PS102 – Well-being Matters

I worked with my colleague, Kathy Chapple (who has written her own report).  Together we mentored an ITT RE Ambassador from Liverpool John Moores University, helping her to become an effective RE teacher and, hopefully, a future RE lead. My role in this was to to help our student, Amy, develop the skills to deliver the ‘well-being’ remit of our school.   We worked on a creative, interactive and preventative programme to improve our pupils’ resilience skills, aspirations and attainment, by removing mental health barriers to their social, emotional and academic development.  Together we trialled a well-being programme within the school, using approaches such […]

PS101: Improving mental health and well-being

At Almondsbury Church of England Primary School, we believe that we are ‘Creating our Pathways’ for pupils to their future.  This is the core element of our vision. “Show me your way, Lord, teach me your paths” (Psalms 25:4).  We feel very strongly that not only do our pathways extend across the academic and social spheres but also personally and spiritually. In this, and with the help of the Farmington Scholarship, we want to enable our children with the skills to develop strategies to support their mental health, well-being and spirituality through the implementation of the Heartsmart programme.  It is […]

PS100 – Our Journey towards Peace in Our Community

This report is an exploration of how Restorative Practice and Systemic Leadership principles can be used to support a school to develop a culture of ‘Peace’.  Our school is under threat due to a falling roll.  Over the course of the last year we have faced a number of different challenges including possible closure or amalgamation  This report explores: the meaning of peace in the context of education the challenges that we faced during 2019-20 the use of EPIs to reflect on our own values and culture the use of Systemic Leadership Principles to reflect on managing change signs of […]

TT447: Creating a Formation ‘Skin on Skin’ experience programme

Catholic schools today are for many families the new Church.  The Catholic education they receive may be the only time they hear or experience the Good News and think differently to society.  The traditional model of the past where home, Church and school developed a child’s spirituality and faith journey is not as strong in some areas of Britain so it is more important than ever that adults working in Catholic schools have time, space and invest in high quality formation.  The National School of Formation was created to provide opportunities for Catholic leaders to ‘kindle the fire’, to promote a renewed […]

PS099: How Does Philosophy for Children (P4C) in Religious Education Create Effective Dialogue?

Philosophy for Children (P4C) was founded by Professor Matthew Lipman and has developed over 35 years and is practised in approximately 60 countries.  It has been influenced by educationalists and philosophers such as Vygotsky, Piaget Dewey as well as the tradition of Socratic dialogue.  Through a stimulus such as a story, video clip or image, the children are encouraged to develop philosophical questions, learn to listen to each other to explore differences of opinion respectfully and to value the ideas of others.  I have shared my experience of teaching P4C within RE lessons and produced resources to support the teaching […]

TT446: Tuning in to Mother Earth

I work in a school for children and young people who have severe learning disabilities.  My first Farmington scholarship (2017-18)  was an exploration of sacred singing in different faiths, and how, in a special school, children might access spirituality and experience something of those faiths, through singing.  This time I wanted to take that further and see whether, through singing, we can tap into the energy, or current, that underlies all faiths  When we strip the singing of religious references, what remains?  Not, as some might imagine, something secular, but instead something deeply sacred, that leads us into experiencing and […]

PS098 : Constructing an Outdoor Educational Curriculum

  The transformational nature and value of a well-structured outdoor learning curriculum cannot be underestimated, in terms of spiritual well-being and students’ mental and physical health.  Also, with the growing understanding of the consequences of human economic activity on the broader environment, through climate change, pollution, resource depletion and mass extinction of species, there is an opportunity to take learning outdoors in a critically meaningful form, shining a light on every other aspect of the curriculum. The challenge for outdoor educators is to become an integral part of learning in schools, rather than a marginalised addition, dealing only with ‘adventure education’ […]

TT429: Rules of Serious Engagement

Two major recent initiatives in the subject, Understanding Christianity, a teaching and learning approach developed by the Church of England, and The Commission on RE (CoRE), which reported its findings on September 12th, 2018, are shaping current thinking about RE. Both call for a renewed focus on depth of understanding and academic rigour, in short, ‘serious engagement’, as Understanding Christianity puts it, with the subject matter. In recent years, rigorous and academically stretching RE has often been associated with the critical realist approach, which treats RE as a quest for ‘ultimate truth’, competing claimants in a debate in the ultimate […]

PS097: VIVA-GO!

Within our culture, three waves crash together upon our young people: a premature media self-awareness, peer-measurement, and self-promotion, external and internal higher expectations of themselves, and a huge need for healthy mental health to have the resilience to thrive, not just survive. These young people need those they can trust, whether it be a parent, a leader, a peer who has the confidence to help them, and the faith in them to transform lives to journey beyond culture’s dictates, towards self-efficacy. VIVA GO! is a powerful tool to raise a young person’s life chances through listening, relationship and supported encouragement.  […]

PS096: A Passport to Pilgrimage: Sacred Places, Shrines and Schools . . .

John Pritchard, former Bishop of Oxford, defined pilgrimage as “a spiritual journey to a sacred site”, but pointed out that, if we remain within our local environment or even our home, it is “possible to gain the same insights and wisdom as those who journey great distances.”  Pritchard reminds us that, if we have a pilgrim spirit, “These journeys will bring us back to where we started but we may no longer be the same people. With open eyes and hearts, we may have discovered God where he has always been – right in the midst of the everyday.” For […]