A message from our Vicar, Rev Hugh Nelson
'Does God ever sleep?’, ‘Is God like my Daddy?’, ‘Why do bad things happen?’ - Children always ask the sharpest questions, and being part of the school community is one of the best parts of being Vicar of Goudhurst and Kilndown. I spend a lot of time in school; I or one of my team lead Collective worship every week, and I lead a simple weekly morning prayer for staff. Even more importantly, I am there to support the children in any way they need, and to offer a listening ear to staff and parents, irrespective of their beliefs. I want to help the children develop their natural sense of wonder and awe at the world, to expand their capacity to ask the big questions about life and to explore their own spirituality and faith. If you are thinking of applying for a place for your child at the school and would like to discuss any aspect of the Christian identity and practice of the school, please do not hesitate to contact me on 01580 211739 or firstname.lastname@example.org.‘
Our Christian values, Community, Friendship, Joy, Love, peace and Trust, underpin the school vision ‘Enjoy, Achieve, Together’ and strongly inform our aim to develop every child as an individual, socially, spiritually, morally, physically and academically by providing a happy, secure and stimulating environment. These values are not simply a matter for RE lessons, but are the foundation for everything that we do together. We value our status as a Church of England (Controlled) School and the Christian values of our school underpin the daily life in the school and are interwoven into our curriculum. Indeed all stakeholders are made aware of these values through Collective Worship, RE teaching, induction, newsletters and the school website. Each term we focus on one value.
Our six values are linked to a parable:
Community- The Lost Sheep and Lost Coin Luke 15:4-10
Frienship- The Invitation to the Banquet Matthew 22:2-14
Joy- The Pearl of Great Price Matthew 13:45-46
Love- The Prodigal Son Luke 15:11-32
Peace- The Good Samaritan Luke 10:30-37
Trust- The Wise and Foolish Builders Luke 6:47-49
Our links with the two Churches in our community, St Mary's Goudhurst and Christ Church Kilndown are strong and our Vicar, Rev Hugh works closely with the school and supports our staff both professionally and spiritually.
In more detail...
Teaching and Learning RE
We believe every child should thrive and flourish. Religion and culture are so inter-connected, it is important to be religiously literate. Religious literacy includes knowledge of religious beliefs and practice, as well as an appreciation of faith and belief within society. Our enquiry-based learning provided by the RE curriculum offers children rich and varied knowledge and understanding opportunities to learn about Christianity as well as other religions and world views, using special texts, beliefs, rituals and practices. Children get the opportunity to develop their skills of analysis, interpretation, evaluation and reflection during RE lessons, in a safe space they can each explore their own way. We use Understanding Christianity http://www.understandingchristianity.org.uk/ to develop religious conversation throughout the school in the spiral curriculum format where themes are revisited and investigated more deeply in different years. World Faith teaching and learning planning is provided by Canterbury Diocese (as part of the Kent Agreed Syllabus for Religious Education), as well as detailed and useful assessment resources. Key Stage 1 and Foundation Stage have weekly RE lessons of 50 minutes rising to 70 minutes in Key Stage 2, which 5% of the teaching time. [The time for Collective Worship is separate and in addition to this.]
Click on the link to read our Long Term RE Plan
Daily acts of Collective (Christian) Worship begin at 9am and last approximately 25 minutes. They usually take place in the hall although we also worship outside at special times. We also visit St Marys Church and Christchurch Kilndown for key Christian festivals throughout the year. There are a variety of leaders who plan and lead each Collective Worship including members of St Marys Church.
Mrs Omer (RE Subject Leader) – Monday
Singing practice – Tuesday
St Marys Church - Wednesday
Leadership Team – Thursday
Celebration Worship - Friday.
We include children in the planning and leading of acts of Worship and there are opportunities during every Collective Worship for children to be invited to participate, reflect, sing and pray. Collective Worship contribute to the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of our children and staff. Visitors are frequent and welcomed, and pre-visits encouraged for those leading Collective Worship. Collective Worship’s are monitored regularly and a book celebrating some Collective Worships can be found in the school entrance hall.
At the end of the daily Act of Worship we say our school prayer:
This is our school.
Let love flow.
Let the rooms be filled
with joy and happiness,
Let the outside be filled with fun and friendship.
Bless us all as we learn
with you Lord in all that we do.
Christian Festivals and Special Services
As a whole school we celebrate the Christian festivals of Christmas, Easter and Harvest at St Mary’s Church and parents are warmly invited to join us. The Christmas and Easter services are held on the last day of term and bring the whole school community together. The children plan and lead these services with support from staff and Rev Hugh. The music includes a variety of traditional hymns and more modern Christian songs. The school choir led by Ms Lane, is invited to sing in church on a regular basis. Whilst at other times of the year our children are invited to sing and take part in the Remembrance Day service, representing the school alongside other organisations and societies in our community, and on Ash Wednesday children from the upper school years follow the Millennium Walk back to school following a service at Christ Church Kilndown. This year Reverend Hugh even led an Ash Wednesday Service during a Forest School session!
Our Church Community
St Mary’s church has lots going on for children, young people and families. There are usually 40-45 children in the 5 Sunday Club groups that run during the church service each Sunday, and there are a wide range of other activities at other times of the week. School links with St Mary’s, Goudhurst and Christ Church Kilndown are strong and we regularly invite the Church Wardens and others with a role in the church to join us for Collective Worship, school lunches, Nativity plays and school events and performances throughout the year. The church also runs a Parenting course each year, offering an informal and gentle way for parents to reflect on what it means to be a parent and to grow in confidence in this crucial role.
Our Church Inspection Report
As a Church of England School we are inspected both by Ofsted (Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills) and the National Society for Statutory Inspection of Anglican and Methodist Schools (SIAMS). In the 2013 SIAS Inspection the school was judged to be “Outstanding” and I am delighted to report that following our recent SIAMS Inspection January 2018, the school was judged to be "Outstanding" again. Comments from the inspection include:
"The commitment and vision of the headteacher, is confidently supported by her staff and governors. This results in highly effective leadership and management of Goudhurst and Kilndown as a distinctive and inclusive church school."
"The learning environment, both inside and outside the school building, makes a significant contribution to the spiritual development of pupils."
"The behaviour of all learners is exceptional. All relationships are underpinned by a mutual respect for each individual, reflecting the Christian character and values of the school."
"Pupils also have an opportunity to develop independence, team work and self-confidence through the forest school. The associated outdoor activities enable them to set aspirational goals for themselves with impact on their subsequent achievement in class."
We are extremely proud of this judgement and are working to build further on the strong links between the Church and school. You can read the full report by following clicking on the icon below.