A book produced annually by The Nottingham Emmanuel School called ‘One Story’ has been recognised at a national conference to discuss the Church of England’s approach to ‘Character Education’.
‘Character Education’ is a term used to describe the teaching of children and young adults in a way that develops their moral, civic, intellectual and spiritual understanding, thus creating core values for a healthy and informed member of the community.
This teaching compliments the traditional academic programme by instilling a perseverance and responsibility in the individual, both for themselves and others.
The conference, held at Church House in London, saw Nottingham Emmanuel’s chaplain Reverend Phil Marsh and chair of governors, Mrs Heidi Shewell-Cooper, present the book and the vision behind its creation to the assembled delegates.
The book holds anonymous narratives of 12 students and four staff members, illustrating a range of personal faith journeys that the school makes possible.
Reverend Phil Marsh said: “When you capture someone’s story, and more importantly, when you share it with others, it allows them to see a point of reference to consider their own story. The accounts in the book deliberately display a journey, about working it out, rather than ‘I have arrived’.”
One account in the book by a Year 10 student is a frank display of unresolved questions that are relevant across society and faiths.
“My faith journey has been challenging…my friends all believe different things and so it’s not quite as simple to know what to think… I still have lots of questions that I don’t have the answers to.”
Mrs Shewell-Cooper explained why the book is held as a good example of how to build the ethos into education.
She said: “We think it’s an authentic account of children and adults exploring in their own words – their journey of development. That journey is an important part of the ethos and mission of the school.”
“Everyone has a story to tell and those stories can be transferred to other contexts and situations. We feel that it creates a setting where every person’s story is valid and therefore a safe, caring and nurturing environment for learning.”