ST MARY REDCLIFFE CHURCH
Educational sessions, workshops, talks and tours for children and young people
Our vision is to enhance the spiritual development and support the religious education of pupils in the
wider Bristol area through a creative partnership between St Mary Redcliffe Church and individual schools.
Our purpose is initially to engage with schools local to the church and subsequently with schools further
afield to offer support with religious education which is a statutory subject of the school curriculum.
It is clear that certain aspects of the Religious Education (RE) curriculum can come to life if they are
approached in St Mary Redcliffe Church where children can use all their senses to experience some aspects
of Christian belief and practice. By attending workshops in the church, children can be introduced to some
aspects of Christianity more easily than in a classroom.
Our purpose is achieved by approaching local schools and building good relationships with them and
additionally with any other schools who approach us. Through creative engagement with the Local
Authority’s RE syllabus and with an understanding of each school’s RE curriculum, workshops are written
by the Education Officer to meet the needs of the pupils and the teachers.
An initial meeting between the Education Officer and the school’s RE Coordinator takes place to ascertain
what aspects of the school’s RE syllabus could be enhanced by a visit to St Mary Redcliffe Church. This
leads to support being offered to a Class Teacher for a particular aspect of the RE curriculum. A follow up
meeting with the Class Teacher results in plans for a visit being made and a workshop being written which
is specifically tailored for a particular group of children or young people.
The Education Work uses members of the congregation and
other Christians as volunteers to help with the workshops, to
explain to pupils what Christians believe and how the
congregation members at St Mary Redcliffe church express
their Christian beliefs.
The Education Work at St Mary Redcliffe Church began at the end of April 2014. So far contact has been
made with 25 schools or other groups working with children. The Education Officer has had personal
contact with adults from 17 schools or other groups and groups from 14 schools or organisations have
visited St Mary Redcliffe to do a workshop, have a talk, take a tour or make a visit. There have been 21
organised events in the first ten months, not including visits to Treefest and to the Lent Exhibition.
This Reception Class workshop was on the
theme: Why are Some Times Special?
The focus was Christmas and the starting
point was the story: Little Owl and The Star.
So far workshops or talks have been written and delivered on the following themes:
How do communities show that they value special books and writings?
What are the moral messages that can be found in stories from religions and beliefs?
Bibles in the Church; the Bible through the Ages; the Good Samaritan Story (Year 4)
Why are Some Places Special? St Mary Redcliffe Church (Year 1)
Windows – Focus: Noah’s Ark Window and the Colston Window (Year 7)
Similarities and Differences between Anglicanism and Catholicism (Year 9)
Celebration – Harvest (Key Stage 4 – Special School)
Why are Some Times special? Christmas (Year 1)
Celebration – Advent (Key Stage 5 – Special School)
Symbolism – Advent (Year 4)
Symbolism – Symbolism in Noah’s Ark; Symbolism of Candles (Year 3)
The Good Samaritan and Edward Colston (Year 5)
The Prodigal Son and Jesus’ Teachings on Forgiveness (Key Stage 3 – Special School)
Death and life after death, graves, tombs and memorials (Key Stage 3 – Special School)
Key Stage 5 pupils from a Severe Learning
Difficulties Class taking part in a workshop.
Their theme was Celebration.
The workshop focussed on Advent.
Relationships across Bristol
The Education Officer has had meetings with others in similar roles across the city and with other key
Bristol Cathedral – David Hoyle, Dean
Christ Church Clifton – Jane Gillis, School and Community Worker
Churches Conservation Trust – Marie Sellars, Heritage Learning Officer (West)
Diocese of Bristol – Katy Staples, Schools Advisor
English Heritage – Michael Gorely, Local Heritage Education Manager
Redland Education Centre – Liz Ogborne, Advisory Teacher
The New Room – Mandy Briggs, Education Officer
Relationships with Volunteers
The Education Work uses volunteers to help run the workshops. So far ten people have helped with
workshops or tours. Of those ten, four are committed to helping on a regular basis. Three of the regular
volunteers attend St Mary Redcliffe Church and one worships at another church. Two of the volunteers
Volunteers working with pupils on a
workshop on the theme: Why are Some
Books Special? The focus was the Bible
and in particular The Good Samaritan
Relationships with Schools and Other Groups for Young People
The following schools have attended workshops or attended a talk and tour session:
Compass Point Primary – one workshop
Christ Church Primary – one talk and tour
Colston’s School – two workshops
New Fosseway Special School – four workshops
St Bede’s Catholic College – two talks and tours
St Mary Redcliffe Primary – four workshops
St Mary Redcliffe and Temple – three talks and tours
Southville Primary – one workshop, one talk and tour
West Town Lane Primary – three workshops
The following groups have visited the church and had some input but not a full workshop. Some of those
listed below visited St Mary Redcliffe during Treefest in December 2014:
Ashton Gate – Year 5 and Year 6
Beavers Group: 255 th Beaver Sea Scouts
Cleeve House - Choir
Compass Point Primary – Year 1
New Fosseway Special School – Key Stage 5
St George Primary – Year 1
St Redcliffe Primary – Year 2 and Year 6
Southmead Girls Group
Southville Primary – Year 3 and Year 5
School groups visiting the Christmas Tree
Festival in December 2014: Treefest.
Funding and Finance
We began the project with funding for one year amounting to £9,000 which consisted of a grant from
Bristol Archdeaconry Charity of £5,000 and £4,000 from St Mary Redcliffe Church PCC.
Our initial outlay was to buy a laptop for the Education Officer at a cost of £732.00. We have also spent a
small amount of money on resources for the workshops but our set up costs are still under £800.
Having researched what other organisations in Bristol are charging for school visits we decided to make a
small charge of about £1.50-£2.00 per pupil to schools who attend workshops or tours with a talk or other
input. If schools visit and have no input or minimal input from us, we do not charge. Our policy is not to
charge St Mary Redcliffe Primary or St Mary Redcliffe and Temple Schools.
Our income for the first six months of the project was almost £500 whereas our expenditure on resources
for the workshops has been well under £100.
We now seek funding to continue the project into a second year. The cost of resources and travel can
easily be covered by the income from the workshops. As long as the PCC remains committed to giving
funding towards the salary, there is no reason why the project cannot continue and develop. Additional
funding would enable us to increase the number of workshops taking place.
Year 3 pupils at a workshop about Noah’s
Ark using a story as a starting point and
then the Noah’s Ark window.
It was special because it feels like
an adventure inside the church
I have enjoyed these
sessions and look forward
to helping with more.
I thought that they really got to
see features of the church that
they wouldn’t have done
The church is so beautiful.
It makes me want to cry.
The workshop was well
organised and pitched at the
I meant to say how well I thought you planned, presented
and related to the three different groups we've just had
through. The kids really responded well to you and your
style. I was especially impressed with the way you got
them to do little enactments of the parts of the story, and
they clearly loved that especially being a dove or a raven!
Keep up the good work!
Thank you for a fantastic morning, the
children really enjoyed it and some were
wearing their rainbow stickers for a few days
after the visit! The role playing and acting
for the Noah's ark story was fantastic and
the window was inspiring for the children.
Year 3 Teacher
Everyone has said how brilliant the visit was. Many have commented on
how lovely you are and how they thought you pitched the session
perfectly. They liked your way with the students and that although you
had planned the day you were very flexible in accommodating their
needs and allowing the classes to do their own things at times. They
also really appreciated how you ensured no one else was involved (or
interfered) with the day which is essential with these groups and
contributed to it being a successful visit. They also commented on how
beautiful the church is and that they enjoyed the session planned as it
enabled them to explore the church. All in all a very successful visit!
Special School RE Coordinator