Matthew 22:34-40 is a song that the children regularly sing in Collective Worship.
In the passage from Matthew, Jesus is asked what the greatest commandment is. He replies “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind, and love your neighbour as yourself.”
One of the most crucial things in life is to know that you are loved. When you know you are loved unconditionally and valued for who you are it enables you to grow and flourish in all sorts of ways.
The Bible teaches that God loves each of us unconditionally – there is nothing we can do that will make God love us any more or any less. To “Love the Lord your God” is not about sticking to a set of rules. Instead it is about looking to make a positive difference in the world we live in. For example, God has given us a wonderful world to live in. Loving God means caring for his creation and seeking to pass it onto the next generation in a better state than which we found it.
Loving God also involves loving your neighbour. Our neighbours are not just the people around us who look like us and think like us, they are also the people who are different from us. As we all know, this can be a challenge!
At St. Helen’s school we want children to feel valued and loved by each other whatever their background, gifts, skills and abilities. We recognise that God has created each of us uniquely and every one of us can bring something positive to our community.
The St. Helen’s school badge already reflects this vision. Based around the cross, the ultimate sign and symbol of God’s love for us, the branches from it symbolising the growth that can come from being loved. On the branches are the fruit, the positive differences that we can make in the world.
With Christian Values at our core, we inspire life-long learning through providing rich diverse opportunities for all in a safe, secure, nurturing and stimulating environment.
We aim to encourage:
An inclusive school where all children and staff are valued respected and trusted so they can take pride in themselves and their work.
Every individual at St Helen’s knows that they are treasured and loved as a unique child of God.
Children to have the opportunity to grow confidently and investigate their Christian faith.
Children to question and become creative and curious learners who will push the boundaries and take risks.
Resilient young people who are able to adapt and relate to the changing world around them.
Vision is what keeps us moving forward, even during tough times. Vision is the most powerful motivator in our school. As our vision is meaningful we can all do outstanding things to bring it to realisation and be proud of what we have achieved.
Our Christian Values
We hope that our core Christian values will help children understand that there are some central beliefs that people hold, and learn to fall back on these when making choices and decisions using these core values as important guiding tool.
Love – Love each other as I (Jesus) have loved you. (John 13:34)
Perseverance – Be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded. (2 Chronicles 15:7)
Friendship – Two are better than one….if either falls down, one can help the other up (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10)
Trust – Trust in the lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding (Proverbs 3:5)
Learning together through our Christian values of Love, Perseverance, Friendship and Trust
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 and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs.”
The government’s definition of British values (set out in the 2011 Prevent Strategy) have been reinforced by David Cameron this year. At St Helen’s Church of England Primary School these values are reinforced habitually and in the following ways:
St Helen’s Church of England Primary School is an inclusive setting and our ethos and curriculum enables children to be independent learners, to make choices, and to build strong relationships with other children and adults. We believe that children flourish best when their personal, social and emotional needs are met and where there are clear and appropriate expectations for their behaviour.
Democracy is rife within the school. Pupils have the opportunity to have their voices heard through our Pupil Parliament, House meetings, House Captain, School choir and Pupil questionnaires. The elections of House Captains, is through a whole school voting process, over seen by the teachers. Our school behaviour policy involves rewards as well as sanctions as and when warranted.
The importance of Laws, whether they be those that govern the class, the school, or the country, are consistently reinforced throughout the school, as well as when dealing with behaviour and through school assemblies. Pupils are taught the value and reasons behind laws, that they govern and protect us, the responsibilities that this involves and the consequences when laws are broken.
Within school, pupils are actively encouraged to make choices, knowing that they are in a safe and supportive environment. As a school we educate and provide boundaries for young pupils to make choices safety, through our provision of a safe environment and building learning power. Pupils are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms and advise how to exercise these safely, for example through our E-Safety and PSHE lessons. Whether it be through choice of challenge, of how they record, of participation in our extra-curricular clubs and opportunities, pupils are given the freedom to make choices.
Part of our school ethos and behaviour policy demonstrates our Core Values such as ‘Respect’, and pupils have been part of discussions and assemblies related to what this means and how it is shown. All stakeholders are expected to adhere to the school’s Golden Rules to enable a safe and respectful environment.
This is achieved through enhancing pupils understanding of their place in a culturally diverse society and by giving them opportunities to experience such diversity. Assemblies and discussions involving prejudices and prejudice-based bullying have been followed and supported by learning in RE and PSHE. Children of different faiths in our school are encouraged to share their experiences of their various festivals and ceremonies. Members of different faiths or religions are encouraged to come to school and share their knowledge in assemblies and in the classes to enhance learning the school.