If you’re a regular reader of our blogs, you’ll know all about our dream of establishing an affordable, integrated and excellent school for children aged 3 and upwards; a school where every child is offered every opportunity to fulfil their God given potential – regardless of their socioeconomic situation – since fees relate to each family’s income.
Since the end of 2016, our dream has begun to take shape, starting with Nov / December, when Phil and I toured the UK updating supporters and launching a campaign intended to raise funds to purchase a plot of land on which to begin to establish the school.
So, why not start already?
Some have asked why we don’t just start, suggesting how renting a space, for example, would make it easier for donors to see what they are ‘buying in to’. In response, I’d say we have started, although at this stage we’ve chosen to invest in aspects of education which although not immediately visible, are absolutely necessary for a healthy school to develop.
Alongside fundraising, we’ve been intentionally reading, researching and learning as much as we can about what offers the best foundations for effective learning, ensuring we create what God intends, and how to achieve this. Therefore, we aim to provide:
- Affordable, excellent and integrated education
- An accessible school with fees linked to earnings
- Teachers who co-create learning with each child; an approach to education where children are supported to be life-long learners, as they are encouraged to be creative, think critically and solve problems
- A physical space which facilitates our philosophy
Investing in what matters
I (Rachel) have always felt that once we have classes for three year olds, my commitment will need to be the school, the staff, children & parents. Experience has shown me that high quality education is not something to be left to chance. If you want every child to fulfil their potential, you need to invest in teachers through observing lessons, giving feedback, facilitating appropriate professional development.
A friend suggested that I should read Bambrick-Santoyo’s (2012) Leverage Leadership, a book in which he unpacks, ‘What really makes education effective is well-leveraged leadership that ensures great teaching to guarantee great learning’ (p.6).
Reading it both confirmed and stretched a lot of my thinking, since Bambrick-Santoyo explains, in some depth, how instructional and cultural levers drive ‘consistent, transformational and replicable growth’ (p.9).
To create a school where every child is given every opportunity to reach their God-given potential, the leadership needs to be intentional about working with teachers each week, so students can develop and grow in to the people God fully intended.