What is A Church School?
The Church of England has a long history of involvement in education. However, most Church of England schools such as St Bartholomew’s were founded in the 19th century at a time when there was no state provision for the education of children whose parents could not afford to pay school fees.
These schools were prompted by a desire not only to promote religious education but also to ensure that everyone could learn to read and write and get a basic education that would prepare them for life. They were open to the whole community and welcomed all children, not just those from Christian families - a principle that remains at the heart of our mission today.
Over the years the government has become more involved in the provision of education and most Church Schools, including ours, have been absorbed into the national network of maintained schools whilst still in Church ownership. Today approximately a quarter of all primary schools have a Church of England foundation, continuing to serve their community and well-regarded for their excellent standards of education and care.
A Church school for the whole community
The foundation of St Bartholomew’s is thus rooted in the Christian faith and alongside the national curriculum, all children are taught a basic understanding of Christianity and attend a special service of Christian worship twice a half-term and at the time of major Christian festivals at our local Church. Parents and carers are very welcome to join us at these services. There is also a greater emphasis on links with the local parish church than is usually the case in other schools.
None of this means that we are a school exclusively for Christian families nor do we set out to promote Christian belief at the expense of other faiths. We do not aim to indoctrinate or convert children to Christianity but to encourage an understanding of the meaning and significance of faith through the whole experience we offer.
Our school logo and other signs and symbols around the school such as our stained-glass window reflect our Christian heritage and we also have places set aside for reflection and prayer.
We have a strong focus on understanding and promoting the core Christian values of compassion and care for others and for the environment. Visitors to the school often comment on how this is reflected in the atmosphere of the school and the behaviour of the children.
Our religious education syllabus focuses on teaching the main principles of Christianity and the Bible and takes between 5% and 10% of our weekly timetable. We also include gaining an understanding of the other main world religions and explore universal moral and spiritual values. We encourage children to develop spiritually and to develop their own beliefs as they mature.
We also promote understanding of diversity and respect for freedom of religion and belief and we encourage all to contribute to this from the standpoint of their own traditions.
We wish to extend a warm welcome to children from all parts of our local community including Christian families and those of other faiths and of no faith.