Aims, Ethos & Vision
At Barham Church of England Primary School we aim to provide a nurturing, happy and secure community. We want every child at the school to feel success yet not be afraid of failure, to be confident and to have high expectations of themselves. We also want our children to feel a sense of responsibility, to be caring and respectful of others and their environment.
"Supporting everyone to be confident, kind and curious."
Barham is a vibrant, inclusive and high-achieving primary school with a family feel at the heart of the local and church community. We are committed to supporting everyone to be confident, kind and curious so that each one of us can reach our potential. Our curriculum is broad, engaging and supports everyone to flourish as God intends.
Our Christian Values
As a Church of England school, our Christian values are at the heart of everything we do and we aim to encourage each child to develop through our values:
- Compassion – we look for ways to help anyone in need
- Humility – we learn from each other
- Service – we look after each other
- Endurance – we keep going when things are tough
- Thankfulness - we remember to be thankful for all good things in our lives
The story from Matthew 14: ‘Jesus Walks on Water’, provides us with the basis of our school’s vision and Christian values. This Bible story illustrates how we can live out our school vision and our values in all that we do every day.
Matthew 14: 22-33 (Good News Translation) Jesus walks on water
Then Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side of the lake, while he sent the people away. After sending the people away, he went up a hill by himself to pray. When evening came, Jesus was there alone; and by this time the boat was far out in the lake, tossed about by the waves, because the wind was blowing against it.
Between three and six o'clock in the morning Jesus came to the disciples, walking on the water. When they saw him walking on the water, they were terrified. “It's a ghost!” they said, and screamed with fear.
Jesus spoke to them at once. “Courage!” he said. “It is I. Don't be afraid!”
Then Peter spoke up. “Lord, if it is really you, order me to come out on the water to you.”
“Come!” answered Jesus. So Peter got out of the boat and started walking on the water to Jesus. But when he noticed the strong wind, he was afraid and started to sink down in the water. “Save me, Lord!” he cried.
At once Jesus reached out and grabbed hold of him and said, “What little faith you have! Why did you doubt?”
They both got into the boat, and the wind died down. Then the disciples in the boat worshiped Jesus. “Truly you are the Son of God!” they exclaimed.
In stepping out of the boat Peter displays the confidence and curiosity we seek to inspire in every child and adult, and Jesus reassures him and all the disciples with kindness.
The passage opens with Jesus going to have some quiet time on his own to pray, having been with crowds of people all day, teaching them and doing miracles. In our school we understand the importance of space for reflection and regularly provide this for children, to help both develop their spirituality and foster the wellbeing of each individual. We do this in the classroom, through collective worship, visits to our local church and from our parish priest, creative prayer days, yoga, our art group and quiet garden. We have a supportive staffroom, a weekly staff prayer meeting, a lunchtime walking group, and working from home arrangements for PPA. The appointment of a FLO in 2020 means we can provide dedicated support to parents where necessary. Ziggy, our school dog, and Pippa our therapy dog provide supportive companionship for anyone who needs it.
Meanwhile, we read that his disciples are encountering a storm on Lake Galilee. Like the disciples, we all face difficult, and scary, situations at times. Social media, pressure to achieve, people’s expectations, school performance tables and barriers to learning, can put children and staff under pressure. Jesus came alongside his disciples to help when they needed him, not just giving Peter confidence, but calming the storm too; we try to be the same. Two of our school values are COMPASSION – we look for ways to help anyone in need, and SERVICE – we look after one another. We work alongside each other to enable everyone to flourish as God intended, whatever storms they face. We try to serve people and show compassion outside of our school community too. Children regularly raise money for those in need, for example through cake sales and sponsored events, independent planned and delivered on their own initiative, and supported by parents and staff.
The confidence that enabled Peter to step out of the boat is what we seek to inspire in each and every child. Not just confidence or belief in God, but confidence in ourselves – made in the image of God and valued by him – and self-belief. We encourage everyone to have a go at things that might at first sight seem difficult, or even scary; not to be put off by the fear of failure, but to understand they can learn as much from doing their best as succeeding; to try new things. This is exemplified by the leap of faith at the year 6 residential. Children and staff support each other to do their best, whether that be a successful leap or two steps up the pole. We show our confidence in the skills and expertise of our staff, and encourage them to be confident in their abilities, providing training to allow them to develop their skills. Staff are confident in experimenting in their teaching, modelling to children how to reflect on experience to improve things for the future when things do not go well. Children also demonstrate confidence in their approach to sustainability and climate change, often setting the agenda for the school, including challenging teachers who may use plastic materials in art classes, for example.
Just as Jesus was there to lift up Peter as he started to sink, so the school aims to support each individual so they can develop ENDURANCE - and keep going when things are tough. Ultimately, we seek to prepare children (and their families) for the next step to secondary school, on their journey to adulthood, confident in who they are and equipped to face the challenges that will come.
The disciples learned by seeing Jesus in action, and from knowing Jesus trusted them to participate in his mission of serving people in love. Just before this passage opens they had seen him show compassion and participated with him in feeding 5000 hungry men, plus women and children with 5 loaves and 2 fishes; here he is calming the storm and allowing Peter to walk on water. Similarly, our curriculum enables children to have a go at different things, with the support and trust of staff, and to learn in creative and engaging ways. Lessons are exciting, fun and imaginative. We encourage staff to try new teaching methods and approaches, and subject leaders to take responsibility for delivering their curriculum area. Our curriculum is connected (making links with other subjects) and sequential (building on prior learning) and aims to be relevant to all children, irrespective of age, gender, individual circumstances, or academic ability. We also seek to show HUMILITY and learn from each other, just as the other disciples learned from Peter. Staff have the opportunity to observe one another’s teaching and share best practice, and subject leaders support other staff in developing their knowledge and understanding of teaching particular subjects.
This passage ends with the disciples praising Jesus, in thankfulness for what he has done. Another of our school values is THANKFULNESS – we remember to be thankful for all the good things in our lives. Seeing the world as God’s creation affects how we treat the world, and how we deal with others. Thankfulness is a wholehearted response, arising from an awareness of God’s gifts and blessings, and that life is a gift, not a right. It is a joyfulness that erupts into praise, just as it did for the disciples on the boat with Jesus.