The Distinctiveness and Effectiveness of St. Chad’s as a Church of England Primary Academy.
St. Chad’s is a vibrant Christian learning community where “children are placed at the centre of all that we do”, all learners are helped to flourish and “make outstanding progress”. At St. Chad’s ‘leaners’ include all adults as well as the children. Through engagement with emotional intelligence, exceptional support for successful learning development is provided via specific strategies such as: Thinking Actively in a Social Context (TASC); Philosophy for Children (P4C); and Edward de Bono’s “Thinking Hats”. These strategies also further the development of self-esteem, of faith and social responsibility, and of positive involvement within the community.
The Distinctive Christian Character of the School supports All Learners.
The school‘s Christian values are the vital threads that support the rich and varied tapestry of educational provision the school. The core Christian values act as faith strands that hold together the school’s complex, remarkable and ever-changing educational experiences that capture the imagination and meet individual pupils’ needs in the best possible ways. These threads also ensure that the Christian faith is sensitively interwoven with every aspect of school life.
The children’s awareness of personal accountability for themselves and others, and their readiness to take on positions of trust and leadership show that their sense of social responsibility is exceptionally high. Willingness to act as school councillors, eco-warriors or mentors, or involvement in community activities, music-making, sports teams and Christian activity groups all stem from the children’s’ reflection on how their actions can affect and benefit others. It is also clear evidence of faith in action.
Parent/Carers comment on the “feeling of warmth and friendliness”, the quality of pupil care and support, and how the school staff “all model the behaviour they expect of the children”. The children speak with pride of the wide focus of fund-raising activities which range from support for local causes important within the school community to global charitable aid as they sustain practical aid for a Namibian primary school. Positive and beneficial links with a local care home are much enjoyed by both residents and children, with one child stating her delight in the visits because “they are all such lovely people”.
Exceptionally considerate behaviour at St Chad’s is viewed by parents to be ‘extremely good’ and is supported by the school’s “Keep in Step” framework, allowing successful integration of children who have found school life problematic elsewhere. The school uses many varied opportunities for religious symbolism to extend children’s spiritual development.
Worship at St Chad’s affirms and reflects on the whole Christian ethos of the school. The whole school gathers in an atmosphere of reverence, with music as a supportive background. Children often lead the worship, focussing on current, relevant topics that are concerning them, or reflecting on areas requiring whole school improvement.
Worship includes enthusiastic singing, our inspirational school song “Believe in me,” regularly reciting of the school prayer and singing our chosen version of the Lord’s Prayer. Many aspects of local church worship and prayers are included in assemblies so that children are familiar with them, and feel comfortable, when attending church services.
Worship is also led by all staff members, local clergy and faith leaders, both Anglican and of other Christian churches, so pupils gain a very good understanding of Christian traditions. Parents and carers are invited to join in worship and comment on being moved by the “thought, joy, respect and enthusiasm they experience”. The school visits St Chad’s Parish Church during the year, including the major Christian festivals of Christmas and Easter, as well as a Leavers’ Service, the Harvest Festival and St Chad’s Day.
The variety of worship at the school is carefully planned to ensure that children experience appropriate areas of Anglican tradition alongside an “empathy and understanding of other major world faiths”, as well as in supporting the school’s curriculum. Because of this emphasis and care, worship fulfils a fundamental role in supporting and enhancing the Christian ethos of the school.
A very strong staff team who work closely together, enhance the sense of ‘family’ in school. The exceptional quality of provision at the school has led to hundreds of other children being supported via a regional and national role in enabling the bespoke support of other staff teams to take on St Chad’s philosophy through the provision available within the school’s Sanctuary area. This is Christian outreach in action. Through this provision, the school is also able to provide superb professional development opportunities for its own staff.
Excellent feedback from parents, carers, visitors and members of the public is received on the quality of the children’s conduct, and secondary schools comment on the maturity of approach from St Chad’s chidlren when transferring school. Links with St Chad’s Church are very positive, with pupils providing regular news articles on school life for the church magazine as well as willingly contributing to shared events. There are productive relationships with the local diocese who support the ongoing strategic direction of the school, and it’s recent move to Multi-academy Status.
You can read our recent successful Statutory Inspection of Anglican and Methodist Schools (SIAM) Report by following the link: