More local schools could be heading to three churches in Leeds and Dewsbury after they were awarded the Schools Welcome Badge.
Dewsbury Minster, Thornhill Parish Church and Leeds Minster were all recently given the Schools Welcome Badge that recognises faith communities in West Yorkshire which offer quality education visits for schools. This partnership helps to build pupils’ understanding of different faiths and to explore the experience of people of faith in an educational context. The badge is intended to give schools confidence that the place of worship will be welcoming and well-prepared to host an educational visit. The initiative is supported by Kirklees Council in order to promote Religious Education and community cohesion.
To achieve this recognition, faith communities and volunteers meet several criteria that cover training, protocols, learning activities and facilities. Previously training sessions for churches have taken place in Leeds, Dewsbury and Huddersfield, offering participants the chance to explore the needs of schools and share practical ideas for educational activities and resources.
Dewsbury Minster, Leeds Minster and Thornhill Parish Church (pictured right) have recently been awarded the badge in recognition of the work they have done with schools over many years. According to recent assessments and observations, all three churches offer a warm welcome with engaging hosts and imaginative activities. They provide an excellent model for high-quality visits and will soon be joined by several other parishes currently completing their accreditation.
"It is vitally important that young people in today’s world should understand the importance of religious faith and practice, not just as an academic subject but as a living tradition that helps shape and enrich people’s lives," said the Bishop of Huddersfield, the Rt Revd Jonathon Gibbs.
"I am delighted that these three churches have demonstrated that they are willing and able to provide a great welcome for children from schools in and around Dewsbury and Leeds. Building religious literacy among young people lays a vital foundation for mutual understanding and respect, as well as giving them an appreciation of the Christian faith as a source of inspiration and guidance in life."
Two other organisations have also been awarded the badge: Sinai Synagogue, Leeds and Equilibria Experience, a teacher-led educational service developing knowledge and understanding of Islam. The next training event will be on Wednesday 12th December at Dawatal Islam Mosque, Soothill, Batley. If your church wishes to develop their work with schools and for further information please contact Helen Rivers from Kirklees Council on helen.rivers [at] kirkleeseducation.uk