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 lead Collective worship every week, I help run an after school worship club 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...
Rev Hugh and Kevin Draper lead Collective Worship for the whole school every Wednesday at 10am. This covers a range of Christian subjects, and always includes singing and prayer. We try to make the time together engaging, relevant and informative, and to help the children and staff explore their own spirituality and faith. The children actively participate during Worship and are invited to lead it on a regular basis.
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 Schools (SIAS). In the 2013 SIAS Inspection the school was judged to be “Outstanding”. Comments from the inspection include “Worship is at the heart of the school community”, “There are high expectations for pupils both academically, pastorally and spiritually”, “…the children think that times of reflection are important as they help them to think about the way they live their lives and behave towards others”. We are proud of this judgement and are working to build further on the strong links between church and school. Click here to read the full report.