Principal's Study Tour

Recently I returned from a Principal’s Study Tour to Canada to attend the Canadian Christian Schools Conference as well as visit a number of Christian Schools around the Vancouver region. The trip was facilitated by Christian Education National (CEN), of which we are a member school. There are numerous benefits of such a Study Tour, but I'll highlight a couple of memorable themes.

Every Child Matters

Canada is wrestling with its’ own sombre history when it comes to their indigenous history. One particular distressing aspect, is the number of graves that have been found in the grounds of residential schools, schools where indigenous children compulsorily attended and boarded at. We were in Canada for their National Reconciliation Day which focusses around these distressing matters. It was encouraging to see how schools and students are responding in working towards a ‘better story’ for the future. Canadians are encouraged to remember that ‘every child matters’; and indeed, this theme has taken off in schools who are also confronted by the range of complexity in students needs that we experience in Australian schools as well. It’s good to be reminded of this!

At the Table

The theme of the conference held in Winnipeg, was ‘At the Table', and Christian School leaders were encouraged to think about ‘who is at our table’ and are we being generous hosts for all. This applies to not only our schools, but also in our homes and churches. As part of this Conference we spent a day at Canada’s Human Rights Museum, reflecting on the various exhibitions, but also involved in various workshops. This was a sobering day and reminded us that the welcoming, loving, grace-filled invitation of Christ is for all.

Government Funding

As we officially ‘opened’ our new Junior Primary Complex this week, and are also about to share our new Infra-structure Masterplan with our school community, it was interesting to note that Canadian Christian schools receive no Government funding for capital works and at most, Christian schools receive only 50% of recurrent funding for their annual operations (in some provinces, they receive no government funding at all). This is in comparison to Australia where approximately 70% of our funding comes from our Federal and State governments, and where generous capital grants have allowed for much of our buildings and facilities to be developed over recent years. For families wanting Christian schools in Canada, there is often a real financial cost. As you can also imagine, they would also be very envious of our beautiful facilities and small, supported classrooms. 

I am extremely appreciative of the opportunities to engage in such experiences and am always proud to represent MECS on the national and international stage! As I visit other schools and meet Christian school leaders from across Australia and abroad, it is clear that MECS is recognised as being a leader in Christian education on many fronts, but most importantly in our desire to seek the Kingdom of God in all aspects of our operations and curriculum.