Church and School Links

pupils building a wooden bridge labelled with ways of connecting church and school

Church schools and the local parish church should work closely together in partnership, seeing themselves as an active association – as an extended community – at the heart of the Church’s mission to the community.

One way we have seen this in action is through a Growing Faith research project that explored nurturing children's prayer and reflection experiences at school, church and home. 

By inviting children and young people from all backgrounds to participate in a Christian community, Church schools can provide an authentic experience of God’s love for all humanity. In a Church school, pupils learn about religion and experience it as a living tradition and inheritance of faith. Church schools are, therefore, a unique gift from the Church to an increasingly secular culture. This is why foundation governors are such an essential part of the school leadership, as they represent the local church within the school and are part of this bridge-building process. 

Most of our schools have local clergy on their governing boards, and clergy will also be present in school, leading worship, making pastoral visits, and supporting the pupils and staff in other ways. Many schools also have great 'Open the Book' teams from local churches leading collective worship. 

The picture above shows a bridge made by children at a diocesan conference. They labelled each piece of the bridge with ways that their school and church were connected. How big could your bridge be? 

The best church-school partnerships are where the bridge between the two communities is two-way. The school is actively involved in the life of the church, and the congregation sees the school as part of their community and is involved in the life of the school. Examples include Messy Churches run in the schools, prayer spaces run by the church for the school, and volunteers from the church helping in school with clubs and listening to readers. The first step is simply asking the school what support they would like. 

The Education Team works closely with the diocesan mission and ministry teams to explore and share ways to support churches and schools in their collaboration. Why not join us on our Growing Faith adventure? 

Let us pray anywhere? Growing Faith Foundation Research Project

As part of the Diocesan Year of Prayer, the education team led a research project with six of our church primary schools to explore the nature of children's prayer. The Growing Faith Foundation partly funded this project.

It started with interviewing groups of pupils about their prayer experiences both inside the school and elsewhere. Based on the children's responses, a set of resources was piloted in the schools before they were reinterviewed to find out what most impacted their prayer life at home, school and church. 

The summary report video below explains how their understanding of prayer developed during the year and the surprising impact of different resources.     

This project focused on learning from the children themselves. The following video explores their experiences and understanding of prayer and reflection. It ends with reflective questions for all to consider as we learn from these children. 

Further materials from the project are available to download below: 

Let us pray anywhere? Research Project Resources 

Please get in touch with the Education Team for further support if you want to learn about this project and explore how you could nurture children's prayer and reflection in your church, school, or home.

Prayer Space Resources 

We have developed a pack of prayer resources that church leaders or schools can use to help pupils explore prayer. Prayer Spaces in Schools offers many similar activities and online training.

Download Prayer Space Activities

Bridge Building Network 

Network for churches supporting schools through prayer, good practice and encouragement .

Bridge Building Network: This is an open meeting for any churches supporting schools in the region, hosted by Mark Harrington from the DBE Education Team. 

This is an opportunity to meet together, pray, reflect, and share ideas and resources to aid your churches in ministering to local schools. Meetings are held on Zoom once a half-term. Contact Mark Harrington, Education Development Officer, for more information. 

Dates & Register for BB network

Education Team eBulletin Training and Events

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