Increase in chaplains in schools and academies

30 May 2014

WILLIAM PERKIN C OF E HIGH SCHOOL

Creative: pupils in assembly at William Perkin C of E high school, Greenford, part of the Twyford Academies Trust 

Creative: pupils in assembly at William Perkin C of E high school, Greenford, part of the Twyford Academies Trust 

CHAPLAINCIES are becoming more common in Church of England secondary schools and academies, a new survey published this week by the National Society suggests.

The report The Public Face of God: Chaplaincy in Anglican secondary schools and academies, by Canon Michael Camp and the Revd Garry Neave, says that a growing number of Anglican schools are paying for salaried chaplains.

Based on an online survey, the report reveals that 58 of the 78 schools that responded had chaplains: more than half of them were in full-time posts. A further 23 chaplains worked part-time, and eight were volunteers. Most chaplains were ordained; one was a religious Sister; and some were lay church members.

Unlike their counterparts in independent schools, most paid chaplains did not teach, but concentrated on pastoral work with students and staff, and leading worship. Many were also responsible for their schools' community and charitable work. In one school, students were able to contact the chaplain directly by text or email.

While the survey included some criticism of chaplains for failing to forge links with local churches, many chaplains felt undervalued by the wider Church, which did not understand or affirm their position, the report says.

Among their recommendations, welcomed by the C of E's chief education officer, the Revd Jan Ainsworth, the report's authors call for new national and diocesan structures that help schools to appoint chaplains, decide on the part that they should play, and evaluate their work. The wider Church should value their contribution to mission, and re-imagine ministry.

Commenting on the report, Alice Hudson, the executive head of Twyford Academies, said: "The chaplain is one of those experts who enrich a child's experience of school."

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