Better communications, inspections and school governor training are among the key areas identified by the four on the Alliance’s Commonwealth Professional Fellowship scheme.
Six weeks into their programme, the four fellows are drawing up their plans to improve church schools when they return home next month.
Jackie Glasgow-Browne from St Vincent in the Caribbean, Joe Takeli from Solomon Islands, Rev’d David Agbo from Nigeria and Dauda Seidu from Ghana are the first to take part in the fellowship programme run by the Anglican Alliance and funded by the UK’s Department for International Development.
This week they spent time in primary schools, at St John’s Church of England School in Harrow, Brunswick Park in Southwark, The Pilgrim Church of England School in Rochester and St Mary’s Church of England School in Oxford. They took part in the day-to-day running of the schools and learnt about their vision, culture and values. They have already spent time with the UK’s Department for Education, local authorities, OFSTED, the Institute of Education, the United Church Schools Trust and the Youth Sports Trust.
On her return, Jacque Glasgow-Browne will develop a brand new inspections unit in St Vincent and the Grenadines to promote school improvement and support good teaching and leadership. The fellowship has helped her to plan how to do this – from training people to setting up the office, putting rules in place and talking to partners. The contacts she has made will be very useful.
Seidu Dauda Adam, in Ghana, wants to improve the running of schools, ensuring that there is a strong and supportive board of governors in every school in the diocese. ‘We need to train and empower governors and get the right people in place. In the UK, strong bonds between governors and headteachers lead to better learning. Governors should have a clear vision for the teaching of their children.’ The links the fellows have built with the International Centre for Excellence in Community Schools can support his work.
In the Solomon Islands, where the use of communication and technology is low, Joe Takeli will educate people about the importance of technology for learning. He hopes that creating a website for the education department will help, having seen the benefits of this in UK schools. Joe is also linking schools in the Solomon Islands with schools in the UK to build strong and lasting partnerships and chances for exchange.
Rev’d David Agbo from Nigeria also plans to use new technology to collect data from schools. “This will help for faster, more efficient and cheaper communication”. In a country struggling to manage conflict between Christian and Muslim groups, David also plans to make changes to chaplaincies so that they can help people to learn about other faiths. “This will enable us to handle challenges arising from diverse beliefs and help bring religious harmony and peace to schools”. He also hopes to set up groups which include all faith-based education providers like those he has seen in action in the UK, which will help influence government policy on religious education and bring about real change in the curriculum.
Next week the group will be visiting secondary schools to continue their learning. They will be hosted by Harrow High School, Walworth Academy, Feniton Church of England Vocational Academy and Slough and Eton Church of England Scgool.