Across The Bolton and Farnworth Multi-Academy Trust we have just launched the 'Children's Chaplains', the aim is that each school within the Trust have their own Children's Chaplains. Children's Chaplains role is to look at ways we incorporate the Trust's values of Faith, Hope, Love, Trust and Service throughout school Life.
Isaiah 54: 13
“All your children shall be taught by the Lord, and great shall be the peace of your children.”
In our Trust context, a Children’s Chaplain is defined as an individual who contributes to the spiritual, prayer and pastoral needs of their school community. We see the nature of the Children’s Chaplain to ‘be there’ for other children and staff, especially for those who need additional support, comfort, space for reflection/prayer or a listening ear impacting positively on mental health and well-being. Our Children’s Chaplains are concerned with care for all within a school community, regardless of individuals’ personal faith. Ethos Teams and Children’s Chaplains will enrich the SMSC opportunities and explorations of their school.
As a Trust we believe that children have a talent to live out this role and will have an enormous positive impact on their school communities. Our Children’s Chaplains will support our churches, mosques and temples, encouraging children and staff in their own spiritual journeys. The Children’s Chaplaincy role is to travel alongside others and invite them into a space where they may encounter God or take another step on their spiritual journey. Our Children’s Chaplains will be a positive spiritual presence in their schools and across the Trust, they will make faith more visible by using signs, symbols and art. They will support the Ethos Teams in gathering evidence on how the school’s Christian values and Ethos have a positive impact on the school communities. Our Children’s Chaplains and Ethos Teams will engage with faith wherever it is found. This extends even to ‘faith in no Faith’, to encourage discussion, acceptance and love for all. Faith, we believe, should be visible and tangible in our schools, where everyone can feel comfortable expressing and living their faith to the full.
In our Trust and schools, the role of the Children’s Chaplain is as follows;
* To support the school to be a community of faith.
* To support pupils to live and grow their faith day by day.
* To support the school’s Ethos, developing healthy relationships between all faiths and communities.
* To promote plan, deliver and articulate the impact of worship.
* To promote plan and deliver prayer activities, including prayer spaces, contributing to the prayer life of the school.
* To be servant leaders through pastoral support, fundraising and social action projects.
* To be courageous advocates.
* To promote positive mental health for all, offering support and guidance.
* To monitor the impact of class reflection areas.
* To support Ethos Teams and senior leaders to gather evidence of the impact of the school’s Christian Ethos.
* To support the school’s delivery of spiritual, moral, social and cultural education.
* Being present at whole school and Trust events.
* To support local churches, mosques, temples and other places of worship.
Children’s Chaplains will automatically be a member of the schools Ethos Team.
In September Mrs Pilling will deliver a training course for our Children’s Chaplains, one lunch hour a week for 6 weeks. The children will have a manageable gap task to complete after each session. The course will provide the children with an opportunity to explore the role of becoming a Children’s Chaplain. There will be an opportunity for other adults to support such as clergy and diocesan advisors.
Week 1 – Exploring the tradition of chaplains.
Exploring the skills and qualities need to to fulfill the role.
Week 2 - Leading worship.
Week 3 – Leading prayer activities, the use of prayer spaces and classroom reflection spaces.
Week 4 – Supporting others in their spiritual journey.
Week 5 – Supporting others with their mental health.
Week 6 – Servant leadership and Courageous advocacy. Fundraising and supporting the wider community.
Mrs Pilling will meet with all 12 Children’s Chaplains (4 in each school) once a week to plan activities and continue with support and training. In order to work as a whole Trust group, we will meet via Zoom each week.
Mrs Pilling will also meet with each individual school’s Children’s Chaplains each week to discuss activities and issues pertinent to their school.
Canon Dr Chris Bracegirdle will monitor the work of the schools’ Children’s Chaplains and Ethos Teams.
A member of each Local Governing Body will take the role of link to their schools Children’s Chaplain and Ethos Team.