Aquinas Church of England Education Trust educators flourish at annual conference

The Aquinas Church of England Education Trust recently held its annual conference with keynote speakers, including the Church of England’s Chief Education Officer, The Revd. Canon Nigel Genders, CBE, and education expert and consultant Chris Moyes, on 9 February.
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The Trust, which delivers transformative learning across 11 academies in Bromley, Kent, and East Sussex, provided the opportunity for leaders and educators to discuss how to create a flourishing school system. Kathy Griffiths, the Chief Executive Officer of Aquinas Trust, opened the conference reflecting on the achievements of the Trust in the previous 12 months, including Rye College and Rye Community Primary School moving from ‘Inadequate’ to ‘Good’ in their recent Ofsted inspections.

The Revd. Canon Nigel Genders’ keynote speech reflected that the work of the Church of England’s Education Office is to paint an enduring landscape where the word ‘hope’ is not just a pipe dream but a belief that together, a flourishing school system can be curated. Through an expansive vision, he affirmed that Aquinas could enable children to be compassionate and able to grow from a rounded education.

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The audience was also captivated by Chris Moyes, education expert and consultant, who gave a brilliant speech on how to focus on ‘improving not proving’ by asking educators to embrace ongoing growth and fostering a culture of lifelong learning.

Kathy GriffithsKathy Griffiths
Kathy Griffiths

There were also speeches from the Chair of Trustees, Giles Lambert, and the author of ‘The Lone SENDCO’, Gary Aubin, who discussed why SEND matters with classroom teachers from every primary school across the trust, and the Inclusion Leads from each secondary school.

The theme for the conference came after The Church of England published its report ‘Our Hope for a Flourishing Schools System’, which seeks to foster an education ecology that is focused on the flourishing of all and embedding lifelong learning practices across institutions. The day was a fantastic success, with colleagues from across the Trust feeling inspired to continue to deliver a transformative education that helps children and young people reach their full potential.

Kathy Griffiths, Chief Executive Officer at Aquinas Church of England Education Trust, said: “Our Flourishing Trust Conference was an excellent opportunity to bring together leaders within Aquinas as well as education experts and education leaders within the Church of England.

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“I want to say a particular thank you to The Revd. Canon Nigel Genders, and Chris Moyes, for their fantastic speeches that inspired us all to continue to strive for improvements and deliver transformative learning that sets our students up well to live happy and healthy lives.

The Revd. Canon Nigel Genders, CBE, the Church of England’s Chief Education Officer, said: “Our Hope for a Flourishing Schools System offers transformational hope for the continued development of a school system which enables the flourishing of children and adults alike and brings the richness of broader, deeper, social, moral, cultural, relational, spiritual life that is far beyond the usual metrics schools get judged on.

“It was fantastic to be able to talk about this with all the staff at Aquinas and to work with Kathy and all the headteachers as they continue to think about the future strategy of the Trust in the light of our document. We flourish together, not alone.”

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