Sophia - one pupil's reflections on their time at CFS
What have you been up to since CFS?
I left CFS in 2013 to study A-levels at Liverpool Blue Coat and then History at King’s College London. After graduation in 2018, I started working for Lord Michael Farmer, a Conservative member of the House of Lords, and was later also seconded two days a week to a think tank called The Centre for Social Justice. As I came on to Lord Farmer’s team, the Government commissioned him to write a report on family ties for women in prison, a project on which I became the researcher. In the report (published in June 2019) I was able to analyse over 300 responses from women in prison, their families and stakeholders in the criminal justice sector as well as conducting focus groups in five women’s prisons. We are now continuing to work with the Ministry of Justice to implement the recommendations of the report and working on wider policies that will strengthen families such as new domestic abuse legislation, care leavers outcomes, early intervention and of course how could I forget…Brexit.
Wow! How do you think your time at CFS steered the direction you’ve taken?
At CFS we were encouraged to explore how the Bible spoke to every situation and circumstance. This helped to shape my interest in politics as I grew in my conviction that God’s eternal word was central to the building of a more just society. I liked that CFS was outward looking and not insular. We were encouraged to engage with the world around us and not hide away from it. But I was also grateful for the pastoral care that I received during particularly difficult personal circumstances and the attention given to that would have been difficult to achieve in a school that was less community focused.
I always felt that the teachers at CFS really cared about your whole person development. I remember parents evenings where certain teachers would discuss academic progress but also bring gentle and thoughtful words about ways in which you could develop your character. At the time I didn’t think much of it but have since realised how unusual this was. Seeing close-up the big egos involved in party politics, the importance of character has become even more apparent to me, and I am thankful for the attention given to that at CFS.
Looking back, there were some specific career-shaping moments at CFS. Helped by the smaller class sizes and the clear emphasis on calling from some teachers, I was encouraged to pursue extra-curricular activities such as the Liverpool Law Society Public Speaking Competition (coached by a very dedicated and patient Mr Farrington!). Previously wanting to study medicine at university, I realised how alive I felt when public speaking and arguing and radically rethought the medicine career (reinforced by a work experience placement where I realised I wasn’t all that motivated by sick people!). Since then, I have been on a pretty steady path towards politics.
So how would you describe what being at CFS has given you?
I am very grateful for the attention and effort that was given to facilitating the individual passions of me and my classmates but most of all, CFS gave me a sense of security. I knew I was loved and trusted and that meant that I enjoyed going to school. I was very fortunate to have a great friendship group. Some of us grew up together from aged 4 and I know that among them I have lifelong friends. Small class sizes meant you were forced to keep the peace with everyone as there simply weren’t other friends if you fell out with the ones you had and I know some people struggled with that. However, I’ve found it a useful skill!
One thing that has really stayed with me has been the sacrifice that the teachers made to work at CFS. Many of them could have earned a lot more elsewhere and yet they sacrificed what could have been for what they felt was Gods call on their lives. A refusal to make comfort the ultimate goal and a clear sense of the reality of riches stored up in eternity was a precious example, and all too rare.
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