Newnham St. Peter’s is a Church of England school. This does not mean that only members of the Church of England or only Christians are welcome. The school is for everybody. Nevertheless, there is a Christian ethos that runs through the whole school. The day begins with an act of worship. Children and staff know that there are places in the school where they can go to reflect and to pray, should they wish to do so. Although we hope that our values of Honesty, Trust, Tolerance and Patience are ones that everyone can share, we take inspiration from the Christian tradition for these values. These values are deeply present in the teachings of Jesus, such as the story of the Good Samaritan.
Dr Rowan Williams, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, explains that the ethos of church schools runs deep:
“A Christian school is one in which the atmosphere has that kind of openness about it, that sense that people are worth spending time with, that people need time to grow, need loving attention. The Christian Gospel says that every person has a unique task to do, with God, and for God, whether they know it or not.
It doesn’t necessarily mean than everyone involved has to share the same theology or philosophy. It doesn’t mean that everyone knows that they have this relationship with God, and is consciously working at it. But a Christian school is one in which the entire atmosphere is pervaded by the conviction that there is something mysterious, and potentially wonderful, in everybody.”
Our school has strong links with St Peter’s church which is situated a short walk away in the village. The school logo depicts the church together with the symbols of crossed keys (Peter’s symbol) and a fish (Peter was a fisherman, but the fish is also a symbol used for Jesus Christ in the early days of the church, when being a Christian was illegal and dangerous).
As a Church School, the Governing Body has a majority of its members drawn from the congregation of St Peter’s Church. The Vicar, Rob James, is also a governor. The school has the added benefit of Diocesan support and advice.
On the last Thursday of each month (unless this falls in a holiday, when it is usually changed to the previous Thursday) the children and staff meet at the church at the start of the school day for a service. Special services are held at the time of the Christian festivals (especially Christmas and Easter). Parents and other family members are most welcome to join the school in church for these services.
Although anyone is welcome to any service in St. Peter’s church, there are also two church services a month, outside of school time that are particularly suitable for families:
- On the second Thursday of each month, the Church hosts Messy Church, a service involving crafts, bible stories and songs. The service is about an hour long, from 5pm, but allow an extra 30 mins at the end as we enjoy a simple meal together from about 6pm (e.g. pizza).
- On the fourth Sunday of each month, the Church hosts Informal Worship at 11am. This is a service based around a story from the Bible and each one is different, depending on which story we are looking at.
Because we are a Church School, our aim is to promote the Christian ethos in all we do:
· We teach it in arithmetic by accuracy
· We teach it in language by learning to say what we mean - yes or no
· We teach it in history by humanity
· We teach it in geography by breadth of mind
· We teach it in handicraft by thoroughness
· We teach it in science by reverence
· We teach it by manners to one another and by truthfulness in all things.
Our School Prayer
Thank you for the joy in our school that you give.
Help us to remember our school values: honesty, trust, tolerance and patience, so that we may live in peace and unity with each other.
Help us to be kind to others and make them feel happy.