This course draws on the doctoral research of Dr Tony Eaude and stems from his wish to disseminate the implications practically and accessibly to practitioners in schools. Some of this work has been published by the National Primary Trust in his booklet written for teachers and called ‘New Perspectives on Spiritual Development’. Since discussion of spiritual development is often overlooked in the drive for raising standards as measured by test scores or avoided because teachers are uncertain what it means, Dr Eaude recognises that its meaning is elusive but helps teachers to a new understanding of what it involves. In particular, he draws on existing practice to illustrate aspects which contribute to spiritual development and suggests some radical, but energising, implications for the curriculum and for teachers’ practice. He explores the link with moral, social, emotional and creative development and the centrality of values and considers the implications both for the ethos of the whole-school and for individual teachers to help children address what is most significant and central in their lives. He makes what seem daunting both fascinating and challenging, providing a valuable way of approaching children’s personal development and a more appropriate route to higher standards than an emphasis on a narrow range of skills.
This course is intended for members of school staff (and if appropriate governors) in individual schools to consider:
- what spiritual development is;
- the extent to which the school currently makes provision for spiritual development; and
- ways of enhancing their provision.
While designed mainly for primary schools, this course can be adapted for other settings and cross-phase groups. While open to all schools, this support may be of particular interest to non-Church schools, given that Church schools can often access advice through their Diocesan Advisory Service.
Dr Tony Eaude is available to speak on this topic or lead workshops for a group of schools, but the detailed work is best carried out at school level. Assistance can be offered on specific aspects, such as auditing current provision, policy-writing and implementation, or assemblies and collective worship.
TIMESCALE AND COMMITMENT
This programme is relatively flexible, ranging from one-off sessions or a training day, to a series of two or three sessions spread over a period of time to enable the process of audit and reflection, or policy writing and implementation to be considered. Whatever the planned programme, an initial discussion with a senior member of staff, usually the headteacher, is required both to decide on the current level of awareness and the proposed programme and expectations.
Whatever programme is devised, the principle that the main location for school improvement is the school remains paramount. This programme is designed to empower school communities and those who work in them to address an elusive but important issue.
The intended outcomes are:
- for individual staff members (and if appropriate governors) to come to a new understanding of spiritual development, of its importance and of ways of enhancing this within the everyday life of the school;
- for the whole staff an opportunity to reflect together both on current provision and how this can be enhanced across the whole school.
To discuss this course, or others offered by ‘New Perspectives…’, and how they can be most useful in your own context, please feel free to contact Dr Tony Eaude, 6 Long Wall, Littlemore, Oxford, OX4 4PG on 01865 711135 (phone/fax) or firstname.lastname@example.org