THERE WERE children, parents, teachers and school governors in equal measure in Truro Cathedral on Sunday 2 February for a Service of Thanksgiving to mark Education Sunday.

And as Bishop Tim pointed out, there was much for which to give thanks – the lives of the children and teachers, the dedication of the governors, and the six years of service given to the diocese by Canon Sue Green as its director of education.

Sue is leaving her post to become the head teacher of St Petroc’s School in Bodmin, something she reflected on in her specially written monologue entitled ‘Outside the Head Teacher’s Office – Again’!’

Referring to the Bible reading chosen for the service [Matthew 21.1-17], Bishop Tim pointed out that it was the children who cheered Jesus on as he entered the Temple in Jerusalem, much to the indignation of the chief priests and teachers of the law.

“We are not always good at recognising and supporting our children,” he said. “In fact, there are times when it is quite right for us to be indignant. I would ask the school governors present to think about their roles and the times when they should be indignant.”

Bishop Tim suggested there were three areas that needed close scrutiny. Firstly, he questioned whether the current structure of the nation’s education system really empowered children. “Education is not given the central place it deserves,” he said.

“Secondly, we tend to ignore or push children aside. We are not good at listening to them. Yet children often tell us how things really are,” he said.

“I sit in many meetings listening to people talking round and round important issues rather than facing reality and recognising the true facts of the matter in hand. Is this sometimes the case in your governors’ meetings? Children need strong advocates so that the world hears their voice.

“Thirdly, children should set the agenda,” said Bishop Tim. He quoted the findings from a recent Children’s Society survey in which children were asked to name the priorities in their lives. “Not surprisingly,” he said, “it was things like having friends and relationships and being part of a loving family. We must remember that children should not just be considered as ‘the future’ but also part of today.”

Many of the schools brought specially designed banners with them and these were taken to the high altar in a long and lively procession. Children from Warbstow Community Primary School read prayers and the choir from The Bishops’ CEVA Primary School in Newquay provided a musical interlude.

The service concluded with the commissioning of Foundation Governors and the blessing of all the school governors present.