Diocese appoints new Deputy Director of Education

The Diocese of Carlisle – the Church of England in Cumbria – has appointed a new Deputy Director of Education.

Deborah Smith, newly appointed Diocesan Deputy Director of EducationDeborah Smith comes to the post after more than 30 years working in the education sector, latterly as Chief Executive Officer of the Northern Inter-Schools Christian Union (NISCU).

For the last three years she has also been a member of the Diocesan Board of Education (DBE).

“I’m thrilled and excited at the challenges which lie ahead,” Deborah said. “Through my work with the DBE I am already well aware of the support structures which are in place to help our church schools.

“I have been so impressed to see how an integral part of the DBE’s work is the imperative to see Christianity in action within a school setting. I look forward to building on the strong relationships which are already in place to ensure we continue to build on that work.”

Deborah comes to the role after spending 17 years in primary school education, latterly as a deputy head and working predominantly in the Liverpool and Manchester area.

That was followed by eight years as a senior lecturer at Liverpool Hope University specialising in the provision of religious education at initial teacher training degree level and Early Childhood Studies Pathways.

For the last five years she has been in post as CEO at NISCU, overseeing work with more than 200 schools across Cumbria, North Lancashire and part of North Yorkshire, to take the gospel message into school settings in order to demonstrate what it means to bear witness to the Christian faith.

She comes to the post following the retirement of the Diocese’s previous Deputy Director of Education, the Rev’d Bert Thomas.

The role includes responsibility for monitoring and supporting the effectiveness of church schools including governance, leadership and ensuring schools get the training and support they need. Deborah will also liaise closely with key stakeholders locally and nationally as well as overseeing the Statutory Inspection of Anglican and Methodist Schools (SIAMS) inspection process within the diocese, which evaluates the distinctiveness and effectiveness of schools as church schools.

Michael Mill, the diocesan Director of Education, said: “I am delighted that Deborah is to join us and in doing so will bring with her tremendous skills and experience with an in-depth knowledge of many aspects of the education sector.

“Deborah is committed to good schooling and educational provision delivered within a Christian context and her knowledge, support and expertise will prove invaluable to our 105 church schools across the county.

“I know she will build on much of the great work which her predecessor has overseen and I would also like to thank Bert Thomas for all his hard work during his years in post.”

Deborah, aged 52, will take up the post at the beginning of June. She is married to Paul, a Lead Evangelist for the Church Army at one of the organisation’s Centres of Mission. The couple live in Newcastleton in the Scottish Borders and have two children.

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For further information please contact Dave Roberts, Diocesan Communications Manager on 07469 153658, 01228 815401 or at communications@carlislediocese.org.uk.