Bulletin - 08-01-24
“Teach us to number our days, so we may get a heart of wisdom”
Dear Friends and Colleagues,
Happy New Year! I hope you had a peaceful and joyful Christmas.
Entering a New Year is a time for reflection. Moses asked of the Lord, “Teach us to number our days, so we may get a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12).
As you take a moment to reflect on last year, I suspect you may recall highs and lows – joys and sorrows, goals met and goals missed, friendships gained and friendships lost. There will no doubt be days you will want to forget but there will be days you want to remember. We can all say that we will have learnt new things about ourselves and the world around us.
The New Year also reminds us of the new birth. It is a time for setting new goals and to embrace the brand new opportunities and experiences ahead of us in school, church and at home. Before we sit down and start writing grand new development plans, I would suggest we begin by renewing the core commitments we have already made.
You will be aware that the Diocesan Board of Education launched its new vision for education last October. It is through this year and beyond that we intend to live out the promises we’ve made to support the flourishing of all in our school communities.
CALLED – Like Moses was called to help the people of God, we are called to serve all adults and pupils in our school communities so that they may live life to the full.
ASPIRATIONAL – Just as Moses was aspirational is actively addressing injustice, we will work together with the support of God to break down barriers and be aspirational for all.
ROOTED – Just as the burning bush is rooted in holy ground, our schools are rooted by a Christian foundation, through Christian hope and the love of God. Our work is driven by our deep roots of faith, hope, love, family, partnerships and links with the church and community.
EMPOWERING – Just as Moses was empowered by God to be an agent of change. The LDBE empowers church school leaders and pupils to be agents of positive change so that church schools can serve the common good in deeply Christian ways.
This is our vision. These are our promises to you. We CARE.
In schools, you will no doubt have your own vision statement which is theologically rooted, inclusive, aspirational and forward looking. As we plan for 2024, I suggest we start by looking at the vision we already have for our school communities.
Look at it together as a school community.
Does it clearly reflect:
· Who you are as a school?
· Your school’s role in your unique community?
· How you will then live and learn together?
Consider if your school’s theologically rooted Christian vision is actually driving the work, and enabling the school to live up to its foundation as a Church school. Is your vision informing every policy? Does it influence every decision and action you take for the flourishing of all? How do we know that what we are doing is helping us realise our vision? What is telling us that it is working?
What plans and activities do we collaboratively need to do this year to realise our vision?
For many, it may involve developing and embedding the many good practices, systems and projects implemented last year. There may be some exciting new projects this year but not everything needs to be brand new. If something is worth pursuing such as aspiration for all, then the provision in place is worthy of reflection and renewal.
When we draw up new plans for the year, there is a danger that we over-plan and we do not allow time to rest, reflect and think. Time is precious and it is a gift from God. Some may think we haven’t got time to have a pause in our plans. Rest isn’t a sign of laziness or weakness though; it’s a sign of spiritual strength and confidence when we close our eyes and we place our trust in God.
The best laid plans can be blown off course. There will be some challenges along the way. It is at these times we turn to each other and pray to God for comfort, resilience and strength. Together, we can achieve great things. Please remember the Diocesan Education Team are always here to support you realise the vision for your school community. Please don’t hesitate to contact us.
On behalf of the Diocesan Board of Education, I wish you a very happy and successful new year.
from Paul Thompson, Diocesan Director of Education
A Prayer for the New Year
Grant us, O Lord:
The hope to envision new dreams;
The strength to rise above our limitations,
our fears and whatever holds us down;
The courage to stand on our own,
to stretch our imagination
and to experience being fully human, fully alive;
The faith to live our lives in your image and likeness.
Guide us, O Lord, this new year,
every way, every day.