But there is more to Manor’s relationship with the Church than overt symbols. All Manor students take Religious Studies at GCSE, studying towards the qualification for two hours per week.
Rev’d Simon Biddlestone is Chaplain to the school and is the vicar of Poppleton and Holy Redeemer parishes, where many of the students live. He has been in post since October 2020. These strong links between the Church of England and the school stretch back to the day the school was formed.
Our previous chaplain, Rev’d Hand (2001-2020) said about Manor: “One of the great things about the school is the fact that there is a designated space for worship and prayer,” he says. “It’s important that we have a space for reflection, somewhere that is not a classroom or used for any other purpose. Regardless of whether we believe or not, we all need somewhere, staff and students alike, that’s quiet and gives you the opportunity to contemplate faith.”
The design of the building places the chapel in the heart of the school. This space is used as part of Religious Studies lessons, for acts of remembrance or as a place where people can go in a time of difficulty or crisis. Every term, a year group can attend a Eucharist service and at six times during the year important days in the church calendar such as Lent, Ascension Day or Advent are marked here or in the school hall.
Our Lay-Chaplain, Mr Rab is based in the school full-time, also teaching PSHCE and RS. He is available to all members of the school community who want to discuss matters of faith or a personal nature, or who would value prayer. Mr Rab leads a Bible study group for students and a weekly staff prayer gathering. He also meets several students and members of staff each week for one-to-one support.
Mr Rab also co-ordinates Collective Worship in the school. All students have the opportunity to access Collective Worship every day. The usual pattern of worship is one assembly, one form worship and three thoughts for the day. These include elements of bible teaching, prayer and reflection. Collective Worship is designed to be accessible for all students (whether they have a Christian faith or not) and give them an opportunity to reflect on their lives and personal beliefs.