Christian Distinctiveness at Bisley
Bisley C of E Primary School – a Church School
Long before the Government became involved in providing education for everyone in our country, the Church of England had a vision that it wanted every parish to have a school for the education of poor children.
By 1900, there were 5,700 state-funded schools and 14,000 schools funded by the Church of England.
Today, approximately a quarter of all primary schools have a Church of England foundation, through which they strive to provide the highest standard of education possible, in partnership with the state.
From the earliest days, the purpose of Church schools was to enable children to flourish by providing a basic education and by developing their moral character.
Church schools are not ‘faith schools’ (in the sense of presuming that children are practising Christians or attempting to make converts of them). Church schools are open to all members of the parish and base their ethos of the school on distinctively Christian values; they will offer children an experience of faith through collective worship and links with the parish church. The RE syllabus teaches a variety of religions and there are signs and symbols around the school that are related to this parish link, more than you would find in a non-Church school. Church schools encourage an understanding of the meaning and significance of faith and promote Christian values through the experience that they offer all pupils.
What does Christian Distinctiveness look like at Bisley?
As a Church School, the governors and staff aim to weave our Christian distinctiveness into all aspects of the fabric of school life. We believe our school is a place where all are valued as individuals and as God’s children, and that the whole child matters before God. We aim to teach sound oral values and a sense of community.
In and around the school you will see and hear things for all stakeholders to embed the Christian values of our school and how they applicable to everyday.
Daily acts of collective worship. These include stories from the Bible/ songs / prayers and messages about how this is relevant to all of us in our day to day life.
Singing. We learn a wide variety of songs in school including Christian songs. These take the form of praise.
Visual reminders of our values. Work in books, photos depicting values, displays.
Class reflection areas. A dedicated space for prayer and reflection that changes according to the time of year / children's needs and interest.
Prayers. We have a school prayer and individual classes / phases have prayers that they will say at the start / end of day as well as a lunchtime prayer. The children also have opportunity to contribute to prayers in class and worship if they would like to.
Regular visits by our local vicar, Andy to facilitate whole school worship.
Visits to the Church where possible, related to the RE unit of study.
Dedicated Pause weeks / days throughout the year to explore Christianity in Advent and Easter as well as the wider context of ‘moving on’ in July.
Bisley’s Core Gospel Values (Love, Respect, Courage, Hope)
Bisley’s four Core Gospel Values still run strong throughout the school; Values’ based collective worships are led by one of the teachers, and Rev Andy Armitt delivers whole school worship fortnightly. The Values’ based action of worship lead to children nominating their peers for a values’ leaf, which is displayed in the entrance on our Values’ tree. The four values are explored on a fortnightly basis so that the children can really focus on a particular value when they are nominating each other. Open The Book visit every Monday and set the scene for the week, and Kids’ Praise is led by the headteacher every Thursday. Class Worship takes place on Wednesdays where teachers will offer the children time to reflect on current and topical issues. The whole school gathers for Celebration Assembly on Friday afternoons where children are awarded certificates and rewards for their efforts and work throughout the week – parents are sometimes invited in to this act of worship to see a little extra of life at Bisley!
'The school’s Christian vision and associated values of hope, respect, courage and love are embedded in the school. They provide a strong framework within which all pupils and adults flourish.' SIAMS June 2019
Teaching RE at Bisley
At Bisley CofE school we follow the Guildford Diocesan guidelines for RE.
Children have RE lessons following the plans created by Diocese which can be found on their website. Often, these lessons will take place weekly but sometimes teachers feel it is pertinent to spend a dedicated afternoon / day to a unit in order to embed the flow of learning.
Reception learn about The Bible, Christian Celebrations and Our School and links with the Church.
KS1 learn about God and the Bible, Jesus and His parables, Prayer and attending Church as well as focused units on Christmas and Easter. Year 1 will conduct a unit of study on Judaism and Year 2 will study aspects of Islam.
KS2 build on their learning in KS1 in more detail. Years 3 and 4 will further study aspects of Judaism and Years 5 and 6 will study Hinduism, Islam and Buddhism.
During RE lessons children are taught subject knowledge about a particular religion (Attainment Target 1) and how people of that religion apply it to their lives (Attainment Target 2)
RE lessons teach tolerance, understanding and respect for people of similar and different faiths.
'Pupils are challenged and supported in this caring and nurturing Christian environment which has led to improved attainment and progress for most pupils. The teaching of RE is good. This has led to high quality outcomes from pupils who have gained a good theological understanding and strong religious literacy regardless of their own faith background.' SIAMS June 2019