We are invited guests in our local schools and must always work within the policies and procedures of those schools.
Anyone who listens to the news is most likely aware that the world of education is constantly changing. This can have an impact on our work, as we always work within the policies and procedures of the schools we support. Will RE be dropped from the curriculum? Will Collective Worship still be a requirement in all schools? What if my local school has to form a cluster with other schools and comes under the control of a Headteacher who does not support our work?
We are invited guests in our local schools and must always work within the policies and procedures of those schools. If these change, we must be willing to change what we offer or we may lose our welcome.
For instance, if Religious Education were no longer a statutory subject in our schools, we would need to discuss our involvement with the relevant Heads of Department. I would hope that RE will always be available as an option in our schools, as it is vital to developing tolerance and understanding in our communities. If RE were no longer statutory, we would not lead lessons with as many pupils as we do at present, but only with those who have chosen to study the topic.
This would be a real loss, as our lessons provide opportunity for learners
to explore their own beliefs whilst developing their understanding of the
Christian faith and the beliefs and values of Christians. We are often the
only committed believers that children and young people have the opportunity to talk to and question about their faith, lifestyle and values. On a positive note, lessons with those who have opted-in to the subject could lead to deeper discussions and development of ideas, as the learners would be more invested in the topic.
A change in leadership of a school could also affect our work, for instance a new Headteacher may be less open to the involvement of a religious organisation in the school. This is why I obtain accredited training whenever possible, and seek to train and equip volunteers also, so that
our work is reputable and not seen as subversive nor as proselytising or
pressuring children and young people. I would hope that discussions with a new leadership would result in the identification of areas where our aims and objectives for the support of learners overlap, possibly leading to new areas of work.
We would at all times work within the guidelines given by any Headteacher or other staff member within schools.
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