School Vision and Values

Everyone welcomed. Everyone included. Everyone belongs.

 

At St Mark’s CE Primary School, we strive to bring all together as one loving family. Through strong relationships, we offer a sense of belonging by nurturing all to flourish as unique and responsible children of God.

“But I came to give life – life in all its fullness” (John 10:10)

“So we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.” (Romans 12:5)

 

Christian Values

St. Mark’s C of E Primary School is a Church of England primary school that offers a distinctly Christian education in an inclusive environment where we encourage all children and young people to learn, enquire and grow.

The distinctive nature of our approach to education can be found is embedded in everything that we do. Our particular Christian values are explicitly taught in collective worship and referred to throughout the school day.

Children and staff of all faiths and none are welcome at our school and our aim is to promote understanding and tolerance between those of different faith traditions.

As a community, we have identified five values that are woven into the very fabric of the school which we expect all members of the school community – children, staff, LAB member and clergy – to model:

Compassion

Trust

Justice

Courage

Respect

 

We believe these values are empowering our pupils to develop their spirituality and guiding them in personal development as effective learners and good citizens. Children have regular opportunities to reflect on each Value and to develop an understanding of the Value in action. 

 

Compassion

Compassion’ and ‘sympathy’ have much in common and both are stronger in meaning than simply ‘feeling sorry for’ someone.

The words have their roots in the idea of ‘suffering with’ someone, putting yourself in someone else’s shoes and experiencing what they experience. This leads to a desire to act, to do something. It is not about ‘doing good’ from a position of strength or ‘remembering those less fortunate than ourselves’. Compassion requires an act of imagination and humility to share in the lives of others

In Colossians 3:12 Paul says:

‘Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.’

In the Gospels we find many stories of Jesus showing compassion to the sick and the downtrodden of society. Christians believe that their attitudes and actions must reflect the kindness, mercy and compassion of Jesus and the love of God for everyone. In the school community this means showing kindness and respect to each other. It is related to the way in which new people are welcomed into the school family and nurtured and supported. It is reflected in the ways in which members of the community support each other through difficult times, such as bereavement. Christians would say that God Himself is the perfect example of community—the three persons of the Trinity are bound together in the ultimate closeness which makes them one. In a church school the idea of community will always be a strong one— schools share a common life and common goals—we aim to nurture and sustain all our members.

We will be linking compassion to the Parable of the Unforgiving Servant – In this story, Jesus teaches about forgiveness and compassion.

Home school value – Compassion

Trust

Trust is the very essence of faith; trust in the God who is trustworthy. ‘Trust in the Lord’ is a central theme in the Psalms. Time and time again, God is the acknowledged as the source of all true security and strength. This is contrasted with trust in chariots, horses, weapons, wealth or princes (Psalm 20:7; 118:8-9). We can easily think of the modern day equivalents. Trust placed in the wrong things is close to idolatry.

Trust is essential to human life and lies at the heart of all relationships. Trust entails vulnerability, putting yourself in others’ hands. We have to trust experts – pilots, dentists, surgeons. Yet, within our society, there often seems to be mutual distrust between people and those responsible for governing them.

Trust is central to civilised society, to living together in harmony, so it is to be valued and honoured. With wisdom and discernment, we can relearn to trust. We can begin to rebuild trust in our mistrustful society by being reliable ourselves, by not letting people down. Similarly, when we work with others, if we are willing to let go of control ourselves and trust in the abilities and integrity of others, everyone can be enriched. Jesus, after all, entrusted his ongoing work to his disciples and ultimately to us.

We will be linking Trust to the story of Jesus Calms the Storm (Luke 8: 22-25).

Theological Background – Trust
Home school value – Trust

Justice

Psalm 106:3
“Blessed are they who maintain justice, who constantly do what is right.”

When thinking about ‘justice’, some people think first about giving wrongdoers the punishment they deserve. ‘Justice’ evokes ideas of ‘just deserts’, ’the punishment fitting the crime’, ‘an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth’.

However, that would be a one-sided picture of justice. Justice also means giving all people – particularly the poor and oppressed – what it is right and fair for them to have: life, health, freedom and dignity. It is about acting out of a concern for what is right and seeing right prevail. It is about social justice, especially for those who suffer most and are least able to protect themselves.

In Exodus, the people are instructed to deal with everyone fairly and never to show partiality to one group above another (Exodus 23:2,6).The Bible emphasises that ‘The righteous care about justice for the poor’ (Proverbs 29:7).Isaiah says: ‘Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow’ (Isaiah 1:17). Justice is the ‘plumb line’ by which society is measured (Isaiah 29:17). According to Amos, its presence in society should be constant and abundant: ‘Let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!’ (Amos 5:24)

Throughout the Bible, it is emphasised that justice is immensely important to God. It is fundamental to God’s character. ‘For the LORD is righteous, he loves justice; upright men will see his face.’ (Psalm 11:7)

Justice is not about a culture which encourages everyone to insist on their own rights at the expense of others. It is about a community that knows that everyone’s well-being is bound up with that of everyone else.

A commitment to justice leads to fierce opposition to injustice in whatever form it may be found. Justice is a pre-requisite of peace: without justice there can be no peace.

We will be linking Justice to the story of Jesus in the temple (Luke 2:41-52).

Theological Background – Justice
Home school value – Justice

Courage

Deuteronomy 31. 6: Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.
2 Timothy 1. 7: For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid but gives us power, love and self-discipline.

Jesus lived in the assurance that his Father God would provide all that he needed. This gave him the courage to face even the cross. At our school, the words from the book to Timothy (see above) guide the way we approach any challenges that face us.

Learning from Jesus, we recognise that taking a moral stand or tackling a challenge will require courage but we also know that we can pray for God’s strength and his help.

As a community, we explore the Christian belief that almost anything is possible because God is for us. We therefore encourage one another to reach our God-given potential and participate in artistic, sporting and cultural activities that take us outside of our comfort zone.

As a Church of England school we take inspiration from those who have been uncompromising in standing for justice and have been true to their Christian faith in the face of persecution. We celebrate individuals such as William Wilberforce and Elizabeth Fry who through courage and perseverance have influenced the political and social life of Britain, and those such as Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela who have also powerfully informed our values and culture

We will be linking courage to the story of Daniel in the Lion’s Den (Daniel 6:10-23).

Respect

Mark 10.14: Let the children come to me (Mark 10. 14)
Matthew 10.29: Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.

Jesus valued every person equally regardless of status, gender or wealth. He showed a particular bias to those who were poor, in need or at the margins of society at that time. At our school we explore the Christian teaching that every child and adult is made in God’s image and is uniquely precious and worthy of respect and kindness.

Following Jesus’ teaching and attitude towards children, our school values every child equally and is pro-active about ensuring that no individual is disadvantaged or treated differently due to their social background, gender, sexual orientation or cultural or religious background. We equip children with the skills to recognise prejudice in the media or in the political process. We encourage all within our community to learn about and engage with our nation’s democratic processes both locally and nationally to help to support, protect and sustain for the future the respect due to every citizen.

As a community whose life is founded upon Christian values, we do not merely tolerate difference and diversity, we actively celebrate the uniqueness of all individuals. Whilst it may not always be possible to respect the opinions of every member (e.g. if they are sexist, homophobic or racist) we do respect the individual and their right to hold views that are different from our own.

As a Church of England school, we strive to create a culture that is characterised by openness, empathy and respect. We try to foster humility and thankfulness in our relationships with one another and the natural world. We continually strive to improve our understanding of different faiths and cultural diversity, celebrating the richness of experience and beliefs represented in British society.

We will be linking respect to the story of Elijah and the widow’s oil (1 Kings 17.7-16).

Values in Action

We think about the value through stories from the Bible and around the world. Some of these stories are from long ago and some of them are much more recent. We hear about people living out this value in their lives today. We come together with other classes to show the value in a practical context. We keep up-to-date with current events to highlight the relevance of each value.

We think about how we can use the value today to make a difference in the world. We know that small differences can make the world a better place and we always try to live out the Christian values in our actions towards others.

Parents

Our children are enthused to demonstrate these values in all elements of their lives. Read our  Values Powerpoint for Parents  to help us raise awareness of these values in everyday life. We would love to hear from you on the occasions your child (ren) shows these values.