Back To School
Another academic year is underway: our 18th year of Christian schools work. That means another year of teaching about the Christian faith in schools for crossteach as we seek to engage the next generation. The teams are back into their routines; regular clubs, assemblies and lessons (We are already planning and scheduling Christmas activities too). Many pupils have returned to clubs and there are lots of new faces. It has not taken long for all our teams to be busy again and juggling all the demands of the work. The summer break seems a long time ago. As always, we were able to get together as a team just before the start of this academic year for training, time in God’s Word, prayer and preparing for the first few weeks of term. These times are always really helpful as we try to combine professional development with our distinctively Christian approach. All our staff are as keen as ever to make sure the quality of our work is excellent and that we are able to serve local schools and pupils in a way that genuinely enhances their education and is a blessing to them. It is also a good time to welcome new colleagues and for us all to deepen and strengthen our relationships.
Even though we are still in the first half term of the new academic year, our teams are already seeing a growth in requests and opportunities as schools continue to make use of our free services. There is a limit to what we can do, given that our workers cannot be in two places at once. We have a finite amount of resources and want to do as much as we can with the resources we have. We also want to sustain our professional approach and the quality of the work we do. So please pray for us as we seek to make wise choices and decide what are the best things to say ‘yes’ to.
Moving from the 2017/18 academic year into the 2018/19 academic year, we have seen some changes in personnel. There have been changes at Trustee level, Team Leader level and among our schools workers. We are grateful for the service of those who have moved on and wish them well in their new challenges. We are also excited to have new people join our team and we look forward to seeing the contribution they will make. At the start of the year, we had not managed to fill every vacancy and we are still seeking to recruit suitable workers. We are fortunate in having a structure that intentionally aims to make our teams sustainable and has a focus on building strong partnerships with local schools and churches. So when changes happen we are able to sustain our work with little impact, recruit new people and help them integrate into the work we do. However, while we have vacancies, we cannot do as much work as we would like. So, please pray we would fill these vacancies soon.
Reviewing Our Work
Over the last 12 months or so, we have been reviewing our work and updating policies where necessary. We are now working to implement the changes that have been agreed and ensure the implementation of these changes is consistent and our work reflects what our policies say. Policies can often be seen, and treated, as a necessary, but unhelpful, burden. We have taken the view that our policies and internal documents should ensure our employees achieve the highest possible standards in everything they do. We are a professional organisation and this requires that we stay on top of the context in which we work; educational and legal. Our policies cover safeguarding the children we work with, the conduct we expect of employees, what our relationships with schools should look like and much more. We genuinely hope these documents will continue to guide and shape our work and drive professional development within crossteach .Like many organisations, we have also had to ensure we are GDPR compliant. This has not resulted in much change to what we do in practice, but we have had to create multiple policies. We still aim to communicate openly and transparently with schools, churches, local Christians and the wider Christian community.
Engaging The Next Generation
This year we want to demonstrate how our work engages the next generation with the Christian faith. By educating young people in schools we can help them increase their understanding of Christians and what we believe. By encouraging and enabling them to engage with the Christian faith, within the wider school curriculum, we can provide opportunities for them to reflect on their own beliefs and views and to develop these further. As pupils are exposed to a range of beliefs and views and respond to them, including Christianity, they increase their knowledge of the religions and worldviews that shape our culture, they increase their ability to empathise with the people they live alongside and they develop their own views and beliefs. We believe in the value of what we do so passionately, that we want to see an increase in this type of Christian schools work across the UK. To that end, we are expanding the partnerships we have so that we can connect with more churches to equip them and provide resources so that they can teach about the Christian faith to young people in their local schools. We are doing this initially within the 3 regions where we are currently based, but have a vision to see this spread further. As we grow and develop, and build more partnerships, we want to be part of helping this type of Christian schools work flourish across the UK.
Thanks to the generosity of our supporters we ended the last academic year with a small financial surplus and start this academic year in a healthy financial situation. 2018/19 Current Financial Forecast
- Forecasted expenditure – £319,000
- Forecasted income – £268,085
- Surplus/shortfall – £50,915
The shortfall is a significant amount, but there are always one off gifts and this makes it difficult to predict how much will be raised this way. We have raised more than this amount in one-off gifts in the each of the last few years. We do need people to prayerfully consider if they can support our work financially and we are relying on the generosity of those who see the necessity of our work.
Please pray for us as we head into the rest of this academic year;
- That we would make wise decisions about which requests we say yes to.
- That our workers have an opportunity for rest during the half term break.
- That we would fill our current vacancies.
- That we would raise the additional financial support we need.