School chaplains work in all kinds of schools – those set up by the Church of England or other religious bodies, and those which have no formal connection with the church at all. For many pupils, that might be their main contact with the Church.
They are there for all staff, pupils, parents, governors and the community which the school serves, regardless of the faith or belief of those groups and individuals.
Every school is different and so there is no one single model for school chaplaincy: chaplains themselves have different backgrounds, some are clergy and some are lay people, some teach and others do not, some combine their chaplaincy with another role, for instance leading a local church.
What all chaplains try to do though has a lot in common:
- Supporting the emotional and spiritual wellbeing of students and staff
- Offering opportunities to worship and to explore the Christian faith
- Finding ways to encourage creativity, curiosity and ‘poetic imagination’ as ways to find what’s meaningful and spiritually rewarding in our lives
- Supporting those in established faith journeys to grow and develop their spiritual life
- Offering prayer and spiritual guidance to groups and individuals
- Supporting the school as a place where staff and students feel cared for and safe.
- Building a bridge between the school and church, and between the school and the wider community, including other denominations and faith communities.
We work in partnership with our colleagues in Church of England dioceses, in other Churches and with organisations and networks that also support chaplains and school leaders, among them The Chaplains and School Leaders Association (SCALA) and Chaplaincy Central
We work to understand and promote really high-quality chaplaincy in schools: you might like to explore our research into Church of England secondary school chaplaincy The Public Face of God. (The title comes from a Headteacher’s comment about what he saw as the main role of the chaplain in his school).