Those attending the largest gathering of Primary Head Teachers in Scotland in 2015 were inspired by various speakers who addressed the conference theme “Renewing Our Vocation”. An audience of over 200 responded very positively to the addresses given by keynote presenters, including Bishop Stephen Robson who spoke of teachers as “promoters of the human person” and expressed concerns about the shortages of teachers in Scotland’s Catholic schools.
Patricia Watson HMI previewed some of the main features of the latest version of ‘How Good is Our School’ which is about to be launched by Education Scotland. The Conference was introduced to a new resource – ‘The Catholic School: Developing in Faith’ – which SCES will publish later this school session.
Michael McGrath, Director of the Scottish Catholic Education Service, encouraged Head Teachers to focus on their own spiritual and faith development as they addressed their personal and professional skills for leadership. He said,
In an age of narcissistic entitlement, the Catholic school leader must be seen to be engaged in a ministry of service to the community.
Professor Bart McGettrick, Professor Emeritus of the University of Glasgow, commented on the need for education to be based on values as well as achievement. He said
The iron cage of accountability needs to give way to a legacy of humanity. We cannot be bystanders looking with despair on a world which is driven by measured outcomes alone, and has consigned to a secondary place the deep values and ideals which derive from justice, hope and love.
Sir John Jones, the internationally-acclaimed educationist and motivational speaker, rounded off the conference with inspiring and amusing accounts of teachers who were “magic weavers” and had transformed the lives of their students. With great passion he urged Head Teachers to inspire their teachers to be “good enough” so that their students can be “smart enough”. He criticised the approach of those who appeared only to value what they could measure.
The participants at this year’s CHAPS conference certainly left the event “renewed” in their vocation” as Catholic school leaders.