Maybe you're a minister or church leader who has recently arrived in the area?
You want to link up with your local school, and you're looking for fresh ways of doing it. You’d like to approach your local school and offer some support. Education really is changing all the time. For some good advice, written by Scottish headteachers and others who know Scottish schools well, go to how to approach a school.
And for some really practical examples, dip into the "Keeping Faith in Schools" video.
... or you're a church member, who would like to serve your local school, and are looking for ideas?
The good news is that the Scottish Government want all schools to link up with the community. Churches are often the largest community organisations in a school’s catchment area, so they can become a valuable partner for a school. For real-life examples, spend a few minutes looking at "Keeping Faith in Schools". But remember, the links must always support young people’s learning - that's what schools are all about. Again, the Serve Your Local School site is a good place to start.
Who can be a chaplain?
Roman Catholic schools all have clearly defined church links which help them integrate education with faith, and support a variety of effective community service. Chaplains have a strong foundation for their work, and are closely integrated in the life of the school.
In non-denominational schools, the Head Teacher invites one or more chaplains drawn from a variety of faith backgrounds. Traditionally at least one Church of Scotland minister from a parish within the school's catchment area has tended to be included, but guidelines are clear that any denomination may be invited. Increasingly schools work with chaplaincy teams, which may include church youth workers as well as clergy from a variety of local churches. Sometimes individual church members (e.g. Volunteers who help with a school's Scripture Union group) join a Chaplaincy Team.
How can chaplains make really effective links with schools in ways that benefit children and young people?
While the traditional role of the chaplain was leading school assemblies, both primary and secondary schools are increasingly encouraging more flexible patterns of involvement. Each school (and chaplain!) has different needs and capacities but here are a few ideas which you may or may not have already come across:
- The Church of Scotland's recent Handbook, Guidance for Schools Chaplains, offers a wealth of advice which is equally worthwhile for chaplains of all denominations. They also have useful information on their Chaplaincy page here.
- The best place to go for ideas is Serve your Local School. This website is specifically written to help churches support schools in ways that are relevant and effective today - you'll find a whole range of fresh approaches, many you've never even thought of!
- Our own Resources section includes many lesson topics which will be enriched by the involvement of a Christian Schools Worker, Chaplain or church volunteer......not to mention a whole lot of innovative approaches to Assemblies/Religious Observance/Time for Reflection
- Look at the CVE Case Studies for examples of how churches have supported local schools (e.g. "Look into the Soup Pot", "It's Free - Bible Resources" and "Bible Exhibition").
The Church Audit Tool provides a really good interactive resource which will help you develop your approach further.
Education Scotland guidelines make it very clear that all schools should work in partnership with their local community:
A school is excellent to the extent that...
- Leaders throughout the establishment engage actively with partners, community representatives and agencies and promote and Support community partnerships. There is evidence of meaningful community involvement throughout the school.
- Partnerships with other establishments, organisations and businesses are used to broaden and deepen young people’s learning and to enable them to achieve success in wider contexts. This work is carefully planned by school leaders to enhance the curriculum and develop the perspectives of both children and staff. Community links are fully embedded into the life and work of the school.