OUR VISION -
GROWTH IN BODY MIND AND SPIRIT
God is at the heart of all we do. The focus is on providing opportunities for growth in body, mind and spirit, so that all who learn and work here may experience the joy and hope of ‘life in all its fullness’ (John 10 v10).
This means that we provide opportunities for each pupils to ‘be the best they can be’, to find for themselves the person God wants them to be and to flourish in a learning environment where the pursuit of excellence based on the highest expectations and aspirations from and for all, is the norm.
Body Where the safety and well-being of pupils are paramount. Where every child matters and, crucially, knows that they matter.
Mind High expectations and aspirations in all areas of school life create a disciplined and ordered learning environment. Creativity, passion and enthusiasm help to engender a real zest for learning and secure excellent pupil outcomes.
Spirit Supporting spiritual growth for pupils and staff, wherever they are on their faith journey, is central to our community life. Prayer, worship, wow moments to acknowledge God’s greatness, reflecting on Christian values, character development across the curriculum and expressing ideas creatively all develop the spirit and contribute to ‘life in all its fullness’.
All our policies, decision making, curriculum decisions and extra-curricular activities are rooted in this vision and leaders at all levels are routinely encouraged to think about how their actions might link back to and reflect this vision.
The following seeks to explain the way our vision is rooted in the Bible and the way in which different expressions of our vision explain how we search out ‘life in all its fullness’ as a result of growth in body, mind and spirit.
Life in all its fullness
‘I have come in order that you might have life—life in all its fullness.’
Educating for ‘life in all its fullness’ means enabling pupils to grow in ‘Body Mind and Spirit’. This challenges secular perceptions of what a full life might be and emphasises the importance of the spirit and the soul. It draws on the New Testament understanding of a human being as more than just physical body and intellect. Life in all its fullness is life based on Jesus’ call to love. Worship, prayer, RE, the Arts, thinking about Christian values across the curriculum, character development and our rich programme of extra-curricular activities are just some of the ways in which we seek to support growth in body, mind and spirit and offer abundant life. Our ‘Character for Life’ Initiative’, based on the image of the ‘fruits of the spirit’ (Galatians 5 v22-3), supports spiritual development by providing space for reflection and possibly prayer across the curriculum.
The context of Jesus saying ‘I have come that you might have life – life in all its fullness’ is Jesus speaking of himself as the Good Shepherd. He compares himself to a shepherd who cares for his flock and wants the best for them. Unlike the thief who comes to steal, kill and destroy, he has come to offer ‘life in abundance’.
Our vision of educating for life in all its fullness is rooted in the Church of England’s vision for education ‘Deeply Christian, Serving the Common Good’. Educating for life in all its fullness includes:
- Educating for wisdom knowledge and skills.
- Educating for hope and aspiration.
- Educating for community and living well together.
- Educating for dignity and respect.
Motto – ‘Therefore Choose’
‘This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Therefore choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him.’
The context is the renewal of the covenant between God and the people of Israel. Moses offers the people a choice of blessing or curse, life or death, as a consequence of the choices they make. He points out that the way they live will bring consequences – by choosing God’s way they are choosing life and God’s blessing. Christians believe Jesus shows us how to live. Making choices based on the teaching of Jesus leads to life in all its fullness.
The Old Testament law provided for the well-being of the people of Israel, including provision for growth in body, mind and spirit. Equipping pupils to make good choices, informed by understanding of the consequences, is an important part of growth in body, mind and spirit.
There are a number of covenants between God and His people in the Old Testament. Our pupils studying Judaism for RE GCSE will know about the covenant with Abraham and the covenant with Moses when the law, including the Ten Commandments, was given.
The Story of St Michael
Seeking for ‘life in all its fullness’ includes fighting evil and working for a better world. All pupils in Year 7 explore this story in Year 7 RE and on their first Christian Values Enrichment day on St Michael’s Day. They make a creative response to the story and offer their own interpretation of what it means to fight evil in their own lives and in the wider world.
As a vibrant learning community, we choose to serve God,
pursue excellence, and celebrate the uniqueness of each individual
A vibrant learning community
As a church school we seek to function as a Christian community, living by Christian values and sharing worship together. We strive to mirror the community life of the early church. They shared fellowship, prayed together, ‘broke bread’ i.e. celebrated the Eucharist, listened to the apostles teaching and provided support for those in need (Acts 2 v42-47).
At the same time, we recognise that many of those who share our community life are in different places on a faith journey and may be committed to other religions, have many questions and doubts, or have no faith. It is important that our community is welcoming and respects the integrity of all. This means worship will be invitational and that we demonstrate respect for different viewpoints. We follow the example of Jesus who engaged in dialogue with people of other faiths, e.g. a Roman Centurion or the Samaritan Woman. We offer encounter with the Christian faith. We encourage both our young people and adults to engage with big questions about life and faith.
Koinonia is the Greek word used for Christian fellowship in Acts 2. This implies more than just a sense of community. It means growing in communion with both God and fellow Christians. Christians believe that the love of God should be evident in the lives of Christians (1 John 4 v7-8). The Holy Spirit lives within Christians (1 Corinthians 6 v 19-20). Therefore, for Christians, Koinonia includes encountering the love of God in the love of those Christians we meet daily within our community (1 John 4 v11-12).
As a Christian community we are the body of Christ and have Christ as our head (1 Corinthians 12 v12-31). This image makes clear that every member of the body has an important gift which is essential to the functioning of the whole body. Everyone is important, no matter what role they play.
We choose to serve God
Jesus was a servant leader. He demonstrated God’s love in his compassion for those in need and his sacrificial death for all. He washed the disciples’ feet at the Last Supper – a job usually reserved for the lowest servant (John 13 v 3-17). In the Parable of Sheep and the Goats, Jesus points out that when we do any act of service it is as if we have served Him. ‘Whatever you do for the least of my brothers you do for me’ (Matthew 25 v 3-46). This challenges everyone within our community to put love into action and serve as Jesus served.
Service of God includes love of God and love of our neighbour. It includes worship and prayer. It also includes serving the most needy members of our society. It includes courageous advocacy, encouraging all to speak out and act for justice, serving God by meeting the needs of the most vulnerable in our local community and world community.
We choose to …pursue excellence
Doing the very best for God is an important part of stewarding the talents God has given. In whatever task they face, Christians should seek to do it to the best of their ability (Colossians 3 v23). The parable of the talents (Matthew 25 v14-30) is about stewardship of the gifts God has given.
We choose to …celebrate the uniqueness of each individual
Each individual member of the community is unique and precious in God’s eyes – whoever they are, whatever they do and whatever their needs. God knows and cares for each precious person. (Luke 12 v6-7). Christians believe all life is sacred and holy, because it is made by God and in His image (Genesis 1 26-7). God has plans for each unique individual (Jeremiah 29 v 11).
This affects the way we value and treat all members of the community, pupils, staff and parents. It makes an impact on our relationships and behaviour management.
‘Therefore Choose…’ was put into a Christian context when the school was built by the statement on the foundation stone in the entrance hall. 1 Corinthians 3 v11:
‘Other foundation can no man lay than that which is laid which is Christ Jesus.’
The context of this passage is Paul writing to the Corinthians to express concern about the way they say they are following a variety of different human leaders such as Apollos or Paul. He says that he himself has played a part in building the Christian community in Corinth, but it is only Jesus who can provide the true foundation. He also points out the importance of building with care and so challenges us as we develop our school community, ‘If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is ‘.
The words recall the words of Jesus when he described himself as the essential cornerstone and a secure foundation for life, saying, ‘The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone’ (Luke 20 v17).