Worship is outstanding because of the meticulous and rigorous planning, monitoring and evaluation procedures.
Although children create a reverent atmosphere in the hall, there is also a very strong feeling of anticipation and excitement as they wait for worship to begin.
Pupils explain that ‘worship teaches us to be happy and honest and we learn how to be more tolerant.’
(SIAS Inspection March 2010)
Our Collective Worship takes various forms, planned on a termly basis, with regular input from the Faith Factory, to give the children a sense of continuity and relevance. Collective Worships are very much part of our daily school life. They are child-friendly and interactive. We share stories, Bible readings, songs and hymns as well as times of reflection and of prayer.
Our Worship Singers are a huge asset to our Worship in School.
Our worship follow a set pattern:
Monday: Songs and Worship
Tuesday: A Values Lead Collective Worship
Wednesday: The church team of St. Andrew‟s Church
Thursday: Our ‘Child of the Week’ Collective Worship where children in every class who have demonstrated an improvement in attitude, work or behaviour are identified for this, praised by their teacher in front of the whole school family and celebrated.
Friday: Class Collective Worship or Follow-up Values Collective Worship
Parents and friends are invited to class Collective Worships and also to our services in St. Andrew’s Church during the year. Visiting speakers, including clergy of other denominations and representatives of charities, also join us occasionally for worship. As a Church of England school, our worship is an important part of school life together. Parents do have the right to withdraw their children from Collective Worship, but are invited to discuss concerns before making any decision.
Christian values are at the heart of this school ‘like writing through a stick of rock.’
‘The ethos of this school gives pupils a firm knowledge base upon which to make moral decisions and choices as a foundation for their future lives as members of a multicultural society.’
SIAS (Statutory Inspection of Anglican Schools)
Children today live in a complex and confusing world – a world in which progress and self-gain are often at the expense of understanding and compassion.
Our children have to learn to be in that world, to take their place in it, to observe and respond to it and to deal with even complex and troubling situations in a socially acceptable way.
Our programme of Values Education provides the children in our care with a set of values against which to judge the world. It empowers them to make their own judgements and decisions and to do so from a position of strength and self-respect. It provides them with the language to articulate, to empathise and to think through. At its best it enables children to reach the freedom to make choices by reflecting and thinking deeply; creating understanding and then wisdom (sometimes called spiritual intelligence) within a supportive, empathetic and non-judgemental environment. It provides an inner confidence, deeply and positively founded.
Building upon a sense of right and wrong, our children learn to grow as reflective learners able to deal with failure and learn from making mistakes. They gradually gain true independence of mind and action, form positive relationships and develop a clear sense of social responsibility. The self-knowledge and peace of mind that this process leads to is essential to concentration, observation, analysis and learning. There is no need for unhelpful, attention-seeking behaviour of any sort.
As a Church of England School, we would describe the Values as those principles and characteristics displayed by Jesus throughout His ministry and teaching and by His own example. Recognised by Christians as integral to their faith, these are nevertheless universally esteemed by people of any faith or none as values by which to live a good life. These Values provide all our children and indeed our whole school community, with a moral code by which to live and a firm foundation and standard against which to evaluate the experiences of life.
These Values include: trust, unselfish love, respect for all and for self, care for others, tolerance, responsibility, kindness, happiness, unity, honesty, compassion, faith, commitment, courage, peace, truth, justice, forgiveness, reconciliation, patience, hope, humility, risk, freedom and faith.
Values may be selected by staff as relevant to the school at the time; by parents as working with and supporting their home values; or occasionally by the children in response to particular need. Selecting one for each half term, on a two year programme, these Values become the focus and unifying theme for our worship, whether church or school led and underpin all relationships (including behaviour management) in school.
Through Collective Worship, PSHE, and Circle Times, as well as class, group and individual work, Values Education underpins and supports the child’s entire school experience – from curriculum to relationships and play. The children reflect upon the values and learn to ‘live’ them, to own and to use them in their everyday lives. Thus they are enabled to become confident learners for life – personally responsible, yet successfully interacting with others.
- The balance of values and what is and isn’t important is spot on! (Year 6 parent)
- The Values Programme helps us as parents to provide morality and values to our children (Nursery and Year 2 parent)
- By conveying values and teaching children to think about how their behaviour affects others. St Andrew’s helps the children to develop strong social skills and provides a foundation for life beyond. (Year 2 parent)
- Pupils’ behaviour is outstanding
- Pupils’ social and moral development is particularly strong
- The school nurtures pupils very well
- All-encompassing care is a significant element of the school’s ethos.
The DfE have recently reinforced the need to ‘create and enforce a clear and rigorous expectation on all schools to promote the fundamental British Values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, mutual respect and the tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs.’
The Government set out its definition of British Values in the 2011 Prevent Strategy and these values have been reiterated by the Prime Minister this year (2014). At St. Andrew’s these values are modelled and consistently reinforced in the following ways.
- Children at St. Andrew’s play an ever-increasing role in school leadership.
- Offering their opinions within the forums of Class and School Family Circle Time discussions and via the mouthpieces of their peer-elected School Councillors, every child has a voice that can be heard and that is listened to.
- Worship Leaders (including the members of our newly-formed Faith Factory group) lead Collective Worship and children of all ages independently lead prayer.
- Young Leaders (Year 5) are trained to lead the organisation of playground games and to look after equipment.
- Eco-warriors are chosen by their peers to look after our school environment and to canvas opinion and instigate action on such issues as sustainability and recycling.
- The children independently complete an annual Pupil Questionnaire and, after responses have been analysed, those expressing common concerns meet with the Headteacher to find ways of addressing these and of finding appropriate solutions.
- Annual pupil voice curriculum studies canvas opinion on the effectiveness of our curriculum, whether it has inspired and been enjoyed and how we can improve it.
- Teamwork is modelled by staff and constantly and consistently encouraged in the children. Every member is of equal importance, whatever their contribution; every voice is heard; and every opinion valued, even when it is not agreed with!
- Our Behaviour Policy proactively rewards considerate and collaborate action – whether in class, on the playground or around the school. ‘Marbles in the Jar’ can be awarded by any member of the school family, including – on occasions – the children themselves.
- We endeavour to instil in every child the knowledge that however small they are, they have the ability to make a difference – and they DO.
- Issues of democracy in the world beyond school are focused upon in an age-appropriate manner and parallels are drawn with life in school. A recent example was the Scottish Independence vote.
Rule of Law:
- In school our rules are very simple and centre upon the Christian values of love and forgiveness.
- Nevertheless, the importance of ‘laws’ to govern the class, school or country are upheld as important reinforced daily in the general running of the school as well as in behaviour management.
- The values and reasons behind the laws, as well as the ways in which they govern and protect us, are made apparent.
- Each class democratically decides their class rules, against which behaviour in class is judged.
- Annually Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2, working with the Headteacher and Deputy Headteacher, collaboratively compose the school Code of Conduct. Not only are all children then expected to consider the content carefully – and even to challenge it if they wish – before signing and displaying it, but it is also circulated to parents.
- Age-appropriate versions of our Home/School Agreement are presented and discussed on entry to each Key Stage, before being signed by the Chair of Governors, Headteacher, Parent and Child.
- Visits from people in authority reinforce the need for rules e.g. magistrate, PCSO, School Nurse and School Governors.
- Within school children are actively encouraged to make choices, whilst knowing that they are in a safe and supportive environment.
- Making the right choices and being forgiven and enabled to try again when they make the wrong ones, – underpins our behaviour management strategies.
- Within set boundaries children are educated to make choices safely, through the provision an empowering education offering extensive opportunities.
- Pupils are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms and are advised how to exercise these safely e.g. through e-safety, PSHE and Food Technology.
- Whether it be through choice of level of challenge; of how to record an answer; of who to work/play with; of what to have for lunch; or which of our many extra-curricular opportunities to take part in, the children are encouraged and given the freedom to make a choice and supported in living with it.
- In this way, it is our aim that our children will be able to evaluate the society in which they live and to make the informed, independent choices of good citizens.
- Mutual respect is one of the core Christian values that underpin every aspect of life in our school.
- All staff treat each other and the children in our care with respect. Raised voices are very rarely heard.
- We endeavour to respect and value one another’s person, property and opinions – even and especially when it is different to our own.
- Respect underpins every aspect of our classroom and school rules, as well as our Behaviour policy.
Tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs:
- Although as a school we have a lower than average number of minority groups represented, we fully appreciate the importance of enhancing pupils’ understanding of their place in a culturally diverse society and giving them opportunities to experience that diversity.
- We recognise that all humanity was created by God and is loved by Him. We should therefore love our fellow man and be tolerant of those different to ourselves.
- Collective Worship, our programme of Values Education and PSHE work emphasise tolerance and proactively and successfully educate against any form of prejudice or prejudice-based bullying, about which we are constantly vigilant.
- Representatives of different faiths and religions visit our school and share their experience in open and respectful discussion which enhances both knowledge and understanding.
- Educational visits to our own and contrasting places of worship are actively encouraged.
- Resource collections –books, DVDs and artefacts –are kept for the six major religions practised in Britain.
- In 2013 – 2014 the school achieved the International Schools’ Award at bronze level and, in 2014-2015, hope to achieve the International Schools’ Award at Accreditation (gold) level.
- The school has active and flourishing links with our sister school, Fass Elementary School in The Gambia, as well as with The Grange Primary School (Plaistow, London), the Ecole Elementaire (Nante, France) and locally with Amwell View Special School (SLD), Great Amwell.
- The school is fully compliant with the expectations of the Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED) set out in clause 149 of the Equality Act 2010 and Governors review progress against our Equality Action Plan annually (Summer FGB).