"I have not experienced anything like the effect of this project before in my career - it was a privilege to work with all those involved and a deeply humbling experience."Sara Young (Head of RS & PSHCE, Surrey)

Research Project 2017

Since 2007, prayer spaces in schools have enabled thousands of pupils to explore faith, spirituality and life’s big questions in a safe, creative and interactive way.

During this time, we’ve received hundreds of stories (read some here) of children and young people who have used their time in a prayer space to express hopes and gratitude, to forgive others, to process difficult emotions, to reflect on their identity and sense of self-worth, and to explore what they think and feel about God (amongst others things).

The stories were (and are) encouraging, but we wanted to examine the impact of prayer spaces on the spiritual lives of children and young people in a more thorough way. So, in June 2016, we asked Professor Julian Stern (Prof of Education and Religion at York St John University) to conduct a research project on our behalf.

Drawing on prior research into spirituality as ‘relational consciousness’ (David Hay, 2006), Professor Julian and his co-researcher, Rachael Shillitoe, developed a research project, which included questionnaires for pupils who had recently experienced a prayer space and follow-up interviews with pupils and school staff. In total, 555 pupils from 24 schools completed the questionnaires, and 71 pupils and 15 teachers participated in the interviews.

The following documents are available to download;

  1. Evaluation of Prayer Spaces in Schools - The Contribution of Prayer Spaces to Spiritual Development’ – the full research report, by Professor Julian Stern and Rachael Shillitoe, on behalf of York St John University. (PDF 49 pages)
  2. Findings from a Qualitative and Quantitative Study into the impact of prayer spaces on the spiritual development of children and young people – our summary of the research report, by Prayer Spaces in Schools. (PDF 8 pages)

We would like to thank Professor Julian Stern and Rachael Shillitoe from York St John University for conducting the research itself, and to the following people for being part of the Research Advisory Group; Lat Blaylock (Editor, RE Today), Olivia Seymour (Assistant Director of Education, Diocese of York), Jane Whittington (Schools Officer - Christian Distinctiveness, Diocese of Guildford), Tim Abbott (Director of CYO).

We would also like to thank the St Christopher's Trust and our other donors for helping to fund the research project.