As the Haven Eco Church begins its work with schools we wanted to be very clear about our policy for engagement. We will be working with school, clubs, faith schools and youth groups and we feel that it is enormously important for us to be open about our values and our beliefs with regards to our commitment to full inclusion and mutual respect. We are very lucky to have an expert in this field, Dr Helen Bradstock, to help us produce this policy.
The policy is here below.
Haven Benefice Policy for Working with Schools
This Policy sets out a rationale and guidelines for working with children in the schools in our benefice. It aims to provide clarity and accountability to schools, and guidance for church members who volunteer to assist in school activities.
The Church of England, as the established Church, is tasked to serve the whole community in the promotion of the common good. Churches in The Haven Benefice are part of an ecumenical Eco Church scheme. The Eco Church programme encourages churches to engage with other community groups to promote environmental awareness. It is in this spirit that members of the churches in our benefice offer their time and talents to work with children in school.
We recognise that children in school come from a variety of religious and non-religious backgrounds and we respect freedom of religion and belief. Our role is not to promote Christian belief but to provide a model of inclusive Christian living. We support schools in curriculum delivery, including aspects of religious education, citizenship and spiritual, moral, social and cultural development. We aim to do this, whether in assembly, lesson or other settings, by:
- showing how community groups can work together on projects for the common good
- demonstrating values which promote the flourishing of individuals, communities and the environment
- modelling ways in which communities support spiritual, social and environmental wellbeing
- promoting an appreciation of the natural world including plants and animals
- developing ecological awareness
- sharing a positive, hopeful and collaborative outlook on life
In addition, if invited by the school, we might
- contribute to the school’s celebration of Christian festivals
- provide information on Christian practices from a Christian perspective in RE lessons
All activities planned with children should respect a diversity of religious perspective. Children and members of staff should be able to participate with integrity.
With school permission, assemblies may include a prayer or blessing. Children should not be obliged to participate but asked to listen and think about what is said.
Volunteers will not share their religious beliefs with children unless planned and agreed as part of an assembly or religious education lesson.
Volunteers will be DBS checked.
Volunteers will abide by all school expectations regarding safeguarding, health and safety and other codes of conduct.
Policy Novemeber 2019