The purpose of education in church schools is summed up in the promise of Our Lord, that He has come that we may have life in all its fullness. (John 10.10). There are 163 maintained Church of England schools in the Diocese of London supported by the London Diocesan Board for schools. This is an act of service to all Londoners of all faiths and none, and an expression of the mission of the church as we offer deeply Christian education which emphasises wisdom, hope, community and dignity for all.

The emerging 2030 vision for the Diocese of London calls on us to be For Every Londoner and For Every London Child. At the same time a new Schools Measure is going through General Synod which will require every diocesan board of education to renew its constitution.  This is a moment of opportunity to review how the extraordinary successes of the last few years can be built on in new and ever more creative ways.

While the day to day running of the work of the LDBS is very well handled by the Chief Executive and the officers, at this moment of change strategic leadership in governance requires more focus and capacity than The Archdeacon of London, as the Chair of the Board, is able to offer to seize all the opportunities offered by General Synod and the Diocese. After consultation with the Board, I have decided to appoint an Executive Chair to succeed the Archdeacon of London. The new Executive Chair will take forward the complex work with schools, parishes, local communities and other stakeholders within the church and beyond to enable this emerging 2030 vision to be crystallised in new and fertile ways.

After an extensive recruitment process we are delighted Penny Roberts MBE has been appointed for two years in this new part time role.

Penny Roberts MBE FRSA has held a diverse range of senior positions within the field of education and she has a long-standing interest in governance. Currently COO at an Academy Trust, she has served as Chair of Governors at a Church of England school and trustee of an educational charity. Between 2011 and 2018 Penny worked as a consultant to the LDBS to open nine new schools.

Bishop Sarah said

This is a crucial moment of opportunity for our schools and our service of children and young people as a whole. So much is going on in churches, chaplaincies, schools and other settings. A new vision calls us to work together even more closely. Penny Roberts has wide experience of church and school in London and it is splendid to welcome her into the diocesan team for this work.

Penny Roberts said

“I’m delighted to be returning at such an exciting time. The Diocesan Measure provides an important opportunity to ensure that the LDBS is equipped to lead and to serve in the next generation.”

Inigo Woolf said

“The LDBS has operated for some time with an extremely lean leadership structure and I am grateful that the Diocese recognizes the important role that the Board is going to have in ensuring that every child can flourish at home, at school and at Church.”