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Partner Organisations

Four organisations in partnership run Serve Your Local School.

Scripture Union Scotland
Scripture Union Scotland is a Christian charity working in partnership with local churches. Our vision is to see the children and young people of Scotland exploring the Bible and responding to the significance of Jesus. As part of our varied activities we are daily working in schools running SU Groups and supporting Curriculum for Excellence, while also accommodating school groups at our two activity centres.

Church of Scotland
“A school in every parish,” was part of the Church of Scotland’s founding aims. Since 1560 it has maintained a commitment to supporting education across Scotland. Currently most schools have a connection with their local Church of Scotland. Some ministers lead assemblies and class work, or provide pastoral care for staff and pupils. Others are developing team chaplaincies and organising  Religious Observance and other creative forms of engagement.

CARE
CARE is a campaigning organisation which equips the Church to play a positive role in society, especially in politics. Focusing especially on issues at the beginning and end of life, on media, education and family, CARE also runs caring initiatives linked to the issues on which it campaigns.

Baptist Union of Scotland
The Baptist Union of Scotland is a family of Baptist churches across Scotland.  Through our document An Invitation to a Journey we share our commitment to living under Christ’s rule; a rule that calls us to be relational, missional and creatively rooted for the future.

About Serve Your Local School

The Vision of Serve Your Local School (SYLS) is to inspire and equip Scottish churches to engage more in their local schools.

Aims

The aims of this partnership project cover three main areas:

  1. Awareness-raising: Helping churches to see the opportunities available to serve schools, and understand the legislation which encourages schools to invite faith-based workers to participate in the life of the school.
  2. Inspiration: Sharing good practice and stories of successful initiatives amongst churches in order to inspire them as to what is possible.
  3. Equipping: Church members will need to be informed about the options and resources available; given help to know how best to engage with schools and provided with back-up support and contacts.

Values

The Serve Your Local School project seeks to work according to these values:

  • Working for Churches: The primary focus of this project is the local church. To help them become aware of opportunities that exist for working in and with schools; to help them feel enabled and appropriately resourced in order to be able to move forward.
  • Working in partnership: This project will be developed in partnership with similar minded organisations which is crucial to achieve both breadth and depth in delivery.
  • Working with integrity: The reason we wish to equip churches to work with schools is that we believe, as part of the body of Christ, we are called to serve in our local communities. We also believe that school pupils have a right to ask questions about Christianity; to be offered the opportunity to explore the Bible; and to make up their own minds about the significance of Jesus.

“Our education system should give pupils the right to ask those questions of religion and morality”

Mike Russell (MSP and Cabinet secretary for Education & Life Long learning) 

  • Working with excellence: As we work together we do so in a manner which is within the Scottish Government guidelines for schools engagement (e.g. Guidelines for Religious Observance), seeking at all times to serve with excellence and then evaluating our service in order to improve what we offer.

Information for Teachers

SYLS has been set up to encourage churches with people who have some skills and talents and a little time to spare, to offer these to schools in their localities on a voluntary basis.  It is a sincere offer of help from one community to another with a view to provide schools with some much needed community involvement.

Most of us want to live in a society that is safe, caring, inclusive, respectful, and in which we feel valued. Many people want to work towards such a society, by learning from each other, by making connections to others, through volunteering or by seeking change.

Curriculum for Excellence - Community Capacity Building section.

Lots of churches have people who can give some time to help teachers with reading, sports, outdoor activities, crafts, and a whole wealth of activities that can enrich a pupil’s experience. You name it – someone will be able to do it!

History

The original idea for this project comes from a Crossing Places initiative of the Baptist Union of Great Britain entitled Love Your Local School. Scripture Union Scotland (SUS) wished to take the Love Your Local School model, adapt it for the Scottish context, and use it to equip Scottish churches. Permission was granted and discussions with the Baptist Union of Scotland, Care for Scotland, and the Church of Scotland Church & Society Council led to an agreement to work together, with SUS acting as lead agency.

In May 2011, a wider consultation drawing Christian leaders from different denominations and organisations was hosted at 121 George Street. The project was presented and warmly received across the board. It was agreed to run under the title of Serve Your Local School, within Scotland.

Later in 2011, a steering group was established consisting of representatives from the four partner organisations, plus at least two people currently working in Education. The steering group meets on a regular basis, and provides guidance to the project. The main project development was undertaken by Kathryn Campbell, who was seconded from February 2012 to August 2013, as the SYLS Coordinator.