St. George’s Church of England Primary School is a Voluntary Controlled school in the Kent village of Wrotham, near Sevenoaks. In 1969, it moved from its original Victorian school building in the centre of the village to a modern building on a much more spacious site. The school is a one form entry with strong links with the attached St. George’s Pre-School. Current school profile includes 16% SEN with 41 (20%) pupils listed as Pupil Premium. Our 209 pupils are mostly White British, drawn mainly from the local community, which includes a large housing estate. There are significantly more boys in school than girls (117/86) and approximately 8% are from worshipping church families although many worship outside the village.
The school’s caring ‘inclusive’ ethos attracts a higher than average number of pupils with special educational needs and within the school we have a significant proportion of families who are involved with the schools Family Liaison Officer (FLO) and other outside agencies.
In 2008 the school received an ‘Outstanding’ Ofsted judgement, noting that pupils achieve exceptionally well to reach above average standards by the time they leave Year 6.’ This was reconfirmed in 2011 with a positive interim judgement. Our previous SIAS took place in December 2012 with an ‘Outstanding’ grading following up a previous outstanding grading in 2008.
We are very proud of our effective and caring Christian ethos throughout the school which has an impact on the teaching and learning.
Our pupils are exposed to meaningful Collective Worship with opportunities of high level of pupil involvement and reflection.
The school is proactive within the Rochester Diocese Board Education (RDBE) with a number of members of staff involved in strategy (Forum, SACRE, RDBE MAT), previously hosting RE Support Groups in St. George’s Church, holding the Diocese RE Resources and we have been used as example of ‘Outstanding’ practice in CW with our current CW CC (Katey Anderson) supporting the Diocese in producing an FSEY’s RE Scheme of Work.
We have an enthusiastic and dedicated teamwork of staff and governors, under the leadership of the Senior Leadership Team, which supports the church aspects of this school.
In December 2012 the school received its 2nd successive SIAS ‘Outstanding’ judgement which commented on:
….’ strong Christian values which underpin the school, and are evident in its work and inspire the excellent relationships between and among adults and learners.
Collective worship is at the heart of the school, encouraging and motivating all who attend.
Religious Education (RE) is well taught and promotes the school’s Christian and Anglican identity.
The strong and effective partnership with the parish church enriches the work of the school and the lives of its families.
The exceptional links with St. George’s Church, particularly through the Rector’s involvement with the school.’
We have a short daily act of worship daily which includes a story prayer, hymn. We see these as a central part of our school life and are seen as a core activity for the school.
As a Church school we aim to nurture Christian values to enable our pupils to flourish as individuals and to ensure that they relate sensitively to the beliefs, feelings and sensibilities of others. Relevant topical issues, caring for others and learning to live together, form a basis for many of our assemblies.
Our Reverend leads our assemblies once a week and we cement ties by holding a service each month in our local Parish Church.
Parents are regularly invited to class assemblies each term and out Monthly Family Worship to share in the children’s learning.
Parents have the legal right to withdraw their children from these sessions. If you do not wish your child to take part in RE lessons or assemblies, please speak to the Headteacher so that alternative arrangements can be made.
Collective Worship and Religious Education Frequently Asked Questions
What is collective worship?
Collective worship is a special time during the school day where pupils are given the space and opportunity to reflect, respond and revere. At St. George’s CE Primary School, collective worship generally takes place during the school’s daily assemblies and will often include the use of music, a candle, a time of silence and a prayer to offer a focus for pupils. These assemblies may be held for as whole school or in a key stage.
In church schools, worship is Christian and denominational (in line with the Trust Deeds of the school).
At our school, this will include the use of songs, music, stories and readings familiar to those of a Christian faith, and promoting the values that Christians believe to be important. These may, and often are, values held to be important by other faiths as well and as such, the use of stories from other faiths, along with stories of a moral nature, are included as part of our assembly themes.
What is covered during RE lessons?
The school follows the Kent Agreed Syllabus supported by Rochester Diocesan materials. The agreed syllabus follows the legal requirement for religious education to reflect the fact that the religious traditions in Great Britain are in the main Christian, while taking account of the teachings and practices of the other principal religions represented in Great Britain.
At St. George’s CE Primary School, pupils study Christian RE topics in every year group. In addition, pupils learn about Hinduism in Key Stage 1, Judaism in lower key stage 2, and Islam in upper key stage 2. (Please see the link below for the overview of topics taught.) Pupils are taught about the main traditions, practices and beliefs of the religions, but will also have the opportunity to relate the key concepts covered to their own experiences and explore their own beliefs and questions of meaning. Each year group has a different RE unit of work every half term.
When is RE taught?
At St. George’s CE Primary School, we follow a themed approach to the curriculum, blocking subjects together to make meaningful links for pupils. As a result, RE is not necessarily taught for a set period each week, but may be taught in longer sessions over a shorter timescale, enabling pupils to spend quality time exploring a key concept and where appropriate linking work to other areas of the curriculum. For example, in Y6 pupils learn about the symbolism of the Magi’s gifts in the Christmas story.
What should I do if I want to withdraw my child from RE or collective worship?
Parents have the right to choose whether or not to withdraw their child from RE without influence from the school, although a school should ensure parents or carers are informed of this right and are aware of the educational objectives and content of the RE syllabus. In this way, parents can make an informed decision. Where parents have requested that their child is withdrawn, their right must be respected, and where RE is integrated in the curriculum, the Headteacher will need to discuss the arrangements with the parents or carers to explore how the child’s withdrawal can be best accommodated. If pupils are withdrawn from RE, schools have a duty to supervise them, though not to provide additional teaching or to incur extra cost. Pupils will usually remain on school premises.
Where a pupil has been withdrawn, the law provides for alternative arrangements to be made for RE of the kind the parent wants the pupil to receive (Section 71(3) of the School Standards and Framework Act 1998).
This RE could be provided at the school in question, or the pupil could be sent to another school where suitable RE is provided if this is reasonably convenient. If neither approach is practicable, outside arrangements can be made to provide the pupil with the kind of RE that the parent wants, and the pupil may be withdrawn from school for a reasonable period of time to allow them to attend this external RE.
Outside arrangements for RE are allowed as long as the LA is satisfied that any interference with the pupil’s attendance at school resulting from the withdrawal will affect only the start or end of a school session.