Our Distinctive Church School
The Christian Distinctiveness of our school is immediately evident on arrival, with the sign on the entrance wall displaying the full school name – Snarestone Church of England (Aided) Primary school, and also includes the Leicester Diocese logo to symbolise the close working relationship between us. To ensure all visitors feel welcomed, a sign saying ‘Welcome’ in many languages is situated on the entrance door both to the main school, and pre-school. On entry to the school, a small cross is situated in our entrance hall – integrated into the display to showcase how important our community is to us, and a large cross is central on the main wall in the hall. The large display board directly underneath is regularly updated to enhance and extend the children’s knowledge and understanding of world-wide issues linked to Christianity and faith. There is also an RE display in the hall, which clearly identifies the (Diocese) theme for the week’s collective worship – which is central to our school life - and this is often includes children’s comments, views and prayers. Children’s work is also often displayed to support current themes.
Children are encouraged to take an active part in our worship – as monitors taking responsibility for choosing songs and music, and running singing practices, in role-play during stories and activities, saying prayers and writing and delivering parts or all of our celebration services. Grace is said before lunch each day, and in each class at the end of the day children are encouraged to share their own prayers of thanks.
Through School Improvement Priorities linked to robust evaluation, we ensure that our children learn about God and Jesus, Christianity and a range of religions and beliefs. We want them to develop enquiring minds and curiosity about their world, what it is to be human, about the Church and about the World, and a carefully planned curriculum, delivered by high quality teaching and monitored by senior staff and governors, ensures that this is the case.
Throughout school there are displays and notices that identify what is important in our school, and rules and expectations. An RE display, linked to the termly learning is maintained in each class. Learning, wherever possible, is supported and enhanced by real hands-on experience. A two-year long-term plan based on the Diocese syllabus and enhanced by additional resources ensure that all children have access to a broad and motivating curriculum. RE is integrated into other subjects (eg Diwali through Science-light and shadow) where possible. This can be clearly seen in classroom displays, and children’s RE work.
We maintain close links with our faith community, with regular worship run by members of our community (faith and otherwise), including St Bartholemew’s Community Worship, Reverend Sue (who is also a governor), Open-the-Book and Ashby Youth for Christ. Children have also had aspirational visits from a range of professionals (police, miner, dancer, farmer, banker, rugby player to name a few), and often take part in workshops and activities to extend learning. For example Swans class visited the Sikh Gudwara in Leicester city and the Jewish Synagogue. During the summer term 2014 the whole school also visited the Islam Mosque and Hindu temple in Leicester city – hugely informative for our children to extend their knowledge and understanding.
We also have excellent links with the Diocese and our local Christian community – which we are proud to be a part of. We were delighted to welcomed Canon Mary Lawson, then Director of the Diocese Board of Education to formally open our Cygnets pre-school along with a local celebrity Jane Stidiver – a Paralympic athlete –who won 16 medals for horse riding and swimming – an incredible achievement. Jane also shared her experiences with the children in a hugely motivating session.
Children regularly visit our local village church – St Bartholemew’s - for services (Harvest, Easter, Christmas and end of year) when pupils run the services for families. At our most recent Harvest Worship, the church was full to bursting, with standing-room only. At our weekly Friday Celebration Asasembly, a Star-of-the-Week is chosen from each class for exceptional achievement against our Snarestone Way objectives. In addition, classes run their own class assesmblies throughout the year, and these are very popular and well attended by families.
Daily worship takes place for the whole school, where Diocese themes are followed integrating understanding of Christian Values and an awareness of sustainability and taking care of our World. Children and staff are encouraged to share and celebrate achievements and success outside school - such as sporting achievement, or fundraising. Staff achievements and those of others in our community (for example, the retirement of our vicar, and staff passing courses) are also celebrated.
Parents, family members, governors and other volunteers from our community often come into school to support the learning and development of the children – for example sports day, parent shared lunches, Christingle run by Mothers Circle, making Harvest flower arrangements, cooking, reading, art, visiting our allotment in the village. We are enormously grateful to anyone that can share with us in this way, and warmly welcome visitors into our school – always mindful of safeguarding policy and procedure. We make a point of always thanking those that give their time generously to support us in any way.
We also link closely with our on-site pre-school, with the older children enjoying taking on responsibility for the younger children. We consider our caring, family atmosphere to be an absolute strength of the school, and reinforce the Christian values that are such an important part of our daily life here at Snarestone.
We work hard to maintain ourselves as a hub of the local community, with the children integral to this. Through the school council they share their ideas for events and activities – recent successes include a termly Community Cafe in the school hall, where members of the church community and village community join the older children for coffee, cake and chat! We were delighted that many villagers who have attended the school in the past returned to share their experiences and history of the village and beyond. Other successful events have included our Christmas and Summer Fayres, annual children’s performances at Christmas (infants) and summer (Juniors), and sports day. These events are always very well attended and are supported by our PTA group who raise much appreciated funds for our school.
Snarestone CofE (A) Primary School is a place where strong Christian values ensure that school, church and community work together to ensure that every child is nurtured in a caring Christian environment where they know they are special and highly valued.