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Clergy partnership transforms spiritual life of school

by Michael Ford last modified 23 Mar, 2022 05:23 PM

Bruce Burley, interim Head of Wyvern St Edmund's School, and the Revd Pete Atkinson have a new and developing partnership. Read about its impact across the community of the school, which is a Church of England secondary school in Salisbury, and part of the Magna Learning Partnership.

During this academic year we have be focussed on developing a strong, impactful partnership between the Church and Wyvern St Edmund’s Academy. 

We are conscious of the holistic needs of the young people we serve and wanted to develop the spiritual dimension of our offer. In order to do this we spent time forming a plan for a sustainable chaplaincy model to embolden our vision and values through presence and courageous advocacy. We have developed a twin approach to chaplaincy through the leadership of our ordained chaplain the Revd Pete Atkinson (Minor Canon for Young People at the Cathedral) and our Bridge chaplain Sophie Burditt. They have been instrumental in raising the profile of Christian ministry in the academy and creating space for prayer and reflection, including in designated physical spaces such as our chapel. Furthermore, the work of the chaplains has supported the strategic development of vision, values, worship and an understanding of the academy’s Christian narrative. Throughout the challenges of this year, the partnership has emboldened staff and students alike, and has provided much needed support and guidance to ensure that the academy family flourishes. 

Through partnership working we have been able to make broad connections within the Church to develop a sense of shared purpose for the benefit of the local community. For example, we have re-established our links with St Andrew’s Church, Laverstock, where we recorded our remembrance service for WSE students. The Bishop of Ramsbury held a question and answer session with nearly 300 students about Bishops, Priests, the Church and their wider interaction with the community – particularly focussing on what church means to young people. More recently we have been thrilled to welcome the Revd Becky Ayers-Harris to our AGC (Academy Governance Committee) who has a particular interest in the teaching of religious studies, worship, and the voice of young people. 

Over the course of the next year our ambition is to build on these successes, and to develop our shared mission to provide excellent opportunities for our young people to serve others well in the community. It is vital that we provide students with the opportunity to see for themselves the transformative effect of showing love for our neighbour through practical action.   

If as a school leader or member of clergy, the news of this partnership has inspired you, book into the Leadership Conference in May.

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