As a very small school we have thought carefully about our Christian Vision, and with the help of pupils, parents and the school community have chosen a verse which underpins our premise that from the smallest of seeds comes the tallest of trees. As our pupils grow and develop we nurture them to move on ready for the next phase of their life. As a small school we have a 'can do' attitude and want to promote our achievements to the wider community.
For these reasons the verse from Matthew is very appropriate for us and at the heart of what we do here at Wetheringsett.
'It is the smallest of all seeds but when it grows up it is the biggest of all plants. It becomes a tree, so that birds come and make their nests.'
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 part of a Church of England trust, St Edmundsbury and Ipswich Multi-Academy Trust. This means that Christian values are still 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 at the beginning of each day. 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 the Emmanuel Project as a particularly highly valued part of the curriculum.
VALUES FOR LIFE
As part of our school aim of 'growing knowledge and 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.
As a school community we have selected 6 core values that we feel reflect the uniqueness of our school. They include: compassion, courage, friendship, generosity, thankfulness and perseverance.
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 is very involved in school life and in particular Collective Worship, during lockdowns she was involved in providing 'virtual' Collective Worship.
School services are held in the church at special times of the year - Harvest, Christmas and Easter. Children regularly visit the church as part of their RE learning during units on Christianity and plans are afoot to visit regularly for collective worship.
We have a daily act of Collective Worship first thing in the morning. This sets the focus for the day and is an important time when we come together as one. A candle is lit and pupils can use it to focus their thoughts during their opportunity to have 'time to think and time to pray'. 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.
Themes for Collective Worship are based on our Values for Life. We 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 Collective Worship and our Collective Worship Ambassadors sometimes lead the whole event!
Parents have the right to withdraw their children from Collective Worship. More information about this is available on the DfE website.
COLLECTIVE WORSHIP AMBASSADORS
Collective Worship Ambassadors are made up of Year 5 and 6 children. They play an important role in organising our daily collective worship - setting up 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 by saying the greeting and sending. They also plan and lead the whole assembly at least once a term.