Prayer in school

Bernard Howell, a counsellor and lay chaplain at St Thomas More Catholic School in Willenhall, writes about the importance of prayer in the life of Catholic schools.

The Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural (SMSC) development of pupils matters to school inspectors. The 2019 Ofsted School Inspection Handbook describes spiritual development as ‘beliefs, religious or otherwise, which inform their – the students’ – perspective on life, their interest in and respect for other people’s feelings and values … it is about their sense of enjoyment and fascination in learning about themselves, others and the world around them, the use of imagination and creativity in their learning and willingness to reflect on their experiences’.

This close relationship between a school’s spirituality and its prayer life is reflected in many definitions of spirituality such as that in the New SCM Dictionary of Christian Spirituality, where it is described as ‘the way in which prayer influences conduct, our behaviour, manner of life and attitudes to other people’.1

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