Ebacc Letter

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Today the Governments Ebacc scheme was brought to my attention (thank you facebook) I vaguely recall hearing the name mentioned but not much in the way of detail about it before. As someone who struggled at school (due to unrecognised dyslexia) and left pretty much being told I was a failure, this scheme is something that concerns me a great deal both in general as a member of British society but also as a parent. I have therefore signed the petition to include more creative options in Ebacc but also emailed my MP expressing my concerns about the scheme as a whole and in fact, our education system as a whole. I got a bit carried away and so decided rather than put that on facebook I would post my letter here and link to it so here it is.

Dear Mr Speaker

I write to you as my MP in connection with the above mentioned Ebacc Scheme that I believe the government is looking to enforce this coming weekend.

Firstly I am surprised there has not been more awareness of this and am disappointed that there has not been more public debate on such an issue.

I am very concerned to here of such a step being taken within our education system. I believe we are already applying too much pressure to our young people for academic achievement. I myself failed at school, I am dyslexic and reasonably strongly so, this was unrecognised for me until my early 20’s (thankfully things have changed in the respect). But for me academia (certainly during my youth) was something I just could not manage, because of this I was written off as a failure before I even got to exams. Having spent 10 years working as a youth worker this is a struggle I have continued to see in many young people I have worked with. Being in the very early days of GCSE’s I got away with only taking 4 however these were all academic subjects and my grades in 3 of them were very poor (I did manage to get a C in science). I had interests and skills in other areas but how different might my late teens early 20’s have been had I been able to explore and learn in these areas while at school.

I appreciate that a good grasp of core subjects, especially Maths and English are important but people can do very well in life without getting high grades even in these subjects. We only have to look at some of the high profile people who like me have struggled with dyslexia and other learning difficulties but have gone on to be very successful, particularly in artist and creative areas. I myself have found the support I have needed and having returned to study (now on 2 separate occasions totalling 6 years) have managed to achieve academic qualifications and am now an ordained minister in the church of England with a post Graduate Diploma in Theology and Ministry. But for me there was a need for the support which unfortunately wasn’t there when I was younger, but there was also a need to be in the write place, to have gained the experience of life to encourage me to struggle through (as a minister of course I also believe God is a key part in this for me and my calling).

There are of course still those for whom academia is not the way and never will be, but our schools should be helping these people to find ways that help them, people who are good with their hands but leave school being told that because they have not achieved in the core subjects they have failed, even if our schools are better than this now I’m afraid our government still seem to give this message with the pressure for academic achievement. But when we look at how difficult it can be at times to find and electrician, plumber or builder for example, I believe if we encouraged our young people to explore the things they are good at, they are interested in, a chance to learn a trade, we could give more of our young people hope and a more positive outlook on life and work, and that has to be good for us as a nation doesn’t it?

I am sorry, this has turned out to be rather longer than I anticipated and I appreciate that you are a very busy man but this is an important issue and I think in recent years our education system has been going backwards rather then forwards and on so many levels, but especially as a parent (my middle child will be among the first to be impacted by this scheme) this worries me.

I have signed the parliamentary petition to include creative arts in the Ebacc Scheme although personally I don’t think this goes anywhere near far enough towards doing right by our children and their education in this country.

I would be more than happy to discuss any of this with you in person at some stage but i urge you please to fight for our children and young people for whom academics does not come naturally and is perhaps forcing them down a path that just isn’t right for them.

Many thanks for taking the time to read this and please be assured of my prayers for you as you seek to serve and do right by the people of your constituency and this nation.

Yours sincerely

Simon Faulks

It’s been a bit quiet…

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I am aware that not much has been said or done here or on the facebook page for a while. Things have been a bit busy with finishing up Curacy in Warminster (including the inevitable and very sad goodbyes). Once that was done it has been the move and and trying to get settled ready for starting the new job (rapidly aproaching – induction is on Monday evening). 

  
So the future is very exiting as I step into this new role as Rector of Newton Longville, Mursley, Swanbourne, Little Horwood and Drayton Parslow. Please do pray for me in this role and as I seek with others here God’s leading as we grow and develop the ministry together. 

As for the Rev Simo performances, things will probably remain quite for a while but if you are interested in a show do get in touch. 

God bless

Simon

Last night’s gig

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Twas great to be out gigging again last night. A good evening with the folk of Walton-on-Thames exploring some of those elements of the Bible that can seem a little strange but yet we Christians know to be true!   

Appointment as Rector

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I am really pleased to be able to share with you an announcement made today that I have been appointed as Rector to the Benefice of Newton Longville & Mursley with Swanbourne, Little Horwood and Drayton Parslow in Buckinghamshire in the diocese of Oxford. The benefice is kind of in the space between Buckingham, Aylesbury and Bletchley and is just to the south west of Bletchley & Milton Keynes.

These are 5 very rural parishes, the largest village has a populations of just 1,800, there are also 5 schools (4 church schools and one private). They are parishes that are genuinely wanting to grow, develop and move forward with God and reach out to the communities around them, some of them have already started to explore some exciting initiatives in terms of more interactive styles of worship, and it looks like and exciting journey to be on and help lead them in as together we seek God’s leading over the coming years.
I will be licensed to this new role on Monday 29th June.
We are very excited about what the future holds for us as a family.

Thank you.

A new Gig

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Great news, Rev Simo will be performing his show ‘Strange but True’  again. The date is the 22nd March, 6:30pm at Walton Methodist Church, Walton-on-Thames. You can find out a bit more about the show on my web site, to find out more about about coming along visit http://www.waltonmethodist.com/

be great to see you there.

Video from the show

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Dear all

It has been a long time since I posted anything, very sorry about that, the good news though I have finally edited a few bits of the recording from my show together and so you can watch a preview for just over 2½ mins below. It was all filmed on one static camera so is not the best but gives a good idea, please let me know what you think.

Reflections a few days later…

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So it’s now A few days since my first one man show and I have had a little time to reflect upon how i feel having performed. I’ve got to say I feel great, there was a fantastic turn out and some really positive feed back and lots of encouragement to do it again. And on that front, I want to do it again too!

So where now?
Thats a jolly good question, I will almost definitely be starting to look for some bookings so if you are interested please do get in touch via the contact form. I am in a position where I am going to need to make a charge for putting on the show, but during these first stages I will be trying to keep costs down as much as possible. So do get in touch via the contact page if you would be interested in hosting a show.

Thank you.

Today’s the Day

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For about a year now I have been working on (among many other things) my first one man show, this evening will see the first performance of ‘Strange but True?’ 6pm at Christ Church, Warminster. a mixture of feelings about it at the moment but I think mostly excited to be doing it at last. There have been various reasons as to why I have not been able to do it before now but it feels good to finally be here.

For those of you that pray, then please do.

Many thanks

Rev Simo

Synod says no…

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So 20 years ago the Church of England’s General Synod approved the ordination of women, this was a significant year for me to as this was the year that I became aware of God’s call on my own life. Two years later still not knowing what or where my calling would lead me I was working in a high street photo lab in Norwich, I remember it feeling a very special day when I was processing photos of some of the first women to be ordained priest.

Since then of course the lord had led me into youth work and now to be ordained myself, having become a priest within the C of E at the end of June this year. Throughout my work (and study) over the last few years I have come to know and value the ministry of many women priests (and ordinands in training) it has been a joy and a privilege to be ministered to by them and to minister alongside them, I deeply value both their ministry and their friendship.

The case for women Bishops is something that has been being discussed and argued about for 10 years or more and in many respects yesterdays result is a devastating blow for many of those female colleagues of mine but for the church as a whole.

However although I would have voted yes had I been on Synod I was not entirely convinced by the measure put forward. I’m not entirely convinced we have got it right with women Priests. At the moment there is an option for churches who disagree with the ordination of women to seek oversight from a bishop other than their own Bishop if their views are different. This was added to in a clause in the proposal yesterday, that churches would be able to seek leadership from an alternative Bishop if their Bishop happened to be a woman and they didn’t agree with that. Now I don’t want to split the church of England, but personally I do have a problem with the idea that someone who feels called by God to fulfil a certain role, this is a calling that has been recognised by others and by the church at large is then unable to fully complete that calling because a minority choose not to recognise what the majority have clearly seen. Yesterday it seems was a clear case of the minority managing to swing the vote.

For some the events of yesterday feel like a step backwards for the C of E, it was not, we did not take a much needed step forward, although I wonder if the measure was only half a step and one that could have been even more difficult to overcome in later years. I’m sure that one day we will see women as Bishops in the Church of England, and personally I believe that the sooner that days comes the better, not for ‘keeping up with society’ and ‘staying up to date’ but better for the church as a whole.

I pray for my colleagues at Synod who have worked so hard to try and make this work and yesterday were left feeling deflated. I pray for my female clergy friends (and those training or seeking Gods leading as to their future ministry) some of whom I’m sure would make great Bishops just as they do or will make great Priests. And I pray for the church of England as a whole that God will lead and guide us through this and that we will be able to move forward stronger.