Our Church School
St Michael’s is a Voluntary Aided Church of England School. The school has a responsibility to uphold its Trust Deed which exhorts the school to maintain a distinctive Christian ethos. We have a special association and relationship with St Michael’s Church in Bishop’s Stortford. The whole school community worship in St Michael’s Church several times each year. The clergy at St Michael’s visit each week to lead assemblies. St Michael’s Church Parish Church Council appoints Foundation Governors to serve on the school’s Governing Body.
Our school is in the Diocese of St Albans and we have an active association with the Diocesan Board of Education. They provide guidelines, information and resources relating to Church Schools concerning Christian character, R.E. and collective worship. The Diocese provides training for staff, clergy and Governors.
We have achieved the R.E. Gold Quality Mark for embedding excellent, creative and innovative R.E. practice throughout the school and for recognition as outstanding in the wider community.
Recognising its historic foundation, the school will preserve and develop its religious character in accordance with the principles of the Church of England and in partnership with the Church at parish and diocesan level.
The school aims to service its community by providing an education of the highest quality within the context of Christian belief and practice. It encourages an understanding of the meaning and significance of faith, and promotes Christian values through the experience it offers to all its pupils.
CHURCH SCHOOL FORUM FEEDBACK
• Tuesday 7th November 2017 •
On Tuesday 7th November 2017, parents, staff and governors gathered in an open meeting to discuss the Church School aspects of St. Michael's. It was a great opportunity for Mrs Dale (Head) and Mrs Halliwell (RE Subject Leader) to share information about the many and various activities the school has been involved in and work that the children are doing; but then, as importantly, for parents to be able to feed back their thoughts and questions about St. Michael's church school features. It proved a useful starting point for discussions.
Since we were awarded the Gold RE Quality Mark in summer 2016 we've received lots of visitors from other schools who've recognised that we are an outstanding school in RE and are interested to see our RE in section. We were able to show parents the many display folders of work in areas such as visits, Spirited Arts, Remembrance and cross-curricular work.
Some highlights of the information shared:
- We actioned all questions raised in the forum in 2016.
- Our RE is closely linked to our Vision - we are learning to be effective global citizens with respect and understanding.
- Pupils make significantly above average progress; they feel safe to share personal beliefs and have the ability to ask questions.
- Work is shared beyond the school community (Spirited Arts Project work featured on the National Association of Teachers of RE's website; our work is featured each month in St. Michael's Church magazine and in church/centre displays; our Year 6 Bible work was showcased at the Annual Diocesan Headteacher Conference).
- Work is shared between year groups (Year 5 and Year 2 with Mr Wise; Year 6 and Reception with Story Boxes).
- Pupil feedback shows that the majority enjoy RE lessons.
- We have a creative, enquiry-based curriculum which is also linked to outdoor learning.
- We introduced the Church of England Understanding Christianity resource (based on core Christian concepts) with our RE Day on Salvation.
- 2017/18? Lots more to do - increased RE visits and visitors to the school, work with popular and effective Springs Dance Company once again, another RE Day, 200 years of our church school in 2018 with a number of celebrations.
Feedback and questions from parents included:
- Children comment a lot about their RE lessons and assemblies.
- Please could we ensure that the word Christmas is used in school communication rather than Xmas? (We agreed, after a brief discussion about the origin of the word Xmas!)
- Please could we do more to counter the increasingly pervasive sinister retailing of Halloween? (We agreed to do our Saints and Sausages event when Halloween isn't in half term. Also to promote Church 'light' celebrations, such as those at Holy Trinity, St. James, Bridge. Also to concentrate on the theme of light in the darkness).
- We have 15 different languages within school. RE Day 2018 will be on Buddhism as part of our respect for and understanding of other faiths. We have at least two other faiths (other than Christianity) represented at St. Michael's.
- What is the schedule of collective worship? (There is worship every day; agreed to add this to website).
- Can we come to any collective worship sessions? (All are currently welcome to Friday worship at 2.45pm and special services but Mrs Dale will consider other 'whole school' collective worship days, probably Mondays since it focuses on the term's value).
- Would a morning slot, just after drop off be better for this forum? (The group decided that there is no 'best fit' time for parents, just provide as much notice as possible).
- Is Christmas Jumper Day money going to Save the Children? (Yes).
- Discussion once again on Operation Christmas Child. (The forum concluded last year that this is still a worthy cause, since it's UK arm is distinct from its US roots. However, no leaflets have been delivered to the school this year and it is probably too late. We will concentrate focus on the Reversed Advent to Food Bank instead. Review next year).