Blues News Issue 46 March 2018

JAMES James came to Blue Coat from Hamilton, New Zealand, where he was Chaplain at St Paul's Collegiate School for three years. Previous to that, James and his wife, Abbie, worked extensively in diverse educational sectors, including in Zambia, where they helped establish a boarding school. As well as his energy and commitment to teaching and chaplaincy, James is an accomplished sportsman - former England Junior athlete, GB rower and World Triathlon champion. James and Abbie have two young children, Theo and Maisie. KATE Kate taught Mathematics for seven years before moving to Oxford to train for ordination. She was ordained in 2014 and underwent her curacy in the parish of Louth, where part of her ministry involved chaplaincy in the local grammar school. As her curacy drew to a close and, feeling her vocation lay in both a parish and a school context, Kate took up a joint role in 2017, as Associate Chaplain/ Mathematics teacher at Blue Coat, and Associate Vicar of St Andrew’s Church. Kate is married to Lawrence, a tree surgeon, and they have three sons, a cocker spaniel and a cat. B lue Coat has not had a chaplain for several years and now suddenly there are two! It raises the question; what does a chaplaincy provide for a school? The spiritual nurturing of any individual is paramount to their well- being, fulfilment and happiness. A chaplaincy can support, encourage and provide vision for this. We will all have different understandings of what spiritual nurturing is but I hope there are some common themes. There is something that lies deeper in all of us than the things we spend most of our lives addressing. Being a fantastic academic, sports person, musician or actor is admirable but with no spiritual underpinning or development of character or sense of well-being then it is futile. A chaplaincy can raise awareness, create space and develop techniques in a school to support the crucial characteristics and perspective that lead to good well-being. Blue Coat has a brilliant pastoral care system and a great academic, sporting and cultural record. A chaplaincy can support these structures and develop the spiritual pillar of education to create an all-round, fulfilled and happy student. There are various ways to enhance this pillar of education and sense of belonging at Blue Coat. Providing another avenue for the pastoral care system is one – catching up with students and staff, allowing them to express themselves, and walking with them in their journey and decision making. Both of us teach and are involved in extra-curricular activities. This helps us get to know as many students as possible. Supporting and enhancing the service programme at the school is another way to increase the well-being of students. Those that serve are happier. The vision is to provide an opportunity for everyone at the school to serve the community in a transformational capacity at least once in each year of their schooling at Blue Coat. Another pathway is to provide food for thought and direction in spiritual assemblies, year group assemblies, tutor groups and whole school functions. The students, using a loud and lively clapometer, have recently chosen ‘Pressure’ as their theme for whole school occasions. This gives us an opportunity to speak into what is on their minds and provide a structure to deal with what the students are interested in. The hope is that these themes, chosen by the students, can then infuse all of school life. Being a presence in school is an important avenue to supporting the spiritual life of the school. It allows the chaplaincy to be the conscience of the school, be an advocate for the pupils and staff and build relationships with the community and their families. Developing and supporting this sense of belonging and sense of family is vital to a school. Blue Coat has many of these characteristics in spades already but…….better never stops! We are happy to be contacted any time. Love, James and Kate MEET OUR CHAPLAINS well-being