The Diocese of Chelmsford recognises its historic responsibility to affirm and support all children and the wider world of education. It aims to ‘serve with accountability’ and to make as tangible a contribution as possible to the vital task of educating and nurturing future generations.
Many parish churches contribute to the life of their local schools in a variety of ways; including providing pastoral support, providing a link with the local community, contributing to teaching and learning, governance, taking assemblies, prayer for the school in church services, after school clubs and additional extra-curricular activities.
The Diocese affirms the valuable work done by many local churches and other organisations and is keen to develop strong links with as many schools as possible whatever their category; community, academy, foundation, special, faith and independent etc.
One way in which can foster strong links is through our Affiliated Schools scheme, a formal mark of friendship and intent to nurture a link between a particular school, its local church and the Diocese.
Affiliation provides an opportunity to mark and celebrate local relationships that are already positive and expresses the intention to continue to develop them further.
Accreditation schemes for schools
Working towards an accreditation scheme can be a useful way of focusing school development. I’m in no way suggesting that you go for all of these but here are a few that you might find helpful in your next steps in sustaining and developing your school’s ethos and values.
Christian Aid and the Church of England Education Office accreditation scheme
Christian Aid has a new accreditation scheme for primary schools in partnership with the Church of England Education Office. You can register your interest for free giving you access to quite a few resources. You only pay if you decide to go for one of the three awards – bronze, silver or gold –details below.
The aim of the accreditation scheme is to help church schools inspire their pupils to make a difference in a challenging world. This links in well with ‘courageous advocacy’ as part of the new SIAMS framework (from September 2018).
It aims to:
increase knowledge and understanding about why and how Christians want to change the world to one where everyone can live life to the full, free from poverty;
increase understanding of the root causes of poverty and injustice; and,
engage and empower pupils as agents of change in the transformation of our world.
For more information visit – www.caid.org.uk/schools-accreditation
The RE Quality Mark
Focuses on celebrating and development your school’s achievements in RE - http://reqm.org/achieving-the-award - primary and secondary
The National SMSC Quality Mark (Citizenship foundation)
SMSC is essential to the academic progress and attainment of pupils and to a school’s provision of a broad and balanced curriculum. It is not something that happens in isolation but saturates throughout the school and is linked to everything it does, its ethos and the kind of place it is. The SMSC quality mark aims to provide schools with a framework to meet their statutory responsibilities and support the academic and personal development of pupils. https://www.smscqualitymark.org.uk/how-to-apply/
What is Affiliation?
An Affiliated School in the Diocese of Chelmsford is one in which there is a formal recognition that a school, parish (or parishes) and the Diocese have entered into a partnership for the benefit of children, the school, local church and the wider community. It is an expression of partnership and commitment for it to flourish.
What are the benefits of Affiliation?
Every school and every partnership is unique and Affiliation is as much a statement of intent that a link should flourish as it is a prescribed list of benefits and services. However, there are a number of possibilities Affiliation can make possible.
Features of Affiliation:
- Affiliated schools are able to access training courses, practical support, resources and activities provided by the Diocesan Schools Team.
- Affiliated Schools receive the diocesan Schools e-Bulletin several times per term.
- Affiliated schools are invited to participate in special training and networking events to strengthen RE, Worship, Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural Education.
- Members of the Schools Team are attached to particular schools and plan a visiting programme to offer practical support, review progress and discuss issues of concern. Affiliated schools may, if they wish, participate in this programme.
- The school may subscribe to the Diocesan Partnering Scheme, which offers a number of services and discounts on various paid-for conferences and courses. There are two experienced Governance Consultants and other consultants retained by the Schools Team, whose services are available to Affiliated Schools. They are highly regarded and well qualified to advise, develop and support many aspects of school development, leadership and management.
- Leaders of Affiliated Schools are invited to attend our Annual School Leaders’ Conference and the School Leaders ‘Time to Reflect’ residential event, held in the spring each year.
- Affiliation is also one way in which a school may demonstrate its commitment to the holistic development of all its pupils of all faiths and none.
- That the school identifies and seeks to promote positive ethical values underpinned by our culture’s broadly Christian inheritance. This can help to communicate a clear, positive message to parents and the wider community.
- A recognition that the school takes seriously the spiritual dimension and the part faith communities can play in its celebration and nurture.
- A signal that the school prioritises spiritual, moral, social and cultural education.
- A signal that the school takes seriously the development of religious literacy through its commitment to providing Religious Education of a high standard.
- A signal that the school acknowledges its legal obligation to offer collective worship and is committed to its quality and accessibility to all pupils.
- A school may appoint a ‘Link Governor’ and the local church may appoint one of its leaders with a specific remit to strengthen the local partnership and mutual communication.
Affiliation can also strengthens link with the wider community:
- It develops or builds on existing positive links between the school and the local Anglican church or churches. Where there is a local ecumenical or inter faith dimension, this could also be appropriately marked in the Affiliation process.
- It benefits the pupils/students and their families by strengthening existing links between school and church.
- It recognises the positive and beneficial relationship between the Headteacher and local clergy and encourages further development.
- It opens up the possibility of developing relationships with the wider Anglican community, at diocesan, national and international levels.
- It is a tangible recognition of shared spiritual values between school and church whilst also recognising the distinctive contribution of people of other faiths or no faith.
- It makes clear to others the importance of faith, worship and spiritual life in the corporate life of the school.
- It is seen as a significant and enriching development for the local church community. The clergy and congregation will welcome the desire of a school to be more closely linked and will seek to build the relationship sensitively.
- Newly appointed clergy and church leaders will become aware of the Affiliated status of a school and engage accordingly
- It conveys to parents a clear message about a school’s open attitude to wider community links and its emphasis on values, worship and spiritual life.
- Many parents value the church link and the ethos and values that this implies.
- It benefits the school by inclusion in the network of Diocesan Church Schools, with access to support services and training provided through the Diocesan Education Team.
- For secondary schools, it provides a natural progression for pupils and families from a Church of England primary school to a secondary school with a Church of England link.
What Affiliation is not
Whilst Affiliation is hugely beneficial, it should be recognised that:
- It is not intended that affiliation be an exclusive relationship. Rather, it is intended that it sit alongside other formal and informal partnerships a school may already have or wish to develop with and beyond other faith communities.
- By affiliating, a school does not become a Church School or acquire a religious designation.
- It does not give the Diocese any standing, power or influence in the school’s executive functions.
- It does not give the church any license to promote itself or engage in proselytism within the school.
- It does not provide access to additional funding or commit a school to purchase any services from the Diocese.
- It can make a contribution to the distinctiveness of a school.
How is Affiliation marked?
- There is no fee for Affiliation.
- Affiliation is normally marked in school through a special event or service which the Area Bishop may participate in.
- A Certificate is presented to the School, signed by leaders of the School, local Church and Diocese.
- The school is included in the information published on the Chelmsford Diocesan Education website and is added to relevant diocesan mailing lists.
- The school may choose to use the logo of the Diocese or Education Department in its own literature as appropriate.
If you would like more details of Affiliation please contact our Education Department. We will then contact you to discuss affiliation and provide you with further practical information.