"You needn't be a Christian to be Head of a Church School"!

"You needn't be a Christian to be Head of a Church School"!

13 October 2015

The Daily Mail recently published an article under the title "You needn't be Christian to be head of Church of England school: Shortage of teachers to fill roles mean primaries and secondaries are recruiting from other faiths".

The article cited a recent report by the Church of England's Education Office outlining the increasing difficulties faced by church schools due to the lack of practising Christian teachers and a general reluctance amongst would-be candidates to put themselves forward for positions of leadership. As a result, many dioceses are having to become increasingly flexible with regard to the "faith criteria" of applicants, arguably to the detriment of the long-term vision of the school.

Admittedly not the most uplifting of articles; however Emmaus Leadership firmly believe that all is not lost. We refuse to believe that God has left our shores, our churches or our schools and scripture testifies to His inclination towards breathing life into what seems dead or dying. So we can take comfort from the fact that neither this report nor the Daily Mail's coverage of it is likely to have sent the heavenly hosts into a mad panic.

However that is not to say that we are off the hook completely. On the contrary, God has not only blessed us with resources, experience and common sense but also commanded us to "do business until I return" (Luke 19:13). Perhaps in days gone by, when there was a multitude of aspiring, church attending school leaders, placing an advert in TES and waiting for the applications to flood in sufficed as "doing business". Clearly times have changed however and what worked before is not working now.

 A "reactive" stance, hoping that, against all odds, the perfect candidate will not only hear about your school's vacancy but be convinced that this the post for them, is optimistic at best. Particularly if the only information they have to work from is what they have managed to glean from the school website.

On the contrary, what is required in the current climate is a "proactive" stance. Our experience at Emmaus is that the right candidates are still out there, but finding them requires the very best of modern recruitment techniques. If appropriate candidates are no longer coming to our schools, then we must go to them. By headhunting, advising, mediating and encouraging, Emmaus Leadership has had the privilege of successfully filling posts where schools had repeatedly failed to appoint, even after three or four rounds of recruitment. This proactive approach to recruitment, combined with intentional leadership development within our schools themselves (see baton passing blog) gives us reason to believe that, despite living in challenging times, hope is by no means lost for our church schools.

So perhaps it's time to put the old "stop telling your God how big your problems are and start telling your problems how big your God is" mantra into practice. To prayerfully engage with the challenges ahead of us, rather than burying our heads in the sand, hoping that God will just "sort it out", and then to step out in obedience, whatever that may look like.

If your school or diocese is struggling to fill leadership positions or if any of the above resonates with you, please don't hesitate to contact us here at Emmaus. We would be delighted to discuss any queries, comments or questions you might have.



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