Vision for the Development of School Chaplaincy in the Diocese of Nottingham
Our diocesan vision for school chaplaincy is that:
Every school will have access to chaplaincy provision so that the diocesan vision for everyone in our schools will be better supported and enabled.
Namely, that each person will be helped to:
- encounter God’s personal love for them (Encounter);
- discover and grow in their personal relationship with Jesus Christ as his disciples (Discipleship);
- be open to the inspiration and guidance of the Holy Spirit in their lives so that, in accordance with their age, they will be helped to reach out to others with God’s love; this may be expressed in many ways, including care and practical service, especially to the poor and those most in need (Missionary Discipleship).
The Catholic Life of the Multi-Academy Trust Company is of primary importance and should be clearly evident in everything that is undertaken both at Trust and individual school level. Chaplaincy is central to the development of the Catholic Life of the Multi-Academy Trust, in addition to each headteacher’s fundamental responsibility to nurture and promote the Catholic Life of the school at local level. It is a crucial vehicle for linking home, school, parishes and broader diocesan life; it also plays a central role in effective transition from the primary to the secondary phase. As such, it should be represented at the level of the board of directors.
The current picture of chaplaincy in our schools is very mixed. A majority of our secondary schools employ a chaplain. In some cases, this role is shared between the secondary school and the feeder primary schools. A smaller number of primary schools have chaplaincy provision. Sometimes, this role is undertaken by staff who are released from other duties for a period of time each week.
The NRCDES now sets each Catholic Multi-Academy Trust the target of ensuring that each school within the Trust has access to chaplaincy on a weekly basis. The present arrangement of chaplains working across a cluster of schools could perhaps be replicated in regional clusters or ‘hubs’ within each of the Trusts. In order to provide this, each Catholic Multi-Academy Trust will appoint a ‘lead lay chaplain’. This post will bring with it the responsibility of coordinating and developing the provision of chaplaincy within the Catholic Multi-Academy Trust by working with ‘link chaplains’ from each of the regional hubs.
What will this mean for Catholic chaplaincy?
Mission & Evangelisation
- The role of chaplaincy is essential to the Catholicity of our schools. Its primary role therefore is to keep Christ at the centre of all aspects of the life of the school and, in the context of the diocesan vision, to ensure that every person in our schools has the opportunity to personally encounter God who loves them, to grow in their relationship with Christ as his disciples, and to develop the confidence to put their faith into action and to reach out to others with love and practical support. It must ensure therefore that the teachings and mission of the Catholic Church are upheld, professed, and lived out.
- Through prayer, word and deed, chaplaincy should proclaim the Gospel in the school so that all may be helped to know the Good News of Jesus Christ and given the confidence to share it with others.
- Chaplaincy must ensure that Collective Worship is an integral part of the daily routine of the school, by providing opportunities for pupils and staff to be engaged, challenged and affirmed by prayer so that the three diocesan vision themes of ‘Encounter’, ‘Discipleship’ and ‘Missionary Discipleship’ are firmly embedded throughout the school.
- It is to be a means of unity by linking home, family, parish and the wider diocese so that the bridges can be built and the mission of the Church can be lived out in its fullness.
- The chaplaincy will develop connections between the Religious Education department, the whole school, the local parish, and diocesan organisations such as the NRCDES, the NDCYS and the Diocese of Nottingham’s Adult Formation Department, so that personal faith can be developed.
- It will create supportive environments so that all members of the school community feel that they can explore, question and grow in their faith. The formation of their faith will be based on the foundation of first enabling people to encounter God personally.
- It will supply appropriate catechesis and support for the Religious Education curriculum when necessary.
- It will help people to see how Collective Worship and outreach to others, especially those in most need, are vitally connected. We recognise the face of Christ, whom we worship in the Mass, Eucharistic Adoration and in prayer, in the poor and marginalised. It is our love for Christ whom we encounter in the sacraments that sends us out to love him in the lives of the poor and needy.
- It will ensure that schools enable all pupils to take a lead in the Catholic Life of the school.
- It will be inclusive and respectful of the celebration of other beliefs and faiths within our schools.
Development of Chaplaincy
To make this vision of chaplaincy into more of a reality, the following areas will need to be developed:
- Opportunities for schools in the Catholic Multi-Academy Trusts to work together in resourcing and recruiting chaplains who best serve their particular needs and the requirements of each school.
- Prioritising the position of chaplaincy by each Catholic Multi-Academy Trust having a Lead Lay Chaplain reporting to the CEO and working as part of the executive team who are responsible for driving forward the diocesan vision of chaplaincy in the Trust.
- Encouraging and enabling the development of pupil leadership in chaplaincy within each school.
- Empowering staff in schools to deliver on the Church’s mission, especially as it is expressed in the diocesan vision for our schools.
- To facilitate the growth of chaplaincy in the Catholic Multi-Academy Trust and across the diocese, every opportunity should be given to mentoring and developing young people so they can discern a vocation in chaplaincy. This can be achieved by working closely with the schools within the Trust; the volunteer team of the NDCYS; local university chaplaincies and Catholic societies (CathSocs); sixth form centres and colleges; local parishes; in house volunteer programmes etc.
- To empower chaplains to effectively carry out the mission entrusted to them, they should have access to:
- An appropriate induction;
- Continuous professional and spiritual development;
- Opportunities to take part in a mentoring scheme;
- Opportunities to attend diocesan/Trust meetings and retreats for chaplains;
- Time to access spiritual direction (guidance to help them grow in their own personal faith and in their awareness of themselves as Disciples/Missionary Disciples);
- A chaplaincy budget so that they can resource their work adequately.
Continuous Professional Development
In all of our work, the National Standards for Chaplains published by the Catholic Education Service will be observed (see below).
Approved by Rt Rev Patrick McKinney, Bishop of Nottingham.
For details of the national 'Association for Catholic Chaplains in Education' please visit their website: