Please follow the link to the parish website- http://bursledonparish.org/
Links between Church and Schools
- The schools and the parish church have had a very strong, open, natural relationship for many years. The church has never differentiated between the two schools and the natural progression, following requests from a number of parents, was to consider affiliating the junior school to the Dioceses of Portsmouth and Winchester. A full consultation was held within the schools, church and wider community, resulting in an overwhelming response in favour of affiliation. The governing body approved the affiliation and the affiliated schools’ partnership agreement on 25th March 2014. To celebrate this, a whole federation service of thanksgiving, attended by several members of the Diocesan Board of Education, was held to welcome the junior school into the Church family of schools. As neither schools nor churches were large enough for us all to worship together, this was held outdoors on the field, enabling the whole village to hear the children singing. The partnership agreement is displayed in both churches, so that all are aware of the church’s responsibilities.
- The federation is very well supported by the church team and foundation governors. A member of the team leads a weekly act of worship in each school and a foundation governor leads the weekly ‘Come and Praise’ act of worship in the infant school, introducing worship songs which link with songs used in church services. These core worship songs are used in both schools.
- Both schools have termly services at St Leonard’s Church. (Neither St Leonard’s nor St Paul’s Churches are large enough for the whole federation to worship together.) These services are enjoyed enormously by the children, parents and the church. The children participate well in these services: reading Scripture, praying prayers they have written themselves, singing or playing instruments as a small group for the congregation, class and individual poetry readings, using their art work, being part of interactive talks and in helping to choose worship songs.
- We have an annual outdoor Advent service at the beginning of December. The church team lead the service with plenty of help from the children, including the school choir leading the singing.
- The federation core values of Love, Respect, Aspire are evident through all aspects of the curriculum and daily life. The most recent inspection of the infant school as a church school (SIAMS inspection) was carried out in February 2016. The inspector wrote this:
- Strong links between core Christian values and the children’s learning and well-being out the Christian ethos at the centre of the life of the school. The core values underpin everything that is done in school and they are the foundations of the school vision
- The strong links with St Leonard’s and St Paul’s Churches impact positively on pupils and promote the Christian character of the community.
At the infant Ofsted inspection in March 2017, the inspector wrote that “The school’s values of Love, Respect and Aspire radiate throughout the school.”
Each value is based on a passage of Scripture:
Love: “Let us love one another for love comes from God” 1John 4 v7
Respect: “so in everything do to others what they would do to you” Matt 7 v12
Aspire: “I have come that you may have life – life in all its fullness” John 10 v10
- Many of our children take part in the village Remembrance Day service at St Leonard’s Church, often as part of the various uniformed organisations. Their behaviour is always impeccable and a clear demonstration of our value of Respect. Some of the children take an active part in the service: as part of the colour parties in church and at the war memorial in the churchyard; participating in an interactive sermon; reading; ex school pupils praying and reading out their research into those from the village commemorated on the memorial from the 1914-18 war. It is always a very moving experience.
- The church team provides support for both schools for the RE curriculum, in school and in both churches. This includes teaching on major festivals, Baptism and the Eucharist, clergy dress and the history of the church. The church buildings are used regularly as learning resources.
- Members of the church team lead a twice monthly prayer group for the schools. This meets at school and is attended by any parents who wish to. Prayer boxes are in each school, where children or adults can place prayer requests.
- Foundation governors were on the selection panel for the appointment of our Executive Headteacher and were instrumental in ensuring that developing the Christian distinctiveness of the federation was one of the key tasks.
- With substantial change to the federation senior leadership team in April 2015, we took the opportunity to support the schools in completely re-imagining collective worship across the federation. Using the federation values of Love, Respect, Aspire as a framework, we worked very closely with senior leaders to create a 2 year planning cycle of themes and appropriate passages of Scripture which are used across the federation. This gives the opportunity for the children to develop their understanding of key areas and give them a very broad experience of both the Old and New Testaments. Core federation worship songs have also been agreed; these provide continuity for the children within the federation and also link closely with songs used at St Leonard’s and St Paul’s Churches. This has resulted in collective worship having a much higher profile in the junior school and is enabling the two schools to grow together as the whole federation ethos is developing rapidly.
- Many children attend the twice weekly after school groups for primary age children at St. Paul’s church The federation weekly collective worship theme is now carried on into these popular groups.
- The church led holiday clubs are always fully subscribed, almost entirely with children from the federation.
- The monthly Messy Church at St. Paul’s is attended by up to 100 children and parents – almost all the children are from the federation. Many of the federation/church team are involved in leading this and provide a very effective link between church and school. These sessions, which are free to all and open to any local family not just church members, include a 2 course nutritious meal and a chance for families to eat together in a stress free environment, after a time of activities together and a short act of worship.
- Children and parents are invited to church festival services and special events such as the Light Party on All Hallows Eve and the Good Friday Messy Church
- There is a large federation noticeboard by the entrance to St Paul’s. This is updated regularly with federation newsletters and other information about the federation which will be helpful to prospective parents and all who are interested in our village schools.
- School events are advertised in the church news letter and the school allows the church to send out leaflets about special events such as the Light Party, in the children’s book bags.
- Foundation governors hold key positions of responsibility on the board of governors, including the role of chair of governors. All governing body meetings begin with prayer.
- Foundation governors have worked very closely with the federation leadership in formulating the collective worship and SMSC policies
- Members of the church have been knitting Bible scenes for the year group reflection areas, to join the knitted nativity scene made an elderly lady in the church family who was the school’s first headteacher in 1968.
- The chair of governors is an associate member of staff on the Diocesan education team and is involved in improving and implementing training and support for foundation governors and chairs of church schools across the Diocese. The team is also developing ways of encouraging churches to be more involved in their local schools and she has previously spoken at Deanery Synod about how churches can go about this. She is on the Diocesan working party looking at the future of church schools in the changing educational landscape.
- As the junior school is now affiliated to the Diocese, the year 6 children have the opportunity of attending the annual Leavers’ Service at Winchester Cathedral.
- St Paul’s church has hosted joint federation staff/governors training sessions on a number of occasions and St Leonard’s church has displayed the children’s art.
- Foundation governors have networked locally very effectively, which has enabled support to be given to the schools from parish, borough and county councillors, local businesses and organisations such as the Greyladyes Arts Foundation, Rotary and the village gardening club.
- The church is involved in the annual federation summer fair, run by the federation PTA. The original idea, post federation in 2009, was from the foundation governors with the aim of building community in our very diverse village. The PTA are to be congratulated on what is now a very successful village event.
- The chair of governors writes a report on the Christian distinctiveness of the schools each year for the Annual Parish Church Meeting. She has also spoken at the APCM when there was a special focus on the church’s links with the schools and has provided updates to the PCC.