Monday, 16 July 2012 09:49

Are you a Future Leader of a Catholic School?

How many of the following can you answer ‘yes’ to?

“Service to those who are amongst the most disadvantaged in our society has always been central to the mission of Catholic education.”

1. Are you driven to serve those who are most disadvantaged in our society?

Recent data shows that Catholic schools take more children from the least advantaged communities and add greater value when compared to all schools nationally. 

 “Catholic Education Service’s recent Digest of 2011 Census Data for Schools and Colleges” can be downloaded here.

2. Do you believe that children from such backgrounds can achieve?

In the Religious Education Curriculum Directory (2012) it quotes:

“The family is ‘the primary, but not the only and exclusive educating community’. Page 3. [Circular Letter To The Presidents Of Bishops’ Conferences On Religious Education In Schools, 2 (2009)]

3. Do you agree that, although parents are the primary educators of their children, all adults in schools are responsible for ensuring each child reaches their potential? 

Catholic schools’ “service to wider society may be seen clearly in the roles being played by Catholics in our nation today. Catholics contribute nationally to all strata of society.”.

4. Do you believe that all doors should be open to each pupil to make a contribution to any part of society?

‘The promotion of the human person is the goal of the Catholic school.’

Sacred Congregation for Catholic Education, The Catholic School on the Threshold of the Third Millennium, 1997

5. Do you agree that great leadership is required to develop all staff to be outstanding practitioners for the benefit of all pupils?

Gregory Pope, Deputy Director of the Catholic Education Service, commenting on the CES data survey results said,

 “This data demonstrates the valuable contribution which Catholic schools make to society as a whole.”

6. Do you believe that Catholic schools make a valuable contribution to society as a whole in order that all children meet with success?

Wouldn’t it be great if there was a leadership development programme that 

  • took middle leaders with such a sense of mission and values and turned them into headteachers and 
  • prepared them to work in complex urban challenging schools which are the hallmarks of so many of our Catholic schools today?

Well the good news is that if you answered ‘Yes’ to all of the above then there IS a leadership programme ready- made for you; a programme designed to help you meet these challenges. It’s called ‘Future Leaders’.

“Future Leaders is a leadership development programme for individuals that have the talent to become secondary headteachers after four years and the commitment to improve the life chances of pupils in disadvantaged areas.”  http://www.future-leaders.org.uk/.

Compare our mission through Catholic schools above with what Future Leaders is about below:

“Our mission is to address educational inequality by developing the next generation of leaders for challenging schools so that more schools in disadvantaged areas can offer their pupils a better future. Achieving this mission will not be easy, but our research has shown that it can be achieved if we relentlessly hold to the five following beliefs:

  • All children can achieve even in the most complex environments
  • Adults (teachers and other school staff, parents and carers) are responsible for ensuring all children reach their potential
  • Providing a high quality education is vital for a fair society that affords every child the full range of opportunities in life
  • Great schools are led by great leaders who have a focus on learning and attract, develop and coach great staff to reach every child
  • A large number of excellent school leaders can lead to a sustainable improvement across the education system. This is crucial to enable all children to succeed

As a Church we need to nurture those called to this educational mission. The Future Leaders’ programme can help us train people to become school leaders driven by these values, so that no child is neglected in our schools because of poverty, deprivation or their social class. If you’re Head already then why not nominate one of your staff?

Why not apply and become a Future Leader of a Catholic school? 

Pat McDermott, Director of Future Leaders for Yorkshire and Humber.

Future Leaders is a leadership development programme that trains outstanding individuals to become headteachers of challenging schools. Applications open in the autumn for a June 2013 start. More information here.
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