Report – Anglican EdComm Programs and Activities – 2018 and 2019

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Posted by Stephen Kinsella 55 days ago

Preamble

The Anglican Education Commission, currently operating as Anglican EdComm, was established in 2006 for the purpose of promoting Christian education 'by working alongside teachers, facilitating their growth in each stage of their vocation so that Christ is honoured as Lord and Saviour in every school'.

It is a privilege to work with the Principals/Heads, Governors and Teachers from the schools within the Anglican Diocese of Sydney, other like-minded schools, and teachers working in the public sector in deepening our understanding and practice of Christian education.

This report covers the activities of the EdComm community in 2018 and points to the what is planned for 2019.

The small team of four EdComm staff give thanks to God for the opportunity to serve our leaders, teachers and school communities through the programs and services of EdComm.

Report

29 of the 39 schools within the Anglican Diocese of Sydney were members of Anglican EdComm in 2019. EdComm services and programs have also been accessed by teachers from other like-minded schools and by teachers in the public sector.

Over the course of 2018, there have been 614 attendees at EdComm events:

  • 35 of the 39 schools within the Diocese utilised EdComm services
  • At least 10 other schools have also attended EdComm events
  • There were 4502 unique users of the EdComm website (total of 7594 interactions)
  • 1691 people now receive the Exchange Newsletter

In 2018 a review was conducted of the programs and activities of Anglican EdComm and four Priority Areas were established. The following is an overview of:

- the services and programs that have been implemented in the Priority Areas in 2018; and
- initiatives planned for 2019.

1. Core Activities

These are the basic services provided by EdComm that form the core activities accessible by all members schools, member teachers and other like-minded schools and teachers.

Heads’ Reading Group

- The first meeting was held on 12 June 2018 and was led by Simon Smart on the topic of ‘How Christians should respond to hostility toward the Christian faith’
- The next meeting will be held on 28 March 2019 and will be led by Paul Burgis (PLC)

 

Governors’ Symposium

- Held on 8 November 2018, presented by Associate Professor Neil Foster on the topic of ‘Religious Freedom and Faith-based schools’
- Next Symposium scheduled for 7 November 2019, presenter and topic TBA

 

EdComm (Christians in Teaching) Conference

- Held on 5 May 2018, presenter Dr Donald Guthrie on the topic of ‘Resilient Teaching’
- A similar event was held at Moore College on 8 May 2018 on the topic of ‘Resilient Ministry’
- Next Conference scheduled for 1 June 2019, program and presenter TBA

 

EdComm Dinner (The Integral Project)

- Held on 25 October 2018, speaker Kara Martin spoke on ‘Work and Faith’
- Next dinner is scheduled for 31 October 2019, speaker Archbishop Glenn Davies

 

Agora events

Two Agora events were held in 2018:
- 22 May 2018 presented by Dr Maureen Miner Bridges on the topic ‘Banish Teacher Burnout’
- 12 September 2018 presented by Dr Mark Stephen on the topic ‘Are we inoculating students against the Gospel?’
        
Four events planned for 2019:
- 20 March 2019 presented by Dr Natasha Moore (CPX), topic TBA
- 15 May 2019 presented by Rev Marshall Ballentine-Jones on the topic of ‘Exposed: The effect of Pornography and Sexualised Media on Students’
- 31 July 2019 presented by Prof Trevor Cooling, topic TBA
- 11 September 2019 presented by Prof Frank Stootman on the topic of ‘Faith, Science and God’

 

EdComm Exchange (Website)

- 11 issues released over the course of the year
- Publication to continue in 2019 through an upgraded EdComm website

 

Aspiring Leaders Network

21 aspiring leaders involved in the following activities:
- Mentoring with experienced Christian Heads/Principals
- Three ‘Hub’ meetings
- ‘Coaching’ seminar led by Growth Coaching International
- Seminar on ‘Developing a Theological Vision in Education’ led by Professor Trevor Cooling
        
The program will continue in 2019 with the current cohort.

 

Intern Program, offered in conjunction with Youthworks Year 13 Program

- Four participants completed the course in 2018
- A larger number of schools and participants are expected (and already have committed to the program) in 2019. EdComm will assist schools in promoting the program amongst their students.

 

2. Advocacy

EdComm is an advocate for Anglican schools, other like-minded schools and teachers within the Diocese, with governments, professional organisations, the media and the general public. It has a specific responsibility in advocating for the place of SRE in government schools.

Advocacy by EdComm in 2018 on behalf of schools and teachers has included the following:
- Synod Resolution 24/18 related to the Recruitment of Christians as Teachers
- Use of Church Property Trust facilities
- Engagement with students experiencing gender dysphoria
- Advocacy for the place of SRE in schools
- ICCOREIS
- Dept of Education Consultative Committee
- Responding to the revised Controversial Issues Policy of the Dept of Education
- Freedom of Religion
- AIS Consultative Committee

The advocacy role of EdComm is expected to increase in 2019

 

3. Recruitment of Christians as Teachers

EdComm actively promotes the Christian vocation of teaching in schools to committed Christian teachers and teachers in training. This is a significant service to member schools given the growing shortage of Christian teachers. This role was confirmed by the passing by Synod of Resolution 24/18.

Activities in this area in 2018 included:
- Intern Program (four participants)
- Production and distribution of a promotional video (available on the EdComm website)
- Feature articles, accessible through EdComm Exchange
- Event for preservice teachers (26 attendees)
- Event for UOW preservice teachers (15 attendees)
- Meetings/mentoring with preservice teacher groups
        
These activities will grow significantly in 2019:
- Preparation and distribution of a Resource Pack for Schools promoting Teaching as a Christian Vocation
- Preparation and distribution of a Resource Pack for Churches promoting Teaching as a Christian Vocation, to be distributed through Area Mission Groups
- Expansion of the Intern Program (EIght schools have already committed to the program for 2019)
- Promotion of a Commissioning Service and on-going support for teachers by home churches
- Support group for Christian teachers new to teaching
- Joint initiatives promoting teaching as a vocation with Christian organisations operating in tertiary institutions

 

4. Professional Learning for Christian Teachers in member schools

EdComm understands that Christians employed as teachers need to develop their professional skills as Christian educators as they would develop other aspects of their professional practice.

EdComm’s professional learning program for teachers is delivered:

Online:

In 2018 EdComm has invested in the following:
- Installation of ‘Canvas’ as the LMS platform for presenting on-line learning
- Upgrading of the EdComm website to make EdComm resources more accessible
                
In 2019:
- New course ‘Introduction to teaching in an Anglican school’ will be available in Semester 1
- the current seven online courses currently available will be expanded in response to demand from schools and new courses will be developed to support the learning from each Core EdComm event. Most courses will be NESA accredited available at both the Proficient and the Lead levels.

On-campus:

- In 2018, on-campus professional learning and advice was delivered to two schools
- This service will continue on a fee for service basis in 2019

At EdComm’s Core events:

- Refer to Section 1 above.

EdComm is a NESA Accredited provider at ‘proficient’ and ‘lead’ levels – a teacher attending EdComm events can accumulate 50 hours of NESA-accredited Professional Learning over a period of three years.

EdComm is currently in discussion with Moore Theological College, Excelsia College, Alphacrusis, Arrow and the Church of England (UK). The purpose of these discussions is to broaden the opportunities for teachers seeking to study more deeply in the theological underpinning of Christian Education. This is hoped to include cross-institutional recognition so that teachers engaged in study through secular institutions can gain credit for studying with these Christian providers.

 

Concluding comment

The staff of Anglican EdComm remain committed to the promotion of the Gospel through its support of schools, teachers and school leaders in deepening their understanding and practice of Christian education. We look forward to serving our Lord through EdComm in 2019.

Stephen Kinsella
Executive Director
Anglican EdComm