Children’s and Young People writing

Key findings about children and young people writing in 2015 from the Literacy Trust, based on a survey of 32,569 children and young people aged 8 to 18, include:

  • Fewer children and young people enjoyed writing in 2015 compared with the previous year, with enjoyment levels dropping from 49.3% in 2014 to 44.8% in 2015.
  • Fewer children and young people wrote something daily outside class in 2015 than in 2014, with daily writing levels decreasing from 27.2% in 2014 to 20.7% in 2015. Daily writing levels also continue to be in stark contrast to daily reading levels, which have increased dramatically over the past couple of years.
  • When asked whether they ever write something that they don’t share with anyone else, nearly half (46.8%) of children and young people said they did.
  • Technology-based formats, such as text messages (68.6%), messages on social networking sites (44.3%) and instant messages (46.2%) continue to dominate the writing that children and young people engaged in outside class in 2015. Notes (3%), letters (25.8%) and lyrics (24.6%) are the most frequently written non-technology formats. With the exception of poems, most formats of writing have again decreased in 2015.
  • Attitudes towards writing have remained unchanged in 2015.

Read the full findings here.

It leaves me reflecting on how we encourage journaling with teenagers in the church.

It’s encouraging to see that 46.8% of children and young people write things that they don’t share with anyone else, but with daily writing outside the classroom dropping substantially from 27.2% in 2014 to 20.7% in 2015 I think we need to look at how we recommend technology-based formats of journaling.

Children’s & youth work links

Links from around the world of children’s and youth work:

What happened when 9 teens gave up their mobile phones for a week: anyone who has worked with teenagers for more than 5 minutes know how connected to their mobiles they are.  So what happens if they were separated from their mobile lifelines for a full week?

The Smart Talk is a website that helps parents and kids come up with a set of mobile phone rules together, and creates a handy agreement you can print out.  This tool is more than a simple checklist; it’s meant to start conversations between parents and their child.

What I Teach My Students About Alcohol: Austin McCann shares what he taught his young people about drinking alcohol from the Bible.

Teens Tell All: Your Guide To Teen Slang, From Bae To Woke: As part of TODAY’s “Teens Tell All” series, they asked teenagers to enlighten adults about all those mysterious terms they throw out when they talk or message.

Jesus was a Youth Minister: Jesus’ disciples were mainly young men.  This makes Peter the perfect, Biblical example of what it looks like to mentor a teenager!

 

Millennials believe Britain is no longer a Christian country

The Daily Express reports that British millennials, born between 1980 and 2000, believe they no longer live in a Christian country despite thinking religion plays an important role in people’s lives.

A total of 41 per cent of 18 to 24-year-olds said Britain has “no specific religious identity” in a ComRes poll published to launch the new Faith Research Centre in Westminster.  In contrast, of those aged 65 and over, 74 per cent believe Britain is a Christian country while only 20 per cent think the country has no specific religious identity.

Katie Harrison, director of the new Faith Research Centre at ComRes, the public policy research consultancy, said:

“In some of the questions we asked, adults aged between 18-24 and adults aged 65 plus answered at opposite ends of the scale, indicating marked differences between generations in perceptions of religion and belief.

“This is consistent with some of the projects we’ve recently been commissioned to carry out.

“We’re seeing a strong interest in understanding the attitudes and needs of people in their 20s, especially in our faith research work.”

 

Live in Hampshire? Make your church or village hall warmer!

Does your building cost a lot to keep it warm?  Are you struggling to make it a welcoming, comfortable place for everyone in your community to use?  Read about Action Hampshire’s new energy audits project!

We are looking for six community halls to have an energy audit, carry out improvements identified by the audit, and then to share the results with other organisations in our area.  You will get a professional energy audit, which normally costs around £500, for just £50.  The audit will identify many things you can do to make your building more energy efficient, so reducing your energy use and saving you money.  Even better – plenty of these actions will have little or no cost.

Take a look at our website for all the details, including the application form and guidance notes – click here.  Our project partners, Winchester Action on Climate Change, are offering a free talk on fuel poverty to all applications that apply for a low cost energy audit.  Information about this offer is in the guidance notes at the bottom of this page.

Do you qualify?  Our grant funding from Hampshire County Council means this project is only open to community buildings in Hampshire villages or towns with less than 10,000 residents.  The funding is also only available to buildings managed by a not-for-profit sector organisation, like a village hall committee or community association.

We need your application back by midday on Tuesday 7 February, or Tuesday 24 January if you are ready.  Don’t rush, though – we will save some funds for the later deadline.

Long-serving priest gives thanks for 100 years

Britain’s longest serving priest has celebrated his 100th birthday, having ministered to his flock for 75 years.  What a brilliant example of faithful ministry.

The Rev William Tavernor was ordained at Ledbury parish church in December 1941 and has been a village vicar across the diocese of Hereford ever since.  He chuckles when he considers the choirboys who sang at his ordination would now be getting on for 90.

Mr Tavernor, a father of four, celebrated his birthday on New Year’s Eve surrounded by friends and family, including his seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.  There was also a special service in his parish church, St Michael and All Angels in Ledbury.

His first curacy was spent in Ledbury, then a parish near Kidderminster, before moving back to the Hereford diocese. He spent seven years as vicar at Upton Bishop, eight years at Aymestrey, 23 in Canon Pyon, in each case happily provided with glebe. He has since enjoyed 25 years of “working retirement” helping at Kingsland. “I packed up taking services two years ago,” he said.

However, 18 months ago at the venerable age of 98, Mr Tavernor returned to his old parish in south Shropshire, Bettws-y-Crwyn, to conduct a marriage service for grandson, Jack Tavernor and bride, Becky Floate assisted by her grandfather, the Rev Herbert Floate. The story was reported in the Church Times, complete with cartoon reflecting the two clerics’ joint age of 188 years with 124 collective years of ministry between them.

Tackling Female Genital Mutilation – Best Practice

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is recognised as a severe form of violence against women and girls and a human rights violation.   The Tackling FGM Initiative aimed to strengthen community-based prevention work to reduce the risk of girls and young women of undergoing FGM.

FGM prevalence in the UK is difficult to estimate due to the hidden nature of the practice. However, the latest data on prevalence in England and Wales (City University London and Equality Now, 2015) estimates that: approximately 60,000 girls aged 0-14 were born in England and Wales to mothers who had undergone FGM; and approximately 127,000 women who have migrated to England and Wales are living with the consequences of FGM. In addition, approximately 10,000 girls (under the age of 15) who have migrated to England and Wales may have undergone FGM.

Ending FGM in the UK requires multi-agency working, including involving FGM-affected communities. Communities Tackling Female Genital Mutilation in the UK Best Practice Guide documents, develops and highlights best practice that Community Based Oragnisations have developed. This Guide complements the statutory FGM Multi-Agency Guidelines which professionals must have regard to, and is aimed at:

  • Community based organisations working on or planning to work on FGM
  • Local authorities to support the development of good quality partnerships and joint working with affected communities and the Community Based Oragnisations who work with them
  • Professionals charged with a legal duty to respond to FGM e.g. health professionals, maternity services, teachers
  • Commissioners and local safeguarding leads, to understand how to work with communities and recognise them as assets to end FGM

The Practical Guidance for FGM Engagement section is divided into three key parts: Prevention; Access to Mental Health Care and Support; and Working with Statutory Professionals and local authorities – including FGM case work. Each of the three chapters details the rationale for each target group, outlines activities conducted by Community Based Oragnisations to reach this group and then highlights best practice.

Vacancy – Above Bar Church

Above Bar Church in Southampton is looking to appoint a Post-Graduate Student Children’s Minister:

STEP TRAINEE (CHILDREN)

Are you passionate about children’s ministry? Are you experienced in working with children and eager to develop your skills? Are you a servant-hearted, creative and flexible team player who is able to work alongside others in leading children’s ministry? Would you like to combine training within a large city-centre evangelical church with studying for a post-graduate degree in children’s ministry?

If so, we would love to support you in loving God, following Jesus, and sharing hope within the context of children’s ministry.

Above Bar Church is looking for a Children’s Ministry Trainee to start in September 2017. This is a two or three-year position, which comprises of approximately 21 hrs/wk serving in the church and 14 hrs/wk studying (typically) an MA in Children’s and Family work.
Bursaries, hosting, and funding to cover fees are available if needed and will be discussed with the successful applicant.

For more information or to apply, please email office@abovebarchurch.org.uk

Deadline for applications is 31st Jan 2017.

Teenagedom

A few people recently tweeted about Hadley Freeman’s article in the Guardian on how ‘I was not good at being a teenager. But I do have some advice.’  For anyone working with young people it’s well worth a read.

It concludes with three pieces of wisdom: “But I do have three pieces of advice for making it pass a little more painlessly. 

  • First, create something. Write, draw, bake, knit, make a magazine, design a video game – whatever, it doesn’t matter, as long as it comes from you. Just make something that wasn’t there before, so you can look at it and say, “That came out of my brain, my fingers, me. Without me, that would not exist.” One of the best ways to learn who you are internally is to find out what kind of mark you can make externally.
  • Second, do things just for you. I’m sure you’re sick of condescending oldsters like me wagging their fingers at you about “the selfie generation”, which is just our way of trying to say how worried we are about you coming of age at a time when your worthiness is measured in likes. But try to do as much as possible just for yourself, not external validation: make something and don’t Instagram it. Go to a gig on your own, and don’t Facebook it. Validate yourself.
  • Finally, remember that you are currently wearing teenager goggles. This means that everything you are experiencing is being refracted through the crazy hazy hormonal moshpit in your head, as well as the various injustices that come with that time of life when you’re not sure if you’re an adult or a child and no one else is, either”

Do go check out the full article here.

A 4-year-old adorably explains the problem with New Year’s resolutions

Following through on a big New Year’s resolution may feel overwhelming, but this young girl can help with a few words of advice.

“Keep your resolutions, but go easy on yourself. Will you change? Maybe. But it probably won’t happen in one big moment. It’ll happen in thousands of little moments.”

Listen to this wise-beyond-her-years 4-year-old and give yourself the flexibility to make change with small steps instead of big leaps.

Reports from the UK government on Domestic Violence

The Home Office have launched a range of papers recently on the theme of domestic violence and abuse.

The changes to the definition of domestic raise awareness that young people in the 16 to 17 age group can also be victims of domestic violence and abuse.

By including this age group the government hopes to encourage young people to come forward and get the support they need, through a helpline or specialist service.

A young people’s panel will be set up by the NSPCC. The panel will consist of up to 5 members between the age of 16 and 22, who will work with the government on domestic violence policy and wider work to fight violence against women and girls.

Here are some of the key recent publications:

Children’s and youth work links

Here are some links from around the world of children’s and youth ministry:

Five Myths that Perpetuate Burnout Across Nonprofits: There is a pervasive fear in the nonprofit field that focusing inwardly—on our staff, our leadership, even our own salaries—will take away from achieving our organizational missions. That needs to change.

5 New Years resolutions for discipling young people: James writes on the buzz theme of discipleship and suggests five resolutions that would enable discipleship that might be authentic, life and world transforming.

We’ve all been the new kid: When we teach young people to value each person as God does, their perspective changes.  How much better would it be for our first time visitors if we took away some of the guesswork at a first session and ensured experienced young people helped them.

Creating student leaders in youth ministry: Nick Steinloski writes on the purpose of the Young Leaders and the annual rhythm for their group.

What does discipleship look like on a council estate?  Living a life of faith can look quite different outside the bastion of middle-class Christianity.