Chaplaincy provision is coordinated by the Chaplain, Revd Richard Nihill, who is a full-time member of staff, with significant contributions from other local clergy. They visit school most weeks; contribute to the staff reflection programme, to collective worship, RE lessons and interact with staff and students. The York Schools Youth Trust (YoYo) also contribute to the work of Chaplaincy; helping with lunchtime clubs, taking collective worship and assisting at special services. Several other staff are committed to the success of Chaplaincy and make individual contributions to the team.
Chaplaincy is part of the pastoral care of staff and students. The Lay Chaplain is also a member of the schools Senior Leadership Team. The school has its own Chapel and a Spiritual Garden. All students and staff are welcome to join in the services held during term time. Chaplaincy work is supported by Foundation Governors’ funding. An important part of the work of the team is to support those of all denominations and faiths in their journey. The intention is for the Chaplaincy team to be broad-based and non-proselytising, and to complement the work of the pastoral team by bringing an additional and distinctive dimension to the care and support of members of the school community.
The work of the Chaplaincy team includes:
- Collective worship – particularly Chapel collective worship, to which the Chaplaincy team contribute significantly.
- Services – Voluntary services take place in the school Chapel. These include Holy Communion and non-Eucharistic services. As well as the Carol Service in York Minster, there are also Christmas and Easter services in school for all students. A voluntary staff communion service starts each term to which everyone is very welcome.
- Charity work – including work with York Foodbank, throughout the year and at Harvest, and other charity fundraising for local and international groups like Carecent and Fikelela.
- RE support – including question and answer sessions, visits to Heslington Church, and “taught” services in the Chapel as part of Religious Education lessons.
- Prayer – a staff prayer group meets to pray for staff, students, the life of the school and the wider world.
- Confirmation classes – have been run as required for groups of students leading to confirmation at York Minster or the student’s “home” church.
- Counselling and guidance – for students and staff, including those of all faiths and of none. Support may include bereavement counselling.
- Staff support – as required or requested.
- Wider links with Christian communities and organisations – locally, across the deanery and diocese, as well as with York Minster and nationally. Students have participated in the annual Yorkshire Schools pilgrimage with the Archbishop of York Youth Trust to the Taizé community in France.
- International links – encouraging and developing links with the Diocese of Cape Town, South Africa, with which York Diocese is twinned.
- Key Church School Values – following extensive consultation work the school identified four key Christian values which we will seek to model, develop and encourage the whole school community to live out. These are: Forgiveness, Justice, Trust and Compassion.
Christian Character; theological and scriptural basis
Christian values underpin the school’s endeavour to be a caring community, within which each individual matters. We aim to serve the community by providing an education of the highest quality within the context of Christian belief and practice, and to encourage an understanding of the meaning and significance of faith and promote Christian values through the experiences we offer. A belief in the value of each person as an individual is essential, and through our inclusivity we believe that children of all abilities can and do flourish at Archbishop Holgate’s. This is based on scripture; Ecclesiastes 4:12 where we have a shared commitment to Values, Care and Achievements as “a three-fold cord that is not easily broken”, John 10:10 with the belief that students “should have life and live it to the full”, and 1 Peter 2:5 that all members of our school community “like living stones” are uniquely gifted and an important part of our “spiritual house” reinforces our commitment to all. This distinct Christian vision underpins all we do and leads to us being a supportive and inclusive learning community where ‘real opportunities for transformation exist’ (SIAMS 2017).
Christian Character; an inclusive approach
Recognising its historic foundation, the school hopes to preserve and develop its religious character in accordance with the principles of the Church of England and in partnership with the Church at parish and diocesan level. It encourages an understanding of the meaning and significance of faith, and promotes Christian values through the experience it offers to all its students. Our Christian foundation is at the centre of all we do and gives the school an extra dimension and a distinctiveness which makes us different from a community school. Our Church status does not provide a context for evangelising; but those committed to a Christian journey will find many ways in which their faith can find expression through the corporate values of the school. Members of the school community – both students and staff – come to Archbishop Holgate’s from a wide variety of denominations, beliefs and faiths, and are gladly accepted, in the expectation that they will feel at ease in such a setting.
Christian Character and Collective Worship
The Christian Character of the school is supported by regular collective worship. All year group acts of Collective Worship are based around a Christian Value and are complemented by Chapel-based Collective Worship which always has a clear Christian focus, and through tutor time where students briefly explore a ‘Thought for the Day’ each and every morning and participate in a deeper weekly form tutor and student led act of Collective Worship.
Christian Character and Community Engagement
Archbishop Holgate’s is also committed to the concept of service and to support those in challenging circumstances as part of our Christian Character, with charity work and volunteering a priority throughout main school and Sixth Form. This is exemplified through all students participating in the Archbishop of York’s Young Leaders Award, through our partnership work with organisations in the Diocese of Cape Town, and the work of the Sixth Form Student Leaders.
We were delighted to welcome the Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell, to speak at our Year 13 Leavers Celebration in May 2022. You can watch a video from the celebration below.