Cheddon Fitzpaine, being a church school, has a strong Christian distinctiveness providing a unique additional benefit to the school community.
Distinctively Christian values form the basis of the school’s behaviour and reward procedures and are displayed prominently in the school. Children are taught about the Christian background to these values through class sessions and whole school collective worship
Children behave well and have good relationships between all members of the school community. Responses to OFSTED Parent View questionnaires show over 94% satisfaction with the behaviour of the children at school.
‘Pupils are confident that teachers and other staff are always there for them if needed and told the inspector, ‘Our teachers are special and they do anything for us.’ OFSTED 2015
‘The school’s clear commitment to equal opportunity and to tackling any form of discrimination is demonstrated by the good achievement of all groups of pupils.’ OFSTED 2015
Each classroom has a space set aside for reflection. The children’s prayers and thoughts are displayed and there is an age appropriate Bible and box of their own prayers available for them to use.
Children are taught about the Holy Trinity, and it’s importance in the Christian Faith.
Collective worship is based around a programme of Christian values. These are promoted to the school through displays both in class and the wider school. Opportunities for adults and children alike to have moments of awe and wonder are cultivated.
Collective worship is an important part of the school day. The school community gather together to engage in worship. This may be listening to or watching a Bible story,considering a Christian value or learning about the lives of others.There is time to reflect, sing and pray. Collective worship is planned and led regularly by our Head teacher, other staff, children and visitors.
Reverend Haslam from North Taunton Academy and Mr Strange regularly visit school to lead our Collective Worship. Here Mr Strange and ‘Dunk’ are helping us to think about trust.
Children have the opportunity to respond to what they hear and experience during Collective Worship by recording them in a Collective Worship book. Everyone is able to write prayers which can be used in times of Collective Worship.
Religious Education is an important part of the school curriculum. The Somerset Awareness, Mystery and Values syllabus is followed and lessons are planned and delivered by a specialist teacher. A multidisciplinary approach is used to teach RE enabling all children to learn and express their thoughts in a variety of ways. The children research using the world wide web and specialist books that are selected to support each unit of study. Film clips of religious stories and practices are widely used alongside, role play, art, poetry, listening to religious music, Godly play and a range of ways of recording learning.
Visits to a variety of faith buildings and visitors from different faiths and denominations enable the children’s understanding of world faiths and respect the diversity and difference within faith communities.
We use the Church of England new resources ‘Understanding Christianity’ for the teaching of Christianity. This is an exciting new resource which helps children to put the Christian teaching into context.
Making sense of the text – what does the Bible say?
Understanding the impact – how does this impact on how Christians live?
Making connections – how do you feel about these ideas and values?
The story of the Bible, the ‘big picture’, is divided into eight areas, four in the Old Testament…..God, Creation, Fall, People of God, and four in the New Testament…. Incarnation, Gospel, Salvation and Kingdom of God.
Each time the children study a topic in Christianity it is put into the context of one of these key areas.
Class 5 trialled a new Christianity resource in RE. The children had time to reflect on their own ideas about themselves, their beliefs and how they feel about different issues. They found it very interesting and appreciated having time to think about what the Bible says. This was another approach to learning that enhanced the variety that are already used.
We invite visitors to lead some of our RE lessons. Father Geoff has told the children the children about how some special celebrations such as weddings and baptisms are performed in the church. He has also explained the significance of the different coloured stoles that he wears at different times of the year.
Mr Strange visited to lead a Godly play lesson, teaching the children about how we know what is right and wrong.
Tiff, from the local chapel, is an expert on Judaism,and he led us through a Jewish Passover meal.
We celebrate whole school collaborative days where everyone takes part in activities in their house groups. The first RE Day was on the theme of the Nativity.The activities included collage, acting, ordering and retelling the story, talking about gifts that we can give and thoughts, prayers and wishes for others at Christmas.
There are strong links between the school, St Mary’s, the parish church, and North Taunton Academy. Class 5 visited the church to learn more about the week before Easter from Palm Sunday to Easter Day. Rev. Mike Haslam, the chaplain from the academy, used interactive methods to encourage the children to think about the significance of the events leading up to Easter Day.
We also visit the church during our RE lessons. Here Father Geoff is teaching a key stage 1 group of children about how Jesus washed His disciples feet at the last supper. He told us that this was to teach His followers how to serve one another.
The children have the opportunity to visit other places of worship. We have recently visited both Exeter and Wells Cathedrals as well as Exeter Mosque. ‘The curriculum effectively promotes pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development and encourages good behaviour. Pupils develop a good understanding and appreciation of different faiths and cultures.’ OFSTED 2015
Visitors and visits to different faith buildings help children understand Christianity as a multicultural world faith and respect the diversity and difference within other faith communities. Indri, a Hindu priest, visited to tell us more about Hinduism.
The school has strong links with St Mary’s Church Cheddon Fitzpaine
As well as visiting the church for RE lessons the school visit St Mary’s Church in the village several times each year to have services to remember Christian festivals. All the school community are welcome to come and join in with the celebrations.
Our annual leavers service is also celebrated in the church where Year 6 children celebrate their time spent at the school, Bibles are presented and annual awards given.
Links With Other Church Schools
Children have joined in activities with children from West Monkton School. Members from St Augustines Church in West Monkton and St Mary’s Church Cheddon Fitzpaine joined together to tell parable stories and lead activities related to them.
We work together with other church schools on joint RE projects. Here we are at All Saints Church in Norton Fitzwarren looking at the purpose of stained glass windows.
Year 6 children join in with other church schools at Wells Cathedral.
The school actively supports local and international charities.
The school council organised a collection of toys for children in an orphanage in Busu, Uganda. This was arranged with a former pupil, Brad Durrant, who was going to Busu on a mission trip with a group from a local chapel. Brad brought back photos of the children playing with the donated toys.
Donations from the end of year school performance and the profits from Class 5 enterprise activity were also given to the charity.
The school supported the MacMillan Cancer Charity by running a cake sale.
The school has strong links with the local community.
The school has regular involvement in the local community. We take part in the annual Cheddon Flower Show, use the Village Hall for plays and special events and visit both the church and village as part of several curriculum areas of learning.
We also have strong links with Hestercombe Gardens who have donated an art prize cup to the school.
St Mary’s Church PCC and the local Mary Joslin Trust provided the school with a new class set of Good News Bibles for Key Stage 2 children to use during their RE lessons.
The church also present every Year 6 leaver with their own copy of the Good News Bible in the leavers’ service at the end of each year.
The school community actively support school life
Many of the parents are involved with the ‘Friends of Cheddon’. They actively support the school by arranging several social and fundraising events each year. These include school discos and talent shows for the children and family events such as barn dances, fairs, bingo and quiz evenings. They provide many of the ‘extras’ that the children enjoy around the school. Recently the school has benefitted from having major improvements made to the large playground area, extra sports equipment and money towards school trips donated by the ‘Friends of Cheddon’.
A grandparent has knitted lots of Bible characters and animals to use during Godly play lessons and for our displays. The nativity set looks amazing!
Each member of the school community is represented by a blue bead, looked after by George, our school bear.
Parents, other family members and people from the community help by assisting on school trips, listening to children read in school and providing other valuable classroom support.
Parents look after the school garden and made up many of the willing volunteers who tidied up the school grounds, painted fences and sorted out the area for the forest school.