Being a Governor in a Year R (Reception) to Year 6 village school

In 2002 we offered our village school 50th Jubilee Bibles from the TBS and only reluctantly did the Head Teacher agree to accept them.

 

Once we sent our eldest child to the school my wife became a parent governor and was able to influence some decisions such as rejecting having a clairvoyant evening at the school. By loyal support over several years she became a trusted source of guidance and advice in the governing body.

 

Over the process of time the school came to accept that all children joining the school should have a children’s story Bible and would also be presented with a Good News Bible by the local vicar in a leaver’s service at the local parish church.

 

By this time the school were looking to increase the Christian content of the assemblies and my wife was asked whether our church leader would take an assembly – she said that this was her husband, so the Head Teacher replied even better a parent as well! The first assembly took place and I took the subject from Luke 6 v 31 as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also unto them. I was able to pray with the whole school, pupils and teachers and plead for God’s blessing in each of their lives and I quite thought I would never be asked again.

 

My wife came to the end of her term as governor and decided not to stand for another term due to other commitments.

 

The local vicar then decided he did not want to be on the governing body so a letter went out inviting anyone with Christian convictions to apply to become a Trustee Governor – with specific responsibility to uphold the schools Christian values. I felt that I had to apply – and I was accepted along with the wife of the minister at the local town’s United Reformed Church.

 

Since then I was asked to organise assemblies telling the Bible stories as it is clear there is a huge heritage of ‘well-known’ Bible Stories that children would have known years ago, but nowadays children are leaving school with no knowledge of them at all. So I started at Creation and try to do one every ½ term and have got as far as David and Mephibosheth so far. I write the stories and send them to the Y6 teacher for her to choose which children can help me. I involve the children with the Y6s mostly helping me to tell the story and doing the actions where needed. There is time for applying the message to each of our lives, a time for reflection, a time for prayer and the Lord’s prayer and a closing blessing. Each time I am able to show that these stories come from the Word of God and say that if they want to know more they can read them themselves or ask their parents to read the stories to them from their story Bibles.

 

I strongly believe that by doing unashamedly Christian assemblies and finding a positive reaction this has encouraged the whole school to be more confident about its Christian ethos. Over time we have a new Head Teacher and the school values have become distinctly Christian even though the Head Teacher would not call herself a committed Christian. The values have become kindness, honesty and respect and these values are written in big letters in prominent places on the internal walls of the school along with the Bible texts from which they are derived.

 

We are now in an academy run by the local diocese and there is still more encouragement for Christian influence – children are encouraged to write out their prayers and pin them up in an area of the school called a prayer tree. Recently when a YR child said she had painful knees the Teaching Assistant said shall we prayer about it – and she said a lovely prayer asking the Lord Jesus to make the girl’s knees better and when she finished she asked if that helped and the girl said it had and she sat through a 40 minute assembly with no more complaints!

 

Y6 now has a worship group to organise assemblies and church services – they are involved in reading whole sections from the Bible eg Matt 1 and 2 and Luke 2 at the Christimas service, writing out prayers to be said in the Church and they take it all very seriously and reverently.

 

We have been encouraged by Ofstead to make children more familiar with the Bible so they can use it to discuss the beliefs in it from a rational and knowledgeable position. On this basis a new 400-page resource has been written by the diocese called ‘Understanding Christianity’ and a teacher for each school has been trained to deliver the resource – 4 afternoons training. The core sections are Creation, the Fall, the Flood, God’s people, the Incarnation, the Gospel and God’s kingdom (heaven). This is being taught at appropriate levels to all year groups.

 

All governors’ meetings now have as the No1 item on the agenda ‘Opening prayer’ – sometimes this is not carried out but quite often I will be asked to open the meeting in prayer where again it is an opportunity to ask for God’s blessing on the meeting, for wisdom that what we discuss may be made a blessing for the development of the pupils and the school in general.

 

I would strongly encourage engagement with the schools where possible as we can be an influence for good.

CViE would be very pleased to receive further experiences from, for example, primary and secondary teachers; headteachers; parents; home schoolers. If you feel led to make a posting about your experience of being involved in education, then please contact CViE by using this email:
enquiries@cvie.org.uk (please note all contributions will be made anonymously).