Respect – Responsibility – Resilience
The school, through its distinctive Christian character, is outstanding at meeting the needs of all learners. Our SIAMS Inspection Report in March 2016 stated that:
‘Christian beliefs and values are woven through all aspects of St Edmund’s School.
Students report that seeing the Micah verse displayed around the school makes them reflect on who
they are and who they want to be. Students appreciate how the values and Micah verse are explored
from a Christian perspective but value the fact that they are relevant for everyone. As a
consequence, students develop a spirit of generosity and an awareness of need in others locally and
globally raising considerable sums for charities they choose to support. Believing that every student is
valued by God results in the school setting high expectations and aspirations for all of them.’
Our Ofsted Report in March 2015 stated that: “the school itself is a harmonious community where staff and students cooperate well together.”
At St Edmund’s we have a clear Christian vision which is underpinned by the core values of respect, responsibility and resilience. There is a strong and active Christian presence on the governing body which helps to ensure that the school maintains a distinctive Christian ethos.
At St Edmund’s Girls’ School we recognise that the personal development of students, spiritually, morally, socially and culturally, plays a significant part in their ability to learn and achieve. We therefore aim to provide an education that provides students with opportunities to explore and develop their own values and beliefs, spiritual awareness, high standards of personal behaviour, a positive and caring attitude towards other people, an understanding of their social and cultural traditions and an appreciation of the diversity and richness of other cultures.
St Edmund’s Girls’ School is proud to be a Church of England Academy. Our vision is encapsulated in the phrase ‘inspired to achieve’ and expressed further as follows:
• Through inspiration, challenge and support, our students achieve outstanding outcomes and are able to realise their ambitions.
• Within a positive, caring environment, underpinned by Christian values, our students become happy, responsible and successful members of society.
Our three core values of respect, responsibility and resilience were chosen by students to sum up the expectations we have of all those working as part of a Christian community and as values which will contribute to our aim to send positive, determined and brave young women onto their next stage of education after St Edmund’s.
We articulate our vision and core values through the words of Micah 6-8:
These phrases are used in various aspects of school life to remind and underline our Christian approach.
Spiritual attributes we aim to foster:
• The ability to be still, to reflect on their sense of self and their place in the world.
• The capacity to go deeper, to reflect, to connect with questions regarding life and death, purpose, beauty and creativity.
• A readiness to explore the numinous, how spirituality can provide meaning and a sense of connectedness to others and to ‘something bigger’ beyond our daily lives.
As a school we aim to provide opportunities that will enable students to:
• Sustain their self-esteem in their learning experience.
• Be inspired by the school’s vision and values.
• Develop their capacity for critical and independent thought.
• Foster their emotional life and express their feelings.
• Experience moments of stillness and reflection.
• Discuss their beliefs, feelings, values and responses to personal experiences.
• Form and maintain worthwhile and satisfying relationships.
• Reflect on, consider and celebrate the wonders and mysteries of life.
• Develop a tendency to ask why and what if questions.
• Develop a capacity to face suffering and learn from it.
The school works on a two week cycle of blue and yellow weeks. Each day students have a 25 minute tutor time and there is a tutorial curriculum in place across the cycle.
Collective Worship takes place at distinctive times in each week and are led by members of the senior leadership team, The Bridge and other staff and visitors.
All collective worship enables students to grow in spiritual and religious awareness and knowledge. Key Christian festivals such as Advent, Lent, Easter and Christmas are given particular focus. Collective Worship is a time of reflection for all students, whatever their beliefs. The Christian concept of God may be specifically referred to frequently. Prayers and/or silence are used to enable students to contemplate the spiritual beliefs and values that are suggested to them.
There is a policy of including readings, music and drama performed by students where possible. Student leaders take a role in planning and delivering assemblies. Students are required to enter and leave the assembly space respectfully and calmly. This fosters the reflective tone of the proceedings.
Students have additional opportunities to explore spirituality and for reflection. The tutor programme includes time to explore and reflect upon the ‘Thought for the Week’. The tutor curriculum includes a tutor programme specific to each year group and a World View session. These allow time to discuss and reflect on areas of social concern. These can quite often be topics suggested by students. This year we have introduced a Reflection session on Blue Fridays which aims to focus on the Christian values that underpin our school values and ethos.
Thought for the Week
Each week students are presented with a thought for the week linked to current themes and our school values of respect, responsibility and resilience. The thought can originate from someone in the public sphere, both contemporary and historical, or from the Bible. Staff and students can suggest appropriate thoughts to be used. Time is dedicated in tutor time to explore the meanings of the thought presented and how they can be related to our own lives today. The thought for the week is sent to all staff weekly with background and context for its origin and questions to promote discussion and reflection. It is displayed on each tutor board, the website, on the plasma screen in reception and on Show my Homework as well as school and staff twitter feeds. The thought for the week may be the focus of Collective Worship or be referred to during it.
The Religious Studies (RS) department takes a lead in providing concepts, ideas and discussions around spirituality, religion and belief. Students place a high value on their RS studies, all students complete the GCSE full course receiving consistently high quality teaching and learning experiences. The levels of attainment in RS are consistently excellent and it is a leading department within the school. RS is highly valued by school leaders within the curriculum and is given substantial curriculum time.
The Christian ethos of the school is exemplified by the charitable giving by staff and students which exceeds normal expectations. Each year students nominate a local, national and international charity to support. We have calendared charitable events, for example each October the entire school takes part in a sponsored walk covering 8 miles to Pitton School and back. We also hold annual Easter, Christmas and Valentine’s Fairs. Alongside this students regularly, either in tutor groups or houses, propose and organise a variety of fund raising activities that also promote awareness of our school charities. Students demonstrate a sense of thankfulness and community that is articulated through their desire to ‘give back’.
We are extremely fortunate to have a strong link with The Bridge who provide support through a lay chaplain, who visits us twice a week and works within our strong pastoral team to provide emotional and spiritual support for students. The lay chaplain and other members of The Bridge are invited to deliver Collective Worship on a regular basis.
Together with The Bridge we have organised and delivered several Sacred Space weeks. This involves turning a classroom into a space that allows students to rest, be calm and reflect, with various stations designed to promote a sense of spirituality.
This meets every Wednesday and numbers attending regularly are the highest they have ever been.
Links with local Churches
Significant events link the work of the school with local churches. Our Christmas Carol Service at St Thomas’ is a key event in the year and is followed by Christmas worship for all students in the school on the final day of term. An Easter celebration is of a similar nature for all members of the school community. Each year student leaders contribute to the celebratory days held in the Cathedral for Year 6 children in the Diocese.
We have a special link With St Thomas’s Church. The current rector is a governor on the school’s Local Governing Body http://www.stthomassalisbury.co.uk/
Following inspection in March 2015, the following statements were reported:
Provision for students’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is a strength of the school. Students are encouraged to take responsibility in the school and to support others in the community. Many opportunities are provided for students to reflect on moral issues as well as on their own achievement. Students learn to respect those with different faiths and beliefs and develop a clear understanding of right and wrong. The British values of free speech and democracy are actively promoted through the curriculum so that students are well prepared for life in modern Britain.
Students’ strong moral and social development enables them to respect others and understand the consequences of their actions.
Relationships between staff and students are extremely good so that students can ask questions and express their own views in confidence.
The school itself is a harmonious community where staff and students cooperate well together.
Connections with school policies