Our Distinctive Christian Nature
Our vision as a Church of England Primary school is to nurture a sense of belonging, connection, compassion, kindness, hope and aspiration within our learning community.
These implicit values are explicitly embodied in the familiar phrase 'Following in the footsteps of Jesus' you will see and hear around the school that connects us to God's love, forgiveness and reconciliation with humankind.
Our strengths and qualities as a small village church school includes :
Stisted’s vision of ‘Following in the footsteps of Jesus’ is undoubtedly at the heart of school life. The core values of love, forgiveness and reflection areas enable an inspirational and vibrant environment where pupils can learn, grow and flourish.
Lizzie McWhirter, Inspector for Anglican and Methodist Schools, July 2018
Year 5 /6 response to how Christians can enter the kingdom of God by following in the footsteps of Jesus, 2018
We realise that there are few, if any, values or human qualities that are exclusively Christian but those we most closely associate with the person known as Jesus Christ is God’s love (Luke 10:27), forgiveness and reconciliation.
God's Love is expressed implicitly through the value we place on the uniqueness of every individual and how we make them feel valued and enable them to grow spiritually, morally, culturally and academically. From love stems many values such as trust, humility, peace, community, thankfulness, friendship, wisdom, hope, compassion and justice.
Forgiveness accepting we are human and people make mistakes. Rather than holding onto the past, it is from mistakes we grow.
With forgiveness comes reconciliation and the opportunity to make amends and build bridges with ourselves, each other and God.
Our aim is to create a learning environment where children feel respected, cared for, listened to and safe. Not only does this immerse them into a 'loving' environment, it helps children feel at ease and in a ready state for learning.
Our vision statement in full is to aim to serve our community by providing the best all round education within a caring Christian context. We value the different personalities and talents of our children. We seek for them to become confident learners and tolerant, principled members of society.
It is people that are the engine of a vibrant caring school. It is they who model the values
and vision of the school to create a warm welcoming ethos and ambience where children
can thrive. We know that recruiting, retaining and leading staff to work in a way that is
consistent with our vision and values is the single most important factor in creating a school
that is distinctly Christian.
We routinely survey parents and pupils regarding how they feel about our school.
Over 90% of parents who responded to our annual survey felt the school would
listen to their concerns and do their best to resolve them.
Anonymous Annual Parent Survey, 2019.
100% of parents who responded to our survey said their contact with
the school was dealt with professionally and courteously.
Anonymous Annual Parent Survey, 2019.
The teaching of Religious Education is given significant importance on the timetable. We have developed our own RE curriculum. This will be distinctly different from a non-church school.
Please click on the Religious Education tab for a comprehensive overview of our RE curriculum and the standards children attain.
Our school's distinct Christian nature also manifests itself through our daily acts of Collective Worship. This is a special and sacred time of the day where we come together as a community to thank, celebrate and receive wisdom and inspiration of some kind.
We dedicate part of the day called Assembly in which Collective Worship takes place.
We routinely evaluate the impact of assembly time and Collective Worship at least once a term with staff in staff meetings as well as interviewing pupil sample groups.
"We like themed stories on a Wednesday like the ones on friendships,
making mistakes, dealing with sticky situations and heroes".
Year 5 and 6, response to our evaluation 2018.
Leaders of Collective Worship are sufficiently varied to appeal to as many children’s interests and preferred ways of communication. Leaders include the headteacher, teachers, clergy and visiting leaders of worship including Christian Youth Outreach.
Collective Worship is carefully planned. A theme is planned for each week. The themes explored follow the annual cycle of the Christian year and the concept of the trinity.
Themes explored in the autumn term are connected to God the Father and Creation. This links closely with Harvest, thanksgiving and prayer.
Our Collective Worship themes are published on our website.
In Spring, our Collective Worship themes are connected with God the Son following on from the birth of Christ at Christmas and in Summer, themes are connected with God the Holy Spirit following on from the death and resurrection of Christ at Easter, the Ascension and Pentecost.
"We have assemblies to remind us that we are in God's Kingdom".
Year 1 and 2 response to our evaluation 2018.
During Collective Worship, children are invited to join in prayer, sing hymns, and listen to stories from the Bible including the New Testament.
Assemblies offer our children opportunities for spiritual development. This includes opportunities for silence and reflection time.
A moment for reflection in assembly, ‘I wonder what this about?’ 2018
We find it effective when Collective Worship is followed up with a display. We know this because children congregate and comment on these displays together. The most effective displays are those with interesting stimulus the children can touch and respond to a question.
Display to support a Collective Worship theme
Singing hymns children enjoy is really important because it helps uplift children. We have asked the children which hymns they enjoy singing and have refined our hymn list to reflect this.
We have devised actions to include our younger learners so they feel they part of the worship. Assembly time and worship also helps create a sense of community and belonging when people are all engaged in the same activity.
Assembly time and Collective Worship has a clear and shared purpose with staff leading the session. It is defined as a time when the whole school comes together to thank, celebrate and to receive wisdom or inspiration. We try to make it as uplifting as possible through carefully selected themes, stimulus and music.
Children enter and exit in a calm way which gives the right ambience for reflection and worship. Behaviour in assembly time is excellent which reflects the importance given by all staff to this special time of day.
Children’s involvement in planning Collective Worship
Children are given opportunity to plan Collective Worship for a class assembly. They choose and agree a theme, how the theme will be developed and the form of worship. This may include a hymn they have chosen, writing prayers or readings, listening to music and choosing stimulus to focus their thoughts.
They also choose the seating arrangement.
This year, Year 5 and 6 chose the theme of remembering those who had left our school.
They decided to light tea lights to represent each child during the time they were gathered together. The children chose to sit in a horse shoe arrangement which looked like the letter C - the letter C for children. This was a moving experience.
This year, Year 3 and 4 chose a nature as a theme close to their hearts. They chose tranquil music to set the tone and used images to evoke emotion and connection with nature.
Year 1 and 2 chose to play music for their assembly and act of worship. They chose their favourite hymns, planned readings and welcomed each other. Their assembly ended with an 'I wonder...' question.
‘I wonder if miracles are real. I wonder if they really happen.’
The final words Year 2 decided to say in their own planned Assembly, 2018.
Our School Council also planned and delivered and assembly and Collective Worship. They decided to explore the meaning and definition a ‘bullying’ which included the rest of the school participating.
All our children are involved in celebrating major Christian festivals throughout the year at our local church. This includes, Harvest, Easter and Christmas. Children are part of the planning process. They choose to make, show or sing something. They also choose to read or narrate a story.
In the last week of term our Year 6 children plan and deliver the final assembly and act of worship as ‘leavers’ of the school.
Parents are always invited to these events.
Christian symbols are routinely be used during Collective Worship such as candles and the cross. Children also hear language associated with Christian worship such as the term Father, Holy Spirit, the Good Shepherd, the Lord’s prayer and hymns.
"We have assemblies to remember stories of Jesus and God and
to celebrate them".
Year 1 and 2, response to our evaluation 2018.
We evaluate the impact of our Collective Worship programme and delivery to ensure we give our children the most meaningful experience possible. This includes asking the children what they think, feel and enjoy about assembly time including the hymns they enjoy singing.
"We liked Katharine's assembly when she showed turning water into wine and the water cleaned the sin stained handkerchief".
Year 5 and 6, response to our evaluation 2018.
In our last annual survey regarding the impact of Assembly time and Collective Worship, children told us that they helped them to learn about the world, how to be a good person and how they can change your mind or attitude about something.
All the children surveyed said Assembly time helped them to think about God. Here are some further examples of what children have said about Assembly time and Collective Worship.
‘It has improved my confidence when I have to speak in front
‘It has made me think about the type of rubbish I put out in
‘Assemblies have made me understand how other people feel’
‘Yes, it made me realise that if you are grumpy, other people
around you will be too’
‘There was an assembly where we were talking about how sin can corrupt the world. After that I concluded, I would evangelise’
' It has helped me to be a better person’
All quotes from Y5/6 children, Summer 2017
Collective worship at Stisted [called assembly here] is an important part of school life and this gathering time is enjoyed and engaged in deeply by adults and pupils alike.
Lizzie McWhirter, Inspector for Anglican and Methodist Schools, July 2018
Harvest Festival is celebrated at All Saints’ Church at the end of September. This service is
planned and prepared by the school. Parents and friends of Stisted Academy are welcome
and encouraged to attend. Christmas is celebrated by our older children at All Saints’
Church with an afternoon and evening church service for parents. A Nativity play is usually
performed by our younger learners. This is held in the school hall. Easter is celebrated at
All Saints’ Church. This service is planned and prepared by the school.
Special Educational Needs
Every child is special regardless. We believe we have created a very welcoming place for
children with special education needs especially disadvantaged children and children with
high needs requiring an Education Health Care Plan (EHCP). Over several years we have
consistently had an above average proportion of children with an EHCP.
Currently we have nearly 5% of our children with severe or high needs compared with the
national rate of 2%. It is anticipated that in the academic year 2018/19, we will have nearly
7% of children with an EHCP.
This is because the school has an excellent reputation for our provision for children with
specific learning needs. Support is given both within class lessons and sometimes in small
groups. This is monitored by the School’s Special Needs Coordinator. Teaching assistants are
also used to support groups of pupils. Children with SEN will have their needs assessed and
receive specific support or provision based on an Individual Education Plan.
We also have an enhanced provision Montessori Classroom and curriculum specifically
designed for children with specific or additional needs. The Montessori influenced
environment is a calm but busy environment where the children are involved in small group
or individual activities. The equipment and environment is designed to develop children’s
concentration, co-ordination and independence.
Our carefully designed activities are matched to a child’s Individual Education Plan and are
aimed to develop their sensory, numeric, language and practical skills.
The Curriculum and Character building
Character building is an important part of our curriculum. An all-round education means we value and recognise that each child is unique and strive to develop their character and not just their intellectual or academic abilities. This is because Jesus Christ valued the human qualities of the individual.
This vision is realised by building into our curriculum opportunities for developing human qualities and character.
Over 95% of parents feel the school has the balance right between teaching the basic skills of reading, writing and arithmetic and providing wider experiences including social, moral and character development.
Anonymous Annual Parent Survey, 2017.
For example, we have built into our curriculum the opportunity for all ages to experience several overnight stay or residential trip away from home. This includes our Reception children.
This is our 'away from home' learning programme :
Our classrooms offer children many planned opportunities as part of the curriculum to develop children’s character, building resilience, determination, willingness, generosity, gratitude, appreciation, etc.
We also recognise that character building is not exclusively developed solely through curricular opportunities, but also through interactions with other human beings. This means all adults who work in our school are in the privileged position of shaping our children’s thoughts, values, virtues and attitudes by their own interactions.
Many visitors to the school often experience this aspect through the ‘feel’ or ethos of the school.
Our ethos has its roots based on Jesus interpretation of love in its broadest sense (Luke 10:27) and forgiveness. We also recognise that reconciliation completes the circle of love, forgiveness and reflection where reflection mirrors the prayer life of Jesus.
In terms of character virtues this manifests itself in being a caring, thoughtful reflective school.
It is this that drives our ethos or feel of the school. This does not develop and happen by chance. It requires clarity of vision and effective leadership to ensure it is actively and explicitly promoted and not undermined.
Every moment of the day, adults are modelling values and virtues.
For clarity, we have used the term virtues as they specifically refer to human qualities that help children be part of a loving caring school and become principled members of society.
These virtues can be grouped into three categories.
1. Civic virtues.
These are virtues that are necessary for responsible citizenship such as service, volunteering, understanding of different perspectives.
2. Moral virtues.
These are character habits that enable us to be agents for good such honesty, humility, graciousness, compassion, thoughtfulness.
3. Character virtues.
These are behavioural skills such as determination, persistence, resilience, creativity, self-discipline.
In November 2014, the Department for Education published guidance on promoting British values in schools to ensure young people leave school prepared for life in modern Britain.
British values, as defined by national government, are taught within this context as we perceive them as being underpinned by our core values of love and forgiveness and the virtues associated with them.
We believe the value of love, forgiveness and reconciliation and curriculum encourages children to value democracy the rule of law, liberty and mutual respect for and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs and for those without faith.
Our Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural Curriculum offers numerous opportunities to develop British values.
Democracy and Liberty
All children are given opportunities to have their say, be listened to and make choices free of prejudice. However, where democracy and liberty is constrained or other British Values are threatened, this is challenged.
Stereotypes are challenged and all children are encouraged to achieve an follow pursuits irrespective of gender, race or any other characteristic. We have both School and Class Councils where children learn through discussion and reasoned argument based on evidence what the right thing to do is for the whole community.
The children have a 'Tell us about it' box which gives them the opportunity to express their views and influence decisions.
School Council members are elected democratically and will be able to explain the impact they have had. Representatives of the School Council meet with the headteacher on a weekly basis to raise pupil related matters.
Curricular opportunities also enable children to learn how people arrive at different conclusions and may have a different point of view to their own. We do this through Philosophy for Children and Smart Thinking and the Religious Education Programme.
Children also have opportunities to make choices in their lessons and to be creative. They have the freedom to choose what to do at playtime, to choose their friends, to choose the after school clubs they join and what to have for their lunch.
Children will also learn through discussion of world news events the influence and impact of democracy including significant figures through history.
Whilst we recognise the importance of developing the character of each child, we also value the importance of equipping children with the basic skills they need for life including reading, writing and mathematics.
We aspire for every child to be given the best opportunities and strive to meet and exceed the national expectations required from the national curriculum but not at the expense of being a principled member of society.
The rule of law
Children learn to value the rule of law if they understand the purpose of law to help and protect society from harm. They also need to see that rules and laws are implemented fairly and consistently. We play a huge role in developing these positive attitudes by explaining the purpose of rules and ensuring to a best knowledge they are implemented fairly across the school.
We are not a school that implements rules for the sake of rules or as a method of control through oppression. Whilst we have a base set of rules, new rules are only implemented when the need arises which are then explained.
Our Behaviour Policy and its implementation to our best endeavours is implemented consistently. It uses a graduated response giving children the opportunity to manage and improve their behaviour.
Mutual respect for and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs and for those without faith
Staff at this school are expected to model the behaviour and attitudes of tolerance through their words and actions. We also recognise that ignorance and prejudice is at the root of intolerance and that a well-designed curriculum equips children to make informed decisions that encourages respect.
Children are exposed to experiences that encourage growth in knowledge and where prejudice is actively challenged.
Our Religious Education Programme has recently been redesigned to identify and emphasis the similarities between faiths rather than focus on difference.
We recognise that our school cannot exist as an island and we are part of larger whole.It is important that our children also recognise this. Please click on the About Us tab and then the Community Engagement tab to find out more.
The centre piece in our school hall.