A VOLUNTARY AIDED CHURCH SCHOOL
Founded in 1847, St Ippolyts Primary School values and develops its Christian Character in harmony with the principles of the Church of England. The school and church are together at the heart of the Christian mission within the community. We work in true partnership with our community and St. Albans Diocese. The school serves its community by providing an education of the highest quality within the context of Christian belief and practice. We encourage an understanding of the significance of faith and promote Christian values through the experience we offers to all our pupils.
Our principle aim:
To provide the best possible education for each child as a unique individual, within the context of a caring, Christian community.
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another” John13:34
As a Church School we have a duty and responsibility to educate children in an understanding of the Christian faith and its values. The teaching of Religious Education is based on the Governors’ policy for RE which is available in school for parents to read. Religious Education is a core subject.
Part of our Christian commitment is that we promote a respect for and an understanding of the major religions in the world. The curriculum includes teaching children about a variety of different faiths, alongside a strong emphasis on Christianity following the ‘Understanding Christianity’ programme.
Children are encouraged to think about their own beliefs and use this knowledge to help interpret the similarities and differences between different faiths. Our aim is for all children are able to understand why people have different faiths and to show respect and empathy for them.
As part of our RE topics on world faiths we aim to expose children to a range of ‘real’ experiences where possible, for example visits to places of worship such as Stevenage Mosque and Hitchin Gurdwara. We are well placed for children to experience a Christian Church; we visit St Ippolyts Church regularly to allow the children to compare and contrast between places of worship.
Religious Education activities in school are cross curricular, incorporating many opportunities for children to articulate their thoughts through art, sculpture, music, drama and other creative media. Children are supported to develop into independent thinkers who can express themselves and their beliefs clearly. RE is further enhanced with whole school, themed ‘Experience Journeys’ on particular themes such as Christmas, Easter, Eucharist and Prayer.
Periodically, we follow a whole school theme known as ‘The Big Question’, an open ended task aimed at encouraging children to think about life. Examples of ‘big questions’ could be: ‘If you were God, which prayers would you answer and why?’
Pupils are also encouraged to think about deeper global issues such as poverty, division of the world’s wealth, the role of charities and the impact of conflict.
Collective Worship is central to the life of the school. Various kinds of Christian collective worship take place each day, as a whole school, sometimes in different age groups, and occasionally as an individual class. Visitors are also invited to some of our worship including members of the clergy. The Vicar of St Ippolyts Church, Rev Ginni Dear, is a regular face in school; she often leads Collective Worship with the whole school community where children can experience key elements of the Anglican faith. Class Assemblies are held throughout the year and parents are invited to attend.
The Church is used for special services at Harvest, Christmas, Easter and the end of the school year for our Year 6 ‘Leavers’, to which parents and families are invited to join us. The children use the Church regularly through their RE studies and are involved in Church events such as the Crib Festival at Christmas and the Remembrance Service in November.
“The impact of collective worship on the school community is outstanding.
Worship is inclusive; it is enjoyed and appreciated by all and has a range of approaches which inspire and motivate pupils. Excellent use is made of technology to create an atmosphere for prayer and reflection in which pupils’ spiritual development is paramount”
SIAMS Inspection Report February 2015
Pupils in Years 5 and 6 have the opportunity to join our ‘Young Worship’ group. The pupils take the Values theme for that half term and use it to plan and independently lead a whole school Collective Worship on a regular basis.
Young Worship is an opportunity for children to express their beliefs through their own interpretation of faith. Collective Worship led by the Young Worship group typically incorporates drama, music, storytelling, dance and multimedia.
Parents have a legal right to withdraw their children from collective worship or RE. Please consult the Headteacher about this.