Bishop of Gloucester highlights needs of vulnerable young people moving into adulthood

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On 29th June 2017 the Bishop of Gloucester, Rt Revd Rachel Treweek, spoke during the final day’s debate on the Queen’s Speech. She highlighted the situation of vulnerable young people moving into adulthood, as care leavers, carers, refugees, those with disabilities and those in prison.

The Lord Bishop of Gloucester: My Lords, I will highlight something that I believe needs careful consideration as we think about education, health and welfare. It is the matter of vulnerable young people making the transition to adulthood. I am grateful for the aspirations I have heard to support families and give children the best start in life. As we strive for the fairness and flourishing of all, I am concerned that we have yet to see any emphasis on our most vulnerable young people as they move into adulthood. I would particularly like to draw the Government’s attention to five specific groups who need help as they transition to adult life: young people leaving care; young people who are carers themselves; young people with severe disability; young people who are refugees and asylum seekers; and young women at risk of offending and being imprisoned. Continue reading

Bishop of Ely on importance of life skills and character education

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On 29th June 2017 the House of Lords held the final day of debate on the Queen’s Speech. The Bishop of Ely, Rt Revd Stephen Conway, spoke in the debate about countering extremism and the importance of character education.

The Lord Bishop of Ely: My Lords, like many in this House, I am sure, the events of the past few weeks have been very much on my heart and in my prayers, and in the aftermath of the terror attacks in London and Manchester, it is unsurprising that the Government have placed such an emphasis on counterterrorism and counterextremism measures in the gracious Speech. The Government are right to look at reviewing specific measures to tackle extremism and the places where extremist ideology is able to spread, but stopping extremist ideology where it already exists cannot be all that we do. Although we in this House may divide debates into topics and the Government into departments, as we know, in reality society is not just a series of policy areas, it is a rich fabric of connected life experiences of which education is formative for all. Its value in developing and defining the kind of society we want to become should never be underestimated. Continue reading

Children and Social Work Bill: Bishop of Peterborough supports amendments on relationships and sex education

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14.02 PeterboroughOn 4th April 2017 the House of Lords considered amendments made by MPs to the Government’s Children and Social Work Bill. Government Minister Lord Nash proposed that the Lords accept an amendment to provide compulsory relationships education at primary schools. The Bishop of Peterborough, the Rt Rev Donald Allister, spoke in favour of the amendment, which was accepted by the House.

The Lord Bishop of Peterborough: My Lords, I am very happy indeed to support government Amendments 12 and 13 on relationships and sex education and on PSHE. Compulsory provision and statutory guidance are necessary in these areas. The Church of England welcomes this and we very much look forward to the consultation.

We particularly welcome the decision to reverse the name and put “relationships” rather than “sex” at the heart of this policy. This is not about just sex or sex education. It puts sex in its proper context of committed and consensual relationships. But it is also about friendships, resilience, good disagreement and living with difference. It is about tackling bullying, self-image, social media, advertising and so much else. It is about supporting children and preparing them for adult life.

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Bishop of Ely highlights access to high quality education for young people receiving mental health treatment

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ElyOn the 20th February 2017, Lord Oates asked the Government “how many secondary schools in England do not currently provide in-school counselling services for their students.” The Bishop of Ely, the Rt Revd Stephen Conway, asked a supplementary question.


Lord Bishop of Ely: My Lords, does the Minister agree that an excellent education in a medical setting for those with severe mental health issues is essential to their recovery? Will he join me in paying tribute to the importance of education in acute mental health settings, such as the Pilgrim Pupil Referral Units in Cambridgeshire, which provide a stable learning environment for children and young people? Continue reading

Bishop of Norwich welcomes Technical and Further Education Bill

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norwich121016bOn 1st February 2017, the House of Lords debated the Government’s Technical and Further Education Bill at its Second Reading. The Bishop of Norwich, Rt Revd, Graham James welcomed its proposals.

The Lord Bishop of Norwich: My Lords, I am glad to add my voice to the chorus of welcome for the Bill—on these Benches we are professionally interested in choruses.

Those who read the City & Guilds report Sense & Instability, which was published just over a couple of years ago, will remember the bleak picture painted there of three decades of skills and employment policy. The authors pointed out—with a degree of sardonic humour, I think—that, in 30 years, there have been 13 major Acts of Parliament dealing with these issues, enough reports to fill a medium-sized bookcase, no fewer than 61 Ministers and 10 occasions when skills and employment have shifted between government departments. “Tinkering”, “amnesia” and “disruption” were among the milder terms employed in that very powerful report. Continue reading

Bishop of Ely highlights work of Church in promoting educational leadership

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ElyOn the 30th January 2017, Baroness Donaghy asked the government “in the light of figures showing that nearly one-third of newly qualified teachers leave the profession within five years of qualifying, what steps they are taking, including continuing professional development entitlement, to retain them.” The Bishop of Ely, the Rt Revd Stephen Conway, asked a follow-up question.


The Lord Bishop of Ely: My Lords, does the Minister agree that the working environment for teachers is so often determined by the quality and effectiveness of school leaders, and therefore it is essential to equip school leaders to ensure the flourishing of their staff as well as their pupils? Will he be pleased to note with me the launch this weekend of the Church’s Foundation for Educational Leadership to work in this field? Continue reading