The Education Commission, which reported to the Conference of 2012, and whose recommendations were all accepted by that Conference, was initiated by the Conference of 2009, which agreed to the setting up of an independent commission on formal education to recommend, after a radical review of the status quo, why and how the Methodist Church should be engaged in all aspects of the education and training services in Britain and consider how Methodist people involved in the education and training services can be supported in their work and mission.
Following the recommendations contained in the report: • Conference recognised the importance of the work of those who serve as governors, teachers and support staff, as lay and ordained chaplains, and as volunteers in all schools and colleges, and urged Districts to see explore how they might be recognised and supported. • Conference affirmed the tremendous opportunities offered in education chaplaincy, and approved plans to offer additional support to those engaged in such work. • Conference reaffirmed its commitment to the provision of schools of a religious character and actively seeks to extend this commitment. • Conference affirmed the decision of the 2011 Conference to seek Multi-Accademy Sponsor Status for the Methodist Church, and the guidance issued to schools and colleges wishing to convert to academy status, and welcomed the creation of the Methodist Academies and Schools Trust (MAST). • Conference agreed to seek to increase the number of Methodist schools over the following ten years period as opportunity arose with a priority for areas of socio-economic deprivation. • Conference affirmed the contribution mde by Methodist independent schools and urged all to participate in the development of MIST (the Methodist Independent Schools Trust) and directed MIST and MAST to work closely together, sharing resources wherever possible, with a view to becoming a single Trust within five years. • Conference agreed to the appointment of a senior officer within the Connexional team to take responsibility for overseeing the church’s involvement in formal education. (The post was subsequently named Director of Education and, in 2014, Ms Barbara Easton was appointed as the first holder of this post.)