There was great excitement in both London and Dorset on Monday evening, 9th September, as Canford took home the prestigious ‘Public School of the Year’ trophy at the annual Tatler Schools Awards
The Christian faith has been at the heart of Canford’s spiritual identity since the school was founded in 1923. In 21st century multi-cultural Britain we seek to remain true to those Christian foundations, whilst welcoming those from a variety of faith backgrounds (or none). Pupils are encouraged to be open-minded and think for themselves as they encounter the Christian faith in chapel and on other informal occasions. The spiritual aim of the school is to nurture faith where it exists while arousing curiosity in all pupils towards their spiritual dimension.
The chaplaincy programme is set in the context of a broad education where pupils will engage with ideas and worldviews of all kinds, not least in the classroom and amongst their peers. Many religions and outlooks are represented within the body of the School, with pupils being given support in maintaining the requirements of their faith where possible. All are encouraged to explore religious and ethical issues and in this the ordained chaplain is supported by a number of members of staff.
In addition to both formal and informal chapel services, societies and events, the work of the chaplaincy in our pastoral care is wide ranging and includes involvement in the wider life of the school. Supporting specific pastoral needs of our pupils, such as during bereavement, tutoring, active co-curricular involvement and philanthropic work with the wider community are just some of the areas in which the chaplaincy is involved. The appointment of a chaplaincy graduate assistant from September 2016 demonstrates Canford’s ongoing commitment to the important and multi-dimensional role the chaplaincy plays in the overall pastoral life of the school.
Rev Phil Jack heads up the chaplaincy team. He is married to Katy and has 3 sports mad boys, Tommy, Eddie and Ben. They want to have an open home and they particularly enjoy welcoming pupils to ‘Snacks at the Jacks’ each week. ‘Rev J’ combines his chaplaincy role with teaching Philosophy and Religious Studies, as well as serving in the CCF and coaching on the games field. He is a passionate sportsman and will play anything that involves a ball - in the past mostly rugby, but now squash, golf and cricket. His path to chaplaincy includes an undergraduate degree in Architecture from Nottingham University, a second degree in Theological and Pastoral Studies and work as an accountant with PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Chapel is an opportunity for the school to gather as a community, to think together about important issues and to enjoy a quiet space in the midst of a busy school life. All pupils attend midweek chapel in the Norman church within the grounds and boarders are expected at weekend chapel when not on exeat. At weekend services we often welcome visiting speakers and are accompanied by one of our excellent chapel choirs. While attendance is compulsory, pupils are free to participate or simply observe as they wish. Chapel is a place where all members of the community are welcomed and respected regardless of their personal beliefs.
Each year the chaplaincy also holds a number of important events in the school calendar:
• Whole School Services: These bring the whole community together, including occasions such as Remembrance Sunday and the Founders Day services.
• Carols in Wimborne Minster: Our annual service of lessons and carols, by candlelight is set in the beautiful surroundings of the Minster and is a highlight of the chaplaincy calendar.
• Confirmation: Each year a good number of Canfordians are confirmed by a Bishop from the Diocese of Salisbury. For many, it is a significant step in their spiritual journey and great care is taken in pupils’ preparation.
• Lent Addresses: A theme week during the Easter Term which includes interviews, Q&A and presentations by a visiting speaker, all aimed at encouraging a deeper look into matters of faith.