Schools (and School Chaplaincy)
At the present time, it is very unlikely that school chaplains will be allowed to enter a school to engage with pupils, regardless of which level an area is in. School chaplains should always check with the Head Teacher to ascertain the position. School Chaplains may consider alternatives such as recording talks for the classroom or an assembly.
Congregations may be asked by schools to host an Assembly or Prizegiving in the worship space. Such activities can take place in church buildings; however, the minister or chaplain will need to determine whether the activity is an ‘act of worship’ or an ‘event’.
If it is an act of worship (assembly, story/chaplain input, prayer, song etc) then you can follow the worship guidance which has no maximum number other than the numbers that can safely fit in the building (under 12s do not need to distance).
If it is a prizegiving (even with a prayer at the end) then it would be an indoor event which can only take place at level 2 and below. The events guidance sets limits on indoor events at 100 (level 2), 200 (level 1) and 400 (level 0) and all ages (except for under 5s) must be counted in the numbers. As an example, even although under 12’s do not need to physically distance from each other, you could not, in a level 2 area, fit four classes of 32 children, plus teachers into the church as that would breach the events limit.
Children under the age of 12 do not need to physically distance from one another. This may mean that you can revise your PDBC to take account of extra children being able to fit into the church.
We are aware that a number of congregations have either offered or have been approached by their local schools to see if their church buildings can be used to support children returning to schools. Congregations who are considering using their church buildings in this way are encouraged to have early discussions with their local schools and to contact the Law Department for advice and assistance on establishing a letting agreement.