I hope you all had a wonderful holiday and that the Kingswood learners are ready for the winter term at school. It is sure to be busy and filled with opportunities to learn, play and grow. This term I will be writing to you more frequently than usual on a number of topics that underpin what we do at Kingswood. My first letter will focus on our Methodist ethos. What is it exactly and why is it Important?
I was fortunate enough to visit the UK over the holidays to attend the “Transforming Lives” Methodist Education International Conference and to attend the 275th Birthday celebrations of Kingswood Bath. I visited the New Room in Bristol which was John Wesley’s original church and spent a few days at Kingswood Bath, the first Methodist school in the world. The weather was miserable, but it was wonderful to be part of a meeting of Methodist school heads from around the world. Speakers from Asia, North America, Africa, Europe and South America all spoke of the importance of a Methodist education in transforming the lives of learners but also of transforming society. We were encouraged to produce children who would be changemakers in the world rather than status quo keepers. I was extremely proud to represent Kingswood and presented to the delegates on the work that we do at Kingswood based on our Methodist ethos. We were such a diverse group of people but all shared the same belief that John Wesley had given us a direction that would ultimately lead to wisdom, happiness, and salvation.
By the end of the conference it had become clear what a Methodist ethos in schools entailed and how this can underpin all that we do. The core elements of a Methodist education include:
- An emphasis on academic excellence: Methodist education places a strong emphasis on academic excellence and provides a rigorous and challenging curriculum that prepares students for success in school, university, and in life.
- A Focus on character development: Methodist education is grounded in the belief that education should develop the whole person, including their character, morals, and values. Students are encouraged to be respectful, responsible, and compassionate members of their communities.
- Inclusion and diversity: Methodist education values diversity and inclusion, welcoming students from all backgrounds and promoting a culture of respect and understanding.
- Service-oriented: Methodist education encourages students to be actively engaged in service and social justice, instilling in them a commitment to making a positive difference in the world.
- Spiritual growth: Methodist education recognizes the importance of spiritual growth and provides opportunities for students to explore and deepen their faith, regardless of their religious background.
- Community-focused: Methodist education emphasizes the importance of community, encouraging students to develop strong relationships with their peers, teachers, and mentors, and to be active participants in their local communities.
Kingswood remains loyal to these ideals . John Wesley was seen as a radical in his day for his views on education and worship. The idea that children needed love: “ An ounce of love is worth a pound of knowledge- Wesley wrote to a teacher at Kingswood. He saw education as not ultimately about training people to be clever or successful, but about discovering what it is to be the full human beings God intended us to be. Let us stay true to our Methodist ehos and work hard to create young men and women of substance.
“Do all the good you can,
By all the means you can,
In all the ways you can,
In all the places you can,
At all the times you can,
To all the people you can,
As long as ever you can.”
― John Wesley