At Bonners C of E Primary School the children that attend our school are at the heart of everything we do and we strongly believe in offering every child every opportunity to develop into thoughtful, confident and compassionate members of society. In order to achieve this, we must have a reflective school community. There is always room for improvement and improvement depends on leaders knowing how to harness the potential that already exists in the school. Christian Values are at the foundation of how we shape the attitudes of our students to learning and to life in the wider community.
To find out more about these Christian Values (the red words on the image) please view the descriptions below. You can also visit the Christian Values for Schools website to find out more.
Reverence is the proper human response to what is holy and sacred. It is related to awe and respect. Such reverence is the proper response to the mystery of life and death, or to the created world in which we live. In our assemblies, RE lessons, visits to the Church, outdoor lessons and Gardens Alive! project we demonstrate reverence and respect for God and our Earth.
Wisdom is insight into the way life works: a proper understanding of the consequences of our thoughts, words and actions and an awareness of the true value of things. It is rooted in proper reverence for God who is the source of all life and all values. By offering our children a variety of perspectives in our lesson planning and giving them opportunities to participate in the Buddies programme, the children can take their first steps on their path towards wisdom.
Thankfulness has always been at the centre of the life and worship of God’s people. Seeing the world as God’s creation underpins the way we approach everything in life, seeing it as a gift and not as a right. Thankfulness is important. Thankfulness is a wholehearted response. It stems from a consciousness of God’s gifts and blessings. For Christians the greatest of all acts of worship is simply called ‘thanksgiving’ – eucharistia in Greek. At Bonners, we demonstrate and practice thanksgiving through prayer, by participating in Harvest Festival Services, Remembrance Services, by supporting our local food bank and by participating in charitable activities such as Christian Aid, Red Nose Day and Children in Need.
The words ‘humility’ and ‘humanity’ are directly linked, both being derived from ‘humus’ – the earth. God made us from the earth and in being humble we ‘earth’ our view of ourselves in reality. The Christian message insists that it is through identifying with Christ’s humble service and sacrifice that we rediscover that other truth about ourselves. By encouraging the children to not fret about mistakes and to try to get one more right tomorrow, we demonstrate that no one is perfect, and that it is ok. Building confidence and acceptance of mistakes is central to our style of teaching. Participation in charitable activities introduces the children to the wider world and their place in it.
Endurance is the recognition that life is sometimes difficult and painful, and that it is important not to give up in the face of adversity. Endurance and perseverance are only possible where there is hope and that hope is based on the enduring nature of God’s love and faithfulness. At Bonners the children are supported through a variety of initiatives when they experience adversity. The Buddies programme, academic booster programmes and caring staff and school community demonstrate to the children that difficulty can be overcome together.
Words relating to ‘servant’ and ‘service’ are central in Christian theology. Service is not offered to gain some advantage for ourselves. ‘Going the extra mile’ involves sacrifice, putting ourselves out for someone else’s benefit. Service is demonstrated at Bonners when the younger children are paired with older children as reading buddies, the older children are being ‘of service’ to the younger, offering support and encouragement as they learn to read. The Buddies programme empowers the children to be ‘of service’ to those children who find themselves alone on the yard or who have hurt themselves and need comfort.
‘Compassion’ and ‘sympathy’ have much in common and both are stronger in meaning than simply ‘feeling sorry for’ someone. The words have their roots in the idea of ‘suffering with’ someone, putting yourself in someone else’s shoes and experiencing what they experience. This leads to a desire to act, to do something. Compassion requires an act of imagination and humility to share in the lives of others. The Buddies programme, charitable activities, and sensitive leadership among the staff all model compassion at Stanhope Barrington.
Trust is essential to human life and lies at the heart of all relationships. Trust entails vulnerability, putting yourself in others’ hands. We have to trust experts – pilots, dentists, surgeons and teachers. Trust is central to civilised society, to living together in harmony, so it is to be valued and honoured. With wisdom and discernment, we can relearn to trust. We can begin to rebuild trust in our mistrustful society by being reliable ourselves, by not letting people down. Similarly, when we work with others, if we are willing to let go of control ourselves and trust in the abilities and integrity of others, everyone can be enriched. At Bonners, trust is demonstrated by a cohesive staff team that all work towards the same goals for each individual child. Effective communication through letters home, the website and an ‘open’ policy to discuss a child’s school experience build trust in the school community. The children trust the teachers and staff because they are consistent and expectations are clear. Modelling this value assists the children in their understanding of building trust in themselves and others.
The Hebrew term for peace, ‘shalom’, has a deep and complex meaning, encompassing much more than simply the absence of hostility or war. Shalom includes ideas of healing and health, wholeness and well-being. It means harmony, stability and security within a community. It refers to relationships based on truth and righteousness, where people flourish because they are nurtured. The Bonners community flourishes because it is a nurturing school. The Buddies programme, School Council, and various sporting and extracurricular activities offer opportunities to co-exist in harmony. The staff encourages the children to find common ground, to collaborate and compromise in both lessons and on the yard.
‘Be compassionate and kind to one another, forgiving each other, just as God forgave you.’ (Ephesians 4:32). Forgiveness cannot be given or received unless it is asked for, and the asking must be genuine and from the heart. Too often ‘sorry’ is said very easily, implying: ‘All I need to do is say I’m sorry and everything will be OK’. Real repentance demands that we take what we have done wrong with the utmost seriousness and have a deep desire not to do it again. The children at Bonners Primary are encouraged to be kind. Forgiveness is demonstrated through the school’s approach to addressing issues. The children are encouraged to apologise if they have hurt someone and are offered alternatives to their behaviour. This supports the child in their process of understanding the meaning and practice of forgiveness.
Friendship is feeling comfortable in each other’s company, being able to share joys and sorrows are all features of friendship and these are things of immense value. True friendship enables each person to grow and ensures that the unique individuality of each person is recognised. At Bonners the children are encouraged to support one another. Sporting and extra-curricular activities, the reading buddy system and the Buddies programme all provide opportunities to facilitate friendship among our children.
When thinking about ‘justice’, some people think first about giving wrongdoers the punishment they deserve. Justice is also about acting out of a concern for what is right and seeing right prevail. It is about social justice, especially for those who suffer most and are least able to protect themselves. Justice is not about a culture which encourages everyone to insist on their own rights at the expense of others. It is about a community that knows that everyone’s well-being is bound up with that of everyone else. At Bonners the Buddies programme, reading buddy system and leadership creates an environment that is mutually beneficial.
Hope generates energy and sustains people through difficult times. For some people, hope is so strong that it inspires self-sacrifice to turn hope into reality. True hope is much more than a general idea that things will get better. It is more than a belief in progress, which sees the world and people as getting better all the time, growing away from violence, ignorance and confusion. Christian hope means trusting in the loving purposes of God: trusting that the foundations of the world are good because they spring from God. At Bonners, the children belong to a supportive and nurturing environment. The children are encouraged to try and keep trying. Opportunities such as assemblies, service participation and community involvement (for example, the school choir singing at a nursing home) offer the children a sense of hope and mechanisms to offer and experience hope.
Creation is not merely a belief about how everything began; it is how we view all life including our own. It means that we place the highest value on all life on earth. Pre-technological societies lived in close dependence on the earth. The daily struggle for food and shelter, at the mercy of natural forces and the changing seasons, led to a profound respect for the environment. With technological mastery has come a different attitude: one that sees the earth as there to be plundered and exploited. Now we are reaping the whirlwind: with climate change, crises over access to water and food, destruction of habitat and the rapid extinction of species. It is not clear whether the earth can still renew itself or whether the damage has gone too far. It is also not clear that there is the will to stop, to restore this ‘blue planet’, our only fragile home. We have been given the earth to look after and to hold it in trust for future generations. If the earth is to sustain our children and succeeding generations, this clearly places limits on how we treat the earth.
The use of the original Greek word emphasises the strength and importance of this concept within the Christian faith. Koinonia means ‘that which is in common’ and is often translated as ‘fellowship’ or ‘community’. Other translations might include ‘union’, ‘partnership’, or ‘being yoked together’. A yoke is a shaped piece of wood that goes across the shoulders, often linking two animals. By combining their strength, it helps work to be done and burdens to be carried. Koinonia expresses the quality of relationship within the Christian community. A central element of being a family is interdependence: all are needed and valued and each person is important to the whole. At Bonners every member of the school community is valued. Through the Buddies programme, sporting activities, reading groups and lesson activities the children learn the value of working in partnership and value of teamwork. The wider school community, from parents offering their support to various activities, to governors working closely with staff to facilitate a supportive, nurturing and outstanding place to learn, all involved model koinonia.