Our pupils staff and governors have all been involved in developing our Christian Values.
It is these values that form the foundations at St Peter's and underpin everything we do.
We celebrate them during our daily worship and explore them through our RE lessons.
Most importantly, we live them out in everything we do.
We have 5 Christian Values:
Proverbs Chapter 17 verse 17 ‘A friend loves at all times’.
1 Chronicles chapter 16 verse 34 ‘Give thanks to the Lord for he is good’
Psalm 116 verse 5 'The Lord is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion.'
Ecclesiastes Chapter 4 verse 12 'And a cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart.'
Matthew Chapter 6 verse 14 'If you forgive others the wrongs they have done to you, your Father in Heaven will also forgive you.'
Our school rules are John Wesley's rule. These are discussed during every worship, displayed around the school and linked to our Behaviour policy.
Our Links with the Church
Although the school was founded as a Wesleyan School, It now has 'controlled' status and is administered and financed by the Local Authority.
Links with the Methodist Church however, are strong and remain important.
The church provides a number of foundation governors and actively supports the work of the school through advice, resources and volunteer helpers and the interest that church members take in the school. We hold key services and class assemblies in the church throughout the year, joined by many of parents, carers and families. Reverend Tim leads a much loved worship with our whole school once a week.
The school has a noticeboard in the church hall and members of the congregation are welcomed at school events, such as church services and fayres. Several members of the church congregation are also volunteers who regularly read with children at school. The school also places reflective prayer spaces in the church as well as around school and members of the church are welcomed to engage with this along with our children and staff.
We have also established strong links with other Methodist schools in the local area through the Methodist Schools Partnership. The partnership consists of four schools: St Peter's, Kent College, Boughton-Under-Blean and Dunkirk and Lorenden.
Here are some examples of projects we have collaborated on:
- Collaborative art days
- Maths challenge days
- Subject leader network meetings
- Sports events
- Joint choir events, including concerts and singing at the annual Methodist Conference at Methodist Central
- Hall Westminster
Daily Collective Worship
We start most days with our collective worship as we believe it sets the tone for the rest of the school day and puts our Christian ethos at the very heart of what we do and who we are.
Teachers and children are present and it is a special time for the school community. Our week finishes with a Celebration Worship on a Friday.
Each week, we have a new theme for our collective worship. The themes include our Christian Values and a range of other ideas relevant to our children's experiences. Our themes can also be responsive to what is happening in the wider world.
Worship usually follows the following pattern:
- On Mondays, Mrs Dyer the headteacher leads a whole school Worship, introducing the theme for the week through bible stories, prayer and song.
- On Tuesdays, the teachers lead a choral worship, where the children learn and practise hymns.
- On Wednesdays, the children gather in the church for a worship led by Rev. Tim.
- On a Thursday, two class meet together for a worship led by their class teachers.
- On a Friday morning we celebrate all that has happened during the week as a whole school. We sing, share school news and certificates are awarded for learning, showing a Growth Mindset and for demonstrating our Christian Values.
During all of our daily collective worship sessions, we say together John Wesley's Rule. Our children are always involved in leading different aspects of our worship including lighting the candle, singing, prayer and opportunities for quiet reflection.
Whilst parents have the right to withdraw a child from worship, our children and staff view this as a special and important part of our school day. We participate with respect and a growing understanding of our own spirituality. It provides an opportunity to explore our own beliefs, deepen our understanding of our school Christian Values and the character of God and reflect upon the world around us in a safe and accepting community. We therefore encourage children of all faiths and none to attend.
Our Christian Values in Action
Through our collective worship, we aim to engage our pupils through considering the preferences of all four spiritual styles: word, emotion, symbol and action.
These four spiritual styles are the different ways in which people express their spirituality and experience God.
We offer a range of different ways for individuals to engage with their spirituality. This may be through:
Here are a few examples of the children's thoughts on how themes introduced in worship are relevant to their daily lives:
Easter means to me a clean, new start as Jesus rose from the dead.
We have eggs because it is like the chicks hatching. Easter is also when you can ask to be forgiven for the bad that you have done and start over.
I have responded to God's call when I had an argument with my sister. I knew that I should stop and so I did.
When I give money to charity I feel joy as I know I have helped somebody and we show love and compassion when we do this.
It brings us together when we do Red Nose Day.
When I was little, I wouldn't listen to my mum and dad but now, having learnt about the ten commandments, I think I should respect my mum and dad a lot more.
We regularly evaluate our collective worship and pupils, staff, parents and governors are involved in this process.
Through this system, we listen to the thoughts of others and continually strive to improve the experiences for our children and staff.
Presenting ideas during worship
Children are given opportunities to present and share their ideas during worship.
This may be through drama, reflections on the weekly theme, questions, presentations and quizzes, responses to the thinking questions and leading special worship sessions.
As a Methodist school, the tradition of worship through singing is strong at St Peter's.
Children and staff are both involved in choosing hymns to accompany weekly themes and for key services through the year. Children are encouraged to sing with enthusiasm and learn or create actions to different hymns. We have a very active choir, who perform at school and national events and in our community.
Time is provided during each worship session for quiet reflection.
This may sometimes be through periods of silent thought or prayer and through thinking questions that are displayed as children enter the worship space. Reflective prayer spaces can be found around school, in our outside areas and in our church. Members of the school community of all faiths and none, are encouraged to engage with these spaces in any way that they feel comfortable.
We use prayer during worship, through reflective spaces, before lunch and at the end of the school day.
We say our school prayer during worship in school and the Lord's Prayer when participating in worship in our church. The children are regularly involved in writing and sharing their own prayers during worship.
Engaging with outside spaces and nature
We have reflective spaces in our outside areas, including a prayer garden designed and created by our children, based around our Christian values.
Interactive reflective spaces
We place interactive reflective spaces around school, in all classrooms, our outside spaces and our church.
These spaces are interactive and accessible to all pupils and staff at all times. Parents and carers are also welcome to engage with these spaces before and after school.
Sharing ideas on how to improve
We hold regular pupil conferencing and ideas gathering activities on how we can improve our collective worship and further develop our Christian Values.
Our Christian distinctiveness is also a regular agenda for our school council.
Social action projects
Our school council lead the school in social action activities.
This is often fund raising for a range of charities, including the Methodist charity 'All We Can', 'Children in Need' and 'Hello Yellow', along with the local food bank and community projects. Individual children are also encouraged to share ideas for social action projects linked to areas they are passionate about.
What does it mean to be part of a Methodist School?