Directory: Churches and People

New Church of England Chair of Board of Education announced

23 July 2014

Bishop of Ely accepts the invitation to be the lead bishop for education

New Chair for Board of Education

The Bishop of Ely, the Rt Revd Stephen Conway, has accepted the invitation of the Archbishops of Canterbury and York to be the lead bishop for Education. The role includes chairing the Church of England’s national Board of Education and the National Society Council as well as negotiating with government departments and ministers. He will take up the post in the autumn succeeding the Bishop of Oxford, the Rt Revd John Pritchard who is retiring at the end of October.
Bishop Stephen will come to the role at a time of continuing change in education with church schools flourishing at all levels, expanding to meet the needs of the local community. Diocesan multi-academy trusts are changing the face of Church education locally maintaining high standards within the inclusive Christian ethos. Bishop Stephen is familiar with developments in his own diocese of Ely, where a Multi-Academy Trust currently comprising six primary academies will increase to 14 schools in the autumn. Ely also has two pioneering joint Anglican/Roman Catholic academies.
In a Church of England video interview released today(  Bishop Stephen shares how his time at a church secondary school in south London provided his early Christian formation and equipped him to go to university – the first in his family to do so.
“It is an immense privilege to be asked to take on this role, especially as education continues to be such a key issue in our society. The Church of England has a deep commitment to education going back 200 years, and today some one million children are taught in more than 4,700 Church of England schools across the country.
 “Our work with children and young people in schools, colleges, universities and voluntary settings is a vital part of our mission as we seek to enable everyone to have a life enhancing encounter with the Christian faith and the person of Jesus Christ. I am committed to ensuring that we serve whole communities by providing education of the highest quality within the context of Christian belief and practice. I look forward to working with my colleagues to ensure that continues to happen.”
Bishop John Pritchard said: "The Church of England has been playing a vital role in the education of our children for the last 200 years and I am passionate about the role our church schools play in the life of the nation. The last few years have seen a time of unprecedented change in the world of education, but I believe the Church has responded to the challenges with energy and vision, and will continue to do so. It has been a huge privilege to serve the Church by chairing the Board. I am delighted to be passing on the baton to Bishop Stephen who I know will bring a great deal of wisdom to the role."
Rev Jan Ainsworth, Church of England’s Chief Education officer said: “I’m very pleased that the Bishop of Ely is taking up this role. He will be able to use his skills and experience for our ongoing discussions on church education at the highest level as well as playing a leading role in the Church’s education for all.”