Church School Leaders Conference: Courageous Advocacy
Over 100 delegates and stall holders gathered at The Hayes Conference Centre for the annual Diocesan Church School Leaders Conference which this year explored the theme of ‘Courageous Advocacy’.
Delegates heard a challenging and thought-provoking keynote address from Paul Miller, the first black professor of Educational Leadership in the UK. Paul highlighted the lack of diversity within the teaching profession generally in the UK and particularly among the leaders of education. He challenged leaders to identify positive actions to address this situation in the individual schools represented.
Rev Mark Tanner, Interim Chair of the Diocesan Board of Education, commented, “When it comes to racial justice, we should only have a ‘no opt out culture’. Paul’s highlighting of the state of play in education shows we have a long way to go and from a justice perspective was deeply uncomfortable and challenging.”
In keeping with the conference aim to equip a new generation to act justly, love mercy and tread lightly on the earth, delegates were treated to some excellent student presentations. Students from the Bluecoat Aspley Academy, Queen Elizabeth’s Academy and National Academy shared their passion for issues of justice, “We fight for what’s right”, and recognise that it’s “Our responsibility to question and challenge what we see.”
They highlighted some of the practical ways in which they are being the change they want to see, “We don’t just want to raise money – we want to take action.”
This theme was picked up by primary pupils from Archbishop Cranmer CofE Academy Aslockton, Ravenshead CofE School and St Peter’s CofE School Ruddington. The pupils had sent in videos showing some of the ways they are making a difference in their local communities. A panel of experts, chaired by Radio Nottingham presenter Frances Finn, was invited to answer some of the searching questions asked by the pupils in their videos. In summing up the videos, Fran commented, “Maybe the challenge is to keep up with our young people”.