John 10:10 when Jesus said, "I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full".
The above Bible Verse encapsulates our school vision which underpins all we do here at Checkendon CE (A) Primary School. We are a nurturing, holistic, school, rooted in a Christian community serving the small village of Checkendon and other neighbouring villages and towns.
Our Vision Journey
Everyone, staff, pupils, parents, governors and the wider community at Checkendon Primary School, worked together to create our shared vision during the summer term of 2022. In developing our vision, we considered The Church of England Vision for Education: Deeply Christian, Serving the Common Good (https://www.churchofengland.org/more/education-and-schools/vision-education) and with the help of Toby Long, our Diocesan School Adviser and Rev’d Kevin Davis, we chose a short, yet powerful, verse to root our vision in biblical teaching.
John 10:10 when Jesus said, "I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full".
Our vision is to unlock the unique voice within each child fostering a lifelong aspiration of learning excellence; striving for an inclusive school family where everyone can flourish and experience life to its fullest. We aim to grow within the natural beauty surrounding us, safe in the knowledge of God's love.
In short, we want our children to live, love and learn.
We believe the purpose of education is to nurture and enable every child to thrive and to be the person they are fully capable of being. Guided by our Christian values, we endeavour to motivate and inspire everyone to become resilient and enthusiastic lifelong learners. We see our role as providing a well-rounded education, which supports every child to flourish academically and physically, emotionally and spiritually, socially and morally. Our pupils enjoy an inspiring and varied curriculum, supported by a wide range of enrichment activities and extra-curricular opportunities. We intend to provide a curriculum that interests the children, reflects the families within our community and positively represents those currently not. The uniqueness of each child is celebrated and nurtured through the partnership of children, parents, staff and governors. Every child enjoys the extra attention that makes all the difference to learning, behaviour and having fun in our small class sizes. We are blessed with a close working relationship with our local church, St Peter and St Paul. To view the Team Ministry's website, click on this link: https://langtreechurches.org/locations/st-peter-st-paul-church-checkendon/
Our school is dedicated to providing a place of effective learning and teaching so that each child may pursue success in the classroom, on the sports field, within the arts and in every other area of school life. Above all, we aim to provide a safe, caring and vibrant community where there is excitement and pleasure in learning.
But what makes us distinctive and unique? We are a family; everyone pulls together, supports each other and works collectively to solve problems. We care about everyone in our community and want them to achieve and flourish. Visitors comment on the school’s ethos and the welcoming and caring feel of the school. We are very proud of this.
Our chosen values (Respect, Integrity, Compassion, Courage and Hope) reflect what we stand for and underpin our work in school every day. We also want these values to be accessible and meaningful for everyone in our school, from our youngest children to the oldest. The children learn Bible stories and verses that explore these values and they are encouraged to develop their understanding of, and reflect upon these values through our curriculum and collective worship programme, demonstrating them in their own lives.
The understanding and exploration of our Christian Values are strengthened and reflected upon through our daily collective worship.
The school meets daily to share in collective worship. Staff and children join together and are invited to reflect, pray, engage and explore Christian values, stories through Bible readings, and other related stories and visitors who may talk to the children about fundraising or events: relating aspects to their own lives, beliefs and those around them, local and global communities.
Everyone in our school community is involved in collective worship through its termly calendar. Children enjoy leading collective worship, together with daily prayers. Particularly on Friday when the school comes together for a celebration collective worship; where all achievements are shared and celebrated, adults and children. It is at this time that each class nominates children to receive Values Awards for those class members who have demonstrated the school's Christian Values that week. This is a wonderful opportunity for the whole school community to celebrate.
Another weekly highlight is the walk to St Peter and St Paul’s for Wednesday Worship. We work closely with our local church, St Peter and St Paul’s and the Langtree Team Ministry, led by Revd Canon Kevin Davies.
Once a term, our school, families and the wider community gather in the church to celebrate an element of the Christian Calendar or give thanks for our wonderful community.
Spirituality at Checkendon CE Primary School
As a school, we value the important of the emotional and spiritual wellbeing of our school community and encourage spiritual development through all areas of school life. Children have opportunities to reflect and have peaceful times during the school day. There are quiet areas in each classroom and in our playground we have two reflection corners that the children use to think, question, and explore their thoughts.
Our school staff have spoken in depth with our Diocesan Advisor, Katie Dickens, who has supported us in understanding spirituality and trying to define it. Our children feel part of a school family, they are comforted and supported to be the best they can be. Spirituality is threaded through everything we do, what makes us, us. Along with all members of the school community we will continue to work on articulating the tangible feeling of a special place.
At our school, we place a great emphasis on Religious Education (RE) as it plays a crucial role in the overall curriculum. As explained in Challenging RE The Oxfordshire Agreed Syllabus for Religious Education 2023, (page 7):
There are two main educational purposes to RE:
- For pupils to learn about religions and beliefs which have influenced the lives of millions of people and heavily influenced the development of different human cultures. Pupils apply academic skills such as analysis and critical and creative thinking, approaching the study of religion with different disciplines as they mature.
- For pupils to recognise and develop their own perspective from their increasingly academic and creative exploration of religions and other worldviews. RE is therefore both rigorously academic and personally significant.
Our children are encouraged to explore their own personal beliefs and ideas in a safe and supportive learning environment. They learn to respect the beliefs of others, which is an essential life skill. While Christianity is an important focus, the children also learn about a wide range of faiths and religions.
The Intent of our RE curriculum is in line with the Bible Verse that we share with the Church of England Statement of Entitlement: “Religious education in a Church school should enable every child to flourish and to live life in all its fullness. (John 10:10). It will help educate for dignity and respect encouraging all to live well together.” Statement of Entitlement, 2019, page 1.
Our curriculum is planned in accordance with the requirements of the Oxfordshire Agreed Syllabus for RE (Agreed RE Syllabus 2023 to 2028 OxfordshireAgreedSyllabus2023-28.pdf). We employed a flexible approach to planning our RE learning, combining Understanding Christianity and the Oxfordshire RE Scheme to ensure all aspects of the agreed syllabus are covered. Our curriculum is designed to provide our children with enriched learning experiences that encourage them to explore, question, and investigate. We believe in extending children's natural curiosity to develop their knowledge and understanding, and we encourage them to be critical thinkers, take responsibility for their learning, work independently, and collaborate with others. We also teach them to be resilient and provide support when they fail or make a mistake. Our primary focus is to encourage a growth mindset in our children and instil in them the courage to take on new challenges fearlessly. Our goal is to ensure that our children are well-prepared for the 21st century and have the knowledge and skills to use technology effectively. So when children leave Checkendon Primary School, they are ready for the next phase of their education wherever that might be.
The Headteacher is also the RE subject coordinator and teaches RE throughout the school. The Governor with responsibility for RE and Collective Worship monitors through discussions with the Headteacher, learning walks, book looks, observing collective worship and discussing learning with children.
Our school holds a School Development Plan, it includes a section dedicated to Christian Ethos and RE. For academic year 2023/2024, the following areas are planned to develop further:
- To develop the distinctiveness and effectiveness of Checkendon as a church school and consider the longer-term implications of the SIAMS framework
- Incorporate the new SIAMS principles throughout our school – website, policies, monitoring and vision
- Our RE curriculum reflects the new Oxfordshire Agreed Syllabus
- Governors and Headteacher receive further training on new SIAMS framework
When asked, ‘What do you think makes Checkendon a distinctly Christian school?’ our parents answered: the core values of the school; the connection with the village and church; daily prayer and weekly worship; Wednesday worship with Rev’d Kevin and the kindness woven throughout the school.