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Frequently Asked Questions

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What is Barnabas in Schools?

We are part of BRF, a Christian charity founded in 1922. BRF's statement of purpose is 'resourcing your spiritual journey', and the overall aim of Barnabas in Schools is to enable pupils and their teachers to creatively explore Christianity and the Bible together. 'Barnabas' was a significant first-century Christian who specialised in clearly communicating his beliefs to diverse audiences, encouraging them to discover and use their gifts and talents - an example we'd like to emulate.

It all began in 1999 with a two-week pilot, when a team visited a few primary schools to run creative arts workshops using RE resources we had already published for teachers. That successful pilot led to the establishment and subsequent growth of our Barnabas schools programme, which is now delivered by a team of two full-time staff members and 19 freelancers, working throughout England and Wales.

Since those early days, the Barnabas Schools team has now worked with over 1000 primary schools. Last year alone, we delivered 320 Barnabas RE Days, involving an estimated 65,000 children in 285 different schools in 54 counties. In addition, the team delivered nearly 80 INSET sessions for teachers. Many of these were offered in collaboration with a range of local authority SACRES, Church of England and Roman Catholic diocesan education departments.

We continue to publish a range of books and other resources for schools, and have a dedicated website (www.barnabasinschools.org.uk) providing excellent support materials, many at no charge.

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What are your aims?

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How do you go about your work in schools?

We value the spiritual life of children, so we embrace an open-ended and exploratory approach in schools when exploring Christian values and Bible stories through the creative arts. We believe that the best way to understand faith is to explore it 'from the inside', encouraging children to imaginatively enter stories so they can understand something of the dilemmas, delights, doubts and certainties, as experienced by people of faith.

No assumptions are made about prior knowledge or expectations concerning personal belief; instead, children are encouraged to immerse themselves in key faith stories so they can ask questions, suggest possible answers to dilemmas - and engage with Christian beliefs in a non-confrontational and frequently light-hearted way that supports RE, PSE and SMSC. Appropriate differentiation is made in style and content to allow for pupil age and ability, and support materials are also provided on our developing website.

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What training does Barnabas in Schools offer?

Our INSET sessions are designed to encourage and equip school staff for teaching Christianity and the Bible within an RE Syllabus for Foundation, KS1 and KS2, but also for exploring cross-curricular links where appropriate. We also provide INSET for those organising Assemblies and Collective Worship. We especially want schools to explore ways of communicating and understanding the Christian story through Drama, Music, Storytelling and Art. An INSET session lasts two hours and costs £150 plus transport and subsistence costs where necessary. Some teaching networks find it useful to run two sessions on the same day.

We offer a variety of INSET themes and can sometimes offer bespoke themes if they fit our frame of reference. We also offer free training opportunities for larger school networks in conjunction with national initiatives. Please get in touch with us if your network would be interested in taking advantage of this.

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What happens on a Barnabas RE Day?

Our national team offers a full day's creative arts-based programme, exploring Christianity with primary-aged children through storytelling, drama or music according to the skills of the Barnabas Schools' team member. We provide a range of Barnabas RE Day themes, with additional themes for schools in the North-East. In order to enable the children to have the best opportunity to engage with the interactive activities, we can work with no more than 30 - 35 pupils in any session. Length of sessions is by negotiation with the team member and due consideration for the age and ability of the children. In addition, the day can start or end with an Assembly for the whole school.

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Who are the schools team?

They all:

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