The Whitchurch Church of England Primary School has changed their school mission statement, according to its ‘School Matters‘ newsletter sent to parents on Friday.

The text of the statement from the school follows.

Our School Motto
In consultation with staff and Governors we have modified our school mission statement to include three core Christian values.
It now reads:
Together We Make a Difference with Love, Forgiveness and Truth.

The statement continues,

As a church school we want to create a place that has a distinctive Christian character. If we make clear connections between our values and how they are founded in the teaching and life of Jesus this will help us to define our distinctive Christian character.

We fully appreciate not all our families follow the Christian faith, however we do believe these values provide a great basis for anyone who wishes to live in harmony with their friends and neighbours.

The statement concludes with,

We will be talking with the children about forgiveness this term. Forgiveness is not always easy, yet if children can learn to let go of minor misdemeanours rather than harbour negative feelings we hope this will help them throughout their life.

Comments (12)

  • Local Straight Talker

    Church of England – Its creation in the first instance was hardly done for the correct values. Probably not the best thing to be preaching to your children!

    Also, as the only primary school in the town, surely it is wrong not to have a choice of ‘religious’ or ‘non-religious’ school.

  • Ruby

    Do you mean Henry VIII? He didn’t create the Church of England; he separated it from Rome. It had existed for many years before that – the first Archbishop of Canterbury was appointed in 598

    I don’t think that Whitchurch is big enough to support two primary schools. However your underlying concern is already recognised by the school:

    “We fully appreciate not all our families follow the Christian faith, however we do believe these values provide a great basis for anyone who wishes to live in harmony with their friends and neighbours”

  • Julie Frost

    I think its a good idea to base your teaching on those three core values, regardless of their religious conatations… it is my understanding that ALL religions preach this, love, forgiveness, and truth.

  • bluefox

    ….forgiveness and truth in our school by all means, but “love” I`m not so sure about……. tolerance might be a more realistic aspiration!

  • Local Straight Talker

    All schools in smaller towns and villages should teach, not preach.

    Whitchurch is becoming a cosmopolitan town with many non-C of E religions represented.

    Atheist families have to send their children to a school which has ‘worship’ and says prayers or send their children to another school in a different area often at considerable expense and hassle.

    As for Whitchurch not being big enough to support two primary schools, I disagree.

    The school is bulging and children have been turned away this term. The children have to rush their lunches as the hall is not large enough to get everybody in, so multiple sittings are needed.

    With more houses probable in the near future, a new school should be built. I know this will not happen though!

  • Jacqui

    I agree with Local Straight Talker. I personally do not want my future children to go to a faith school as I think that, as with politics, education and religion should be separate. I do agree that many religions do have good values, but these values do not need to be taught in the framework of religion.

    I went to a school that was not a faith school but we still had prayers and hymns, and that is definitely not right. I will be looking at schools very carefully when the time comes, and it does worry me that almost all the primary schools in this area are faith based. St Mary Bourne seems to be the only non-faith based school in the area.

    I have recently seen an application for 39 new 2-5 bed houses in Whitchurch, and I know of plans for 100s more. If out primary school is already full how do the council propose to accommodate all the new children? And how do they plan to get hundreds more cars through the centre of town at rush hour?

  • Caroline Barber

    My understanding is that children are excused from Worship if their parents so choose. Any claims of proselytising are way off the mark.

    (By the way, are those who dislike the idea of having a faith school here aware of the extent to it is reliant on Parish funds? Take those funds away, and I somehow don’t think the government would make up the shortfall.)

  • Local Straight Talker

    Caroline – Do you think it is a good idea for children to be “excused” from part of the school day?

    Surely by doing this it could / will lead to ridicule, segregation and possibly even bullying!

    What happened to everybody is equal? This is the 21st century.

    What are the children being taught according to Caroline……. Those children over there are different, therefore I will treat them as such! – This is something that will stay with them throughout life.

    I strongly disagree with Whitchurch C of E Primary School.

  • Caroline Barber

    Let’s agree to differ, LST. There are clearly underlying issues for you here that go way beyond this discussion.

  • Mike Stead

    Dear Local Straight Talker,

    Until you have the courage to put your name to your words, how about you cease conflating such a non-issue out of all proportion. As Caroline succinctly points out, You clearly have issues that run much deeper than an extra 5 words on a school statement.

    One wonders why this is even ‘news’ – who thought to try and make this an issue? You? Do you have children at the school? If so you’d be blind or totally irresponsible as a parent not to know the excellent nurturing environment we are so fortunate to have in our community. If you don’t have children at the school, why even bother opening your mouth?

    “I strongly disagree with Whitchurch C of E Primary School” – which part exactly – the borderline-Outstanding OFSTED rating? the incredibly high levels of parental satisfaction? The clean, tidy grounds? the friendly, polite staff?

    Good grief.

    Mike

  • Local Straight Talker

    Dear Mike,

    In answer to your questions and points directed at me….

    The reason I do not put my name to my words is I do not wish to be thrown into the Whitchurch ‘stocks’ for speaking out against the town and its infrastructure, amenities or news.

    I do not have ‘issues’

    I did not make ‘an issue’ out of it. I merely offered my opinion. Just like you do on various other articles.

    It is none of your business if I have children at the school.

    I am neither ‘blind’ or an ‘irresponsible’ parent and furthermore, your attempt to label me as such is insulting and has no part on this website purely for the reason you do not agree with my views.

    I ‘open my mouth’ because I am entitled to whether or not I have children at the school. That is unless Whitchurch has turned into a Dictatorship without my knowledge!

    The part I disagree with is the ‘C of E’ part of the name. If you read my original post, you would have been able to work this out.

    Good grief indeed.

  • Caroline Barber

    LST (whoever you are!):

    The C of E contributes a huge amount of money to the school. I mean HUGE. This money comes from Parish Funds (i.e. funds that the Parishioners contribute). I don’t know the figures concerned but can find them out if you’re interested.

    Anyway, hence the name.

    This in no way means that the Church has ownership of the school but does seem to mean that it has attracted an excellent head, teaching staff, support staff and board of governors. Or, at least, it hasn’t put them off. They may not all share a Christian faith (note, I am using the word ‘faith’, not ‘religion’ – two very different things, but that’s for another discussion) but they all seem to share the same values.

    I don’t understand what there is to be scared of.

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