Vicar's Letter - 18.06

    Vicar’s Letter – Investing in Young People - June 2018

This week I have been into the schools where the testing of primary children is going on in earnest. As the children reach the end of their time in junior school they are assessed to see how much they have learnt. It is a time or pressure for both children and teachers with much depending upon the results. Nearly all of the schools now provide a breakfast each day during the SATs test week to make sure that all the children arrive on time and are ready for the day’s trials.

As a governor I get an inside look at the education of these precious children. Each government brings its own focus for education with recent years concentrating on reading, writing and maths. Just yesterday I met an experienced teacher who said that she could not understand some of the questions in the English grammar section, as our 11 year olds are expected to know the difference between subordinate conjunctions and modal verbs.

A key purpose of school education is to fill up the children with the right knowledge to allow them to make further progress in life. But surely there can be more to it as well. I would suggest that we should be provoking creativity and instilling a life long love of learning. We need to develop a sense of awe and wonder along with giving a framework for a spiritual understanding of the deeper meaning of life. This is what church schools do particularly well and it is a great privilege to be involved with such brilliant schools and teachers in this part of the forest.

As part of my role as governor I will be going with Brockenhurst primary school pupils on their exchange trip to France from June 18th to 22nd. These reciprocal visits have been going on for some years now, between Brockenhurst and Pont St Martin our twinning town. It is always a real pleasure to go with these children as some travel abroad for the very first time. There are coach journeys and the ferry crossing before settling in with their host family. The days are then packed with visits to the school to be with the children of L’Ecole Saint Joseph or venturing out to the city of Nantes or the great historical theme park of Puy de Fou.

These adventures need to be part of the educational experience of as many children as possible. For you can see their confidence develop and grow as they get used to being in a foreign environment. It is a time to see little lives start to flourish, always under the watchful eye of their teachers and the helpers. As we make these broader investments in young people of the next generation we will all benefit as they take their place in our global society.

May God bless us all as we journey through life,                       Neil


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