This week’s blog is written by Liz and Steve Mole and their daughter Hannah. As you will gather, Hannah was a student at the school and has recently returned to undertake a teaching practice as part of a teaching degree she is taking at Leeds university. It is not uncommon to get ex students back to work with us in some capacity or another. Currently we have three members of staff who were first with us as students: Esther Hutton, one of our EYFS teachers; Shaun McGrail, our ICT teacher and Jake Horton who is working as a learning support teacher in our DSP. It’s hugely encouraging to have adults who we first sowed into as children back with us and eager to work out our vision as members of a new generation.
Aspirations and realisations
Liz and Steve (parents):
As a couple we had prayed with Mr Moon over his vision of a Christian school becoming a reality. A school not with Christian assemblies tacked on, but where faith and a Christian perspective would be integrated into the everyday and the mundane. Bradford Christian School (BCS), was therefore, the natural choice when our daughter, Hannah, reached school age.
Our desire for Hannah was to have an education that was congruent with our Christian faith, avoiding the confusion of conflicting worldviews coming from home and school. This, we hoped, would nurture Hannah into having a self-confidence and an assurance in her faith. We anticipated that the ethos of honing character and the celebrations of the academic and the personal would lead to her becoming the best all round person that she could be.
This has been our experience and it has been a great source of joy to us. Hannah’s foundations were such that when she left the BCS bubble that her faith did not waver and could contend the Christian worldview when this arose in discussions. Moreover, Hannah has followed God’s call on her life in Uganda (even when this involved travelling to potentially dangerous places with people she had never met before!). In addition to our aspirations, she gained a broader outlook of the world. Sponsorship of children in primary school, an awareness of financial injustice in the world, and being allowed to organise a bake sale at 11 started to plant the seed of her desire to become a missionary, which was watered by faith-integrated Geography lessons, school productions and mission trips to Romania.
The money we have invested over the years in school fees has proved to be worth every penny. Although, we missed out on transient holidays abroad, the investment in our child’s life is still paying dividends today even five years after she left.
It has been a great privilege to be serving back at BCS as a student teacher. Coming back has sharpened my perspective on the quality of education I received at school; as BCS contrasts to other school experiences I have had during my university training. At BCS each child is known individually, cared about individually and discipled individually. It is difficult to measure for Ofsted or league tables, yet also difficult to underestimate the impact this has. At BCS the teacher is enabled to effectively support the children academically and emotionally. Research also shows that children tend to do better in smaller schools even though they tend to be less-well funded per child than larger schools because of the power of relationships.
The fruit for the Kingdom of God at BCS also inspired my own aspirations for a Christian school in Uganda. Initially, it was my own teachers at BCS who allowed me to thoroughly thrive inspired my career choice as a teacher and the heart and vision of Mr Moon spurred my desire for children abroad to access Christian education. The school also helped to equip me for this: with the ability to think critically, a wider understanding of the world and practical admin skills.
One of the things I admire about Mr Moon’s leadership of the school is his wisdom around change. It doesn’t take long in the education sphere to become disillusioned with “best practice” as it seems to change as quickly as politicians’ whims. However, it is refreshing to be back at BCS, where, though it does not stagnate, does not change with the wind either.
All in all, we are delighted with the way our aspirations have been fulfilled and that our investment has been worthwhile.