Our Common Good Schools Project Leader, Jo Stow, here reflects on the common good understanding of diversity, and reports on how our work with schools is addressing the fundamental importance of relationship.
It has been a great spring term for Common Good Schools. It was wonderful to spend time with colleagues from three of our partner schools and develop a connection with a new school.
I was delighted to deliver training to assistant head Victoria Tiffany, along with headteacher Dominic Kelly and senior leaders at Cardinal Heenan High, Leeds. Then, last week I travelled to Ruislip, Greater London to be with Malcolm Britton, deputy headteacher with school chaplain, Revd Suzy Dand at Bishop Ramsey. I look forward to partnering with both schools in the coming months and years as they begin to establish deeper links with their neighbours.
In addition, we warmly welcome Worth School, near Crawley, to Common Good Schools. Staff will receive training in May, to begin the programme in September.
T4CG’s long-term partner, Peter Bull, Head of RE at Alsop High School, Liverpool, celebrated the beginning of a new initiative, becoming a Growing Faith Hub after receiving national funding from the Growing Faith Foundation. Calling their project #TogetherWeCan, they will link with local primary schools, families, church and faith communities to work together for the common good in their neighbourhoods. It was a pleasure to attend their launch event and see young people from Alsop High, as well as two feeder primary schools, taking a lead.
During the Common Good Schools training sessions, we ask schools to consider how they can embrace local partners who might bring something different from themselves to the relationship. When we consider the word diversity, often our first thoughts may include race and ethnicity. I used to work in Harehills, Leeds, often described as ‘diverse’ because of the 170 languages spoken by residents.
Diversity of age might also spring to mind. The documentary Old People’s Home for 4 year olds first brought the benefits of intergenerational projects to our attention back in 2019. Today, there are many initiatives bringing old and young together. Some of our partner schools have engaged with their community in this way.
In addition, we ask schools to consider other forms of diversity. As we attract schools from different parts of the country, it is a joy to welcome a diversity of opinion, education, class and ability. We partner with schools awarded a range of Ofsted gradings; with a Special Education Needs school and a school that has provision for SEND alongside mainstream education; schools attracting the wealthy and those supporting the poor as well as schools facing the challenge of diversity of opinion amongst their community.
Diversity can bring discomfort, but the Common Good Schools programme allows both students and staff to take a step back from the heat of the challenge and take a wider view. The Common Good principles, especially human dignity, participation and reconciliation, remind us that all people are of intrinsic value and that forming relationships makes it possible to develop trust and work together for the common good.
Do you know a school that would benefit from become a Common Good School?
Can you help us?
We are looking to partner with more schools.
Do you have a link with your local school? Are you a parent, student, teacher, senior leader, director of an academy trust, trustee or governor? We find the best way to engage is via a personal introduction. Please get in touch with Jo if you could help facilitate an introduction.
We’d be grateful for prayers during the next few weeks.
- School staff who will receive training and commence the programme in May.
- Schools actively seeking community partners to work with.
- Students who will participate in the Common Good Schools programme.
- Jo, as she develops relationships with partner schools and seeks new partners.
“So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.” Romans 12:5
For more details about the Common Good Schools programme, contact our Common Good Schools Project Leader, Jo Stow.
Common Good Schools Project Leader
07886 240 685