Lay Chaplaincy in Schools

January 2016

“I have come that they might have life, and have it to the full”

John 10.10


What does a life lived to the full look like in schools?

Working with schools is a vital part of the outreach of most churches, yet those who work in schools can feel under-resourced, isolated and without clarity about their role. The Church Schools of Cambridge is working in collaboration with the Diocese of Ely to offer a course on Lay Chaplaincy in Schools to address this deficit.

The urgency for all Church of England schools to be at the heart of Anglican parishes is particularly acute. This is a stretch for many ministry teams, already spread too thinly. We are calling on lay people to get trained up, and be part of amplifying God’s work in school communities.

You may already be working with a school, and wish to deepen your knowledge, or you may be new to working with schools and feel you have a vocation to this ministry. Aspects of ministry in schools can include working with teachers, parents or governors; you don’t need to feel called to working specifically with children.

On completion you will join a supported network of lay chaplains. The training is part of the Authorised Lay Ministry programme for Church of England congregants, however it is open to members of other denominations and can also be taken as a stand-alone course (although this will not give Authorisation as Lay Minister).

Lay Chaplaincy in Schools

We believe that:

  1. The mission of God is at the heart of ministry in schools.
  2. Building relationships is at the heart of chaplaincy in schools.

The course aims to:

  • Develop a group of fully trained, equipped and motivated lay persons who feel a sense of role clarity and support and are being used to their full extent by the schools.
  • Offer a chaplaincy specialism that will serve both the school and the mission of the church in the school context.

Topics include:

  • Chaplaincy: Context, role and responsibilities
  • Pastoral Care
  • Relationship and Witness: What is Church? Faith Talk
  • Spirituality
  • Network and resources


Would you like to learn more?

Send an email to and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

Find out More

If you are interested in finding out more, or would like to register for the course please contact us.

Application form

“The purpose of education is to fulfil human potential, meet the needs of a society and transmit knowledge and culture. Fulfilling human potential rightly requires a focus on progress and achievement, excellence and high quality of educational experience, but also through offering a life enhancing encounter with the Christian faith”

A Diocesan Board of Education for the Future, 2013, p.6

Start Date: January 2016

Teaching: 14 evening sessions (two hours) over two terms, private study.

Focus: In its pilot year, the scheme will focus on primary schools.

Revd Rachel Nicholls: Tutor and course chaplain

Dr Rebecca Nye: published psychologist and expert on children’s spirituality

Revd Sue Butler: founder of Thirst, a successful fresh expression of church in a school

Authorised Lay Ministry

The Authorised Lay Ministry programme has three elements, which can be completed in any order. A module on discipleship, a personal project and a specialism. Lay Ministry in Schools is a new specialism that has been developed this year by The Church Schools of Cambridge in partnership with the Diocese of Ely.

Click on the dropdown links below to find out more about each module:


  1. To deepen personal faith through prayer and a better understanding of the Bible and how it speaks of the relationship between God and humanity.
  2. To encourage one another as we listen to our different experiences and understanding of our Christian faith.
  3. To develop a greater awareness of how God might be calling us, as his disciples, to contribute our abilities and time to our local church and communities.
  4. To develop enthusiasm and confidence to express our faith as we seek to live as Christ’s disciples in our communities, workplaces, and in the wider world.

Personal Project

A parish-based project that has relevance to your own circumstances and the specialism that you wish to follow. Some trainees complete this section as part of their specialist training.

Lay Chaplaincy in Schools

  • Contemporary issues in education
  • Promoting spirituality
  • Theological perspectives on schooling
  • Pastoral care of the whole school
  • Conflict resilience
  • Mission and evangelism in schools