Reverend Cécile Schnyder has become the first School Chaplain of James Allen’s Girls’ School (JAGS), joining the school’s pastoral team to strengthen the care and support available to pupils.
Reverend Cécile joins the school from her previous role as Assistant Curate in The Sutton Team Ministry. She has previously worked as a school therapist in the London Borough of Newham and Toxteth, Liverpool.
Her role will be shared with the local community as she has also been appointed Priest-in-Charge of St Clement with St Peter Church in East Dulwich.
At JAGS, she will be Chaplain to the entire school community, including staff and parents and will available to support everyone, regardless of their individual beliefs.
Speaking of her appointment, Cécile said: “I’m really excited to move to Dulwich and work in both a church and a school. I will now be able to work for people in the parish, whether it’s drinking tea with them or holding weddings and funerals, but will also be helping more young people again which I have missed.
“My job at the school will not be about getting people into church. Whatever our beliefs, we have the same questions and I really want to be there for those who need help making sense of their lives and discovering who they are.
“I’m not a teacher, I’m not here to grade anyone, so I hope all pupils will see me as someone in between who they can talk to whatever questions they may have.”
She has always been interested in women’s education so being able to work in an all girls’ school added to the appeal of the role for her.
She joins a very strong support system for pupils at JAGS which includes partnerships with many external practices such as CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services) counsellors and The South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, in addition to extensive support from qualified school staff.
Deputy Head of JAGS, with responsibility for pastoral care, Samantha Payne commented: “We are delighted to welcome Reverend Cécile to JAGS as our first Chaplain and it’s fantastic that we can share her with the local community at the Parish church.
“At JAGS, wellbeing is a top priority and Cécile brings with her a wealth of experience in counselling and supporting young people. With her warm personality and sense of humour there is no doubt that she will have a hugely positive impact on the school community, complementing our already established pastoral provision. ”
In addition to Cécile, the pastoral team will gain a further new member in the form of her Chaplaincy basset hound, Lina. With a great deal of experience as a petting dog, Lina is sure to be another popular appointment with the JAGS girls.