At St. Andrew’s & St. Mark’s C of E Junior School we aim to provide a caring and secure Christian environment. All pupils will be given access to a stimulating and broad curriculum which aims to encourage them to realise their full potential, both in school and the wider community. We serve a diverse community and we focus on the importance of developing our children both academically and personally. This is expressed through our Christian and inclusive ethos which permeates the school’s life and explores the Christian values, such as compassion, service and hope, alongside key skills. These values are known as the 7Rs and include resilience, respect and repair which are grounded in biblical teaching.
Our Christian Identity:
- Our Christian identity is lived through the consistently high expectations and mutually supportive relationships of children and staff alike.
- Our effective behaviour policy is clearly based on Christian principles such as love, justice and respect.
- As an expression of our Christian foundation, SMSC development is given a high priority. Each year, a theme week is dedicated to developing the pupils’ SMSC education. This year, we will be learning about democracy.
- Our collective worship policy and weekly Songs of Praise develops and nourishes our daily worship for the children to understand the Christian fundaments and the Christian way of life.
- The children in the school attend a termly service in one of our local churches. We have close links with the local incumbent, who is also our Head of Governors (Robert Stanier).
- Prayer corners are in every classroom and each classroom has a ‘Spiritual Journal’ in which children can regularly write reflections about church services, RE lessons, collective worship and Christian values.
- Weekly PSHE lessons and circle time enable pupils to develop their curiosity through questioning that helps them explore and articulate spiritual and ethical issues.
- Throughout the school, we refer to the 7Rs in order to contribute to the children’s character education. The children are celebrated for showing attributes of the 7Rs.
- Charitable giving is seen as an important expression of our responsibility towards God and the wider world. Opportunities for giving and for fund-raising, such as the Bishop’s Lent Appeal, are well supported by the whole school community. As one Year 4 pupil explained, ‘harvest gifts collected for the local food bank are to help people who need food and to show kindness’. Each year the school contributes to the Bishop’s Lent Appeal and the Kingston Food Bank.
- We have a wide range of clubs that encourage teamwork skills and service opportunities. Cooking club regularly creates meals for a local homeless charity (JOEL).
- Our choir sings at a number of venues throughout the year, including a local nursing home. In 2019, our choir took part in ‘Proms Praise’, an opportunity to take part in a massed choir, celebrating the story of the Exodus.
- Our children are given opportunities to be mindful and reflect on issues of spiritual, moral and ethical concern. We use the Jigsaw scheme of work which encourages mindfulness and calming activities.
- Springs Dance Company (a Christian dance group who teach children about bible stories and Christian messages) provide Christmas and Easter workshops for all pupils.
- The RE curriculum successfully encourages an appreciation of difference and diversity through considering some similarities and differences between Christianity and other world faiths, including Islam, Sikhism and Buddhism.
· Our programme of daily Collective Worship is central in sustaining and promoting our Christian foundation. Different elements of our Christian ethos and values are clearly planned for, as are key Christian festivals and Anglican practices.
· The incumbent at our local churches leads an act of Collective worship on a weekly basis.
· Local, national and international events are drawn on to enhance our worship further and the importance of our Collective Worship themes are reflected in the children’s planners along with the school and end of school day prayers. A Year 6 pupil said, ‘Worship is mostly interesting and helps you reflect and be quiet inside’.
· We also visit the churches of St Andrew and St Mark to celebrate Harvest, Christmas and Easter and the Leavers’ Service.
· Whole school Eucharist services are also held in school, on a termly basis. Biblical teachings and stories are closely related to the school’s Christian values and to events in the world today. This contributes to a high level of understanding of the importance of the Bible for Christians and particularly of the significance of Jesus and his teaching.
· Prayer is also an important part of school life and each class writes their own prayer. Each class has a reflection book in which to gather their thoughts and reflections.