Widcombe Juniors as a Church School
Widcombe C of E Junior School is a Church of England school, founded in 1839. The school was provided by the local parish church of St Matthew’s, and continues to work in partnership with the church (now combined with St Thomas in a single parish), and also with the Diocese of Bath & Wells.
We are proud of our Church School status and our children follow our Christian Values of Friendship, Kindness, Perseverance, Respect, Honesty and Hope to become better in everything they do and to ‘Be the best they can be’. This vision is underpinned by Pentecost (Acts 2:1-31). This story inspires us to fill ourselves with the fire we need to go out into the world and be our best selves.
Our Christian Values
The Story of Pentecost
The bible story of Pentecost underpins our school motto of ‘Be the Best You Can Be’.
About 40 days after the resurrection of Jesus, the 12 apostles and other early followers were gathered together in a house in Jerusalem to celebrate the traditional Jewish Pentecost. Suddenly, a terrific wind came from heaven and filled the place:
“On the day of Pentecost all the believers were meeting together in one place. Suddenly, there was a sound from heaven like the roaring of a mighty windstorm, and it filled the house where they were sitting. Then, what looked like flames or tongues of fire appeared and settled on each of them. And everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in other languages, as the Holy Spirit gave them this ability.” (Acts 2:1-4, NLT)
Immediately, the disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit, causing them to speak in tongues. The crowds of visitors were astonished because every pilgrim heard the apostles speaking to him or her in their own foreign language.
Being filled with the fire of the Holy Spirit enabled the disciples to go out and spread the word of God. They were fired up to be their best selves.
The story of Pentecost inspires us to reflect upon what fills us with the fire we need to go out and be our best selves, both in school and beyond. We celebrate Pentecost together as a school in term 5/6, finding creative ways to explore what lights us up. We draw on these activities and this symbol of fire throughout the year: in lessons, on the playground and in collective worship.
Collective Worship at Widcombe Juniors is an integral part of everyday school life. It provides an opportunity for staff, pupils, Governors and visitors to meet together to express joy and thankfulness, to share concerns and experiences and to affirm and develop the beliefs and values of the school community and the Christian Church.
Daily worship follows a rhythm of important consistencies which include: suitably chosen music, lighting our candle, sharing our termly Christian value, readings from the Bible or other relevant literature including that from other faiths and offering opportunities for prayer and/or reflection.
A typical week of collective worship at Widcombe Junior School looks like this:
|Monday||Values led assembly||Head of School, Deputy,Vicar or Collective Worship Ambassadors|
|Tuesday||Singing Worship||Music Coordinators|
|Wednesday||Open The Book||Manvers Street Baptist Church|
|Thursday||PSHE themed Collective Worship||Teaching Staff|
|Friday||Celebration Assembly||Head of School, Deputy|
Other elements used may include music, drama, mime, artefacts or listening to stories.
Any notices are clearly separated from the act of worship.
Termly Class assemblies are used as an additional opportunity for children to lead worship and share topic work they have been doing in class with their parents/carers and governors. Elements of Worship are incorporated e.g. consideration given for reflection and the production of a class prayer to share.
In addition to the weekly programme, the main festivals of Harvest, Christmas and Easter are marked with special services, usually held at St Matthew’s church. The church is also the venue for an annual leavers’ service in July.
Parents and carers will be invited to attend Collective Worship, especially termly celebration assembly and services held at St Matthew’s.
Throughout the academic year we also lead Arts Week, Book Week and Sports Week themed collective worships. Furthermore, we welcome a broad range of contributions from organisations and individuals such as Send A Cow, Opal (Outdoor Play and Learning), School in a Bag, Ed Street Cuts, 52 lives, Local Councilors and Food Bank (Harvest Collection)
We deliver collective worship that is inclusive, invitional and inspiring:
Inclusive: We ensure that content is relevant to the children, their interests and current events. It is also inclusive of all faiths and non-faiths. We plan for worship to be delivered by people from within and beyond the school community. It is important that our approach to collective worship encourages our pupils to think, ask questions, consider, contribute and critically reflect. Our collective worship provides the opportunity to engage whilst allowing the freedom of those of different faiths and those who profess no religious faith to be present and to engage with integrity.
Invitational: Collective Worship at Widcombe has always provided plenty of child-led opportunities including pupil-led collective worship, pupil-led prayer/reflection and lots of opportunities for pupil contributions. Members of our local church community contribute to our daily worship on a weekly basis (Open the Bible) and we regularly welcome visitors from both our local and wider community.
Inspiring: Worship is informed by our vision and values; it empowers and encourages children to have the freedom and agency to respond beyond the collective worship session (some responses captured in reflection books). Our programme of collective worship aims to motivate pupils and adults into action, into thinking differently, and into reflecting on their and the wider community’s behaviour and actions.
For more detailed information on Collective Worship please see our Collective Worship Policy
At Widcombe Juniors, we strive to give every child under our care the chance to be their best selves. Our holistic approach to exploring spirituality is to focus on educating the whole child and providing full life experiences. This ensures that every individual can be their best self and experience life in all its fullness, wherever they are on their own spiritual journey.
Our definition of spirituality is that it is an ongoing, reflective journey. It is something that teaches us about questioning, understanding and relationships: relationships with ourselves, others, the world and beyond.
The Church Community
Our Church partners include:
- St Matt’s Clergy
- Diocese of Bath and Wells
- Manvers Street Baptist Church (Open the Book)
- Widcombe Baptist Church
- Sean Bowers (Associative Director of Music at Bath Abbey)
- Walk through the Bible group (Bringing the Bible to Life)
Our curriculum is an enquiry and knowledge based spiral curriculum which develops children’s critical thinking skills, motivation to learn and understanding of different religions, cultures and beliefs. We are proud of our Church of England status but mindful that children are free to make their own choices and decisions regarding religion and beliefs. Through the RE curriculum, we aim to foster an awareness of British Values, tolerance of others and knowledge of society and the wider world.
As a Church of England School, there is a SIAMS inspection which takes place once every five years.
The inspection focuses on the impact of our Christian vision, and involves looking at the school’s vision, the provision the school makes because of this vision and how effective this provision is in enabling all pupils to flourish.
The Evaluation Schedule is explored through seven strands:
- Vision and Leadership
- Wisdom, Knowledge and Skills
- Character Development: Hope, Aspiration and Courageous Advocacy
- Community and Living Well Together
- Dignity and Respect
- The impact of Collective Worship
- The effectiveness of religious education
One overall grade is awarded reflecting the contribution of these strands to the flourishing of pupils and adults in a Church school.
Our Collective Worship Policy can be found in our Policy Catalogue here.
Our Covid Story
As part of our ongoing Covid response, we ensure that all children have continued access to our high-quality education provision. At the heart of our provision is a focus on supporting children’s wellbeing.
Some examples of this provision include:
- Ensuring all children have access to laptops and internet when needed
- Training all children and staff to use Teams and Zoom as our primary means of delivering and accessing our curriculum
- Delivering food packages to those entitled to it
- Wellbeing checks-ins online during home learning
- Offering a range of weekly Art and Forest School activities for children to access at home.
- Continuing to deliver our collective worship programme in bubbles and on zoom in accordance with our collective worship policy
- Welcoming children back to school with a week of transition activities
- Introducing a new behavior policy that supports children with making the right choices and celebrates success
- We continue to provide home learning for children isolating with Covid