Our Christian vision creates an active culture of justice and responsibility
We aim to bring and share light in all we do – this includes teaching children to be positive, forward looking and hopeful. It also includes teaching children that they have a responsbility towards others, fairness and their world.
How do we encourage children to be hopeful?
We believe that the environment children work in, in terms of the atmosphere, learning spaces and outdoor areas is vitally important in setting a positive tone. Staff and children value working in spaces which are purposeful, high quality and effective. Visitors to the school always comment on its buzz, its warm atmosphere and calmness.
Pride in ourselves, our uniform, our school badge and the way in which we conduct ourselves as a school family matter to us. They bring unity and create a common purpose.
How do we encourage an active culture of justice and responsibilty?
Children are able to explore questions through the way we plan our learning and through the use of Rights Respecting School, through our worship plans and through PSHE lessons. We are also planning to develop teaching of Philosophy for Children. We have close links with NMITE, Hereford's University as well as with many local organisations such as Friends of the Upper Wye and the RNCB.
Pupil leadership is important at St Thomas. Children lead worship, eco schools, subject learning groups and more. Children take responsibility for different areas of school life, they enjoy this and want to support others, to offer ideas and to speak up when things need to change.
Our Christian values of unity, perseverance and love underpin all of our work. They give a real focus to teaching our children about justice and responsibilty. This has been recognised by Rights Respecting Schools, the Eco Council of England and by the Archbishops' Young Leaders Award where our children's work has been used as a national case study.
We work with local organisations to enable projects to happen.
- The Hereford Community Foundation supported our school's 'Stories of Change' project to save the River Wye. Children shared their film launch at the Bishop's Palace (above) contributed to local political debate and their work was featured on BBC Countryfile.
- Children devised and ran their own summer fete to raise funds for the Royal National College for the Blind.
- Class 6 children decided to organise and run book swops for the whole school.
- Eco council decided to run a clothes and uniform swop, for all families.m
- The Courtyard theatre asked children from STC to record the #talkaway song for their mental well being work.
How do we help children to develop resilience?
We like mistakes and encourage children to be courageous, to have a go with learning and to enjoy the challenge of something new. That could be in the form of trying a new food at lunchtime, exploring new ways of multiplying a number or contributing constructively when they have a different view to someone else.
Linked to this is the school’s work on promoting advocacy amongst children. By helping children to understand what their rights and responsibilities are, through discussion of stories and through providing protected time for worship children are able to learn about and lead social action, for example in caring for our environment, raising funds for local charities or learning about global issues.
Alongside this, children learning about the importance of forgiveness and reconciliation through our approach to behaviour. We expect children to make good choices and give them the tools to do so but we are also realistic; we all make mistakes sometimes. Learning to be honest about that and knowing that we will work together to resolve issues is the key to making this work. Children feel confident that they will be listened to, supported and that reconciliation will be possible. Parents trust the school and work alongside us so that children feel safe, confident and happy.