Who are we, at St Marys?
We are a church founded academy that promotes the Christian character of the school through all areas of its work from curriculum design through to school leadership. The mission that motivated our founders still burns brightly and staff, governors and pupils work together to ensure our values underpin everything we do. Our historic link to the Church of England is very important to us and a significant influence on our academy ethos. All staff are expected to be sympathetic to the inclusive Christian ethos of the academy. We are proud that visitors frequently comment on the friendly and welcoming atmosphere of the academy that this creates and further development of this is paramount to achieving our aims.
Why are we here?
Our purpose is to ensure all of Godʼs children have the wisdom and knowledge to flourish. At St Marys, every child learns to care compassionately about themselves, their community and their world. Our curriculum provides opportunity for all pupils to contribute to and take part in meaningful and authentic learning experiences that create confident and courageous advocates of others.
How then, do we live?
Our values are captured most prominently in the parables of the Prodigal Son and the Good Samaritan. The Prodigal Son teaches us that some people need more time and compassion than others to flourish and that our actions have consequences for which we must take responsibility. All staff understand that some children, like the younger son in the parable, will need more time, compassion and encouragement than others to learn from their mistakes.
The Good Samaritan teaches us to show friendship through the acceptance of others, looking for the best in everyone without prejudice. In our school, children are encouraged to be safe, ready and respectful to everyone. The same parable teaches us the importance of service to others, even when this is costly to us or we find it difficult. Through our curriculum projects, our pupils learn how their empathy and advocacy for others can effect change and make a difference.
Our staff, pupils, families, and the wider community, are all shown the unconditional love that God has shown us. We know that life lessons can be hard to learn and that reaching our full potential involves compassion, friendship, service and forgiveness. These are the core Christian values that underpin our work. They form the heart of all of the decisions that we make and ethos of our school community.
- FriendshipFriendship: Trust, feeling comfortable in each other’s company, being able to share joys and sorrows are all features of friendship and we know that friendship is a high priority for our children. During term time, the children will actually spend more time with their friends than their families! We encourage healthy friendship where people can grow, have faith and confidence that they can be themselves without judgement.
- CompassionCompassion: The father in the parable of The Prodigal Son is not just forgiving. He is described as being filled with compassion, but while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. (Luke 15:20) The father seems to understand everything that his son is feeling and responds by giving him everything he needs: a whole-hearted welcome, acceptance and love. Understanding that others need more to achieve their potential is also valuable learning from this parable.
- ServiceService: The parable of The Good Samaritan shows we should serve those in need whoever they are. Such service is not offered to gain some advantage for ourselves. ‘Going the extra mile’ involves sacrifice, putting ourselves out for someone else’s benefit. This is modelled in all that we do here at St. Mary’s—our staff in the work with our pupils and you as a wider community in the work we do for our charities; particularly Burkina Faso.
- ForgivenessForgiveness: In school with so many pupils interacting on a daily basis, there will be times when pupils have altercations and fall out. Sorry can be said very easily, so we encourage our community to really think about the impact of their actions on others and seek to restore the peace, finding true forgiveness with a conscious effort to not repeat the action. Of course this can take time and with a team effort from home and school, we are certain we can achieve this.
We aim to ensure that pupils leave here will:
- Contribute to and care about themselves, their community and their world
- Be competent across the curriculum and ready for their next stage in life.
- Engage in meaningful learning experiences with authentic outcomes.
- Have the self-belief and confidence to express themselves.
- Respectful to the values, beliefs, feelings and points of view of others.
- Model our Christian values in their daily lives.
- Be able to communicate effectively with peers and adults.
- Understand how to be healthy and safe both physically, emotionally and virtually.
- Be courageous advocates and confident to stand up for what is right.
Below is a link to a summary of what being a Church of England Academy means:-