feedback on this monthly publication, and do continue to share with your teams.
 
All the previous issues and resources are available at:
Rethinking Resilience – www.cefel.org.uk/resilience
Demonstrating Generosity – www.cefel.org.uk/generosity
Enabling Flourishing – www.cefel.org.uk/flourishing

Do continue to connect with us through the website at www.cefel.org.uk or by email at cefel@churchofengland.org – or of course through Twitter at @CofE_EduLead – please do share this issue widely and as ever, we welcome your feedback and interaction!

Andy Wolfe
Deputy Chief Education Officer (Leadership Development)

Inspiring Faithfulness
 
If you ask school leaders to outline the main challenges that they are facing in their role at the moment, they will typically tend to point towards 3 key areas – these are usually the same for most leaders, although they come in different order of priority depending on the local context: budget, accountability measures, recruitment & retention. The word ‘retention’ is an interesting one, as it potentially opens up some rather negative connotations – I’m not sure I want to be ‘retained’ – as it implies a holding on, or restriction on me, a boxing in somehow. Rather than being retained, great people choose to continue working for an organisation for many reasons, but high on the list among them will be working with or for a leader who ‘inspires faithfulness’ - that deep sense of faithfulness and consistency that teams thrive on, and children need to trust.
 
Jesus tells a well known parable about a wealthy business owner who decides to take a year out, and entrust various parts of their business to 3 individuals. It’s found in Matthew 25, and known as the ‘Parable of the Talents’ – this is not because it is about talents in the way we now understand the word (skills, gifting etc.), but rather it refers to talents as a unit of money at this time. The business owner gives one person 10, another 5 and another 1, and then asks them to look after and invest wisely during the year. On their return, the three people are asked to give some account for what they have done, how they did it, and the outcome of their actions – perhaps you could say their intent, implementation and impact! The first two people give the good news that they have doubled their money and the business owner is rightly pleased. The 3rd explains that because they had little and were nervous of losing it, they buried in a field, and as a result were now able to return the original money having not lost it. The business owner is highly critical. 
 
At first glance this parable is about measuring success – the business owner praises the most effective and criticises the poorest performer. There are obvious resonances with our school system. However, the parable is not actually about success or failure, but faithfulness. Ultimately the business owner is asking a question we can all ask ourselves, our teams, our students – ‘what will you do with what you have been given?’ That notion of being faithful is central in all great teams – it involves knowing where we’re trying to get to, and then pulling together in that direction. You also see it in the classrooms of great teachers – who remove limits and empower learners from all starting points to make great progress – through faithfulness. You also see it in young people who are well prepared for examinations – not simply to succeed or fail, but to be faithful with what they’ve been given. 
 
In the Foundation’s definition of leadership, under ‘Committed’ , it says: “Leaders who are committed exude energy and passion in all they do, inspiring confidence and faithfulness in their teams. They are clear about their purpose and resilient in the face of challenge. They take long-term decisions and not easily swayed by short-term changes of policy or procedure. They articulate a sense of mission in their approach to education to which they draw others, and are committed to the flourishing of their pupils and colleagues.”
 
Part of the notion of faithfulness, is considering what it is we are faithful to, and indeed the idea of ‘faith’ itself. Over the past months, we have developed ‘Growing Faith’, which seeks to build to the partnership and intersection between schools, churches and households. All Dioceses have committed to be part of this, and in this issue, we are able to highlight some early thinking about the intersection between these 3 areas which we hope you find useful in your thinking.
 
Introducing ‘Growing Faith’
 
In February 2019, the Growing Faith paper was warmly welcomed by General Synod, having been unanimously supported by the House of Bishops in December 2018. This paper outlines some key thinking about the relationship between Schools, Churches and Households in relation to children and young people. It also sets out a range of practical steps that will be taken nationally and locally to bring this to life, as we seek opportunities for these three pivotal elements to work more closely together – structurally, theologically, developmentally and pedagogically. 
In order to help leaders think about the opportunities that this opens up, we have shared with Dioceses some ways into their reflecting and planning on a local level – you can read the full introduction document and PPT slides here www.cefel.org.uk/faithfulness
Growing Faith - in  Schools,  Churches  and Families
Over the coming months, resources, examples of good practice and guidance will be developed in this area but we thought you may find the following pointers useful:-
Going for Growth - a resource hub to support all of us as we work together to serve others.
 

The Church of England wants to:

  • work towards every child and young person having a life-enhancing encounter with the Christian faith and the person of Jesus Christ
  • recognise and welcome the capacity of children and young people to transform the church and the world
  • provide support and development for all those working with children and young people

Going for Growth is a resource hub, accessed via this link,  to support this ministry with and among children and young people. It points towards sites which offer resources, downloads and links to support us all in this aspect of our work.  
For example, you may be looking for resources that help you support young people and families discussing big questions and exploring their faith; you may be looking at how to support young people talking about their faith with each other and within families.  Resources found via the hub, such as https://parentingforfaith.org, give you easy access to starting points for developments in this area. 

Are you a primary or middle school looking for a resource to support worship? 

You may already have Roots and Fruits 1, which focuses on a set of 12 Christian Values for a 2 year worship cycle. Roots and Fruits 2 builds on that and is a Christian collective worship resource designed to support whole school worship over the six terms of an academic year. It provides a keynote act of worship for every week of the school year. The focus the resource is on the life and teaching of Jesus and woven through each act of worship is one of the following six values:   Hope, Community, Dignity, Wisdom, Joy and Peace. The first 4 of these values are integral to the Church of England Vision for Education and underpin the new evaluation schedule for the Statutory Inspection of Anglican and Methodist Schools (SIAMS). Read more here
Every school in the UK a prayed-for school
That’s the vision of Pray for Schools: to mobilise Christians to support their school communities through prayer.  You can find out more by following the link to the website here
You can check if your school is a prayed for school and if not, why not offer your school community the chance to begin this initiative for your local area - it might be just the opportunity that a member of your team, a pupil group or a parent may be looking for to make a difference. 
Do you have a Prayer Space in your school?
It may be you have a permanent prayer space, reflection zones or have focus days/weeks where you have a pop-up prayer space.  The link here can help you set-up, revisit, revitalise your prayer space and is another useful way of combining family, Church and school in a project that is for those of all faiths and those of none by aiding reflection on those issues bigger than ourselves. 

"Even the lives of our young people get pressured and squeezed. Soul Space does something remarkable: it claims that space and offers a place to breathe some healthy spiritual air. The responses from young people demonstrate what can happen when we allow a little bit of God space into crowded lives. It's a precious gift!" Revd. Simon Ward (Chaplain to the Lord Bishop of Norwich)

Are you looking for new ways of inspiring faithfulness in challenging contexts?
“Fresh Expressions are new forms of church that emerge within contemporary culture and engage primarily with those who don’t ‘go to church”

Believing that God is already at work in the world, Fresh Expressions reimagine how the Body of Christ can live and work in diverse and changing contexts. You can find out more by following this link.  This network of interlinked groups will be particularly useful to find out more about if you are in a rural location or work with young adults.  

This short clip links to one of the resources above and would be useful to share with the school community if you are considering starting a conversation and developing this aspect of Inspiring Faithfulness in your context. 
 
Sometimes we need to be inspired by others - by peers of our own age - seeing what impact they are having can give you the confidence to get involved and influence change in the world.  This inspiring clip is one of a series produced using spoken word to highlight how working together, whoever you are can make a positive difference. This is based on work by CAFOD but you could use it to be the seed for courageous advocacy in an area about which the young people who you work with are passionate. 

June Book Recommendations
The Teenage Prayer Experiment Notebook and The Little Book of Prayer Experiments both by Miranda Threlfall-Holmes et al


This book is based on a blog run by Revd Miranda Threlfall-Holmes and her teenage son, Noah, www.TeenagePrayerExperiment.blogspot.co.uk. Miranda and Noah developed the blog and book as they could find nothing on the market to introduce teenagers to different ways of praying. 
Each chapter of the book introduces a prayer practice, eg using labyrinths, Lego Bible modelling, prayer beads, prayer walking. It also includes comments by teenagers who have tried it out and space for the young person to record their own thoughts.
There is also "The Prayer Experiment Notebook" for younger children, which has great ideas in it and this links to a blog where one of the authors posts similar materials - http://flamecreativekids.blogspot.com

The Little Book of Prayer Experiments, aimed at adults, is an interactive and accessible book of 'prayer experiments' which encourages readers to try out different approaches to prayer and to record their experiences.

The prayer experiments include:

  • Praying with your whole body
  • Colouring the Bible
  • The Lord's Prayer
  • Labyrinth
  • Breathing Meditation
  • Pearls of life
  • Examen
  • Prayer walking

So dive into prayer and discover whole new ways to pray.

 

The Gift of Being Yourself by David G Benner

Brenner sheds light on how we all hide behind false selves and shows us how we can discover the true self that emerges from our uniqueness in Christ. He talks about how understanding of God and understanding of ourselves go hand in hand and it is not possible to understand God without also understanding ourselves. As we do this we let go of finding happiness through effort, control, and autonomy, and instead know that we are deeply loved, practice gratitude, and live by grace.

News from the Networks 
We were thrilled to launch a 6th Rural Schools Network in partnership with the Diocese of Bath and Wells and Somerset County Council earlier this month. This network will be bringing together a large number of rural and small schools across Somerset to work on key issues in relation to Leadership Development, Governance and Curriculum Development.

Our next National Secondary Leadership Network (NSLN) event is taking place at St Gabriel’s College, London on 10th July, where we will be focusing on ‘Growing Faith’ – we are looking forward to welcoming headteachers and chaplains to this important event as this network continues to grow. Regional hub events are taking place over the coming 2 weeks in Ashford, Frome, Preston, Mansfield and Stockton-on-Tees. For more details go to www.cefel.org.uk/nsln

We’re looking forward to launching a range of new Peer Support Networks across the country for 2019-20 as the Peer Support Network continues to grow – if your school would like to get involved in this, please let us know indeed – this is groups of 15 or so leaders coming together to work on shared leadership development priorities together facilitated by an expert. Potential focus includes – Curriculum, Removing Disadvantage, Teaching and Learning, SIAMS etc

We will be hosting our first Peer Support Network sessions in partnership with Cumbria County Council on July 11th.  We are looking forward to meeting up with approx 60 Cumbrian school leaders (from community and church schools) to look at  well-being in leadership and the role of schools in communities.
 
UPCOMING EVENTS AND OPPORTUNITIES

CofEPQH
There are nearly 150 leaders in our current cohort of CoEPQH, accredited by DfE as an NPQH, across 5 regions.  We are now recruiting aspiring and current headteachers for January 2020 start across 7 regional cohorts.  Schools in opportunity and category 5 and 6 areas are eligible to apply for DFE full scholarship funding. Applications for 2020 programme are now open – for more information and to apply go to www.cefel.org.uk/cofepqh  - closing date 4 November 2019.

MAT Leadership Network.
Our next MAT Leadership Network event takes place on 8th October at Lambeth Palace, focusing on ‘Succession Planning and Engagement’   More information will follow shortly but , for now, hold the date. 
 
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 – apply by 7 July.

National Conference – SAVE THE DATE 6 February 2020
Following the success of this year’s conference where over 600 leaders gathered to look at the theme of ‘Rethinking Resilience’, the National Conference will be held on Thursday 6th February 2020 at Methodist Central Hall with the focus of ‘Visionary Curriculum Leadership’. We are delighted that we will be joined by some incredible speakers including Mary Myatt, Paula Gooder, Becky Francis, David Ford, Tom Rees, Serdar Ferit, Leora Cruddas, Sean Harford, Floyd Woodrow, Allana Gay, Kate Middleton, Jonathan Sharples and many more. Please save the date. As last year, there will be a discount in place for Dioceses or MATs bringing 10 leaders or more. More details to follow…
 
 
That’s all for this month – we’ll be back in July with more. Please share this with colleagues – we welcome your feedback too  - cefel@churchofengland.org
Copyright © 2019 Church of England Education Office, All rights reserved.


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