Welcome to Bishop Henderson Church of England Primary School. We are proud to be a Church of England school, opened in 1974, the result of local church vison, from the then joint Parish of Wilton and Comeytrowe. We would like to share with you what this means to us and how it can be seen in the life of our school and community.
Our vision is ‘Learning together for life in all its fullness’, based on words of Jesus, from the New Testament of the Bible, John chapter 10, verse 10. ‘Learning together reflects’ our inclusivity and ‘life in all its fullness’ refers to valuing education of the ‘whole’ child, beyond the purely academic, acknowledging individuality, creativity and community for a full and purposeful life.
Church School distinctiveness – what does it mean to be a Church of England school?
We are NOT a ‘faith’ school, we teach the Somerset Agreed Syllabus for RE as is the legal expectation of all state schools and this covers the major world faiths, including Christianity.
Church Schools were established, since 1811, for everyone - that all children may access a high quality education and flourish as individuals. This approach continues and is supported by the 2016 Church of England vision for education that promotes education for knowledge and skills, hope and aspiration, community and living well together, dignity and respect – all underpinned by key Christian values. Bishop Henderson’s school values, to help us achieve our vision of ‘life in all its fullness’, are based on the words of St Paul : ‘The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.’ (The Bible, Galatians, Chapter 5)
Like any good schools, Church schools will offer the best education – academic, social, moral, spiritual and cultural, whilst also enabling children to be aware of, and increasingly understand, the history and narrative of the Christian faith, enabling and equipping them to be informed as individuals in order to make personal choices in their own lives.
Church schools will demonstrate their distinctiveness through visual and interactive elements including Christian symbols, Bibles, reflection areas, prayers, crosses and collective worship that is distinctly Christian. We also have positive links with local churches, our school chaplain and our Diocese. Furthermore, our school’s foundation and trust deeds are embedded in the Church of England, we have trustees through the Diocese of Bath and Wells, local Foundation Governors and local clergy.
In 2012 the Chadwick report said that Church Schools should offer ‘A distinctive Christian ethos based on Christian values.’
In 2016 Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, said Church Schools should offer a Christian approach to education not an approach to educating Christians.
Spirituality and Church Schools. All schools should promote young people’s spiritual, moral, social and cultural development.
Spirituality in church schools may be defined as follows: ‘The development of the awareness that there is: Something more to life than meets the eye. Something more than the material. Something more than the obvious. Something to wonder at. Something to respond to.’ (Terence Copely) Such a definition allows for religious belief but does not depend on it, rather it acknowledges a shared human spirituality.
Opportunities for spiritual development at Bishop Henderson will help children to look ‘beyond’, to ask questions, to reflect, to look deeply, to wonder, to respond. Such opportunities will be embedded in to the curriculum and also may be found in reflective areas, collective worship, after lunch meditation time, time and space to think and reflect, time in group, our worry box, the reflective garden, forest school, charity links and connections around the world. The characteristics of spiritually developing people, identified by psychologist Clive Beck, link very closely to the Fruit of the Spirit, that we use to inform our school values.
Worship in Church Schools, including collective worship, is about being moved to ‘ to respond’; something that inspires a response, reflection, appreciation, thanks. In school Collective Worship is about togetherness as a school family and with our wider community too. For a Christian this may be an active response to God’s character, words and actions that can be seen in the life of the believer; for other faiths, or none, the response (in thoughts, feelings, attitude or actions) may be towards another deity or other focus.
Worship may well be seen as a natural activity of human-kind irrespective of belief in a god. Within a Church School committed to Christian values and principles, children will be given opportunities to experience, explore and respond to worship whilst also being aware of the possibility of God, and a relationship with Him, as revealed through Christian narrative and traditions.