How to approach a school
Friday, July 19, 2013 at 12:09PM
Serve Your Local School

It can feel intimidating to try and build a link with a school when the church has little previous connection. Here is a guide to some of pathways you can explore.

Be mindful that when you approach a school you are representing your church; so ensure that you are acting with the knowledge and support of your church leadership before you do so.

Through the Head Teacher

It is crucial to recognise that the Head Teacher is the guardian of the school. No-one has the "right" to be part of the life of a school; access is only given through the invitation and permission of the Head Teacher.

Head Teachers are busy people with many demands on them and little spare time. You need to accommodate this, and be patient. Start by writing a formal letter to the Head Teacher, introducing yourself, your church, and outlining briefly what you would like to offer the school (here is a sample letter you could adapt). Follow up with a phone call to make an appointment to meet them, and discuss further your church’s involvement with the school. Don’t leave it too long to follow up!

When you meet, don’t expect more than 20 minutes of their time. Christians are used to church meetings lasting an hour or more, but there is no space in the day for most Head Teachers to spare this sort of time. Don’t be offended, but serve them by being brief.

Building trust and relationship takes time. Don’t expect to go to your first meeting and be enthusistically asked to do everything. The Head Teacher needs to get to know you and for trust to be built. Offer to start with the little things (see ‘Simple Ideas,’ for suggestions) and be reliable. 

Through other Staff

There may be church members (or other local Christians) who work in the school as teachers, secretaries, or learning support assistants. It’s worth chatting to these people about your ideas. They can advise on what would genuinely be of service to the school. If they like your ideas they may also be willing to introduce you to the Head Teacher. 

Article originally appeared on SYLS (http://syls.org.uk/).
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