The Project


The idea of producing a short film concerned with the work of multi-faith chaplaincies in the Further Education (FE) sector came out of conversations at the FE Chaplains’ Summer Conference at York St. John University during 7-9 July 2009. The idea has been developed by chaplains and others working in further education in the South West of England .

It was felt that each of the two terms “FE” and “Chaplaincy” is poorly understood by the general public and the formula “FE Multi-faith Chaplaincy” to be largely incomprehensible. For this reason, a short film in which these uncertainties are addressed is timely.

The FE sector in the UK is huge. The vast majority of 16 – 19 year old students study in FE colleges; many more than in our schools. One in eight undergraduates are now studying in further education. Despite its size, the sector has no statutory student entitlement to spiritual or religious support, unlike schools and universities.

The rapid growth in FE multi-faith chaplaincy provision since 2007 has resulted in the development of responsive and inclusive (all faiths and none) student and staff chaplaincy services in many FE colleges. The aim of the film is to provide a “warts and all” snapshot of this development for two principal audiences:

(a) College Principals and SMT members.

(b) Faith communities interested in getting involved.

The Purpose

The film will set out what FE chaplaincy is about. It will inform college managers so that they might grow in their confidence to support such work directly. It will inform members of faith communities so that they may realize how they might become involved.

The film will have an important role to play in the training of serving and prospective FE Chaplains.

Sustainability of FE Chaplaincy provision remains an on going challenge. As Chaplains move on or retire, new colleagues are required. Deaneries and Parishes, as well as members of other faith communities, need to understand the challenges and opportunities such work affords and be empowered and encouraged to commit themselves to supporting the work in the long-term.

FE is a very important component of the future educational landscape, especially since the development of 14-19 Diploma Consortia. It is an aspect of the Church's work described by the Archbishop of Canterbury in 2006 as "The Cinderella [...] an area in which we need to do much more."

The project will support delivery of the House of Bishops' initiative, 'Pushing Further'. A project committed to the development of multi-faith chaplaincy in every FE college in England by 2010.

The work has the potential to help strengthen the Church's ministry, both ordained and lay, in FE Chaplaincy, an area of life where young people are seeking support in dealing with life's 'big issues'. They are bursting with questions and thirsting for answers and support in coming to terms with spiritual matters.

The film will help secure recruitment, retention and professional development of FE chaplains in the long-term and stregthen the relationship between individual colleges and their communities, including and especially, local faith communities.

FE Chaplains

    • Provide spiritual support to students, staff and college communities

    • Contribute to the design and delivery of modules concerning issues of religion/spirituality that arise in Enrichment programmes.

    • Support student activities/events/clubs/societies that address religious/spiritual issues.

    • Make provision for worship.

    • Minister to the needs of all faiths and none.

    • Provide support for the spiritual well-being of staff.

    • Support the promotion of college cohesion.

    • Support the participation in FE of groups that may be marginalized.