As a Church Voluntary Aided Primary School, Saint Barnabas works hard to develop and sustain the school’s Christian distinctiveness. We work in close partnership with the Church of Saint Barnabas and make regular visits as a school.
What can you expect in a church school?
‘The key characteristic of an outstanding church school is that it is a place where the Kingdom of God can be seen outworking in practical reality. A place where there is welcome and hospitality, encouragement and comfort, trust and understanding, good things happen and everyone enjoys being there; healing and wholeness are present and there is a sense of the ‘shalom’ of heaven. In other words, a place that feels very much alive. Schools like this can do their community good! ’ Derek Holbird (Guildford Diocesan Director of Education)
Saint Barnabas Primary School is founded upon core values. To support our school values, the themes for Collective Worship are changed each half term and reflect values to support the social, moral, emotional and spiritual growth of our children. Our principal values are friendship, kindness, determination, forgiveness, honesty and co-operation and time is spent exploring what is distinctively Christian about these particular values. Also, many other values are explicitly taught throughout the school day such as: respect, courage, trust and appreciation.
Religious Education is a core subject at our school and is timetabled weekly. Children learn about Christianity using the resource Understanding Christianity. As a Church School, although Christianity forms the major study in Religious Education lessons, we have a duty to foster an accurate and increasing understanding of other religions and world views. As a result, our pupils gain a greater insight into the world in which they are growing up. They are also able to appreciate the faith of others and develop a deeper understanding of their own beliefs and practices. These outcomes contribute to harmonious relationships within and between communities, promoting social inclusion and combating prejudice.
We have daily Collective Worship in the school hall. Children play an important part in leading and evaluating this including planning and leading a whole collective worship once each half term which encourages positive role models for children in our school. Please see our collective worship page for more information.
Celebrating with parents
Every Friday Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 have celebration Collective Worship where we gather and invite parents to celebrate the work children have done in school. In Reception, children have the opportunity to explore their faith with their family through ‘Stay and Pray’ sessions which are held termly.
Worship with the community
Each half term, we visit Saint Barnabas Church for a service to celebrate major Christian Festivals. These include: Harvest, Christmas, Candlemas, Easter and Pentecost. Throughout the year, individual classes visit the Church for specific teaching on different areas of Christian life. We also hold our ‘Year 6 Leaver’s Service’ at Saint Barnabas Church.
Each class has a member of the Ethos Committee who represent the different faiths at Saint Barnabas. They have important roles and responsibilities which include regularly meeting with the Ethos Leader to discuss projects and religious festivals that are celebrated. They play an important part in being a voice for the children and in leading and evaluating collective worship and the ethos of the school. Please see our Ethos committee page in our children's section of our website.
The School Day
Children pray regularly during the school day. All classes start the day with our morning prayer. They say Grace before lunch and an end of day prayer. We regularly say our school prayer and the Lord's prayer.
Each classroom has a prayer space or ‘reflection area’ to enable children to explore faith and spirituality in a safe, creative and interactive way. The colour of the prayer area changes regularly, so that it connects with the different seasons of the liturgical year.
To support and encourage prayer at home all children in each class have the opportunity to take the prayer bag home. Inside are various artefacts and items to support prayer such as a cross, candle and a praying teddy bear for younger children. Inside you will also find religious stories and texts. Each child is asked to write their prayer and bring it in to share with the class. Each class is chosen once every term to contribute one of their prayers for the school newsletter.
Please also see our collective worship page.
Around the School
We also have a recently dedicated prayer tree located in our entrance hall where pupils, parents, staff and visitors alike can write a prayer.