St. Mary’s C of E Primary School – Christian Values
St Mary’s School Ethos Statement
All schools are required by Ofsted to formulate an Ethos Statement which seeks to be a pithy and telling statement of the schools aims. At St Mary’s Church School our ethos statement seeks to reveal the distinctive character, attitude and spirit of our church school- the nature of its heart and soul.
Our Church School’s Ethos Statement is:
Live Life, Love Learning
Guided by God
As such, we want St Mary’s school children to see each day as being a wonderful gift to enjoy. We want to inspire in each child a love of learning so that they can have the confidence to develop their own special skills and achieve their full potential. We want all the children to know that they are a valued member of our school community. As the Vicar of St Mary’s, I believe every child is special in the eyes of God – that God wants the very best for them.
Over the last few months, the head teacher Miss Rainbow, myself as St Mary’s church vicar, one of the school governors and most importantly of all a group of children made up from each year group have been exploring what we believe are the Christian values that are important at our school to enable all of the children to flourish and become the best that they can be.
After a great deal of hard work by the children we have decided that the most important Christian values for our school at this time are:
Friendliness & Helpfulness Respect Fairness Team Work
Forgiveness Trust Stickability Thankfulness
Why ‘Christian Values’ rather than simply ‘Values’?
Any school can come up with a list of values, so why do we define ours as being Christian values. The answer is to say that our small working group did not simply sit down to agree a list of values that we thought would be a nice idea. Rather, we believe that the values we have identified are some of the values we can clearly see in the life and teachings of Jesus and we believe that Jesus would encourage us to place these values at the center of our school life. As such, we believe they should be seen running through the whole life of the school like the writing that can be seen running through a stick of rock.
But what about families of different faiths or those who do not believe in God? I hope I may allay any concerns parents may have by saying, firstly, in my experience as a church vicar families of other faiths welcome a recognisable Christian ethos. They like to know ‘where a school is coming from’ and secondly, we are not trying to coerce anybody into the Christian faith. As a school we encourage enquiry, questioning and discussion and yet are proud to say that we are a church school.
A Daily Reality
A School might choose to display its ethos statement and Christian values on an outside wall of the school building so that it is visible for all to see, in the school entrance so that it catches the eye of any visitor, or in the school hall where the children gather at the beginning of each school day. Over time our Church School is planning to do all three. But most importantly of all it is to be seen in the everyday life of the school. Lived out in the relationships that are formed, the conversations that happen, the activities that take place and in the choices that the children make.
The challenge for our school community is to make our ethos statement and Christian values a daily reality for the school and the children. As a school we have recently commissioned an artist to create a ‘Christian Values Tree’ display on the front wall of the school hall. Over the weeks that I have seen the display being painted and come to life, I have been absolutely delighted with the result. I believe we now have a beautiful display that we can use on a daily basis to help the children to remember our school’s Christian values. Each term we shall take one of the school values and explore in greater depth what it means and how it can be translated into the practical everyday actions of the children and indeed all of school staff/community.