It was wonderful to see so many of you last night. It really was a Celebration Evening- a celebration both of our students’ achievements and our life as a school community. This week’s blog summarises my talk at the end of the evening. Some of you may appreciate the chance to read it in a cooler and quieter area!
Review of the school year
This year, our 25th, has been a significant one.
We were joined at the start of the year by Mark Prothero who serves and now leads in the school as Head of Secondary. Mark is reunited in school leadership with his wife Jane, who had joined us the previous year as Head of Primary and school SEND coordinator. Mr and Mrs Prothero had previously been involved in the leadership of Hope International Christian School in Cambodia. With an enlarged and strengthened leadership team, we have, as a whole teaching community, made great gains in improving and developing our school. We were visited by Ofsted in November of 2017 for a monitoring visit to assess our progress against the inspection report of January 2017. As you will be aware we are compliant with all regulations that we had failed to show compliance in at the November 2016 inspection.
As a bigger and stronger leadership team, we have been able to give more time to also strengthening our distinctives as a christian school, we are revisiting the privilege and responsibility of delivering faith integrated learning as part of our curriculum. We have added strategic opportunities for our students to explore their faith; for example we are developing a student forum once a week where students can discuss and talk to us about the educational experience they are receiving. Next year we will give our older students more opportunity to develop leadership skills to benefit the younger pupils in he school using the forums.
We have a new whole school Management of Information System which helps us track progress of all students across all phases of the school. You will have already received a couple of reports utilising the system as a basis for our conversations with you about your child’s progress. Next year we will build on our data to make sure more of our teaching is informed by what we accurately know about each child.
In recognition of the challenges growing on our children in terms of resilience and positive mental health, we will be developing a Student Support Team over the next year to formalise and develop the support and encouragement we can give to our students and their wider wellbeing outside of our work with them in the classroom.
The DSP continues to grow and enrich the school in terms of proviso. Next school year we will have reached our current capacity to educate 12 students in the DSP of Secondary age. Mrs Horton’s team continues to grow to enhance this provision.
The African proverbs says ‘that it takes a whole village to raise a child.’ Our school community is such a ‘village’ available to serve you as you parent your children.
Enjoy the summer break and we look to partnering with you again next year to provide Christian discipleship as part of our quality education.
Encouragement for your parenting
God says that ‘he sets the lonely in families;’ families are the primary small group to which we are all born into, grow up in and belong to and are supposed to receive so much of our sense of security, significance and acceptance from; three fundamental elements which we all need to be able to thrive. Families come in all shapes and sizes and God is able to work in all the combinations of families we experience in life.
One of our distinctives is to offer you the opportunity to raise your children to be people of faith in partnership with a team of educators who seek to put faith at the heart of our curriculum.
You each have unique individuals in your families. All of your children have certain families traits and characteristics, but each of them is a different and unique individual. God knows each of them as well as you do; better than you do. You see, he says he has known them fully even as they were being formed in the womb, and his plans and purposes for them were with him in his heart from their beginning. He has invested uniquely in at least one or two very uniquely placed people to help each of these children discover God’s love and his plans and purposes for them…you!
Our children have been entrusted to us for a few short years to help develop them into the people God can see they can become. He will use other people outside your family, but it will also definitely use you.
So start to write your self a wish list:
If you could plan a series of key experiences and encounters for your son or daughter over the time they were at school to preprepared them for life, what would you include? As you watch their individual uniqueness develop what kind of people would you like them to be developing into?
What character traits and attitudes would you like them to have acquired?
What outlook on life would you like them to have?
What are the qualities and expressions of faith would you like to see come forth in their responses to life?
You are already sowing into these issues every time you speak to them, every time you intervene in their lives, every time you correct and guide them, even every time you discipline them. So why not spend some time and set down what you are actually aiming for? Be idealistic. Sure, life comes along and challenges everything that we hope will happen for good in our lives, but why not name your values, work out what is important to you, what you hope to see formed in your children and sow intentionally into their lives anyway. When challenges do come, you’ll know what you are defending and fighting for.
What experiences would you like them to have?
Where would you like them to go and what would you like them to do?
Whom would you like them to meet? What kinds of people could sow into your children’s lives that would complement the aims and goals that you have. Who could help you raise your children?
All this will take time, planning, resources, it will take commitment, energy and perseverance. But you have all these things at your disposal anyway, and you have time. In fact, you have years to sow into this process. At this point, if you are starting to buy into my exhortations, make a quick but powerful adjustment in your thinking. Turn your wish list to an action plan. What’s to stop you?
And the next thing I am going to exhort you to do is to this: Work out your current level of involvement in these six areas of your child’s life.
Q: What is the current impact of each of these six areas in the life of your child?
The aim here is to assess how well each of these areas of life is serving your ideals as parents. Then assess your level of involvement in each of these areas. Do you need to become more involved? Do you need to change or adjust your involvement? Are each of these areas healthy for your son or daughter? If not, what are you going to do?
To review the influence of these six areas of life.
Fill in the grid and assess the input and impact each of the six areas is currently having on your child.
Choose the level of involvement [and intervention, if necessary] that you think would lead to health and life in each of these six areas.
In the home:
How healthy are your relationships which you foster with your son/daughter within the home?
What do you do that is real and beneficial for your son/daughter as a family?
How healthy is your child’s faith? How can you encourage spiritual growth at home?
How much of your best time do you give your children?
What impact is your child’s school having upon your child?
What will you do if any of the impact is negative?
How can you partner with the school on behalf of your son/daughter?
What is your relationship with your son/daughter’s teachers?
In the church:
How well do you know the people who work with your son/daughter at church?
What impact does the church you attend have upon your child and are you happy with it?
How are you working with and supporting those who are working with your children?
Where else does your child go for significant amounts of time?
What impact do the people and activities of other places have upon your child?
Who appears to influence your child the most?
Are you happy with their impact on your child’s life?
Who are your child’s closest friends?
Are you happy with their impact on your child’s life?
Having considered these questions, do you need to make any changes after this period of review.
take ultimate responsibility for discipling your children
be actively involved and co-ordinate the impact of these six areas
introduce your children to the character of God and the fact that he has plans and purposes for their unique lives and that these plans are fulfilling and satisfying.
ensure that your children have opportunities to serve others outside of your home
decide the levels you are prepared to delegate to others
work with and support those who are discipling your children
develop good relationships with other families who will provide our children with good relationships and role models.
ensure that our children are equipped to take their place in the world
Bradford Christian school exists to partner you in this venture, in this process and towards these ideals. We believe in discipleship through quality education; introducing God to our children through the process of education, equipping them for life, not just with excellent exam qualifications, but with rich experiences and a sense of God’s calling and equipping to serve him with their gifts, abilities and passions.