“This is the steepest learning curve” – This phrase has often sprung from my lips in the past nine months. The complexity of the Diocesan Director of Education role combined with the sheer scale of the Oxford Diocese  present incredible challenges but also opportunities for me. Therefore, it is reassuring that the Church of England Education Office has created a bespoke course for my DDE counterparts and me. The Diocesan Education Leaders’ Programme is an 18-month programme geared towards colleagues working in support of Church of England schools across the country.

This week I was fortunate to take part in the initial residential in the beautiful setting of Launde Abbey in Leicestershire. This brought 18 of us together to articulate and plan how we wished to use the programme individually and collectively to support our development and that of the teams we lead. At the same time, we were able to commune and contemplate in a truly stunning setting. As well as providing inspiration, it also provided food for the soul. At the end of the three days I came back to a piece of Scripture that has had real resonance for me before and during my time as Oxford’s DDE.

“ ‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord,
‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you,
plans to give you hope and a future.’ “
Jeremiah 29:11