2018 Conference reports – Education Directorate

The Directorate for Education oversees the work of church schools in the Diocese. This is primarily done through the Diocesan Director for Education, Revd Canon Bryan Witt, the Schools Officer, Mrs Jean Voyle Williams, and our Foundation Governors and Bishop’s Visitors.

The Endowed Schools Committee is responsible for the funding of our Voluntary Aided and Voluntary Controlled schools and is the financial wing of the Education Directorate; it is also a sub-committee of the Diocesan Board of Finance and members of the Education and Schools Committee sit on it. 2017 saw the retirement of the Chair of the Directorate for Education, Ven. Roger Hughes, and the Directorate wish to thank him for his hard work in this area of diocesan life. I am the new Chair of the Directorate.

Ven Paul R Mackness Chair, Directorate for Education

EDUCATION & SCHOOLS COMMITTEE

It has been a very exciting academic year for our church schools in the diocese as we have seen three new schools opening their doors: namely Gelliswick in Hubberston, Penrhyn in Hundleton and Ysgol Dyffryn Cledlyn in Drefach.

At present there are 26 church schools in the diocese with 3,627 pupils. Small rural schools might have closed their doors in the past few years but with the development of community church schools, pupil numbers are now on the increase.

The Temporary Governing Body of the new 3-16 VA school at St Davids comprising of Ysgol Dewi Sant Secondary School, Ysgol Bro Dewi VA and Solva CP, have been working hard to prepare for the establishment of the new school – Ysgol Penrhyn Dewi – which is scheduled to open in September 2018. This is an exciting time as it will be the first voluntary aided secondary school in the diocese.

The Section 50 Inspection process has changed drastically in the last few years in line with ESTYN requirements and we are so fortunate to have excellent inspectors within our diocese who keep up to date with these changes and attend regular training courses. We sincerely thank them for all their hard work and commitment to raising education standards in the diocese. During the past academic year we have had five Section 50 Inspections and we are very proud of the achievements of our schools.

This year there was a one-day INSET programme at the National Botanic Garden with representatives from 24 of our church schools, which was an excellent turnout. All were delighted to have Bishop Joanna in attendance.

We continue to work closely with Tŷ’r Pererin and at our Leavers’ Service in the Cathedral last year there were 250 pupils present representing 11 schools and the majority of them took part in a pilgrimage before the service. This was a great success and we are grateful to Mrs Janet Ingram and her team for all their preparatory work. Many of our smaller schools have also been involved in the Pilgrimage Programme organised by Tŷ’r Pererin.

Some of our smaller primary schools held their Leavers’ Services at their local parish churches and indeed during the past academic year we have seen many of the schools using their local parish churches not only for special services but as an extra classroom, where exciting projects have been developed between the schools and parishes.

In this past academic year, Bishop Joanna has made church school visits a priority and has visited them all, returning to some for a second time even. Both the Diocesan Education Team and the schools value this greatly.

It is an exciting time for our diocese as two new officers have been appointed and will commence their duties in September 2018; namely Revd John Cecil as Deputy Director of Education, and Revd Delyth Richards as Schools Officer. It is so encouraging to see the diocese investing in the work of education and making the future of our church schools a priority.

As a committee we are mindful of the many pressures that our head teachers and staff are under at present, which is why having a strong network in operation across the Diocese is so essential. We encourage schools to form partnerships where good practice can be shared and some schools are starting to doing this and have found it very beneficial.

We would like to thank our head teachers, members of staff, governors, parish clergy and Bishop’s visitors for the important part that they so willingly play in promoting Christian ethos within our church schools. Their commitment and support can make miracles happen.

Mrs Jean Voyle Williams, Diocesan Schools Officer