School Pastors

Cheshire West School Pastors have been supporting children and staff in the University Church of England Academy since September 2012.

 

This was a brand new school building and two secondary schools were merging into one so it was a new adventure for everyone.

 

The pastors worked closely with the chaplain and began by supporting the year 7 pupils in their transition from primary to secondary school. This transition period can be very daunting for some children and the School Pastors were there to befriend and support all the children but particularly those who were struggling.

 

Initially the Pastors went into school every Friday morning in teams of 4. They worked in pairs and went into different classes to support the children and teachers. They also spent time in the communal areas of the school chatting to the pupils of all ages. As time went on the Pastors became part of the school community and the children looked forward to them coming into school every week. Trust and respect was being built up between everyone.

 

As the role of the Pastors developed and their credibility within the school grew it was recognised that the skills and experience within the team was vast. The co-ordinator began work with the inclusion officer and chaplain to create small group work for children from years 7 to 9 who were identified as vulnerable in some way and needed extra support. These could be children who had behaviour problems, social needs, home difficulties etc.

 

Under the leadership of the chaplain the Pastors were attached to small groups where they got to know and befriend the children. As they worked together on projects and activities their relationships began to grow and deepen as the children often opened up and shared their concerns and problems. One of the important skills the Pastors have is the ability to listen and show the children that they care about them.

 

These groups led onto the chaplain introducing “prayer spaces” to years 7 & 8 which was really successful with the children engaging and responding very well. They knew that any prayers of need for themselves or others that they offered would be prayed for by the School Pastors. Now the school have prayer cards which are often used by the pupils and staff requesting prayer and the chaplain ensures that these are prayed over.

 

School Pastors also partner with the English team and read with children on a one to one basis with those who need a little extra support. This will help those children be able to access and read their exam and test papers with more fluency. It is exciting to see the progress the children make. Here are some stories of our experiences:-

 

“A pupil had a speech impediment which had affected confidence in speaking and reading over a long period of time. With the extra support and the pupil’s hard work and determination within a few months their skills had improved immeasurably. The difference it made to that pupil’s confidence was a pleasure to see.”

 

“A pupil had struggled with reading since primary school. With the extra support going right back to the basics of reading the pupil progressed really quickly which affected their attainment level as a whole.”

 

It is such a privilege to be involved with the pupils in this way and not only do you experience the progress they make in academic terms but also in their confidence and getting to know them as individuals is wonderful.

 

Team work and partnering with the School’s chaplain Ian Anderson and Head of Religious Studies Tim Shelton is of paramount importance and School Pastors help to bring Christian values and be positive role models for the pupils.

There is so much more we want to do such as:-

Running a lunch or breakfast club

Providing the CAP money management course for 14 to 16 years olds, and parents if needed.

Bringing older people together with the pupils to share stories and experiences.

Offering support for those pupils who worry about death (a constant theme that came out of the prayer spaces)

To begin to support the local college and encourage working with the school e.g. in transition

 

 Why do we do it?

 

All the School Pastors have a heart for young people and have a passion to help them be the best they can, enjoy school and reach their potential.

 

We have 10 School Pastors and all of them feel privileged to bring God’s presence into the school and be able to show God’s love in many ways.

 

Here are some of their testimonies

 

As a school pastor I want to bring hope to the lives of children who don't believe they are any good and have lost hope in themselves.  

One child said how much they love the School Pastors coming in because they feel listened to and that we are interested in them as a person, which of course we are as we value every one of them.

 

We live in a world of so much pressure that can come from many areas of our lives and even the young people of today do not escape it.

So as a school pastor I feel my role is to bring a little bit of light into a young person’s life.

Every young person has a gift to bring and every young person's life is important and should be valued. So if I can be alongside a young person and bring a little light and sunshine into their life, with a listening ear and an understanding heart then giving up a small part of my life for an hour or two here and there is the least I can do.

 

I want to care for those children who don't feel cared for, to listen to those who feel no-one listens and to help them feel valued. 

 

In the first session of a small group activity a particular child came in and lay down on the floor on his face and not wanting to participate at all. By the third session he came in and gave me a “high five” and chatted about his week. It was wonderful to see the progress he had made.

 

 

A smile doesn't cost me anything neither does saying hello or taking the time to say, “How are you doing today”, nor listening to a voice that may be struggling. But to a young person under pressure to meet all the expectations put upon them these things are priceless.

 

How can you help?

 

By praying for the School, pupils, staff and School Pastors on a regular basis.

By volunteering – do you have a passion for young people or know someone who does? Please contact us (details on the attached leaflet)

By supporting us financially so that we can continue to support the school.

 


Page last updated: 17th Apr 2018 3:55 PM