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Faith Reference

Discussion in 'Career clinic' started by Poppychick, Feb 2, 2020.

  1. Poppychick

    Poppychick New commenter

    I'm planning to start attending church to learn more about Christian Leadership and in time am hoping to gain a HT post in a C of E school. I have not previously been a practising Christian.

    A friend has told me there is a book that you get signed by the vicar but I have never heard of this.

    How do people go about starting out gaining a faith reference if they are not already a practising Christian?
  2. Corvuscorax

    Corvuscorax Star commenter

    well, maybe just email the vicar and ask? Explain you are hoping to apply for a HT in a C of E school eventually, and would like a note kept of your regular attendance and participation from now on, and how is that best done?

    In my experience, when asking for a faith reference, the vicar just knows you, no dates and attendance statistics necessary.
  3. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Errr...I have a vague idea that being a 'practising Christian' is more about beliefs than church attendance.

    The vast majority of primary schools around here are CofE schools and none require the head to be a churchgoer, let alone a practising Christian. Have a look at some headteacher person specs for the area you wish to teach in and see how many actually have 'practising Christian' or 'Knowledge of Christian leadership' anywhere, certainly not as essential.

    If you were a lapsed Catholic and looking for a headteacher role in a Catholic school, then @Corvuscorax 's advice would be the most sensible course of action.
  4. Poppychick

    Poppychick New commenter

  5. Poppychick

    Poppychick New commenter

    Unfortunately not the case!

    Statements such as ‘practising’ refer to a signed witness statement from your vocal and being a verified member of ‘Churches Together’. A faith reference is essential.

    I know of no head teachers who attend church but clearly they get a reference from somewhere.
  6. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    Requirements to be "practising" are nearly always seen for pupil admissions (and a priests' reference required to confirm church attendance) but for C of E schools I can't remember seeing it as a requirement that the Headteacher attends church. If it were I suspect most C of E primaries wouldn't be able to recruit a headteacher! Roman Catholic governing bodies may take a different view. But tbh @Poppychick you seem to know more about it than the rest of us on here, we should be asking you!

    Typically the requirement in Primary C of E job ads is that the headteacher will be sympathetic of the Christian ethos of the school, or uphold its values, or similar.
  7. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    It really isn't for CofE schools. You are mistaken and might well be shutting many headteacher doors in your own face.
  8. Poppychick

    Poppychick New commenter

    This is a very typical example. Do you feel I am misinterpreting what is meant here?

  9. Poppychick

    Poppychick New commenter

    Here is a different one. upload_2020-2-4_10-34-46.png
  10. Poppychick

    Poppychick New commenter

    I would love it if you were right but I have posted 2 examples from 2 different Headteacher posts within primary schools from this week. Do you honestly think these do not require church attendance / involvement or knowing a vicar?
  11. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    I think you are interpreting it correctly, the governors of that school have decided they want their head to be a regular church attender. But each governing body decides its own criteria for headship and the general experience of others who have responded is that most CofE schools don't require that. At least, not in large cities, which is what my experience is. Maybe different in rural communities? I looked at two Inner London ones that were on TES and both only had 'committment to ethos'-type requirements

    And as I said before, the small number of people who responded to your post suggests you might know more about this than us!
  12. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    I know nothing about large city schools, only rural or very small towns.

    For your first example
    Yes, slightly you are misinterpreting.
    It says that it is an essential criteria for that school that the candidate is a full and active member of a church and that that church must be registered as a member of churches together in England.
    So you cannot pretend that what is really a gin drinking knitting circle that meets on Sunday mornings is a church, and ask your best mate to provide the reference as 'leader' of the church.
    Evidence of 'current church involvement' is reasonably simple. I could write that I support the local one by donating when they call with Christian Aid envelopes, don't knock over the cones put out when there is a funeral and they need parking, attend a couple of times a year, have taken school children to decorate a tree at Christmas and so on. There's involvement sorted and it's reasonably easy to babble on about beliefs in relation to the school.
    It is desirable for that school that the church you are most usually involved with is Anglican.

    For your second
    Our local vicar would recognise me if I turned up on his doorstep to ask for a reference, because I 'regularly' worship in his church...regular as in 2 times a year. Carol Service and Easter Sunday. He is also the attached vicar for a church school I used to teach in, so would be more than happy to provide me with a reference.

    Both of these want regular (not frequent necessarily) church attendance...ie want you to not to be totally against the whole idea of Christianity.
    Given you think you will have terrible trouble getting any faith reference, have not previously been a regular churchgoer or a practising Christian, it seems odd that you specifically want to be head of a CofE school.
  13. eleanorms

    eleanorms Occasional commenter

    As a Christian, I'd have no problem at all working for or having my children attend a C of E school with a head who does not have a personal belief. All they need to do is recognise that others do and it is important to their life choices. I'd have a lot of trouble with a head who didn't have a personal belief but who had popped along on a couple of Sundays so that the vicar could sign a book, purely so they could get a head's position by lying about being a Christian.
    Are you sure your friend isn't talking about the priest's endorsement for a child to attend a Catholic school?

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