Thought for the Day by Hannah Lievesley (St Chad’s)
God with us in Headingley and Hyde Park – Church Schools
Stop any child in the corridors of St Chad’s C of E Primary Academy and ask them what the school Mission Statement is, and they’ll be straight back at you with, “In the light of God we care, we share, we laugh, we learn.” In fact, you don’t even have to step inside the school to realise this statement is what directs its life. As you approach along the road it’s there, emblazoned on the outer wall in a colourful mural.
Part of my role as vicar of St Chad’s is to be an ex officio Foundation Governor at this wonderful school. It’s been quite a learning curve. My own children didn’t go to a church primary school so there’s been lots for me to discover about what makes these schools so distinctive.
To my shame, I naively assumed that, as vicar, I would be the person relied upon to bring a prayerful and faithful perspective to the local governing body meetings. How wrong I was! This Christian perspective was already there in spades amongst the existing members, many of whom are committed not only to the life and work of the school but also to their own churches, understanding their role as governor to be an outworking of their personal faith and discipleship. Every meeting is opened in prayer. Every policy considered in light of how it carries the teachings of Jesus. Every commitment made in faith that God will be with us.
There are other wonderful Church of England schools in our local area: Shire Oak Primary linked to St Michael’s Church, Abbey Grange Academy just over the fields from St Chad’s and serving the whole of Leeds. These schools don’t advertise God’s presence among them with a spire reaching up to heaven, or with bells ringing out on a Sunday morning, but you barely have to scratch the surface of their day to day life to see Him at work in their midst. Let’s rejoice and thank God for the teachers, governors, parents, and pupils who commit themselves and their time to ensure our Church Schools glorify His holy name.