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)
At Saint Barnabas we embody the Church of England's vision for education - that there should be no artificial choice between academic rigor and the well being of our pupils – a good education must promote life in all its fullness.
Therefore, our school Christian vision, is theologically rooted in the example of St Barnabas and Paul's letter of encouragement in 1 Thessalonians.
Inclusion and celebrating our diversity.
We welcome families from all faiths and none. Although our Christian ethos is an important part of who we are, we also recognise and celebrate our diverse local community and recognise. We want to take lots of opportunities to learn from each other and about each other. This may take the form of sharing prayers and special celebrations from none Christian faith, learning about each others families, cultural heritage and traditions. As we are a church school, our Religious Education curriculum reflects this through learning about Christianity in every year group but we also believe it is important to learn about non Christian world faiths and beliefs so these are also taught in every year group. Please see our curriculum page for more information. We aim to make links between ideas and values in faiths and beliefs so that our pupils grow up as respectful, compassionate and understanding people
Our Christian values
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. We use the Emmanuel Project as a resource for this. 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 and classrooms. Children play an important part in leading and evaluating this including planning. Please see our collective worship page and ethos committee page for more information. Children regularly reflect and feedback on collective worship through our whole school collective worship log
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
Throughout the year, we visit Saint Barnabas Church for a service to celebrate major Christian Festivals. These include: Harvest, Remembrance, Christmas, Easter and St Barnabas day. We also hold our ‘Year 6 Leaver’s Service’ at Saint Barnabas Church. Children often leave art work, prayers and reflections for the congregtion at St Barnabas church and these are then used in services.
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. The Ethos Committee is made up of, The Worship Committee, Prayer and Spirituality Committee and The Values Committee. 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.
Prayer and spirituality
The School Day
Children pray regularly during the school day. We regularly say our school prayer and the Lord's prayer. Children are encouraged to write their own prayers and these are shared through the newsletter and in collective worship.
We also have a prayer space inside and in the playground. These are quiet spaces in which children can come to talk, pray and reflect. Mrs Gardner leads prayer space inside weekly on a Friday. Children of all faiths attend and everyone is made to feel welcome.
Worship area in class and the QQR class book
Each class has a reflection area, in which is displayed the bible and artefacts which help children to reflect and pray. The colour of the prayer area changes regularly, so that it connects with the different seasons of the liturgical year. The QQR book (quotes, questions and reflections) is also on this table this has reflections from the curriculum that help children develop their values, understanding of themselves and others and also world faiths and views. It contains prayers, drawing and art work inspired by our learning and teaching.
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.