It's always important to remember the big ideas behind Curriculum for Excellence:
- Schools are committed to holistic development of their children and young people (emotional, relational, physical, intellectual and, yes, spiritual.....though of course different people will claim different meanings for "spiritual")
- The community of the school and links between the school and the wider community are crucial - the watchword is "Doing school together".
What does this mean in practice if I'm a parent or a church volunteer seeking to support my local school?
- There is now a much wider variety of ways that I can become involved.
- My role should be about providing practical living examples of Christian living and beliefs, as part of the school's commitment to equip children and young people to examine differing values/beliefs and enable them to make their own informed choices and decisions.
- Schools are often really hard-pressed in time, resources and staffing. There are many practical ways I can support the staff, which will be more than welcome
- Catholic education of course has wider commitments, and makes close connections between the school and local parishes. There is excellent advice available on all aspects of Catholic Education both from the Education Scotland website http://www.educationscotland.gov.uk/ and from the Scottish Catholic Education Service http://www.sces.uk.com/
What permissions and boundaries do I have as a parent or a church volunteer in the non-denominational sector?
- Start with the Serve Your Local School website http://www.syls.org.uk/ which has a wealth of indispensable advice
- Think through the principles of Christian Values in Education, by reading "A Place for Christian Values in Scottish Education”. It's only 2 pages long but makes really clear why Christians need to be involved in Scottish schools today.
- Read “Secular vs Plural in Scottish Schools” by Kieran Turner of the EA
- At least quickly scan our Survey of Relevant Themes within Curriculum for Excellence, which gives an overview of the many bits of Scottish Government guidance that encourage your involvement
- Wherever possible, work with others. You'll never be left alone with pupils in a school, as a teacher should always be there as well. But go beyond this:
- wherever possible sit down with teachers to plan your support in advance
- work with other volunteers, chaplains and schools workers
- Nothing beats talking to people who have practical experience, however, and there are a couple of excellent ways to do this:
- Join the CVE Community and start networking by emailing someone in a similar situation
- Contact one of the national organisations that support different aspects of Christian Values in Education as part of Curriculum for Excellence.
- Sign up for one of the periodic Supporters Evenings around Scotland (see News for further information)