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.
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 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 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 carols at St Peter’s church. The services follow the collective worship focus with a church speaker at the monthly assemblies. Children are involved in these services through the music: class and large group singing, percussion accompaniments, school 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 Brighton and Hove City Mission.
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 - taking groups of children for lunchtime prayerful reflection activities, from each class over the whole school year.
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 'Inspiring!' in 2020, we learn more about God through deepening our knowledge of the Bible and expressing our thoughts and feelings through the arts. We explore our own individual faith through a variety of activities and workshops: song writing, dance and worship, reflection activities, bible journalling, 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 Spirited Arts Competition each year and end our week with a celebration, sharing our discoveries and talents. It's wonderful each year not only to immerse ourselves in the arts but also in spending quality time 'Learning God's Way'.
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 a variety of church links, particularly with the parishes we are based in: Bishop Hannington and St Peter's.
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 games and chatting. We have built links with two local care homes, Glentworth House and Fairdene Lodge, through the Martlet's Hospice project 'You Are Never Alone'. Our aim is to build 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. Our Year 5 children now 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.
Every year, as a community we support others where we can. At harvest time, we donate food and money to our local food bank (Hangleton and West Blatchington) and 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.
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. 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 are part of the Martlet's 'Join the Flock' project. We are going to adopt Shaun the Sheep, who once decorated by our children will be set free in Brighton alongside 120 other sheep to be discovered on a Shaun Trail by local residents and visitors to Brighton. By Christmas, our Shaun will have returned home to live in school alongside Les Cargot, our snail from the snail trail a few years ago. Meanwhile, we will have raised money for The Martlets, who are a charity providing essential care for Brighton and Hove people affected by a terminal illness. 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. Learning to live God's Way.