Schools and churches have much in common: they are permanent features in a community, holding some key moments in life within their walls. They enable growth, social and personal and provide space to explore and develop our ideas independently and as a peer group.

Recognising that schools often have needs which churches can help with, they are being creative and approaching their local schools with ways to support the need to provide wrap-around care, with suggestions for fulfilling the spiritual development OFSTED requirement (see below), with offers of committed governors and many other ways to work effectively together.

Sometimes, the school approaches the church (see the blog post about Communion in School as an example) or receives the offer of using the church building for a special service or exploration session about the church and faith, and the relationship continues to grow.

Recently I have had the privilege to attend some of these wonderful opportunities where faith and education collide, where our young peoples’ experiences are widened and they embrace their own spirituality.

Over the next few blog posts, I will share examples of a termly Communion in a Hartlepool primary school, prayer activities which are accessible for those with additional needs, a JAM (Jesus and Me) after-school club and Open the Book assemblies.
This is, of course, just a handful of the ways we can engage with our young people in their everyday lives! If you have activities in your own community which may inspire others, please share them with us on the DDMissionHub Facebook Page.

It is worth being aware that there is a national requirement for education providers to ensure opportunities for spiritual, moral, social and cultural development within their learning environment.

With regards to religion and faith understanding, the OFSTED guidelines state:
“The spiritual development of pupils is shown by their:
* ability to be reflective about their own beliefs, religious or otherwise, that inform their perspective on life and their interest in and respect for different people’s faiths, feelings and values
* sense of enjoyment and fascination in learning about themselves, others and the world around them
* use of imagination and creativity in their learning
* willingness to reflect on their experiences.”

“The moral development of pupils is shown by their:

* interest in investigating and offering reasoned views about moral and ethical issues and ability to understand and appreciate the viewpoints of others on these issues.”

“The social development of pupils is shown by their:
* use of a range of social skills in different contexts, for example working and socialising with other pupils, including those from different religious, ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds
* willingness to participate in a variety of communities and social settings, including by volunteering, cooperating well with others and being able to resolve conflicts effectively
* acceptance and engagement with the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs; they develop and demonstrate skills and attitudes that will allow them to participate fully in and contribute positively to life in modern Britain.”

“The cultural development of pupils is shown by their:

* interest in exploring, improving understanding of and showing respect for different faiths and cultural diversity and the extent to which they understand, accept, respect and celebrate diversity, as shown by their tolerance and attitudes towards different religious, ethnic and socioeconomic groups in the local, national and global communities.”

taken from OFSTED Inspection Handbook, Sept 2018

If you, or others in your church, would like more information about any of the ideas listed above, please get in touch!
Sharon Pritchard (Children’s Ministry Adviser for the Diocese of Durham) [email protected] Tel: 01913746017
or Andy Harris (Leader of Youth Mission and Ministry in Durham Diocese) [email protected] Tel: 07796 769307 

The Youth and Children’s Ministry pages of the website can be found here:

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