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Aldrington CE Primary School

Christian Distinctiveness

In our Church of England school, the educational process is rooted in the living faith of the school. This goes beyond the ethos of the school to affect the planning and teaching in every curriculum area. RE is not just an academic subject, but, lying at the very heart of the curriculum, has an important role in reflecting and conveying the distinctively Christian character of the school.

As a school community, we try to daily live out our theologically based vision: 

'Together, we are Learning God's Way: seeing our learning through His eyes so that as a school community, we show loveresponsibility and integrity now and in the future.

We actively seek to equip each unique individual with the skills and knowledge that allow them to flourish in their learning, respect themselves and others, and achieve their God-given potential.'

(Proverbs 22: 6)

Deliberately Different

Our governors are acutely aware of our whole school commitment to reflect our distinctive Christian character in all we do. They use the strap line 'Deliberately Different' when making decisions, to ensure that the strategic planning for the direction of our school is conducted in a way which challenges the norm and draws our focus to our ethos during all governors' meetings.

What do the pupils think?

Collective Worship

At Aldrington, we celebrate collective worship as a whole school, in key stage groups and as classes. Our worship is rooted in our belief in the Bible and our relationship with God, so whether we're learning about the person and work of Jesus, global issues, our school and British values, or our relationships, mental health and well-being we refer back to God in reflective thoughts, His word, in song and prayer.

Aldrington has a valuable link with our local churches: Bishop Hannington (BH) and St Peter's, West Blatchington. Throughout the year, services are held in each: monthly assemblies, Harvest, Christmas and Easter service at BH; and Christmas service and Easter at St Peter’s church. The services follow the collective worship focus with a church speaker at the monthly church worship. Children are involved in these services through the music: class and large group singing, percussion accompaniments, school brass band, drumming group and choir as well as through writing prayers, reading from the Bible, etc.  Collective worship is also led by church and youth leaders from these churches as well as from Holy Cross and Goldstone Church, and from local organisations Off the Fence and Brighton and Hove City Mission - both in whole school worship and at our monthly service held at BH.

Our Faith Councillors work as a team at the BH service: welcoming in, guiding to pews, supporting worship and leading in prayer. They also lead in prayer in our whole school worship.

Christian Clubs and Groups

PRAYER: We value prayer in our daily school lives: for thanks, guidance and protection.  Our parents have a prayer group, which meets weekly to pray for our school community. Our governors pray with us, whenever they meet to discuss and make decisions taking our school forward. We are blessed by the school team from Off the Fence  visiting school weekly leading our lunchtime Prayer Space - taking groups of children for lunchtime prayerful reflection activities, from each class throughout the whole school year.

SONG: We have a weekly lunchtime singing club where the children worship with a variety of songs of the wonder of God, His love for us, His care and guidance and how we can turn to Him when we're worried as well as Christian seasonal songs, (eg Easter and Christmas). The club is open to all the children and has always proved very popular with YR to Y3.

BIG QUESTIONS: In September 2023, we started a lunchtime junior Big Question Club led by Brighton and Hove City Mission. This is a drop-in, where the children know the Big Question in advance and can choose to join us for that week's debate. We have been further blessed by offers of help with leading the club from both Off the Fence and our local church leaders. At the end of each term, we ask all of the juniors what their Big Question is and it gets added to the following term's themes.

Faith Council

At Easter 2024, we formed a Faith Council. Annually, children present to their classes why they'd like to be selected, describing their skills and what they hope to achieve. One councillor per class (Y1 to Y6) is voted in and they work together as a team of twelve to help develop our school worship and our spirituality further. We meet monthly, feedback their classes' opinions of questions asked and work out together how we can change things to make a difference. Our initial focus was on developing prayer in worship as well as serving our school community in our monthly church service at Bishop Hannington. The councillors split into groups, taking turns to lead in tsp prayers (thank you, sorry, please) in worship over a four week cycle. Each Friday, they review the next Monday's worship theme and plan their prayer accordingly. With serving Bishop Hannington, the councillors chose to take it in turn with several roles: being the welcome team at the church door, being a friendly face and helping those unsure of the transition from parent to school; being ushers guiding children to their classes and seats - especially for those whose parents need to dash off; leading in prayer during the service relating to that week's theme; and a team supporting worship with signing and actions whilst singing.

Faith in Arts

At Aldrington, we take a week each year to immerse ourselves in deepening our understanding of and relationship with God in our 'Faith in Arts' week. With an agreed theme, for example 'Faith in Humanity: no to racism, yes to respect' in 2024 and 'Green Faith, Green Future?' in 2023. In 2024, we extended our PSHE learning of worldviews on human equality and challenged negative attitudes; we found out more about how God feels when people treat each other disrespectfully and what He wants us to do. We are all different, and all religions are different, but we are the same too. In 2023, we learnt more about God and His world through deepening our knowledge of the Bible and expressing our thoughts and feelings through the arts - we continued this learning through the 'Our City Our World' project in 2023-2024. In Faith in Art weeks, we explore our own individual faith through a variety of activities and workshops: song writing, dance and worship, reflection activities, bible journaling, calligraphy, art, sculpture, textiles, drama and more; helped in our journey by our governors, Off the Fence, talented parents and specialist arts leaders in our community. We also take part in the national NATRE Spirited Arts Competition each year and end our week with a celebration, sharing our discoveries and talents with each other and with our parents/carers and families, who are invited in to explore our celebratory gallery. It's wonderful each year to spend quality time 'Learning God's Way' whilst immersing ourselves in the arts as we work together on a shared theme. 

Community Relationship

Our school community is important to us but so is our community link with our local West Hove, with the broader Brighton and Hove community and with our global community. We are blessed with active links with local churches, particularly with Bishop Hannington Church, Holy Cross Church, Goldstone Church and St Peter's Church (West Blatchington).

Through 'Generation Games' our nine and ten year-olds meet with the older guests from our families and church communities in order to build relationships: spending time together, playing board games and chatting. We have built links with two local care homes, Glentworth House and Fairdene Lodge, through the Martlets Hospice's project 'You Are Never Alone', since the first lockdown. We have built a relationship between their residents and our children as we communicate through letters, cards, favourite poems shared, film clips of children singing  and messages wishing their elderly community well. In 2022, our Year 5 children started to visit the Glentworth residents just before Christmas and Easter. It is an invaluable experience for both the residents and the children as they build relationships, share memories, sing songs and share time together.   We look forward to receiving their cards and replies, building up a regular communication between the old and young in our local community and children in the lower juniors talk of their future visits when in Year 5. We were thrilled when the residents of Glentworth House joined our Parents of Aldrington (POA) School Summer Fair and sold their crafts in order to raise money for local bike rides around Brighton and Hove so residents can enjoy exploratory outings in the fresh air. They have already asked if they can join us at our next PoA Christmas Fair.

Every year, as a community we support others where we can. At harvest time, we donate food and money to Hangleton and West Blatchington food bank and local charity Off the Fence, who support so many vulnerable people in Brighton and Hove. Before Christmas, we give shoebox gifts to vulnerable communities across Eastern Europe through a local charity Blythswood Care: Christmas 2023, these went to the Ukraine.

2019-2021, we raised money for the charity Compassion.UK, supporting the build of a small school like ours, in Blitar, Indonesia. The community of Blitar needed to improve and build classrooms, where their children could learn safely, and help the children prepare for a stronger future with good education and greater choices in their lives ahead. With a build costing just over £10,000, the locals in Blitar raised an amazing £4,600 and we pledged to raise the rest over two years.  Even with the  lockdowns, we raised £6,000 for the building works and donated a further £1,000 for resources. Whilst in 2021-2022, we fund raised for clean water globally, with Tap Twinning and Water Aid, raising £4,253.51. We are so proud of the way the children and their families came together as a community and raised so much money with such energy and enthusiasm, especially when these past few years have been such a challenge. In 2022-2023, we took part in the Martlets' "Join the Flock" project - keen to support the charity, who provide essential care for Brighton and Hove people affected by a terminal illness . Our POA adopted Shaun the Sheep, which was decorated by our children and set free in Brighton alongside 120 other sheep to be discovered on a Shaun Trail by our families, local residents and visitors to Brighton. By popular vote, we named her Gooders - after a much loved member of staff who headed up our Eco Warriors, Forest School and allotment. November 2023, Gooders returned to us and now proudly greets the children and families as they enter the school. Together our children raised £2,451 through sponsored chores - helping both their families at home and Martlets. 

In 2023-2024, we are fund raising for our global charity, New Growth Ministries, who support orphaned and vulnerable boys in Zimbabwe, Africa. We raised £2,805.28, far higher than our promised £2,000 for their Project Borehole. With this money, NGM  can have fresh water piped to their home using a 60m deep borehole, water tanks, an electric pump, water pipes and local labour. Their present borehole has dried up.

We are so impressed with our young school community, who also fund raise with their own families, friends and churches out of school supporting worthy causes. For example, a couple of Year 2 girls grew their own plants and sold them outside their homes raising over £200 for NGM. Learning to live God's Way.