School Ethos and Values
At Sutton on the Forest Primary School, children come first and our priority is to deliver high quality teaching and learning whilst at the same time providing rich and truly enjoyable learning experiences for our community of children. Everything we do as a school is to ensure that the children achieve their very best.
We are deeply aware that children only get one chance at their primary education and it is our job to ensure that they all reach for the highest levels of personal achievement and development.
We want every child to be successful; to reach for success from the very first day they join us and throughout their school lives so that when they leave us, they have a love of learning for the rest of their lives.
STATEMENT OF VALUES
We value ourselves as unique human beings of intrinsic worth capable of spiritual, moral, intellectual and physical development and change.
On the basis of these values, we should:
- develop an understanding of our own characters, strengths and weaknesses;
- develop self-respect and self discipline;
- clarify the meaning and purpose in our lives and decide, on the basis of this, how we believe that our lives should be lived;
- make responsible use of our talents, rights and opportunities;
- strive, throughout life, for knowledge, wisdom and understanding;
- take responsibility, within our capabilities, for our own lives.
We value others for themselves, not only for what they have or what they can do for us. We value relationships as fundamental to the development and fulfilment of ourselves and others, and to the good of the community.
On the basis of these values, we should:
- respect others,
- care for others and exercise goodwill in our dealings with them;
- show others they are valued;
- earn loyalty, trust and confidence;
- work co-operatively with others;
- resolve disputes peacefully.
We value truth, freedom, justice, human rights, the rule of law and collective effort for the common good. In particular, we value families as sources of love and support for all their members, and as the basis of a society in which people care for others.
On the basis of these values, we should:
- understand and carry out our responsibilities as citizens;
- refuse to support values or actions that may be harmful to individuals or communities;
- support families in raising children and caring dependants;
- support the institution of marriage;
- recognise that the love and commitment required for a secure and happy childhood can also be found in families of different kinds;
- help people to know about the law and legal processes;
- respect the rule of law and encourage others to do so;
- respect religious and cultural diversity;
- promote opportunities for all;
- promote participation in the democratic process of our society;
- contribute to, as well as benefit fairly from our community;
- make truth, integrity, honesty and goodwill priorities in public and private life.
We value the environment, both natural, as created by God, and humanity, as the basis of life and a source of wonder and inspiration and we accept our duty to maintain a sustainable environment for the future.
On the basis of these values, we should:
- accept our responsibility to maintain a sustainable environment for future generations;
- understand the place of human beings within nature;
- understand our responsibilities for other species;
- ensure that development can be justified;
- preserve balance and diversity in nature wherever possible;
- preserve areas of beauty and interest for future generations;
- repair, wherever possible, habitats damaged by human development and other means.
We look at subject areas, the broader curriculum and the whole school context as a basis for this awareness and involvement to grow.
Spiritual development relates to that aspect of inner life through which people recognise qualities about themselves, others and the world around them, which are of enduring worth. It is characterised by reflection, the attribution of meaning to experience and exploring a non-material dimension to life. ‘Spiritual’ is not the same as ‘religious’. All areas of the curriculum may contribute to spiritual development.
Moral development is concerned with the ability to make judgements about how to behave and act and the reasons for such behaviour. It requires knowledge and understanding and includes questions of intention, motive and attitude. Pupils should learn to distinguish between what is right and wrong in different contexts. They should be encouraged to take into account their own and other people’s viewpoints as they develop a sense of responsibility in all aspects of life.
Social development involves growth in knowledge and understanding of society in all its aspects; institutions, structures and characteristics, life as a citizen, parent or worker in a community. Through this gain in knowledge and understanding people acquire the competencies and qualities needed to play a full and active part in society.
Cultural development refers to an increasing understanding and command of those values, attitudes, customs, knowledge and skills which, taken together, form the basis of identity and cohesion in societies and groups. It also involves varieties of aesthetic appreciation and opportunities for pupils to develop and strengthen their existing cultural interests.
The potential for spiritual development is open to everyone and is not confined to the development of religious beliefs or conversion to a particular faith. The term needs to be seen as applying to something fundamental in the human condition which is not necessarily experienced through the physical senses and/or expressed through everyday language. It has to do with relationships with other people and, for believers, with God. It has to do with the universal search for individual identity – with our responses to challenging experiences such as death, suffering, beauty and encounters with good and evil. It is to do with the search for meaning and purpose in life and for values by which to live.
We have looked at the eight dimensions of spiritual development.
EIGHT DIMENSIONS OF SPIRITUAL DEVELOPMENT
Feeling and Emotions
All children experience feelings and emotions to do with the joys and challenges of relationships and their own life in all sorts of ways. Often they find it difficult to talk about this if they are being asked to talk about their own experiences, but lessons such as English provide an opportunity to project these into situations in other people’s lives e.g. in novels, films, plays, poetry etc.
Children and young people may well have experienced stressful situations and perhaps they should have the opportunity to share these feelings and experiences with their peers.
Many subject areas in the curriculum provide an opportunity for children to develop creativity, for example music, art etc.
Search for Meaning and Purpose
Religious Education is the most obvious subject in the curriculum where opportunities for discussion about meaning and purpose will arise. This should be not just education about different religions but about what religious questions mean to the individual. What do I believe? Where am I going? What is my life for? Do I believe in God? What happens to me when I die?
The emphasis on teaching about relationships has tended in the past to concentrate on the moral and social development of young people, but a lot of relationships are also to do with developing spiritually. For example, one grows spiritually by deepening one’s relationships and understanding one’s relationships with other people and with God.
Children and young people have an opportunity to think about themselves and their own development through, for example, areas of study raised in PSHCE.
A Sense of Awe, Wonder and Mystery
This is sometimes described as the ‘Wow’ factor. Often young people are better at this than adults! But adolescents do tend to go through a period of cynicism and disillusionment when they don’t want to know, they’re not wishing to show their enthusiasm, and it becomes fashionable to appear blasé about such things.
As a Church of England School, our life and work is based on a distinctly Christian framework. However, we appreciate that children may come from different religious backgrounds and will always seek to ensure that their own beliefs are given the opportunity for expression and valued and respected by us all.
Experiencing Feelings of Transcendence
This concerns the area of belief in a God or some ultimate ground of being that lies behind all reality and experience. Broadly speaking it is discussing the question of whether there is a God and helping others to explore a sense of God’s presence. In this respect it is not dissimilar to 6 above but is probably an appropriate area of discussion for Religious Education.
Moral development like spiritual development cannot be defined by one simple statement. It involves several elements: knowledge, understanding, skills and will.
Knowledge of the codes of conventions of conduct agreed by society.
Understanding of the criteria put forward as a basis for making responsible judgements on moral issues.
Skills –the ability to make judgements on moral issues – as they arise by applying moral principles, insights and reasoning.
Will – the will to behave morally as a point of principle – this attitude is fundamental to moral development.
Our school values/rules play a major part in the moral development of Sutton on the Forest children.
We believe we have a responsibility to offer opportunities which excite and challenge pupils. We should be continually aiming to strive to create an environment where individuals flourish and excel and celebrate all that is best in their experience as well as acknowledging the harsher realities of life. Through such a process self awareness, self esteem and self worth can develop in line with individual pupil progress both academically and socially.
There are obviously overlaps with spiritual, moral and cultural development. Religious education, collective worship, circle time and citizenship all contribute effectively. These are also against a background of good and effective behaviour and anti-bullying policies in a school.
Children need to learn about their continuing growth and development into adulthood and understand their responsibilities to self and in their relationships with family, friends and other people. We believe the following features of our school help us to promote the development of our children socially.
- Adults as role models
- Effective school rules that everyone abides by – prominently displayed and referred to.
- Well organised, cared for and stimulating environments.
- Clear well established consistent routines throughout school.
- Setting clear, manageable targets in all areas of school life.
- Social/moral themes as the focus for assembly.
- Circle time.
- Welcoming visitors and inviting them to look round school.
- Giving children responsibility i.e. School Council, Playground Buddies, Road Safety Officers etc.
The following guidance has been taken from a publication from The National Society that has looked at OFSTED criteria as one way to define cultural development.
It states that a school’s approach should be active in enabling pupils’ knowledge and experience of their own traditions and of others to be enriched through the curriculum and visits or clubs. Examples of this may include history/geography, art, music, visits to museums, work with artists or authors and general openness towards and valuing of music and dance in different cultures.
Although some of these statements can be open to various interpretations we, at Sutton on the Forest School, have used them as a starting point and focus for how we look to developing our children culturally.
- Through various curriculum areas, for example history, geography, art, music, drama, English, we aim to focus on the theme of ‘culture’ and plan to raise the awareness and the contributions the children have.
- Extra curricular visits in and from school are aimed at widening the experiences of our children to encompass music and theatre with varying themes.
- The school has a specific statement of commitment to multi-cultural education and anti-racist education.
- In our school we make a commitment to developing the awareness and understanding of our Christian cultural heritage.
All the school activities effect the continuing development of a positive climate. We must ensure the curriculum is well planned and that learning should ideally be supported by a range of activities outside the classroom which contribute to pupil’s personal and social development.
We are a church school – what does that mean?
As a church school, Sutton on the Forest Primary aims to develop its religious character taking into account the principles of the Church of England and promotes Christian values through the experience we offer to all our pupils.
Our Home School Values
As a church school we have a responsibility to teach the Christian values to the children. There is a rich variety of nominated values and as a school we have decided to use collective worship as a vehicle to incorporate these into our everyday lives. Our Christian values are:
Click on the home school value to access a colourful double-sided sheets packed full of fun activities for your family to do together alongside topics to stimulate discussion and reflection.
Our Acts of Collective Worship
The distinctive Christian character of Sutton-on-the-Forest Primary School provides good support to the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of all pupils. This means that pupils are able to learn how to make informed choices based on Christian values, in all areas of learning. SIAMS 2014
The daily act of Christian collective worship plays a central role in the life and work at Sutton on the Forest Primary School. It provides us with valuable opportunities to reaffirm our explicitly Christian values and ethos. It offers important opportunities to strengthen our sense of community, belonging and inclusiveness and to reinforce the respect and care we have for each other. Through collective worship we make a significant contribution to the religious, spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of those present.
Every 2nd Wednesday the daily act of worship is held either in All Hallows Church and is led by the vicar or is held in school by a local Christian organisation working in schools.
Each year we hold a Harvest, Christmas and Easter Service in All Hallows Church. These services are led by the children with input from the school staff. Parent are very welcome to join us for these important events in the school year.
Click here to view our school’s
Our school building
- Our school entrance hall clearly displays the Christian symbols that encapsulate our school including a large cross and our school prayer.
- Each classroom has a cross and a framed copy of the school prayer.
- Our school hall, where we meet for Worship has a large cross, a plaque with the school prayer and artefacts such as a candle and holding crosses used to aid worship. There is also a special area for Christian spiritual reflection.
- Parents have the right to withdraw their children from Collective Worship. Please contact the Headteacher to discuss the alternative arrangements that could be made for your child.
As well as an OFSTED inspection, as a Church of England voluntary controlled school we are also inspected by the Diocese of York. See our latest SIAMS report for more information. Every year we complete a Self Evaluation of our church school status by completing a SIAMs Audit.
At Sutton on the Forest Primary School we have also been learning about what it means to be British. This term our school council will run an ‘Understanding British Values’ campaign where they will involve all the children in the school in creating a poster to represent one of the British Values.
At the beginning of each school year the children decide upon their class charter and the rights associated with these. All the children contribute to the drawing up of their Class Charter.
Children have many opportunities for their voices to be heard. We have a school council which meets regularly to discuss issues raised in class. The council is led by Mrs Botham and meets regularly to genuinely effect change within the school. Two council members for each year group are voted in by their class at the start of the school year.
The Rule of Law
The importance of Laws, whether they be those that govern the class, the school, or the country, are consistently reinforced throughout regular school days, as well as when dealing with behaviour and through school Worships. Pupils are taught the value and reasons behind laws, that they govern and protect us, the responsibilities that this involves and the consequences when laws are broken. Visits from authorities such as the Police and Fire Service help reinforce this message.
Personal Responsibility and Liberty
Within school, pupils are actively encouraged to make choices, knowing that they are in a safe and supportive environment. As a school we educate and provide boundaries for young pupils to make choices safely, through provision of a safe environment and empowering education. Pupils are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms and advised how to exercise these safely, for example through our E-Safety and PSHCE lessons. Whether it be through choice of learning challenge, of how they record, of participation in our numerous extra-curricular clubs and opportunities, pupils are given the freedom to make choices.
Mutual respect is at the heart of our values. It is also one of our Christian Values. Children learn that their behaviours have an effect on their own rights and those of others. All members of the school community treat each other with respect.
Tolerance of those of Different Faiths and Beliefs
Sutton on the Forest Primary School is situated in an area which is not greatly culturally diverse, therefore we place a great emphasis on promoting diversity with the children. Assemblies are regularly planned to address this issue either directly or through the inclusion of stories and celebrations from a variety of faiths and cultures. Our RE and PSHCE teaching reinforce this. Members of different faiths or religions are encouraged to share their knowledge to enhance learning within classes and the school. Children visit places of worship that are important to different faiths.
At Sutton on the Forest Primary School we will actively challenge pupils, staff or parents expressing opinions contrary to fundamental British Values, including ‘extremist’ views.