6 January 2015
Dear Parents/Carers,
Re: 10 leading schools research project
I am delighted to inform you that Bishop Justus has been selected as 1 of 10 schools nationally to
take part in a project on spirituality in schools led by the Universities of Warwick and Canterbury
Christ Church. There are 2 main parts of this project. Firstly, a researcher from the universities, Dr
Ann Casson, will be in school for 3 weeks over the next 12 months observing school life and
interviewing colleagues, students, parents and governors. Secondly, all students in year 9 and 10
will complete a questionnaire on spirituality which will be analysed.
We are really excited by this project and feel it will help us gain an even greater understanding of
how our school ethos impacts on students’ lives. I will keep you informed over the coming months
about how the research is going and will of course provide you with detailed findings at the end of
the project. If you child is selected to be interview by Dr Casson, he/she will be given an information
sheet, a parental consent form and also an individual consent form to complete.
I have attached a summary of the research to this letter written by Dr Casson which gives a good
overview of the project but if you have any further questions please do not hesitate to contact me at
school.
Yours sincerely
Steve Gallears
Summary of the research
This two-year research project (2014-16) is an initiative set up by the National Institute of Christian
Education Research (NICER) at Canterbury Christ Church University, working in association with
Warwick Religions and Education Research Unit (WRERU) at the University of Warwick. It aims to
investigate the nature of the spiritual influence of ten leading Christian-ethos schools and generate
case studies, which will tell the stories of how these schools promote the positive spiritual
development of their students.
The project Research Fellow Dr Ann Casson will work with the schools in identifying and
disseminating their good practice in the area of spiritual development. She is an experienced
secondary Religious Education teacher, who has taught in a variety of Christian-ethos secondary
schools in the North East of England. A wide range of data collection activities will be employed to
build a picture of each school’s approach to promoting spiritual development, including document
analysis, observation, and interviews with staff, pupils, and parents, focus groups and lesson
observation. The school will also participate in a survey of pupils across the secondary school years
7-11. The survey (the Francis’ attitude questionnaire) designed by Professor Leslie J. Francis of the
University of Warwick, has been widely used in national and international research studies. The data
will provide a picture of the school’s influence on the spiritual development of its pupils.
The research findings will be written up as ten case studies, which will be presented in a book,
offering other Christian-ethos secondary schools case studies that may stimulate them to reflect on,
and improve their own work of spiritual development with their students. The findings will also be
employed to contribute to the international academic debate on the distinctiveness and
effectiveness of Christian-ethos secondary schools.
The potential benefits of this research project are:
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It is an important contribution to the academic debate on the distinctiveness and
effectiveness of Christian-ethos secondary education.
It will provide an opportunity for practitioners to be involved in ground-breaking
research; the project researcher will work with practitioners to identify the features of
their school, which contribute to positive spiritual development for students.
The research project will produce an accessible resource that will be of benefit to all
Christian-ethos secondary schools aspiring to have a positive spiritual influence on their
students.
The participating schools will benefit from an enhancement of their school’s reputation
from working in partnership with CCCU/WRERU and from sharing their best practice in a
published resource
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Research Project