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Being a Church School

What is a Church School? The former Archbishop of Canterbury explains :

“A Christian school is one in which the atmosphere has that kind of openness about it, that sense that people are worth spending time with, that people need time to grow, need loving attention. The Christian Gospel says that every person has a unique task to do, with God, and for God, whether they know it or not. It doesn’t necessarily mean that everyone involved has to share the same theology or philosophy. It doesn’t mean that everyone knows that they have this relationship with God, and is consciously working at it. But a Christian school is one in which the entire atmosphere is pervaded by a conviction that there is something mysterious, and potentially wonderful, in everybody.”

For further information on the statement of entitlement for pupils in a church school, see below: 

Our Christian Vision

A Church of England school’s Christian vision should be based on and reflect a Christian understanding of the nature of God and how it motivates, underpins and expresses the school’s service to its community.

Our Christian vision is…

To give every child an unforgettable high-quality education through our strong Christian ethos. This is centred on three core values: Courage, Care and Compassion, which are firmly embedded in the daily life of our school. We pride ourselves on our welcoming, family atmosphere where children feel supported, safe and valued. All children are encouraged to be independent thinkers and to have a genuine voice within the school. We want them to ‘belong’. We encourage our children to be confident learners with good reading, writing and maths skills who enjoy participating in a broad thematic curriculum that makes the most of our rural setting.

Our Vision is reflected through our ethos underpinned by our Christian core values:

COURAGE: The account of Jesus calming the storm provides a story for children to understand how the disciples, in the sinking boat faced overwhelming fears. But when Jesus so quickly calmed the storm, their fears were quickly replaced with awe and worship. Many of us—especially children—carry the burden of fear, perhaps not realizing that we can find places of calm and safety, just as Christians find calm and safety in Jesus. Having courage will give us the strength to keep calm and focus on the things that really matter. Mark 4:35-41

In the life of our school it also means that we…

  • try new things
  • love learning new skills and concepts
  • overcome obstacles
  • have a go
  • are happy to make mistakes
  • persevere when the going gets tough
  • make new friends
  • stick up for what is right
  • lead by example

COMPASSION: As a Church of England school, we believe in serving our community based on the love of God for everyone including ourselves. This means that we are an inclusive school who welcomes all and accepts ourselves when we fail. In doing this we draw heavily upon Jesus’ teaching from John 15.12 where Jesus commands that we love as he has loved.

In the life of our school it also means that we…

  • are kind towards ourselves when we make mistakes
  • take care of ourselves by keeping healthy and safe
  • understand our emotions and how to express them
  • extend kindness, understanding and tolerance to others

CARE: As a Church of England school, we believe in caring for the planet as The Lord God asked us to in Genesis 2.15

In the life of our school it also means that we…

  • foster a love of the outdoors
  • appreciate the countryside and learn how to look after it
  • understand how to take action to protect our planet

Religious Education

The Diocesan Syllabus is also followed within school. This Religious Education (RE) syllabus offers support for Voluntary Aided schools in the Diocese of Chelmsford. Voluntary Controlled Schools are required to follow their Local Agreed Syllabus for RE but may find the diocesan syllabus offers some useful additional material, including Understanding Christianity.

Religious education provokes challenging questions about the ultimate meaning and purpose of life, beliefs about God, the self and the nature of reality, issues of right and wrong and what it means to be human. It develops pupils’ knowledge and understanding of Christianity, other principal religions, other religious traditions and other world views that offer answers to questions such as these. It offers opportunities for personal reflection and spiritual development. It enhances pupils’ awareness and understanding of religions and beliefs, teachings, practices and forms of expression, as well as of the influence of religion on individuals, families, communities and cultures.

Religious education encourages pupils to learn from different religions, beliefs, values and traditions while exploring their own beliefs and questions of meaning. It challenges pupils to reflect on, consider, analyse, interpret and evaluate issues of truth, belief, faith and ethics and to communicate their responses.

Religious education encourages pupils to develop their sense of identity and belonging. It enables them to flourish individually within their communities and as citizens in wider society and the global community. Religious education has an important role in preparing pupils for adult life, employment and lifelong learning. It enables pupils to develop respect for and sensitivity to others, in particular those
whose faiths and beliefs are different from their own. It promotes discernment and enables pupils to combat prejudice.


Collective Worship is a creative, reflective and spiritual experience.

Daily collective worship takes place in school. This may be as a whole school, Key stage or class. The Worship is linked to the gospel values and each half term, we choose a new on to focus on.  During our worship we try to include these elements:

1 A candle is lit as a focus and reminder that Jesus said, “I am the light of the world.” John 8v12

2 A child leads the worship with a phrase such as, “The Lord is here – His Spirit is with us.”

3 Children enjoy a wide range of worship songs often linked to our Christian values.

4 A Bible story may be told, chosen to be related to the Christian value as well as the relational needs of the children.

5 There is opportunity for children to read a few well known verses from the Bible or a Psalm such as Psalm 23 or Psalm 100.

6 Often there is a challenge to practical action – encouraging children to decide / choose to put God’s love into practice. For example children may be encouraged to support the Colchester Food Bank charity or Operation Christmas Child shoe box appeal.

7 Children have an opportunity to respond in prayer. We use the school prayer or the Lord’s Prayer and also encourage spontaneous prayers which may be led by the children.

8 In a busy school day we make “Time for reflection.” Maybe a quiet time or using music as children take time to consider what they have heard.

8 Finally we often share the peace – Enabling pupils to demonstrate their love and care for one another. “May the peace of the Lord be with you – and also with you.”


The Statutory Inspection of Anglican and Methodist Schools (SIAMS) focuses on the impact of the Church school’s Christian vision on pupils and adults. This involves looking at the school’s Christian vision, the provision the school makes because of this vision and how effective this provision is in enabling all pupils to flourish. Church schools will employ a variety of strategies and styles appropriate to, and reflective of, their particular context in order to be distinctively and effectively Christian in their character and ethos.

SIAMS inspectors therefore do not look for a set template of what a Church school should be like, but rather take the particular context of the school into account and base their evaluation on the outcomes rather than the process.

The Evaluation Schedule has one inspection question: how effective is the school’s distinctive Christian vision, established and promoted by leadership at all levels, in enabling pupils and adults to flourish? This is explored through seven strands:

Vision and Leadership

Wisdom, Knowledge and Skills

Character Development: Hope, Aspiration and Courageous Advocacy

Community and Living Well Together

Dignity and Respect

The impact of collective worship

The effectiveness of religious education

One overall grade is awarded reflecting the contribution of these strands to the flourishing of pupils and adults in a Church school. In addition a standalone grade is awarded in all schools for collective worship.

Our last inspection in 2017 was under the previous inspection format. 

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