QVinE Group

Welcome to the Quaker Values in Education Group

The group is a place where Quakers with an interest in education, can share approaches, learning, insight and inspiration.

About Quaker Values in Education

A threshing conference on Values in Education was held at Woodbrooke from 29 – 31 August, 2014. The conference focussed on education in maintained schools in England and other related concerns, including alternative education.

The 40 Friends who attended agreed a statement to reflect their concerns (see below). Friends agreed to form a group and to invite others to join them, as a way of offering mutual support, to provide a forum for discussion and to promote action on shared issues of concern.

Friends on the group will be able to start new conversations, but initial themes are likely to include: Pedagogy, governorship, pastoral support for teachers and schools, project support for teachers and schools, RE teaching, other Quaker actions.

QVinE seeks to:

• support each other as Friends acting under concern, together or individually, to promote Quaker values in education.

• help Friends work for truth, equality, justice, simplicity, peace and sustainability in Britain’s education systems.

• develop a deep commitment to Quaker values in education, expressed through a specifically Quaker statement to guide individuals, schools and national authorities.

 

Every person is precious – a foundation for Quaker action on education

Quakers believe that the spirit of God is at work in every human being and this belief  holds true for our work in education.  Our faith commitment to truth, peace, simplicity and equality guides our thinking and our action.

This is why we are committed to working towards schools where people matter, where they thrive through relationships and where the beauty of the whole person can be affirmed.  We believe people flourish best in an all-embracing culture of encouragement, nurture and compassion for teachers, children and young people.  The purpose of education is the pursuit of learning, knowledge and questioning in the service of realising our full human potential in an ever-changing world.  Its fruits include: discernment, creativity, cooperation, spirituality, moral autonomy and peace.  The outcome of this approach will be a fair, diverse, just and good society.

We recognise obstacles to achieving this aspiration within the current English education system, but we also have a vision for their transformation:

Current assessment and inspection arrangements are both inadequate and excessive. They have a pernicious impact on teachers and their students.

Assessment and inspection regimes should be humane and nurturing and recognise a breadth of disciplinary and other experience necessary for the realisation of full human potential.

The lack of recognition of the importance of professional knowledge of teachers and research on how children learn, leads to the imposition of untried policies and practices.
The professional knowledge of teachers and research on how children learn should have a significant role in driving educational change, and should be sustained by returning to substantial specialist teacher training provision.

The politicisation and marketisation of schooling leads to children and young people being treated as economic units. Schooling is measured by highly-selective performance data, which in turn drive excessively rapid change.

Education should not be a traded commodity but a human endeavour in which people come first. Learners are beneficiaries of education, not consumers.

The general inequality in our society has an impact on school provision and admissions practices.
Equality of school provision is best managed through local oversight and fair admissions policies, and the educational disadvantages of poverty need compensation in schools.

Schools are becoming increasingly militarised through cadet corps, links with arms manufacturers, and inflexible behaviour policies. Schools should be places where children and young people learn cooperation, mutuality, discernment, spirituality, moral autonomy and peace.

We commit ourselves, and encourage other Friends, to work to transform these obstacles in accordance with our testimonies.

Agreed at a threshing conference, ‘Quaker Values in Education’,held at Woodbrooke, 29 – 31 August 2014