Whitchurch Church of England Infant and Nursery School offers a high standard of education to all the children who attend from the town itself and the neighbouring area. We welcome all families regardless of their religious beliefs or otherwise.
As a Church school, we have Christian beliefs and values at our heart. The gifts of ‘Respect, Kindness, Honesty, Trust, Peace and Love’ are the values we hope and aspire that our children will foster.
We have close links to our local parish Church of St Alkmund's in Whitchurch who in turn belong to Churches Together in Whitchurch.
Our children take part in collective worship daily - Two days per week our whole school join together for morning worship and once a week we join together for songs of praise. On other days the children take part in worship within their classes or key stage.
Whitchurch Church of England Infant and Nursery School is a community school with a distinctive Christian character.
Long before the government became involved in providing education for everyone in our country, the Church of England had a vision that it wanted every parish to have a school for the education of poor children. By 1900, there were 5,700 state-funded schools and 14,000 schools funded by the Church of England. Today, approximately a quarter of all primary schools have a Church of England foundation, through which they strive to provide the highest standard of education possible, in partnership with the state.
What is a Church of England School?
From the earliest days, the purpose of Church schools was to enable children to flourish by providing a basic education and by developing their moral character. It was always intended that Church schools should be open to all of the children of the parish. The schools are not ‘faith schools’ in the sense of presuming that children are practising Christians or attempting to make converts of them. However, the ethos of the schools is based on distinctively Christian values and they will offer children an experience of faith through collective worship and links with the parish church. Religious Education in Church schools will always include teaching about other faiths and they will usually follow the same syllabus for RE as non- Church schools. Since 2010, some Church schools have been converted into academies. This process entails a new way of managing the school apart from the Local Authority and makes no difference to the way in which the foundation ethos of the school is lived out on a day-to-day basis.
What is added by being a Church of England school?
Church schools have Christian beliefs and values at their heart. This means that every child and adult associated with the school is not just important because they are members of the school but also because they are seen as unique individuals within God’s creation.
A Church school might have a school motto. Our school motto “Learning as we grow. Growing as we learn. Rooted in Jesus.” was created as a result of collaboration with all stakeholders. This statement is based on John 15:5;
'I am the vine; you are the branches.
If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit;
apart from me you can do nothing.'
Church schools recognise that as well as academic and emotional intelligence human beings also have spiritual intelligence. The spiritual aspects of life will be recognised, and nurtured alongside the academic and emotional needs of all. Church of England schools are places where questioning of belief and non-belief is encouraged as we all try to make sense of the world, the gift of life and the purpose of our own personal lives. Although we live in an increasingly secular society, the values of our country have their roots in the Christian faith. Church schools continue to celebrate this as an aspect of the heritage which enables them to be successful places of learning for children of all faiths and none.
What differences should you notice?
As a pupil, parent, visitor or member of staff you should find your Church school is as good as any other good school but you should feel that the way in which the school works is different and distinctive. That distinctive difference will be rooted in Christian values that affect the way everyone behaves and in the way everyone is respected. Around the school, there will be signs and symbols which reflect the Christian heritage on which the school is built. There may also be areas for reflection which contain school prayers and prayers that the children have created themselves. Additionally, there will be a much greater emphasis on links with the local parish Church than would usually be the case in a non - Church school. However, none of the above should be taken as indicators that Christian beliefs are being enforced. They are ways in which Church schools encourage an understanding of the meaning and significance of faith and promote Christian values through the experience that they offer all pupils.
Church schools are encouraged to:
· ensure that the school is led by a Head teacher who is committed, with the help of staff, to establish and maintain the Christian character of the school in its day to day activities and in the curriculum
· engage meaningfully in a real act of Christian worship every day
· offer a school life that incorporates the values of the Christian faith
· ensure that religious education is given at least 5% of school time and that the character and quality of religious education are a particular concern of the Head teacher and the governing body
· observe the major Christian festivals and ensure that those of other faiths are able and encouraged to mark their major festivals with integrity
· maintain and develop an active and affirming relationship with a parish church
· proclaim that it is a Church of England school on its external signboard and on its stationery and make appropriate use of Christian symbols inside and outside the school.
This information is adapted from a leaflet available from Portsmouth and Winchester Diocesan Board of Education
We share our school blessing prayer at the end of every worship and at the end of each school day:
Father as we go,
Jesus as we go,
Holy Spirit as we go,
Bless us all as we go.
At lunch time children and staff are invited to say Grace:
We thank you Lord for happy hearts,
for rain and sunny weather.
We thank you Lord for this our food
and that we are together.
John 14.1: Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, trust also in me.
Corinthians 13. 6-7: Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices in the truth, it always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Jesus demonstrated his trust in God throughout his life. He also entrusted his ongoing work in the world to his special friends - the disciples, and ultimately to us. We explore together the Christian understanding of being the Body of Christ on earth.
We try to follow the example of Jesus and trust each person in our school will live by our core Christian values including truthfulness, respect and justice. We encourage children to reflect on why trust is so crucial in our relationships and what the consequences might be when it is broken. Our experience in school has been that this trust is rarely betrayed but we know that when it breaks down, forgiveness is needed and the capacity to offer a new start.
As a community, trust is the glue that holds our relationships together. To develop character we give each individual important responsibilities (with appropriate support) and, in so doing, seek to encourage trustworthiness from the youngest age.
We recognise that in the wider culture of our nation, citizens are trusted to live by the laws of our country. We trust that our leaders (children and grown-ups), in school and in the wider nation, will have the highest moral and ethical standards and will lead with integrity. We teach the skills required to respectfully hold to account those in authority.
Questions to think about at home:
The RE Quality Mark Inspection judgement is that "RE planning, teaching and assessment is very well organized. It is extremely thorough in its tracking and response to evidence of work scrutiny. It is insightful of its local, national and global context in relation to its very young children : what is appropriate to teach and how to maximize children’s experience of the world in a safe and developmental approach. Children make significantly above average progress in relation to their age, ability and prior experience. Stories are central to building identity and self worth, enabling children to value others. Painting, music and drama are creatively used in RE to build spiritual, moral, social and cultural awareness. The school demonstrates effective links with the wider RE communities."