Our Christian Values and Learning Values go hand-in-hand
Because God loved us first, so we love each other. Jesus taught us how to love and we use his example as a model for ourselves in all that we think and we do. We recognise that we need to show forgiveness and to be forgiven and this is possible within our loving school community. We use our learning values to support us in our actions and in our learning, giving the best in our behaviour and attitudes towards our work and others.
As we understand the compassion that God has shown us, so we show that compassion towards others within our school community and beyond. When we go through difficult times or when we find our learning challenging, we show compassion whilst still expecting all to show resilience and to have high aspirations.
Faith helps us to know that we can step out in difficult times, knowing that we are safe in God’s love. Respecting all, showing empathy and understanding to our whole community, we use our learning values to stretch ourselves by being aspirational and taking risks, and to understand that we can achieve more than we think. As a school, we are relentless in our pursuit for everyone achieving their potential and for there to be an equality in experiences and opportunities for all our children. We know that curiosity is important for finding out about ourselves, our world, and the big questions in life and we encourage this thirst for knowledge and understanding.
Why did we choose our Christian values? What makes them important? And what makes them Christian?
Love is a very important value to us as a school. Love underpins everything that we do. It is very much ‘the why’ of who we are. Love is evident in our relationships with each other and in our actions to support our community and our world. We see it in our interactions at school and home; feel it when we are together, and experience it through how others act towards us. We know that God loved us first and therefore we can love others.
What makes Love a distinctively Christian value? Because Christians recognise that God is love, and love comes from God (1 John 4:7). Whilst love is important in almost every culture and religion, the Bible tells us that God loved us first. We are therefore able to love in the true sense of the word because God loves us unconditionally. That unconditional love is at the centre of God’s very existence and His love radiates to everyone and every part of creation. Christians believe that it is by understanding God’s love for us that we truly love others. It is with this in mind that St Lawrence chose Love as a value.
We see Love shown in the Christian narrative in many ways. Christians believe that Jesus’ death and resurrection were all because God loved us and wanted us to be made right with Him again. This was the ultimate expression of Love. Almost every Christian story has at the heart of it the love of God e.g. the Passover, Abraham and Isaac, The Good Samaritan, Calming of the storm to name just a few.
At St Lawrence we develop our value of Love through: our worship times together, sharing stories of how God and Jesus show love to us; modelling positive interactions and encouragement; supporting those in need, both at school, in our community and in our world. To carry the value of love in our hearts is to understand that “love is patient and kind, love is eternal and love never gives up. “ (1 Corinthians 13 4-8)
Love one another as I have loved you.” (John 13:34)
At St Lawrence we see Compassion not just as an emotion; “compassion is a verb”. We see it as something we do and act upon as well as feeling it. Being compassionate for us means being Jesus’ hands and feet and therefore within our school community – on the playground as well as in the school building. We also look towards others beyond our school gates.
What makes Compassion a distinctively Christian value? We know that, according to the Bible, God is “a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness” (Psalm 86:15). God is compassionate and sympathetic. However, God’s compassion is more than mere sympathy and pity. God's compassion is related to His mercy, kindness, patience, grace, forgiveness, and love. All of these attributes you would see at St Lawrence.
We see Compassion shown in the Christian narrative in many ways. God's compassion is evident throughout the Bible – Jonah, the Israelites in the desert, the call to look after the orphan and the widow. In the Old Testament we see time and time again, God’s compassion towards His people. The compassion of Jesus is clearly seen throughout the Gospels – he experienced human life and is able to sympathise with us fully. He modelled things like compassion to us – for the sick, for the poor, for the hungry, for the vulnerable. The pinnacle of Jesus’ compassion is seen at the cross of Calvary where He laid down his life for the sin of the world.
At St Lawrence we develop our value of Compassion through modelling it to one another; being Jesus’ hands and feet; understanding it is a call to action. We show compassion locally through supporting Alton Foodbank and visiting residential homes as part of our intergenerational work. Nationally and internationally we have supported charities such as Children in Need, Sport Relief and then beyond our shores we have supported a Toilet Twinning Initiative in countries such as Ghana and bought animals for families in Africa through Christian Aid.
“Clothe yourself with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” (Colossians 3:12)
At St Lawrence we see Respect as a key value for life. We see evidence of it between pupils, between staff and between pupils and staff. It is a value chosen by us at St Lawrence because it is far-reaching across faiths, peoples, nations as well as being very individual. We expect respect to be embedded in our school as God created all people; creating them differently as unique individuals. They are all God’s creations and it is God’s will for us to show respect to everyone.
What makes respect a distinctively Christian value? Respect is a core Christian value for our church school because we believe that all life is precious, within the image of God, and deserves to be valued. Within the school we encourage all, “to treat others as you would want them to treat you.” (Matthew 7:12)
We see respect shown in the Christian narrative in many ways: Jesus broke down social, cultural and religious barriers. For example, He spoke to the Samaritan woman at the well when she served Him a drink, which overcame prejudice. (John 4: 7-10) In the story of Jesus healing blind Bartimaeus, we see not only Jesus compassion but his respect for the man. A powerful example of how God expects us to treat everyone around us, whether or not we can see their value. Jesus sees it and God sees it. Jesus is no longer on earth to walk up to the modern day Bartimaeus – it is now up to us to treat everyone with dignity and respect and to see in them as God sees.
At St Lawrence we develop our value of respect through: modelling it to one another; being polite; encouraging with kind words; listening to others even if they have a different viewpoint to us; developing our mutual respect with our friends from our school in Rwanda which we are twinned with through the Winchester Diocese. Our Christian value of Respect means living up to the image of God within ourselves, our school and in our community.
“Treat others as you would want them to treat you.” (Matthew 7:12)