Ethos, Vision and values

Ethos, Vision and values

As a Catholic school St Joseph’s Catholic Primary promotes Catholic values, including British values which are derived from Christian values and are at the heart of what we teach. These values include: respect for the law, democracy, equality and tolerance of different faiths and religions and other beliefs. Underpinning this is our belief that all are created in the image and likeness of God and are therefore equal in the sight of God; all are encompassed by human rights which are set out in documents such as Pope St John XXIII’s Pacem in Terris.

We teach that all should contribute to the common good.

Other faiths are accorded full respect: in the words of Nostra Aetate (1965): “The Church reproves, as foreign to the mind of Christ, any discrimination against men or harassment of them because of their race, colour, condition of life, or religion.” We reject discrimination of any kind, and by extension welcome diversity of culture. As Pope Francis wrote:

“What we are called to respect in each person is first of all his life, his physical integrity, his dignity and the rights deriving from that dignity, his reputation, his property, his ethnic and cultural identity, his ideas and his political choices. We are therefore called to think, speak and write respectfully of the other, not only in his presence, but always and everywhere, avoiding unfair criticism or defamation. Families, schools, religious teaching and all forms of media have a role to play in achieving this goal.” [Message of Pope Francis to Muslims throughout the world for the end of Ramadan, 2013]

In teaching of right and wrong, we teach that conscience should be informed by the teaching of Jesus and the Church; that right and wrong are moral matters and not just legalities.

The position of British law is taught in all matters, but on some issues Catholic differences will be stressed. Religious views on matters of public concern will be considered, particularly in relation to social teaching, as part of pupils’ spiritual, moral, social, vocational and cultural education.

Teaching about democracy will take account of its weaknesses as well as its strengths.

Our values and ethos are articulated in our school aims:

  • We aim to lead our pupils to a living and active faith by developing their awareness of God’s presence in their lives, helping them to know and love God and to respond to the invitation to enter into a personal relationship with God through reflection, prayer, worship and celebration.
  • We aim to help our children, hear, listen to and respond to the call of God through reflecting on how different people in the scriptures were called and responded, learning about the lives of saints and others who have responded to God’s call and by reflecting on ways in which they may be called by God and how they might respond.
  • We aim to provide teaching according to the Catholic faith, where the Gospel of Christ is at the heart of school life and the opportunities for a continuing and deepening experience of Christ through prayer and the sacraments are developed.
  • We aim to work in partnership with the home and parish to create a Catholic Community and to foster education and faith development outside the school, for example, in the home and in the parish.
  • We aim to create a happy school environment which will nurture the individual’s joy of learning, promote independence and perseverance in their work and develop a positive self-image and awareness of making the right choices in support of a happy and healthy lifestyle.
  • We aim to foster care, courtesy and consideration for others in our daily lives and to encourage the pupils to exercise a sense of responsibility which demonstrates respect for people and their belongings, regardless of faith, culture, ethnicity, gender, ability or lifestyle.
  • We aim to develop lively and enquiring minds through the ability to question, argue rationally, investigate, prove, observe and handle and process information. We will encourage creativity and promote knowledge of and concern for heritage and the environment.
  • We aim to promote an awareness, understanding and respect for other religious beliefs and an appreciation of human achievement and aspirations from many cultures.
  • We aim to help every individual to achieve his/her maximum potential through careful and considered planning of work, exciting and well-chosen activities and celebration of effort and success.
  • We aim to recognise and develop the many facets of human potential and encourage the individuals to “have a go” and not fear failure. We will promote self-evaluation and encourage realistic and achievable target setting.
  • We aim to establish an environment where pupils, teachers, support staff and governors can work together in confidence to achieve their own potential, meet and enjoy the challenge for continuous improvement and recognise and celebrate success.
  •  In line with the National Curriculum and DfE guidance, we aim to promote British Values including teaching children respect for the law, democracy, equality and tolerance of all faiths and other beliefs. This aim is non-negotiable and parents cannot request that their child opts out of any part of this regardless of personal culture or beliefs.

Our Curriculum

All children will be offered a broad and balanced curriculum, which is relevant to today’s world, promotes Catholic and British values and is based on research into what makes an outstanding curriculum. Our curriculum is drawn from the National Curriculum and supplemented through themed weeks and the study of topics/events of local and topical relevance. Each child will be treated as an individual within the school community, so that his/her potential can be fully developed in all areas academic, religious, physical, social, vocational and cultural. These opportunities will be offered on an equal basis for all children. The development of their own interests is encouraged and promoted in pupils through the use of weekly homework grids where children undertake personal study into topics linked to classroom work, topical events or based on their own interests. Teachers send home a termly overview of the curriculum for each class at the start of each term. The curriculum for each subject and by year group can also be found on our website.

The curriculum and enrichment opportunities also cover all areas of the Every Child Matters agenda ensuring the children learn about how to stay safe (including protecting them from the dangers of violent extremism and from the risk of child sexual exploitation), be healthy, enjoy and achieve, economic well-being and make a positive contribution.

Our curriculum prepares children for life as British citizens and promotes British values such as respect for the law, democracy, equality and tolerance and respect of all faiths and other beliefs. It is not possible to opt out of any part of this because of sensitivity to local culture and beliefs.

Phonics and reading

Teaching children to read and write is essential for them to access the curriculum and to develop skills for life. Therefore, reading takes place on a daily basis in school through phonics sessions, guided reading, the use of the Oxford Reading Tree scheme, choice books, class stories, comprehension activities, Talk For Writing and intervention/support strategies such as precision teaching, inference, running reading records and other methods. The development of the habit of reading for pleasure is promoted through the selection of graded choice books to accompany reading scheme books, a full school library and participation in events such as World Book Day. As a result, pupils leave St. Joseph’s as fluent and confident readers with a love of reading.

Religious Education

R.E. fulfils the requirements of the Religious Education Curriculum Directory as published by the Bishops of England and Wales. The RE curriculum at St Joseph’s follows the Diocesan approved scheme People of God, and doctrine is taught in accordance with the teachings of the Catholic Church. The School aims for the Christian growth of its children in their own faith and in their awareness of the world around them. Respect for other faiths and cultures is part of our mission and the teaching of other cultures and religions is an important part of our programme within the context of the requirements of the Curriculum Directory. Pupils will be taught about the integrity of other faiths and not as comparative religion. Pupils will learn about the beliefs, expression and celebration, living and belonging, of the principal religions in Great Britain.

School Masses, daily prayers and assemblies are central to our worship. The school works closely with the Parish priest and the parish to develop the spiritual life of pupils and their families.

In line with the Diocesan Education Service policy, there is no facility to withdraw pupils from R.E. Any parent wishing to exercise their right to withdraw a pupil from R.E. or collective worship should in the first instance see the Headteacher.

Family Life & Love and Relationships Education

There is a planned scheme of the teaching of Family Life and Love and Relationships Education throughout the school. School staff also use opportunities that arise naturally, and questions are answered as appropriate.  As in other areas of the curriculum, the position of British law is taught in all matters, but on some issues Catholic differences will be stressed. Religious views on matters of public concern will be considered, particularly in relation to social teaching, as part of pupils’ spiritual, moral, social, vocational and cultural education.