Wetheringsett Church of England Primary School’s Trust Deed dates from 1859. It was established by the local church for the education of ‘adults or children of the labouring, manufacturing and other poorer classes in the parish’ as an expression of Christian faith. The school was finally opened in about 1861.
Today, the school is a 'voluntary controlled' primary school. Voluntary controlled schools are under the control of the local authority (Suffolk County Council) but retain their distinctive character as a church school. This means that Christian values are at the heart of the school and that we aim to provide children with a good understanding of Christian beliefs and values.
There are opportunities within the day for reflection and/or prayer and we have a daily act of Collective Worship in our assemblies. We also have close links with the village church and the diocese.
Our RE syllabus is the same as in community (non-church, local authority) schools, but we see it as a particularly highly valued part of the curriculum.
Values for Life
As part of our school aim of 'building skills for life', we work to support our children to be fully rounded, thoughtful and caring individuals. As a church school, promoting Christian values is an important part of this. Each half term, we focus on a different value across the school. The value is the theme for our collective worship (assemblies) and is also promoted and reflected upon across the school. With the children, we talk about the value becoming a virtue, developing from thoughts to actions. Information is also sent home to parents about how they can support children to develop and understand the value.
The current value is chosen by our Ethos Committee from the 18 Values for Life published by Gloucester Diocese as the one that they feel will benefit the school at that time or that fits with festivals or events. This half term (Autumn 1, 2018), the value we are focusing on is Courage.
Over the last year, the values we have focused on have included:
- Respect and Reverence
All saints chuch, Wetheringsett
We have strong links with our local church and priest, Rev. Julia Lall. Rev. Julia is one of our school governors and comes into school regularly to lead collective worship.
School services are held in the church at special times of the year - Harvest, Christmas and Easter, and children regularly visit the church as part of their RE learning during units on Christianity.
We have a daily act of Collective Worship during our assemblies. This is an important time of the school day when we come together as one. To symbolise this, each class brings a candle to assembly that are lit on the focus table. Our focus table is covered with a cloth appliqued with beautiful felt images that celebrate the seasons and creation and were made by the children with a local art group.
The focus for our assemblies is based on our Values for Life. Assemblies have a Christian focus and Bible stories and the teachings of Jesus are often used. However, other stories, including stories from other religions, are also often used to explore the value.
Collective Worship follows a distinct format:
- GATHER - We gather and greet each other.
- ENGAGE - We engage with the big things and little things in life. We encounter Jesus and the stories of the Bible.
- RESPOND - We respond to what we have heard and seen. We are given the opportunity to pray or worship God.
- SEND - We are sent out to love and serve one another and make a difference in the world. We are dismissed with God’s blessing.
During Collective Worship, children are invited to pray or reflect on what they have heard. We always say 'time to think, time to pray' before prayers and children choose to make it their prayer by saying 'Amen' if they wish to. Whether children choose to pray or not, we see this as an opportunity for them to show respect to those that do.
Children play an active role in assemblies and our Ethos Committee sometimes lead the whole assembly!
Parents have the right to withdraw their children from collective worship. More information about this is available on the DfE website.
Our Ethos Committee is made up of four Year 5 and 6 children. They play an important role in organising our daily collective worship - setting up the hall and organising the prayer rota.
In addition, they play an equally, if not more, important role in deciding on which value the school should focus on each half term, evaluating our collective worship and playing an active part within each assembly by saying the greeting and sending. They also plan and lead the whole assembly at least once a term.