Values and Ethos Statement

Dear Visitor,

Our school uses a resource called Values For Life as a basis for our Collective Worship. These Values are shared with children on a regular basis, and reinforced through our teaching.

 

Most of these Values can be said to be ‘human Values’ and inclusive for people with different or diverse faiths, and also for those with no faith. As a Church of England school, however, we have rooted these Values in stories from the Bible.

In 2013 we conducted a consultation exercise to establish which Values were particularly important to members of this community. The final, selected set of Values are listed below, along with a small explanation, and linked to a Bible story which illustrates the Value well and is particularly memorable for the children.

 

 

British Values

We have provided a web page which explains more about our promotion of the  following British Values;

  • Democracy
  • The rule of law
  • Individual liberty
  • Mutual respect
  • Tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs

The Welcome page (here) and the Governors’ statement on behaviour principles (here) also form part of the school’s ethos statement.

2015 – 2016 Value Christian basis Example Bible Story
Friendship Friendship is an undisputed Value in our society, with children often spending more time with their friends than with family. It is a key concept in the Christian framework, with Jesus being criticised for being ˜the friend of sinners’ and eating with those whom society rejected. The barriers between people are broken down in a loving community around God and Jesus had stern words to say to those who refused to recognise that all are included in this community of friendship. Friends are not afraid to tell each other the truth and a friend’s loving criticism is worth more than the empty compliments of someone who does not really care for you. The friendship of David and Jonathan is very strongly emphasised in the Bible, Abraham is described as the friend of God (James 2:23) and Jesus explicitly calls his disciples not servants but friends (John 15:14 – 15). True friendship enables each person to grow and ensures that the unique individuality of each person is recognised. All this echoes the Value placed by God on the preciousness of each person. We should reflect on the following questions: How does the school support and encourage friendship bonds by providing opportunities for children to work cooperatively and collaboratively in pairs and in groups? How does the school community find ways to support and include pupils who might be left out of friendship groups? How does the school help pupils to restore broken friendships and promote reconciliation? How does the school help children know where they might receive advice and support if they need it? David and Jonathan 1 Samuel 18
Forgiveness In the Lord’s Prayer we ask God to forgive us our sins or trespasses as we forgive those who sin against us. What a thing to ask! We are saying we wish God to treat us in the same way we treat other people! Forgiveness is the means by which damaged relationships are restored. It is an act of the will, motivated by love. Children and adults in school are helped to acknowledge that we all make mistakes and we all need forgiveness from God and each other. How are children and adults within the school community helped to acknowledge that we all make mistakes and we all need forgiveness from God and each other? How does the school help all members of the community to make amends for their mistakes? How does the school celebrate the idea that God’s love is so great that forgiveness is always possible? How does the school foster the idea that forgiveness and acceptance of all builds the life of the school community? The Prodigal Son Luke 15
Hope Hope is a word that we use a great deal in ordinary conversation and has consequently lost something of its power” I hope you can join me for lunch – The children hope that the school will be closed by snow tomorrow. At another and a much deeper level, hope is a universal human phenomenon which sustains people in times of great personal difficulty . People hope for peace in time of war; for food in time of famine; for justice in time of oppression and this hope can sustain them and give them energy. Where there is no hope society spirals downwards. For some people, hope is so strong that it inspires self-sacrifice to turn their hope into reality. Christians see their hope in God’s promise that love and goodness ultimately will (and already have) overcome all evil. This hope is manifested in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. How does the school promote a vision of a hopeful future? How does the school help children to understand that there is a chance of a new beginning and a fresh start in every situation? How does the school help the children to understand how they can play their part in creating a more sustainable environment and a better society? How does the school help pupils to understand how they are citizens of the world and that this citizenship brings challenges and responsibilities? The Story of Simeon Luke 2
2016 – 2017 Value Christian basis Example Bible Story
Respect As Moses approached the presence of God in the burning bush, God said to him: ˜Do not come any closer. Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground. ‘ This scene captures something of the essence of ˜reverence’ and ‘respect’. Respect for God extends to respect for all creation, including all people, animals and our environment. In school children and adults are expected to show respect for each other, their belongings and their environment. Reverence takes this response a step further and will include aspects of worship such as awe and wonder, surrender and sacrifice. We should reflect on the following questions: How are pupils given the opportunity in school to experience feelings of awe, wonder and mystery? Are there places and objects around the school that are considered ‘holy or sacred’, which help children reflect and wonder at the nature of God? What special words, sacramental actions or religious symbols are used to challenge and inform children’s understanding of God? How do children show their respect for each other and adults in the school community? How are children encouraged to Value and respect their own and other people’s belongings? How do policies and practices in the school engender respect for all members of the school community? The life of Mother Teresa (NOT a Bible story)
Responsibility The Bible teaches that life is a gift from God and it is our responsibility to use our talents and abilities in the best way we can. In school children are taught to Value the contribution that everybody makes to the team. We consider the following questions; How are pupils encouraged to act responsibly in the classroom? How do we act responsibly for our immediate and wider environment? How much responsibility is the school council given to implement the decisions it makes? Are children encouraged to think about where responsibility lies for ethical issues they encounter? Do children understand that attainment in classroom tasks lies not only with the teacher but also with the individual? Parable of the 3 servants Matthew 25
Justice The Biblical book of Amos chapter 5 verse 24, says “Let justice roll down like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream! ” There are many different facets to the Biblical concept of Justice. Justice and mercy are key themes of the writings of the Old Testament prophets. Biblical justice is more than fairness and equality, it is a strong bias towards the weak, the poor and the socially disadvantaged who are cared for, whether they ˜deserve’ it or not. All have a right to life, freedom and dignity. In God’s eyes every person is precious and oppression or discrimination, on any grounds, has no place (Exodus chapter 23 verses 2,6). God’s justice is gracious ” He always acts justly and he calls on people to do the same. Justice is often interpreted in terms of seeking rights for oneself or one’s own group (˜we demand justice’) when biblically it is really an action on behalf of others. This does not mean that one has to ignore injustices to oneself, but it does shift the focus. ˜Justice’ is not for ˜just me’. This means that Christians will be more keen to protect others than themselves and will always wish to see right prevail. Justice builds a community where everyone’s well-being is bound up with that of everyone else. Without true Justice there cannot be true Peace. How does our school make children aware of global justice issues? How does our school support charities? What strategies are in place to ensure that rules and procedures in the school are fair and just? How do we encourage pupils to take responsibility for each other in the school community and to develop a sense of responsibility towards their “neighbours” near and far? How does our school ensure that it is an inclusive community for all? How does the school demonstrate compassion and help for those who have made mistakes? The Story of Jonah (The book of Jonah)
Thankfulness The Apostle Paul tells his readers to be thankful in all circumstances (I Thessalonians chapter 5 verse 18). Christians believe that God loves and cares for them in many different ways in all aspects of their life. They know that their response to this provision should be one of thankfulness and praise. We look at the following issues: How do we encourage an appreciative and thankful attitude in all members of our school community? How does the school raise consciousness of being thankful for those things we often take for granted? How do we encourage children to show gratitude in practical ways? How do we give thanks for new members of our school community? (eg. Is there a special welcoming service for reception children or new staff etc? ) The man who came back Luke 17
Generosity God’s generosity is best described as ˜grace’, love given freely without limit or conditions. This generosity, once experienced and acknowledged by an individual can in turn release a generous spirit towards others. We will be helping our children to understand the concept of giving without seeking any reward and exploring how they can act with generosity not only with material objects but also with their time, words and actions. Do pupils truly understand the concept of giving without seeking any reward? How are pupils encouraged to act with generosity in both their words and their actions? Which areas of the curriculum enable the children to consider the importance of being generous not only with material objects but also with time, spirit and talents? The big party Matthew 22 and Luke 14
2017 – 2018 Value Christian basis Example Bible Story
Perseverance Although the word refers to humans standing firm in the face of hardship, persecution or scorn, it is important to note the constant assurance in the Bible that God’s love, mercy, faithfulness and righteousness endure forever (e. g. Psalm 118, 136). At its root, endurance is recognition that life is sometimes difficult and painful, and that it is important not to give up in the face of adversity. Jesus endured rejection, abuse and the cross, and his followers are warned that they may well have to share that pain as persecution took hold. How are pupils encouraged and given skill is to persevere through difficult times? What practical resources does the school draw on to help pupils who are struggling to succeed and achieve, and how does the school support and encourage them in their endeavours? How does the school marking policy encourage perseverance and tenacity? How do learning and teaching strategies encourage and motivate children? How do you help children understand that hard work in all curriculum areas is worth the effort? The lost sheep Luke’s Gospel Chapter 15
Compassion In the Gospels we find many stories of Jesus showing compassion to the sick and the downtrodden of society as he healed them or welcomed them into his circle. Christians believe that their attitudes and actions must reflect the kindness, mercy and compassion of Jesus, and the love of God for everyone, with that special concern for the poor and the oppressed. “Compassion” is a much stronger word than “sympathy”, it is more than feeling sorry for someone. If you have compassion for someone you step into their shoes, you share their experiences and sufferings, and you have a desire to support them and, where possible, to act on their behalf. Christians have always had to wrestle with the problem of how a loving God could allow there to be evil and suffering in the world. There is no simple response to this question, but part of the answer is that God the Father is not passively observing the suffering of the world from the outside. He identified with human suffering in the life and death of Jesus and continues to work to transform the sufferings of the world through the work of the Holy Spirit. As a school community we try to reflect on the following questions: In what ways do we encourage members of the school community to show kindness and respect to one another? How do we foster links with charities for the homeless or those in need? Do we have links with elderly people in our locality? How are new members of the school community nurtured and supported in their first term? How does the school help, and encourage pupils to understand and empathise with members of their community who have suffered traumatic experiences, e. g. bereavement? The feeding of the 5,000 Matthew 14
Service Properly understood, Christian Service is a revolutionary concept. The notion of service calls individuals to lay selfish things aside for the needs of others. It is also an important Value for all social relationships. Words relating to “servant” and “service” are central in Christian theology. Some of the most important prophecies in Isaiah speak of the coming of the “Servant of the Lord” and his role as a “suffering servant. ” That is why Jesus said that he came “not to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. ” The story of Jesus washing the feet of his disciples at the Last Supper is well known – this is where he takes on the role of the lowest servant rather than that of the master. Jesus tells us clearly what is the meaning of this action: “Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done. ” Serving God means serving others. Meaning is found in service rather than in self-centredness. It runs counter to the idea that life is all about competition, or that freedom simply means doing what suits me, or my group, best. It also means that we cannot serve other masters as well (i. e. focus on these as the things of greatest importance) – such as money and possessions. These are some of the questions we will be exploring together: How are pupils encouraged to serve one another? How are acts of service celebrated in school? Are school members active in service in the wider community? Which areas of the curriculum enable the children to consider the importance of service? Numerous adults serve the school community behind the scenes. Are the children aware of who they are and what they do? How do children show their appreciation and gratitude to those who serve them? The story of Esther Esther 4 & 5