What makes us special as a church school?
The worth of each student impels us to work to fulfil their God-given potential, whatever the religious or other tradition with which they or their family identify, and with special consideration given to those who are disadvantaged. Each is to be understood as respectfully and deeply as possible; to be encouraged to stretch themselves spiritually, morally, intellectually, imaginatively and actively, and to aspire to be well-educated.
A good education must promote life in all its fullness – there should be no choice between academic vigour and the well-being of the pupils.
St. Michael's Primary School was built over 200 years ago with the sole purpose of serving the community. We call ourselves 'the St. Michael's family and the children talk openly about being part of this family. We reach out to those around us, both in the local community and in the wider global community. Belieiving that every child is made in the image of God means that the school places the child at the centre of everything we do. Academic achievement is vital but the education here is more wide reaching than this, aiming to help every child become the best that they can be. Well-being and mental health are a key focus as we know that children need nurturing. If a child is suffering mentally, whether this be through low level anxiety to more extreme mental health difficulties, then they are not going to be able to achieve their best academically. Nurturing the whole child is key, as is building each person spiritually, from our children to our staff.
Educating for Wisdom, Knowledge and Skills
Good schools foster confidence, delight and discipline in seeking wisdom, knowledge, truth, understanding, know-how, and the skills needed to shape life well. They nurture academic habits and skills, emotional intelligence and creativity across the whole range of school subjects, including areas such as music, drama and the arts, information and other technologies, sustainable development, sport, and what one needs to understand and practise in order to be a good person, citizen, parent, employee, team or group member, or leader.
Educating for Hope and Aspiration
In the drama of ongoing life, how we learn to approach the future is crucial. Good schools open up horizons of hope and aspiration, and guide pupils into ways of fulfilling them. They also cope wisely with things and people going wrong. Bad experiences and behaviour, wrongdoing and evil need not have the last word. There are resources for healing, repair and renewal; repentance, forgiveness, truth and reconciliation are possible; and meaning, trust, generosity, compassion and hope are more fundamental than meaninglessness, suspicion, selfishness, hardheartedness and despair.
Educating for Community and Living Well Together
We are only persons with each other: our humanity is ‘cohumanity’, inextricably involved with others, utterly relational, both in our humanity and our shared life on a finite planet. If those others are of ultimate worth then we are each called to responsibility towards them and to contribute responsibly to our communities. The good life is‘ with and for others in just institutions’ (Paul Ricoeur) 5 . So education needs to have a core focus on relationships and commitments, participation in communities and institutions, and the qualities of character that enable people to flourish together.
Educating for Dignity and Respect
Human dignity, the ultimate worth of each person, is central to good education. The basic principle of respect for the value of each person involves continual discernment, deliberation and action, and schools are one of the main places where this happens, and where the understanding and practices it requires are learned. This includes vigilant safeguarding. It is especially important that the equal worth of those with and without special educational needs and disabilities is recognized in practice. For the first time in history, there is now something approaching global agreement on the worth of each person through the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights and its successor declarations, covenants and conventions, including that in 2006 on the rights of persons with disabilities. How that is worked out in each nation and each school is a massive task that calls on the inspiration and resources offered by each tradition of faith and belief.