Prayer event success at Sheringham school
Woodfields SEN school in Sheringham has once again hosted the Soul Space prayer event for its students, and responses were very positive. Tony Rothe reports.
Following on from last year’s success Woodfields were keen to hold another Soul Space event this year, with the duration extended to two days so that more pupils could access the space.
Simon Fenn, the Church of England’s Children, Youth & Family Missioner for the area, and Pete Skivington, the Children and Youth Minister from the Lighthouse Community Church in Sheringham, worked closely with the school to ensure that the event was relevant and accessible to all pupils. This involved a lot of liaison with the teaching staff, trying things out and adapting the activities and instructions where necessary. Pete Skivington said “I was particularly impressed with the involvement of the senior management and staff at Woodfields, their willingness to help and ensure we had everything we needed demonstrated their commitment to its success”.
The main hall was transformed into a Soul Space using fabric, lighting and music. It was filled with interactive and creative activities aimed at encouraging the pupils to engage with prayer and thoughtful reflection. The activities included: hook a duck game linked to being thankful, a basketball hoop to help pupils to think about letting go of worries and a quiet zone with beanbags and a tent which proved so relaxing that more than one pupil fell asleep! The students were excited about the space and clearly wanted to enter the hall as they did so with enthusiasm.
The feedback from pupils and staff was overwhelmingly positive. The practical and fun nature of the activities enabled the pupils to express thoughts and feelings that the staff had never heard before, and they were astonished by the pupils’ reactions and responses.
Bec Tate, Deputy Headteacher, said “Again, the event was a real success with pupils who often struggle to be calm, still and reflective, managing to do just that. Staff were impressed with the thoughtfulness of the pupils.” Staff also reported that pupils who often struggle to share space with others were able to do so calmly, pupils were able to begin to let go of negative experiences and feelings, and pupils were able to identify positive things in their lives and be thankful for them.
The Soul Space was also made available to parents, staff and teachers from other SEN schools. They quickly saw the value of the space and some teachers from visiting other schools talked about needing something similar. James Stanbrook, Headteacher, commented “I talked about the event with other special school Headteachers; those that had sent colleagues were equally impressed, and are keen to host a similar event. It was such a positive event for all involved”.
Simon Fenn, reflected “Although many of the pupils at Woodfields have multiple and complex needs, the Soul Space has highlighted the need to provide all pupils, regardless of their abilities, the space to be still, to think and reflect on the important things in life.”
Simon and Pete look forward to working in partnership with the school again and building on this success. They will continue to work with the school on future projects and support their provision for the spiritual, moral, cultural and social development of the pupils.
Sheringham High School, which shares a campus with Woodfields school, will be running its fourth annual Soul Space during the first week of July. If you would like to visit, please contact Simon Fenn directly.
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