At REinspired we usually see a school throughout the year for their sessions. However, when our programme with one school got off to a faltering start it provided the impetus to try something different – an RE Week.
Hillside Primary School had heard about REinspired from other schools and had experienced a few sessions. But our relationship hadn’t really got going when the team leader moved on. We found we would have been stretched supporting another school throughout the year.
The school was uncertain about the benefits of taking the next step of committing to sessions across the school.
REinspired was already working with 9 primary schools at that time and the challenge of finding somebody to look after another school throughout the year was difficult.
After talking with the school’s RE coordinator we agreed go into the school for a week in September and deliver shortened versions of two of our core sessions to each year group in the school hall.
The school saw the breadth, depth, quality and value of what REinspired can offer in the space of just one week with no on-going commitment to work with REinspired.
Taking REinspired into the school made it much easier for the school to commit to the idea because there was much less disruption to the classes, no extra help needed to walk children to another building and less paperwork!
Volunteers from other teams were willing to commit to more sessions during one week at a quiet time of year to make it work. RE Week is seen as one of the highlights of that school year.
With two sessions delivered to the same year group in the same week the sessions are fresh in the pupils’ minds so it’s frequently possible to draw from the first session and build on it in the second.
Even though RE Week is our main interaction with the school, frequent ad-hoc visits by clergy to the school and by year 1 pupils to the local parish church have resulted.
We’ve run an RE Week at Hillside Primary School annually ever since, and the school, having seen the benefits of working with REinspired, were happy to make the effort to walk all the children to a local church over the course of a week when the school hall was unavailable one year.
Be flexible in your approach to working with schools. It doesn’t have to be the same in every school every year. RE Week worked for us because we were committed to a partnership with the school and were willing to work together to find a solution that worked for us both.
Now, REinspired delivers a session each term across the whole school.