Hundreds of churches and organisations and thousands of youth and schools workers, are contributing tens of thousands of hours a year to making a difference in the lives of hundreds of thousands of young people in UK schools. And as schools are changing, so is Christian schools work.
Yesterday, at the House of Commons, 50 schools workers from churches, local and national organisations gathered at the invitation of Alistair Burt MP and Gary Streeter MP to consider and discuss the future of Christian schools work. Organised by schoolswork.co.uk and Chapel St the day included input from Russell Rook (Chapel St.), Chris Curtis (LCET), Jessica Lee MP, and Geraldine Davies, head of the School of Education at St Mary’s University College.
In among the finer detail of our various conversations were two broad themes. One is how we engage with schools in the role of the spiritual development of young people, not just responding to the opportunities we are given, but helping to set the agenda and programme. There is a need and often an openness, but few resources. Because spirituality touches the whole of a young person’s life this is something that transcends RE, assemblies and CU’s requiring that we engage creatively with other areas of the curriculum and school life.
The other theme was engagement with government and the Department for Education to represent the very significant contribution the Christian schools work sector brings to education and the lives of young people, to speak up for the place of spiritual development and to be ready to respond positively and creatively to changes in education. We also had a brief update on progress to establish a basic (level 2 or 3) qualification in schools work which would demonstrate that someone is safe and competent to work in school as a visitor.
All in all an inspiring day that points towards some significant and exciting developments in the role of schoolswork in education.