Frequently asked questions
What is Barnabas in Schools?
Barnabas in Schools is part of The Bible Reading Fellowship (BRF), a Registered Charity (233280).
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.
When did Barnabas in Schools begin?
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 in Schools programme, which is now delivered by a team of two full-time staff and a number of freelancers, working throughout England.
Since those early days, the Barnabas in Schools team has worked with over 1,000 primary schools. In 2017-18 we led over 130 Barnabas RE Days, working with 25,000 children.
- to facilitate the best possible teaching about Christianity and the Bible in primary and middle schools
- to encourage creative uses of the Bible in religious education, assemblies and Collective Worship, with special reference to the use of storytelling and drama.
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 experienced by people of faith.
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 in Schools' team member. We provide a range of Barnabas RE Day themes, with additional themes for schools in the north-east.
The members of the Barnabas in Schools team are all Christians from a variety of recognised mainstream Christian churches across the country. They represent an incredibly diverse pool of talent, incorporating drama, dance, music, mime and storytelling.
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 offer a variety of INSET themes and can sometimes offer bespoke themes if they fit our frame of reference.
How is Barnabas in Schools funded?
We aim to set the fees for our Barnabas RE Days and INSET sessions at a level that is realistic for school budgets. Each year our work in schools is supported by donations from individuals, churches and trusts.