Divine exam inspiration from young achievers
2009: School pupils facing exams can call on divine help with the inspiration of young solo sailor Michael Pelham
(pictured right) and Paralympic gold medallist Ellie Simmonds
via new downloadable prayer cards from the Church of England
The set of downloadable prayer cards are designed to be included in students’ crib card packs. The brief prayers – written in bullet point style on a postcard-size format – call for God’s help in facing the stressful time and ask for a sense of calm and focus during revision ahead of the big tests.
The Church of England, in association with the Culham Institute, has also published a selection of resources for school assemblies in the run-up to the exam period. The reflections focus on the example of a number of people in the public eye to help young people retain a sense of perspective about the nature of academic success and failure.
From sporting heroes to business leaders, the famous figures are used alongside Bible readings in the suggested reflections to illustrate how determination and sense of purpose can help achieve results. The guidance suggests that citing young achievers such as sailor Michael Pelham, who was the youngest person ever to complete a solo Atlantic crossing at the age of just 14 and 14-year-old British Paralympian swimmer Ellie Simmonds, who won a gold medal in Beijing last summer, could show how making tough choices and focusing on what you do best can help when faced with testing times. While Nelson Mandela’s battle against circumstance is also highlighted as an inspirational role model for students.
All the resources are freely available at: www.cofe.anglican.org/exams.
One of the chosen ‘crammer’s prayers’is written by the Rt Revd John Saxbee, Bishop of Lincoln
and Chair of the Board of Education:
I want to do my best to fulfil the potential you have given me.
- to stay calm
- to keep things in perspective and be content with the best I can do on the day
- to look out for my friends who need a bit of encouragement, and
- to always remember that the real test is how closely I can follow in your way.
Bishop John said: “Ever since I was a lad, exams have brought me out in a cold sweat. The last minute cramming, the nervous anticipation of turning over the test paper, the packed timetable of exams that never seems to have an end in sight. It all makes it easy to forget that God’s plan for each of us is about much more than a test score.
“Of course, exams do have a place as barometers of what individuals have learnt and how a school is performing against other schools. But I hope these prayers and assembly plans will help young people face the forthcoming tests with calm and strength, safe in the knowledge that God loves them no matter how bleak the exam timetable looks.”
The collective worship reflections have been specially written by the Culham Institute, a charitable organisation which researches and develops policy and practice in religious education and collective worship. The reflections can be easily adapted for use by youth groups or Christian Union meetings.