Uncertainty, anger, despair, untrusting, violence, extremism, segregation, self-serving are words that we see and hear about our country in the media day after day. These words are contrary to Broadway’s values of: Integrity, Respect, Optimism, Responsibility, Appreciation, Aspiration, Generosity, Inclusivity.
We have all been deeply shocked by the Christchurch massacre and closer to home, the recent damage to local Mosques. Last week, I met with community leaders and the police and spoke to students and staff to re-assure them that lone criminals should not undermine our work to bring peace and reconciliation to communities and our country. It makes us more determined to live out the Broadway Values. We believe that the aim of education is the development of good character and we do this by living out our values.
Earlier this month, I led a group of ‘Faith Leaders’ from Aston on a study tour to the Holy Land with a view to developing links and partnerships and to facilitate exchanges. We visited Palestine and Israel, meeting many influential leaders of communities and Headteachers from a variety of schools. The Headteachers and I discussed many issues about our mutual challenges: we all had one overarching common goal and that was to develop the ‘spirit’ or ‘ethos’ in our schools. If the values and ethos are right many other matters fall into line: good character, good behaviour, exam results, extracurricular, governance…
As educationalists, parents, community leaders, politicians and public servants, we need to be role models for our students and communities. We need to give our students hope and develop optimism and ensure that they are resilient. Jesus of Nazareth who is revered by both Muslims and Christians summed up how we should live and treat each other in the Sermon on the Mount.
“Happy are those who know they are spiritually poor;
the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to them!
Happy are those who mourn;
God will comfort them!
Happy are those who are humble;
they will receive what God has promised!
Happy are those whose greatest desire is to do what God requires;
God will satisfy them fully!
Happy are those who are merciful to others;
God will be merciful to them!
Happy are the pure in heart;
they will see God!
Happy are those who work for peace;
God will call them his children”