Last month at the Royal Norfolk Show, the Bishop of Norwich, Rt Rev Graham James launched ‘Inspired Classrooms’, a free, new resource for churches and schools. ‘Inspired Classrooms’ is an online toolkit that has been developed by a partnership between the Diocese of Norwich, the Aylsham & District Team Ministry, the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Aylsham Cluster Trust of Schools.
The resource is designed as an accessible way to open up churches as ‘creative classrooms’ – spaces in which pupils can enjoy cross-curricular learning inspired by their fabulous surroundings. The toolkit overturns the widely held perception that churches are places in which only an RE Syllabus can be delivered. ‘Inspired Classrooms’ instead suggests ways in which schools can deliver English, Science, Mathematics, Humanities, the Arts, PSHE and RE – all through active engagement with their local churches. The resource includes a series of highly innovative and practical lesson plans and challenges for pupils and students at Key Stages 1, 2 and 3 - all of which are intended to help them develop a range of key skills such of research, teamwork, focus and creativity. Bishop Graham writes in the toolkit’s introduction: “Our young people deserve the very best experiential learning. Cathedrals and churches have a “wow” factor for young children. That’s good, but we also want to make them places of learning and discovery too. They are inspired classrooms in themselves. I hope and pray this project will help us all rediscover that our parish churches are inspired classrooms.”