Welcome to our Church Foundation page, please see below for more information.
In our Church school with a Church foundation, Religious Education and Collective Worship have a high status and footing alongside other Curriculum areas.
We are encouraged that one of our parents commented ‘My children feel very valued by the school, happy to have a relationship with God, and secure with the environments at school. They feel very loved!’
Our RE Leader is Mrs Hazel Baines, and Collective Worship is planned by Mrs Annette Faithfull.
We are proud to be a Voluntary Aided School with strong links to our local church and Diocese, basing our daily endeavours on our beliefs and Christian values.
The early nineteenth century was an age when many children were sent out to work, and so schooling during the week was not often a realistic option. It was also a time of widespread poverty, and education was seen as a way of improving the lives of the deprived. This philanthropic concern for the poor was also linked with a desire to improve public morality and reduce crime. It was believed that to provide a mass education would engage young people and provide skills that would prove useful in gaining employment.
A religious concern to overcome the generally low level of religious knowledge, prompted the foundation of the National Society for Promoting Religious Education in 1811, funded by private charity. The founders raised money to build schools and pay teachers. They aimed to found a church school in every parish, and indeed one existed in Cranborne in 1828, and on the present site from 1868.
At this time land and buildings were often purchased from the church to house the school, and the church had a say in the curriculum and how it was taught. RE or ‘Scripture’ (Bible study) was taught every day, since the Bible was the only book available to most. The church said who was to be employed and the progress of children was reported to the clergy. The Christian religion was the established religion and the Ten Commandments were the basis of many of our laws.
As schools became bigger, groups of rich benefactors would assist the school and boards of governors were formed. We are still governed by a Board of Governors but their financial connection has changed! Each of the schools had a ‘Trust Deed’ outlining the School’s beginning and its constitution. Ours is stored safely in School and states ‘that the Gascoyne Cecil Estate has provided land to the Diocese of Salisbury for the school’ (quote from our trust deed). We are a school with a ‘religious character’ and a Church of England school.
There are now many different types of schools, even different church schools. Some are ‘Voluntary Controlled’, which were once run by the church and the diocese but when the 1944 Education act imposed higher standards on school facilities, voluntary schools were offered a choice to have costs met by the local education authority. This means the local authority has a greater say, for example in appointing the Head Teacher. Conversely, our School is ‘Voluntary Aided’ which means the church owns the building and contributes a proportion of costs. The church is responsible for appointing the Headteacher, and we liaise often with the Diocese of Salisbury. Our Rector, Reverend Robert Simpson has an active involvement in our School.
This Christian foundation requires us to have a greater proportion of Governors appointed by the Diocese and responsible for upholding the foundation. In addition to an Ofsted Inspection to judge our effectiveness, we have a SIAMS Inspection which judges the distinctive Christian character of the school.
Religious Education is obviously important in our school and contributes to the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of our children. It informs our values and is reflected in what we say and do. We state that in formulating our ethos we have considered the tradition of church schools, remembering the foundation of Christian faith that informs them, and wanting to convey that our faith is real and communicated in word and action.
We value the daily opportunity to join together as children and staff to share together in prayer, praise and reflection. Whilst it is a statutory duty for schools to provide a daily act of worship, we do not do so merely because we have to. These times are led by staff, children and at times by visitors from local churches and attended by children and adults.
We work closely with Reverend Robert Simpson our Rector at our local church, St Mary and St Bartholomew in Cranborne.
We continue to learn from the ‘Open the Book’ team of parishioners who tell Bible Stories through drama, which the children greatly enjoy and benefit from Ian Carr’s ministry to us from the Counties Organisation.
The week follows a pattern which includes a class as well as whole school worship. Each Friday we have a Celebration Assembly when we celebrate achievement both in and out of school, and reinforce the message that our best efforts give glory to God. Stickers and certificates reward learning progress, good learning dispositions and demonstrating care and respect for others. We celebrate birthdays on whichever day of the week they fall.
We want our children to learn and experience what it means to worship. We acknowledge that each one of us, whether child or adult, is travelling our own spiritual journey. We offer the opportunity to find a point of peace and quiet in the day where we can explore ideas, and learn from the examples of Christian teachings and aspects of other faiths and cultures how we can best live our lives. We use a variety of stories, images, music, poetry, songs and drama to convey meanings and messages. We know that all individuals are equally important and valued in God’s sight. Our worship is inclusive and delivered so everyone present feels included, whilst respecting the integrity of the different families and backgrounds we serve. The themes we cover supplement RE teaching and include our Values, the Scriptures and the Church Year.
We are proud to be a school with a distinctive church ethos. We seek to work with our Church to serve our community, to cherish and nurture everyone in our School and Church families, and to forge links.
At Cranborne First we seek to be an inclusive community however we respect the right of parents to withdraw their children from Collective Worship and Religious Education. This school expects that withdrawal will only be made following parental discussion with the Head teacher followed by written confirmation of withdrawal.
The school will provide a system of suitable supervision for children withdrawn from Acts of Collective Worship and Religious Education. However, no additional work will be set or followed in this time.
Please click on the links below to learn more about the values we will be focusing on in Collective Worship throughout the year. There are lots of ideas for ways that you can explore these values as a family.
In the hallway in the centre of our school, Mrs Baines has collated a box of Bible story books that the children are most welcome to borrow. You child simply needs to put their name in the signing-out book and the title of the book they have borrowed. Equally, parents are welcome to come in to collect books after school or the adults in school will be happy to provide assistance.
RE at Cranborne CE VA First School reflects the distinctive quality of our Church aided status. Our aim is that the children develop their understanding of Christian beliefs and traditions, as well as put them into practice on a daily basis.
We recognise that RE can contribute to a child’s personal development, foster a sense of awe and wonder, provoke challenging questions about God and encourage concern and sensitivity towards others. We also aim to develop respect and understanding towards those from other faiths and cultures.
It is statutory for RE to be taught in schools and reported to parents. However, parents do have the right to withdraw their child from RE teaching and Worship if they are able to provide an alternative that provides the same learning objectives, and this could be discussed in detail with the school.
The syllabus has breadth and balance ensuring that Christianity is studied at each key stage and that children have the opportunity to learn about another principle world religion. We also include material from other worldviews as appropriate to the curriculum or context.
During the spring term of 2016, we conducted two surveys for the parents and pupils of our school. We are keen to increase our understanding of perceptions of our work to uphold the foundation of our school and where we can improve.
Please see the summary of responses and a commentary on how these will inform our school improvements.
Church School Parent Questionnaire – March 2016
Summary of responses and a lead on future school development
96 questionnaires were returned, so one person’s response equates to just over 1%. Whilst we are greatly encouraged by the consensus of the replies, we will not be complacent because we have not pleased everyone in all areas. Most parents are happy with our school and its procedures, referring to the ‘lovely’ environment, the excellent progress that their children were making and the caring environment. Thank you.
Where replies have been less than positive or complimentary I have responded in the commentary below that particular section.
Note: sometimes percentages do not total 100% because of ‘rounding’.
1. Are you aware that the school is a Church School?
Not Sure 1%
2. Do you believe that the school is a good Church school?
3. The school is a caring institution based on clear Christian values.
Not Sure 3%
16. The school keeps me informed about my child’s progress.
Not Sure 1%
5. The school keeps me informed about the curriculum and school events.
Not Sure 2% 2
6. The school keeps me informed about RE provided by the school.
Not Sure 17%
Commentary: These replies were less favourable and our response will be two-fold. We will look at the prominence of the RE section of the children’s annual reports and we will include access to the RE curriculum information both through the curriculum pages and through ‘Quick-links’ on the website home page. We will also inform parents of significant additions and units, e.g. the Trinity unit through the school newsletter.
7. As a parent I feel able to enjoy and participate in the Christian ethos.
Not Sure 8%
8. I am happy with the Collective Worship provided by the school.
Not Sure 4%
9. I am able to attend Christian celebrations provided by the school.
Not Sure 4%
Commentary: The 5% negative return regarding the ability to attend worship in church or other major events is disappointing. We do celebrate Christmas with an evening Service and Christingle was also held after school. All other services are within the school day but we do plan as strategically as possible to use different days and times, e.g. Mothering Celebration is in the afternoon and on the Friday before Mothering Sunday, Harvest Festival is on a Monday and in the morning, and we always endeavour to give as much notice as possible.
10. I am made welcome when visiting the school.
Not Sure 1%
11. The school has links with the local parish Church and Clergy.
Not Sure 9%
Commentary: This is an area worth highlighting on the school website and again in newsletters. The Rector, Rev Paskins played a very significant role in the life of our school, being a Governor, leading Worship and Services and attending school events like the annual Pancake race. During our interregnum, Ian Carr of the Counties Organisation, Rev Ian Sykes of Breamore and the parish ‘Open the Book’ team have all increased the frequency of their visits.
12. The school has links with the Diocese.
Not Sure 30%
Commentary: This is an area worth highlighting on the school website and in our fortnightly newsletters, since it is apparent that some parents are not aware that staff and Governors receive much of their training from the Diocese. We should also inform them that the RE Leader and Headteacher are involved in various working groups at the Diocese – School/Parish Collaboration Project, new Assessment Modules.
13. The school has links with the local, national and global communities.
Not Sure 33%
Commentary: This is an area worth highlighting on the school website, since it is apparent that some parents are not aware that our school supports a variety of national and local and global initiatives and charities, e.g. Church, Trussell Trust, Salvation Army, Sports Ground Association, local Foodbanks, Shoebox appeal, Bishop Samuel from South Sudan and more.
15. I see the school as inclusive where everyone is valued.
Not Sure 2%
16 of the parents completed the comments section at the bottom of the form, including one who was surprised that a C of E school should give a Christian view of morality and give prominence to the Christian faith and one that felt that teacher parent communication had gone. Both these and the very many positive comments can be viewed on the accompanying document.