Schools for Human Flourishing

Schools for Human Flourishing



10 MAY 2016


Welcome to the launch of Schools for Human Flourishing - a joint publication between Woodard, SSAT and the Church of England.

As many of you are aware Woodard educates over 30,000 pupils across 43 academy, independent and state-maintained schools. Our family of schools have grown out of the vision of a nineteenth century educational entrepreneur: Nathaniel Woodard. He, like us, was driven by a high moral purpose. He firmly believed that education was the only way to aid this transformation and began his lifelong work of founding schools. I hope that this evening is an opportunity for you to learn more about our work, be it in our inner-city state-maintained Church of England schools and academies or across our independent schools. We would be very interested in having conversations with you.

This collection of essays address the purpose of education. Few would argue with the widely shared ambition to continue to raise the bar and improve academic standards, supporting young people on their

journey to thrive in adult life and in the workplace. However, the current definition of educational outcomes, the focus on accountability and a criterion for success that places a dominance on academic progress is at the expense of models of schooling grounded in human development.

Education is about more than the flight towards academic success. It is, at its heart, about human flourishing. This book is a celebration of some of the outstanding things that are being done in our schools to nurture human flourishing.

In the first part of the book a series of essays reflect on what it means to flourish as a human being. The second half of the book focuses on the particular contribution of church schools to the development of human flourishing. A number of questions act as leitmotifs throughout this book:

• Who are you?

• Why are you here?

• What drives you?

• Who are you dancing for?

• Who inspires you and how?

• What kind of person do you want to become?

• What is the nature of your CV – the ‘course of your life’?

• How then shall you live?

In attempting to answer these questions for ourselves, our schools and our young people, we are journeying on the road to human flourishing.

It is my great pleasure to introduce our keynote speaker this evening. The Right Reverend Stephen Conway was ordained Priest in 1987 in Durham. In 2006 he was consecrated as Area Bishop of Ramsbury, Salisbury Diocese. He became the 69th Bishop of Ely on 6th December 2010.

He is Bishop Accompanier of L'Arche UK and a member of the international church leaders' group. He represents the CofE on the Faith and Order Commission of the World Council of Churches.

Bishop Stephen is the Church of England’s lead bishop for education in the House of Lords. He chairs the Council of the National Society Council supporting schools, further and higher education.