Chinese education officials visit Church House


by David Locke

Delegates from the Qingdao Education Bureau at Church House Oxford.

Delegates from the Qingdao Education Bureau at Church House Oxford.

TODAY Church House Oxford was visited by a delegation of high-ranking Chinese government officials from the Qingdao Education Bureau.  This consisted of  headteachers and leaders who were keen to learn about academies and the growth of Multi Academy Trusts. Specifically, they were interested in The Oxford Diocesan Schools Trust (ODST) including its Christian ethos and our strategy for raising standards.

The visit was hosted by David Locke, Chief Operating Officer, and David Cousins, Director for Schools, from ODST. ODST currently has 18 schools and has support from the Regional Schools Commissioner for continued growth and development. During the visit a number of the Chinese delegation were fascinated by the portraits of former Bishops on the walls at Church House Oxford.  We explained the role of Bishops and how, as demonstrated by the holding of a Shepherd’s crook, that the position is one of leading and caring for the flock.  At this point the Chinese delegate responded “So, it is like the story of the 100 sheep in the Bible”.  We then were able to then discuss with them how, for the Church, and with our history of commitment to education and our Christian principles, it is so important that every child has access to a high quality education irrespective of their background or faith and, just as Jesus seeks the one lost Sheep, that it is important with The Oxford Diocesan Schools Trust that every child is cared for.

In the meeting that followed we discussed the changing education environment in this country and compared notes with our Chinese visitors.  We discovered a lot in common – including a shared concern that it is essential that we look after our teachers who are delivering so much and also the need to be intentional about developing the next generation of middle leaders and Headteachers at our schools.  The meeting ended on a very positive note and we look forward to how God might work in the future from this initial meeting.