All schools have a responsibility to develop spirituality in children. This is enshrined in both the in the education reform act 1988 and education (Schools act) in 1992:
‘The curriculum for a maintained school (must be) a balanced and broadly based curriculum which:
(a) promotes the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of pupils at the school and of society; and
(b) prepares such pupils for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of adult life.’
1 Education Reform Act 1988 (c. 40). Part I, Chapter I, Section I (2).
As a church school we are inspected under the SIAMS (Statutory Inspection of Anglican and Methodist Schools) framework, which asks whether our school:
How is collective worship enabling pupils and adults to flourish spiritually?
What is spirituality?
While we are instructed to promote spirituality and see our community flourish spiritually, it can be a difficult concept to define. Our staff have worked collaboratively to define just what we mean by spirituality.
It is extraordinary and lifts you out of the day to day.
- Spirituality is leaving the door ajar to let in the moments big and small that have the power to shape us. It is being curious and open and reflective. It is understanding that spirituality doesn’t take one form and may be different for every person.
- It is is a special feeling. It is moments of awe and wonder that make you stop and reflect. It gives you wow moments but also moments of calm. It is not something that you are told but instinctive and intrinsic.
- It is an internal feeling connecting you to what is beyond and an understanding that you are part of something greater that brings you joy.
It is inclusive and not unique to any faith or religion.
- It is inclusive and experienced by everyone no matter what their faith, culture or understanding. All humans are curious and can experience wonder, love or concern in reaction to range of things.
- It does not have to be linked to a faith or religion. All children and adults can feel it in a school as diverse as ours.
- Spirituality can be experienced individually or collectively and differs from person to person.
- It evolves and develops throughout our lives.
It is more than a fuzzy feeling, it is :
- Appreciating what is around you
- Being still
- Being observant
- It can be brought about by encounters with music, love or nature
- It cannot always be put into words
How does our school help the community to develop spiritually and allow children and stff to spiritually flourish?
We provide opportunities both in collective worship and beyond and ensure we take time to engage in the moments in class and across school
Our main opportunity for developing spiritual development is within Collective Worship. Worship (what many used to call assembly) takes place in both the hall, our classrooms and sometime in our dedicated reflection garden space. We ensure that there are opportunities to foster spiritual development through stillness, silence music, word, images, video and deep questions. We also plan for development by using and including what David Smith calls “Spiritual Capacities” in these events. These are:
Spiritual Capacities include children’s ability to:
- be guided by their beliefs and values and be willing to take a stand to defend them
- be self-aware and empathise with the experience of others in the school and wider community
- love themselves, care for themselves, believe in their potential to achieve, and find inner strength and resilience when facing challenges
- exercise imagination and creativity, appreciate beauty in the world and be alive to experiences of awe and wonder
- be intrigued by mystery and be open to an awareness of the transcendent in the whole of life
- be comfortable with stillness and silence and open to engage in reflection/meditation/prayer
- be ready to say sorry when mistakes are made, to forgive themselves and to forgive others
- be willing to take risks and to reflect, learn and grow following experiences of failure as well as success
- demonstrate curiosity and open mindedness when exploring life’s big questions
- appreciate and be thankful for what is good in life and show generosity towards others
‘‘Spirituality and spiritual development have a place is schools because we are required to have them there, because it is our children’s right, because they are integral to the purpose of education and because they can make a positive contribution to good practice. ”