We arrive today at the end of term, in glorious sunny weather that has probably fooled us all into thinking it is further in into the spring than it actually is. It has been wonderful to have our school field available for students to use at lunchtime over the past week, but obviously also alarming at just how dry it is for the time of year.
We have marked the end of this Lent term at school with a number of special events for Holy Week and Easter. Year 7 and Year 8 students took part in a moving series of mini-plays re-enacting the events of Holy Week, led largely by sixth form students. They had the chance to interact with the plays, ask questions, and discuss the events. We have had special assemblies for each of the other groups with the key Holy Week readings, and our digital artists have produced a powerful presentation of images and words for Holy Week and Easter, which has been projected for the past three days in the concourse area outside the small hall. Holy Week and Easter remind us of the central events of the Christian faith, and it is absolutely right, in my view, that these are re-presented each year in both timeless and innovative ways to our young people.
The role of faith in public life continues to be very much a live issue. Two aspects of this have been in the media over the past couple of weeks. Firstly, the controversial debate over the nature of marriage. The main churches, and, indeed, representatives of non-Christian religions, have clearly articulated the traditional view, and have opposed any legal revision of the law in this area. The movement for change in the law has been well represented in the media as well. Whichever way it goes, the only comment I will make on this is that as far as the security and well-being of children is concerned, a stable, loving, two-parent family is a very good basis.
The other faith issue which has caught my eye has not been sold to us as a faith issue. It has been more in the sporting pages of our newspapers than anywhere else. I am referring to the Pray4Muamba ‘movement’, if I can call it that. In lots of ways, in our secular society, behaviour patterns associated with faith and religion have not disappeared, but have re-appeared in other areas of life. There are many who follow football teams, for example, with the same devotion as our medieval ancestors might have shown towards a favoured saint or shrine. And the instinct of making the site of an accidental or deliberate death into a ‘shrine’ with candles, flowers and pictures is well known to all of us. How interesting, and in many ways heartening, it is, to see young men and women wearing, apparently without any embarrassment, tee shirts bearing the logo Pray4Muamba. Even if they are not actually formally praying in an accepted strictly religious sense, they are associating themselves with the request made by the footballer’s family to turn to God for help, and perhaps acknowledging that there are things in life which are outside our control. Maybe this is a subtle but powerful way of African Christianity beginning to re-evangelise the old continent.
No-one would expect me to post this blog entry and fail to comment on the most intensive news coverage this area of Kent has had in recent years (since the great Tonbridge robbery, perhaps!). Everyone who knows me will know that I could write at some length on this educational issue, but will try to condense my thoughts into a few concise points.
Anyway, apologies for such a long entry, but there was lots to say. This Easter break, to return to matters in hand, is a really important one for all our examination students, and I hope they use it both to prepare for their forthcoming examinations and to ensure that they begin the all-important summer term fresh and newly committed to doing as well as they possibly can this summer.