Vision, Christian Values and Ethos
In St Luke’s we are fully committed to delivering a high-quality Christian education based upon the teachings of Jesus as we actively prepare children for their life. Our vision is based upon the Parable of the Sower from Luke 8 V5-15. We follow Jesus, the Sower and teach the word of God which are the seeds. In the Parable some seeds fell on the path, were stepped on and eaten by birds. Some fell on rocky ground and when the plants sprouted they dried up because the soil had no moisture. Some seeds fell among the thorn bushes which grew with the plants and choked them. However, some fell on good soil which is the heart of our vision:
‘A sower went out to sow…Some seed fell on good soil, and when it grew, it produced a hundredfold’.
At St Luke’s the seeds- the word of God thrives on our good school soil. We actively seek to be the fertile soil on which the seed of God’s love is sown and where an abundant crop can grow into children’s lives so that children can grow spiritually, socially, emotionally and physically. We believe that the word of God and his love is to be lived out in our school through healthy, positive and respectful relationships, through actions and through words. God’s light shines through our school and we do serve our community with the love God has sown which is strong. It is a love that we nurture every day consciously and subconsciously as it is so embedded in our ethos. The school is well known as being at the heart of the community, as serving the community and for delivering a high- quality Christian education based upon the teaching of Jesus- the seeds- the word of God.
As a successful, well established school our core purpose is to consistently provide ‘good soil’ on which children can grow, thrive and shine. We actively and strategically prepare children to be future adults, well equipped to make the right choices and to positively contribute to society.
Our six Christian Values are cultivated on St Luke’s good soil so that children consistently and continually grow. The values are the fruit/ the crop that live within us and the children. We cultivate Christian values as the children grow in our care. They are inter-woven with our vision defined through the love of God and of all that is good. God is always sewing good seeds and we take his lead and every child and every person in our community is precious and loved by God and we do our best to ensure everyone flourishes- the children, staff team and our community:
Just as Jesus the Sower offered his love freely and for all, so too do we nurture God’s love and his image in ourselves and in our children. Working in partnership with the staff team, families and carers, we are committed to cultivate and help children to grow into happy, confident, and independent young people, ready for the next stage of their lives and with an eye to their future. We nurture enquiring minds that we know will flourish in the world as they seek the truth and serve others. The good, fertile ground into which the seeds of God’s word and love is sown in St Luke’s can and does make a difference to children’s lives and it has made a difference to families too – we have been told this. It is not automatic and happens purposefully, truthfully and we work hard to maintain and feed our good ground so it remains fertile. We have high expectations of our children and for our children and the light of God shines brightly upon our school.
The seeds –the word of God is sown by Jesus the Sower and we cultivate the word of God in St Luke’s as we look after our soil. The expectation is that the staff team, governors and our children will grow and that together we will play our part in sustaining, feeding and looking after our world. The UNESCO Global Task Force on Education for the 21st Century 1996 is the basis of our ‘Learning for Life’ Strategy’:
Learning to live together: develop an understanding of others and their history, traditions and Spiritual values.
Learning to know: Combine a sufficiently broad general education with in-depth work on a selected number of subjects.
Learning to do: acquiring a competence to deal with a variety of situations, often unforeseeable, and to work in teams.
Learning to be: develop and exercise greater independence and judgement combined with a stronger sense of personal responsibility and attainment of common goals.
The Parable of the Sower is a call for action and it reminds us the universe supports our life and our care is urgently needed to protect and restore it. Global learning enables children to understand the big issues that shape our world and equips them with the knowledge, skills and attitudes they need to make a positive contribution as we look after one another. Children, the staff team and governors are given the opportunity to reflect on things that need to improve and are challenged to play their part in effecting change. Enquiry led learning and problem solving is used to deliver the whole curriculum because it makes learning real and relevant.
Order and calm are continually present in our school and there are good boundaries and healthy relationships amongst children, children and staff and staff and families. Jesus the Sower spreads his seeds/ his word as widely as possible and our school seeks to spread God’s message of love, wisdom and peace through what we say and what we do. Time and opportunities are given so that children are clear about our expectations and they are led to understand and make sense of their role and their behaviour as well as self- regulation. For example- every child must feel safe in school and in the playground. We listen to their individual concerns and even have ‘You are the second adult’ strategy which children say if they think an issue has not been properly sorted out or if the first adult has not been able to sort their problems. It is an alert for the staff team which prompts us to resolve the issue.
Kindness, forgiveness and humility are central to our school ethos and never has this been more important than now as we live through the pandemic and learn the real significance and importance of these Christian Values. Growth and development is at the heart of the Parable of the Sower and nurturing children to show daily acts of kindness, to forgive and to show humility is purposefully taught and nurtured- we do not leave this to chance. Every member of staff models this Christian Value (as we do every Christian Value) but getting this one right means that children will be a good friend; they will be more understanding of one another, be thankful and express gratitude; they will be strong and confident and they will look after one another= the good soil we nurture and feed at St Luke’s. This in turn will affect what kind of adult they become and what contribution they make to society.
Growth and development are at the heart of the Parable of the Sower. Jesus also challenges and guides- he offers hope, strength and possibilities. He issues a challenge to acknowledge our own personal responsibility for our own growth. In St Luke’s this challenge is alive amongst the governors, the staff team as well as the children. We all work hard and work happily with the children at the heart of all that we do. This is part of our cultivation of the soil. Growth Mind set through the use of super heroes and their attributes is one way in which we attract and encourage children to work hard, persevere, take risks and to be as independent in their learning as possible. This is a journey as we nurture children, help them to grow, to empower them. The children have a strong voice in our school- in the classroom- in Collective Worship, through Religious Education lessons, philosophy for children lessons, PSHE and through their membership in pupil leadership groups such as the ECO team, school council, the digital team, the Collective Worship team, prefects, head boy and head girl. Jesus the Sower seeks to nurture and help us grow; our growth mind set, ethos and the opportunities we set up seek to empower and enable. We are all inspired by Jesus’ message. Children have a bright future- we catch dreams at St Luke’s whereby every week inspirational speakers tell children how they got to where they are today- sowing seeds of inspiration and giving them hope opening doors of possibility.
The Parable of the Sower reminds us that God offers love and wisdom freely to all, that we are not passive recipients, but active and personally responsible for all that we do and with the gifts we are given which we are grateful for. We are all made in God’s likeness and are all unique and different. We actively encourage children to value themselves, their school and each other; to show self-discipline and respectful, thoughtful behaviour towards fellow children and adults. We foster harmonious relations between pupils, parents, staff and the local community and we work through any issues that may arise without prejudice. St Luke’s has a range of ethnicities, religious beliefs, individual needs and varied social advantage. We are grateful for the diversity as it makes us stronger.
“A sower went out to sow…some seed fell into good soil, and when it grew, it produced a hundredfold”.
At St Luke’s we do listen to the word of God and preparing children for the next stage of their life and sowing seeds of aspiration remains a focus for us and central to our Learning for Life drive year on year as we encourage children and all of our community to:
‘reach higher than we dream to become the person we really want to be as we do the best we can for the world, for each other, for ourselves and for God through faith, hope and love.’
That is our mission and we embrace it with all our heart.
It is only possible to do this if we continually cultivate our good St Luke’s soil so that the staff team produce a hundredfold which means that our children will grow and produce a hundredfold year after year.
Ann Dwulit October 2021