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Children feel closer to God when churches partner with the local school

How do you help children feel closer to God? Our research shows that when churches partner with the local school they do just that. In 80% of the schools surveyed all the children said that when people from the local church visit the school, they feel closer to God. 

“it's like you're right next to God, because God is what he's talking about” 

Children feel closer to God when  when people from the local church visit their schoolChildren felt closer to God when visitors from the local church shared Bible stories or talked about God, prayed, or represented and modelled faith in real life. They also enjoyed collective worship and liked being involved. Children said: “They tell stories from their own life which helps you make connections”, “Their commitment to their faith helps us understand more”, “they are close to God, as they pray in church.” 

Spiritual development is vital to allow a child to flourish. Both schools and churches can play an important role in supporting children’s spiritual development. By working together children can have even more opportunity to feel closer to God. And some children may want to explore faith in the church as a result. 

There are lots of ways to work together, whether that’s school groups visiting a church or visitors from a church visiting the school. Why not try: 

  • Offering collective Worship in an assembly, 

  • Setting up an Open the Book team 

  • Hosting a service for the school in church 

  • Supporting the RE curriculum with a session in a church or with a visitor from church 

  • Helping with school life (this could be reading, lunchtime supervision, or trips) 

  • Lunch or after school clubs with a Christian focus 

  • Supporting children to lead Collective Worship 

  • Creating a way for the school community to participate in Sunday services 

  • Starting or supporting a mentoring scheme. 


Children told us that being in the church building was very meaningful to them. The building itself communicates a sense of awe and wonder. There’s lots we can do to help children feel comfortable and at home in the space. Hospitality is an important part of this. One Incumbent said of how they think about making their church hospitable: “Church is like Granny’s front room … you look after it but you feel at home.” 

Did you know that children who are awake spiritually are more responsive to the church and Jesus? Spiritual development is a precursor to faith. The research found that where there was good overlap between church and school, without crashing into each other’s space, children have more space for spiritual development. If you help children develop spiritually in a school context it will further develop their interest in a church context. 

‘What makes for an effective church-school partnership in teh role of supporting the spiritual development of children?’ is a new research report from the Diocese. It summarises the findings from churches and schools who participated in the research to explore how school and church partnership supports spiritual development of children. It was produced in partnership with the Growing Faith Foundation, a movement in the Church of England. 

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