The big issue, the main aim of this blog, is to ponder this question:
For those of us who believe that the Catholic faith is the path to all goodness, beauty and truth, how can the schools that we govern set about passing on that faith to the children for who we bear some responsibility? The parents of course are the ‘primary educators’, and schools can do little without their support. And it is naïve to think that we can achieve anything worthwhile unless we place ourselves at the disposal of the Holy Spirit.
But having said that, there are still choices to be made, decisions to be taken. We wouldn’t be governors if we didn’t think we could do some good. The Section 48 inspection offers some useful guidelines. The inspectors will focus on three main areas: the teaching of RE; the spiritual ethos of the school; and liturgies.
That’s a start, but it is fair to wonder whether this an adequate framework for evaluating the ‘religious dimension’ of the school. Experience seems to show that schools can come out of Section 48 smelling of roses, while not really setting many little hearts on fire.
My school is fortunate in many ways. Most of the children are baptised Catholics. While fewer than half of the staff are Catholics, the school leadership has made it very clear that all teachers and support staff are expected to give their full support to the Catholic ethos of the school, and indeed they do so gladly. The RE coordinator vigorously promotes our Catholicity, chivvying, supporting, encouraging.
So what is the missing ingredient? How can we do things better? How can we go beyond policies and practices, and really start to evangelise and catechise? How can governors at their distance from the business end make a helpful contribution? This is what this blog has been set up to ponder.