"This has changed my mind about praying, so it's basically changed my future."Student (Year 9)

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.

The stories from these prayer spaces 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.

The project included both quantitative and qualitative research methods. In total, 555 pupils from 24 schools completed the questionnaires, and 71 pupils and 15 teachers participated in the interviews.

Drawing on prior research into spirituality as ‘relational consciousness’ (David Hay, 2006), the evaluation focused on four key areas;

  • Relationship with the Self
  • Relationship with Others
  • Relationship with the World
  • Relationship with the Sacred/Divine

The following documents are available to download;

  1. FULL REPORT ‘Evaluation of Prayer Spaces in Schools - The Contribution of Prayer Spaces to Spiritual Development’ – by Professor Julian Stern and Rachael Shillitoe, on behalf of York St John University. (PDF 49 pages)
  2. RESEARCH SUMMARY Findings from a Qualitative and Quantitative Study into the impact of prayer spaces on the spiritual development of children and young people – by Prayer Spaces in Schools. (PDF 8 pages)
  3. RESEARCH SUMMARY (Slideshow) 'Research Project, 2017. Research Findings Presentation' (PPT)
  4. RESEARCH SUMMARY (Leaders Notes) 'Research Project, 2017. Research Findings Presentation (Leaders Notes)' (PDF 4 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.

We can report that the evidence suggests that prayer space activities do indeed contribute to the spiritual development of children and young people.” Professor Julian Stern & Rachael Shillitoe