Looking back, last year’s student spirituality survey was definitely a fairly steep learning curve. We ran it in three schools each of which surveyed slightly different populations than we originally asked. However, it gave us a taste of how to go about this sort of thing, an initial set of results to work with and a glimpse of how it could develop. Thanks to trusting and willing RE staff and head teachers, we have also gained some useful experience and a trustworthy track record.
Some results from last year:
- 57% of young people said that, at some point in their lives, they had prayed.
- A quarter of those surveyed said they had had an experience they would call spiritual.
Strangely, only 30% said they believe there’s a God. This well below what one would expect from national surveys. And 34% believe there’s a higher spiritual or supernatural power, which also seems a bit low. It would appear that these percentages have been skewed significantly by one school where only 19% of students said they believe there is a God. This is a good example of the way the survey can prompt further discussion with students in this particular school about the results.
- You may be encouraged to learn that 43% think that the church is a good thing!
And so to this year, where we have five schools taking part with surveys being completed now. (One head teacher we visited during the summer term is overseeing two schools at the moment and insisted that the survey take place in both of them.) This should give us a sample size of 2500 young people fairly equally split between year 8 and year 10.
Once the number crunching has been done I’ll post a bit of feedback here. Our aim is that the survey will form the starting point for some follow on activities and involvement with schools and ultimately that it will help young people to explore questions of spirituality and meaning on their way towards encountering God.