Skip to content ↓

What is school chaplaincy?

Chaplaincy Information, Training and Resources

This is a new partnership initiative aimed at enriching and sustaining 'Chaplaincy provision' within schools in the Wantage area, to support the nurturing of spiritual awareness and growth of children, young people and staff.

The approach is characterised by an emphasis on schools and churches working together to enable the recognition, celebration, nurture and unique expression of spirituality within every individual, its role in the journey through life. In addition, encounters with remarkable features, processes and situations in the world around us, can also ignite a sense of awe and wonder or even radical social action. 

Opportunities for all stakeholders within school communities to explore and express spirituality,  and to flourish in the process, is for example, enabled through sustaining collaboration with and between schools and churches, sharing ideas and good practice and supporting one another in engaging with existing and new initiatives. Prayer Spaces in schools, Open the Book, themed school pilgrimages are some good examples of partnership-led nurture of spiritual development. 

With your help and creative inspiration these School Chaplaincy Partnership web pages can become a rich treasury of inspiration and resources to help us all encourage spiritual awareness, growth and wellbeing with children, young people and also ourselves and our colleagues.  

Spiritual Characteristics Audit and Spirituality Questionnaires

Spiritual Characteristics Audit enables school leadership to identify, reflect upon and celebrate existing provision for supporting spiritual development. It is recommended that the audit is carried out before the questionnaire is drafted, as the former helpfully informs the latter.

A Spirituality Questionnaire can be a useful tool for a school community in the journey of exploring spirituality, or even a place to return to at appropriate moments. With carefully framed questions, it can serve as a useful baseline for considering approaches to capacity building for encouraging spiritual awareness and growth and also as a catalyst for whole school engagement. 

  • What does spirituality mean to you?
  • How do you experience spirituality?

There are no right or wrong answers to these questions because every child, young person and adult will have a unique perspective, ways of sensing and/or experiencing 'the spiritual' and spirituality, that informs their understanding and responses. When children and adults are given an opportunity to reflect upon and share their ideas about 'spirituality' and experiences, everyone is enriched. 

Why not email Wantage CE Primary to find out more about their 'whole school spirituality survey' that they successfully used in 2021, and helpfully prior to their SIAMS inspection.  

Developing School-led Chaplaincy Teams

Part of our School Chaplaincy Partnership vision is to establish sustainable 'school-led chaplaincy teams' in our Primary and Secondary schools. Establishing sustainable pupil and young people-led Chaplaincy teams can be achieved through engaging, training and supporting both pupils and young people in partnership with the local clergy. 

There are established and emerging models in schools across the UK: 

Being part of a 'Chaplaincy' team in a school is a leadership opportunity for pupils and students, that links with the VAT Awards Scheme

Who can get involved? 

The structure and administration of a Chaplaincy provision will be different for Primary and Secondary Schools. Ideally each school will have identified a Chaplaincy or spirituality lead within their staff team. 

In our Primary Schools a 'Chaplaincy team' might typically include a Spirituality Lead teacher or TA, Year 4, 5 and 6 pupils, who show qualities and potential for spiritual leadership.

In our Secondary schools teachers, support staff and students from different year groups could be part of a School Chaplaincy Team led by a volunteer or employed qualified Chaplain. Each school community will have their own ideas. 

Emerging pupil and staff-led Chaplaincy team initiatives in our schools

St Nicholas CE Primary: Y4 pupils participated in a taster outdoor reflection initiative in the school garden with the Schools Chaplaincy Partnership Lead (SCPL) and Forest School leader. These pupils were inspired to lead these outdoor reflections with other pupils from September. Please see the resources section for sample outdoor reflections. 

Wantage CE Primary: Planning is underway for a 'Courageous Advocacy' team of KS2 pupils to lead the way on behalf of the school with the Global Neighbours Accreditation Scheme which encourages pupils to design and lead social justice initiatives with the local community, in collaboration with the local church. 

KA's West site: Y8 students developed their own lunchtime initiative, supported by the Mrs Beckley and the SCPL, to engage their Y8 peers in exploring issues such as 'anxiety'.  The hope is for these initiatives to be continued and further developed in the future, alongside the reflection space provision. 


For more information about these initiatives please contact the individual schools directly.