Explore School & College Pastors with us! SCP is an initiative of Ascension Trust that has grown from the platform established by Street Pastors.
The first School Pastors pilot scheme was launched way back in 2007 at St Joseph’s School in Lewisham, South London, and the initiative was formally commissioned in 2011. Since that time, the initiative has grown slowly, and now there are 30 School Pastors projects in the UK where volunteer school pastors are active.
What does a school pastor do?
A school pastor cares for and supports a ‘school community’. They promote safety and aim to reduce anti-social behaviour. School pastors are there to listen to and care for young people and be a reassuring presence at lunch/break times and before and after school. In some schools, school pastors contribute to school life by hosting a quiet space for pupils to pray or reflect or by leading assemblies.
Case study: Belfast School Pastors
A few months ago Malone Integrated College in Belfast asked Belfast Street Pastors to set up School Pastors for their school. The school is one of the most diverse secondary schools in Northern Ireland, with children speaking many languages and from a variety of backgrounds and abilities.
Local churches got together for initial meetings and representatives from more than 10 churches said a resounding ‘Yes’ to the school.
In June the national coordinator for School Pastors visited Belfast to host an information evening. Following this, the sub-license agreement was signed and steering groups were set up.
The team is aiming for a launch in September, with training taking place in October and deployment in November.
“It’s all very quick, but God seems to be in this and the local churches are ready for this exciting new challenge to serve both children and teachers in the school.”
Could we bring School Pastors to our community?
Start by talking to Ascension Trust! The national coordinator will give you more information on the set-up process.
Step 1 Speak to church leaders. You will need to have the support of four different networks or denominations.
Step 2 Ascension Trust will share the vision with school/college representatives and local stakeholders. Ethos, costs, training needs, the history of the initiative and the impact of the School and College Pastors can be outlined and any questions answered.
Step 3 Shape up relationships with the school/college and with other local stakeholders, which may include the police and/or local authority. Make sure there is clear understanding about the needs of the school and the role of the school pastors.
Step 4 Launch! This is a fantastic opportunity to inform church Leaders, PTA, governors, teachers, local police, potential volunteers and other local stakeholders of the work of School and College Pastors.
Step 5 All volunteers will complete the training programme.
Step 6 Hold a commissioning service. Like Street Pastors, it’s a great idea to commission new volunteers – to raise awareness of the initiative and to celebrate the commitment of local churches and Christian volunteers to support and strengthen community life.