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Using Coaching to Partner with Local Schools

Thetford Vineyard

Julie Allsopp from Thetford Vineyard tells her story of becoming a coach and how it developed in a way that she says only the Lord could have made happen.

“In 2021, I joined the relatively new church plant at Thetford and the Senior Pastors, Matt and Tor, asked me to coach new and emerging leaders within the church. Around this time, following some VCUKI refresher training with the coaching team, I was also thinking about setting myself up as a professional coach.

At the start of 2022, Tor approached me with an idea. One of the main missions of Thetford Vineyard is to bless the schools of the town and they’ve done this in many varied ways: hampers of goodies for the staff after an Ofsted inspection, a Sunday morning spent painting a shed or planting trees on a playing field – they’ve done lots of practical things to show them God’s love. Tor’s idea was to use me as a coach, to support and encourage the staff in some of the schools. She knew that in these schools, pressure was intense, work cultures pretty toxic and consequently staff turnover was high, leading to many of the primary schools underperforming and struggling. 

Matt and Tor suggested putting forward a proposal to the Regional Director of Primary Education in Thetford for me to coach a couple of senior leaders, with my professional fees being paid 50/50 by the church and the school, in a partnership together. This then led to me going into one primary school in September to begin a six-month coaching package with six teachers on the Senior Leadership Team, including the head. That project is still ongoing, and has developed in ways I could never have imagined. 

Last week, I began a second project in another primary school in Thetford, with another Senior Leadership Team of six, including the head. The second school came about on recommendation from the first… so it’s snowballing! This is the church partnering with the schools in a pioneering way – it’s amazing! I am completely loving the coaching, the teachers are all benefiting from it and loving it, and the church is having an incredible impact on the town through God’s grace. He has opened doors, given us courage, presented us with opportunities we could never have conjured up ourselves. It’s an exciting journey! What an amazing way God has used coaching at Thetford Vineyard.”

If you are interested in receiving coaching or being trained to become a coach you can find more information here.

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