‘True salvation is fulfillment, peace, life in all its fullness. It is to be who you are, to feel within you the good that has no opposite, the joy of being that depends on nothing outside itself. It is felt not as a passing experience but as an abiding presence. In theistic language it is to ‘know God.’ Eckhart Tolle
At the heart of our project there are people and there must be ‘love.’ “I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right temporarily defeated is stronger than evil triumphant.” -Martin Luther King
We know above all else that our pupils and adults alike long for relationships and value. We want our pupils to know, ‘I am lovable.’ Our school needs to be ‘a place where the future is bursting with possibility. A place where they (pupils) are loved and can learn to love.’ (Debra Kidd, 2014)
We look to follow Jesus’s command to ‘Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.’ ‘Let us love not in word and speech, but in action and truth.’ (John 3:18) “To love ourselves and support each other in the process of becoming real is perhaps the greatest single act..’ Brene Brown. We must look to appreciate our differences; must look to adopt an approach that means ‘disengaging temporarily from our own sense of right and wrong and opening ourselves to the moral logic of people with whom we disagree.’ D McGarvey We want our school to be happy school where children learn to be happy but not at the expense of others’ happiness.
We are inspired by many great leaders, like Jesus, who have always taught us to be radically humane; to celebrate the worth of everyone; to make space for hope, to avoid comparison and condemnation and to look beyond existing rules and conventional wisdom to do what is right and good. Jesus’s teachings require us to teach from the heart; to maintain a sense of awe and of limitless possibilities; to persevere in humility.
Love is a fundamental human right, a central necessity for life itself, and arguably the pivotal point from which all education flows. We see education as a search for meaning and ‘….you knew that the purpose of human beings was to love, just that, and though you knew it, though it was maybe the only given in the ceaseless search for purpose..’ Niall Williams -This is Happiness.
We see it as our responsibility to guide children with the teachings of Jesus to commit to a life of love and grace and to offer opportunities for our pupils, families, staff and volunteers to experience a life fully lived. In this way we look to build a thriving community of shining lights, as instructed in Matthew 5:16:
“…let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven”.
We believe that Jesus teaches us to “…be an example…with your words, your actions, your love, your faith and your pure life.” (1 Timothy 12:4) We look to live out these instructions in all that we do. We are guided by his radical hand to follow his lead and support our community to contribute positively to creation each and every day, to truly ‘live’ our core values.
Day to day we would see love as extending ourselves; as working to nurture our own or another’s spiritual growth. Central should be our capacity to listen, to actively listen, to give others our willing attention. This is ‘particularly important in a society where hardly anybody listens to anybody. While people talk to each other, they do not listen to each other.’ Erich Fromm Beyond The Chains of Illusion p.130
We recognise that not all members of our school community are Christian and follow the model of Jesus in embracing and including all members of our community, celebrating the message he gave both in his life and his parable of ‘The Good Samaritan’; that all people are our neighbours. In doing so, we aim to encourage a community who are articulate advocates of justice, equality and change towards a world where every person is valued as unique.
We try to focus on Jesus’s core teachings and especially LOVE.
‘..sooner or later you will realize that you will never understand love unless you fall in love. What does that mean? That you can only attempt to understand that of which you become a part. If we fall in love, as the Latin song says, we are much more than two. When you belong, you understand.’(Manfred Max-Neef).
‘But love is a durable fire,
In the mind ever burning;
Never sick, never old, never dead,
From itself never turning.’ Sir Walter Raleigh
The Common Good
This school is inspired to extend its remit beyond the narrow confines of academic attainment to sponsor the thriving of every member of the school community in their broadest sense.
We believe in an education that encourages and enables all students and adults to contribute to the common good. ‘…theories of contributive justice teach us that we are most fully human when we contribute to the common good and earn the esteem of our fellow citizens for the contributions we make. ….the fundamental human need is to be needed by those with whom we share a common life.The dignity of work consists in exercising our abilities to answer these needs. Sandel- Tyranny of Merit p212
We aim to think more about others than we think about ourselves. We look to live up to the words of John Wesley: ‘Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.’
See the parable of ‘The rich man and the widow’
‘We cannot deliberate about common purposes and ends without a sense of belonging; without seeing ourselves as members of a community to which we are indebted. Only insofar as we depend on others, and recognise our dependence, do we have reason to appreciate their contribution to our collective wellbeing.’ Sandel- Tyranny of Merit p221
We look to run a school and teach a curriculum that practices responsibility; that emotionally engages people in their learning; that acquires knowledge that is powerful because it helps to socially connect people; because it is used compassionately to help make the world a better place.
We are interested in contributive justice- in giving all people in our community the opportunity to win social recognition and esteem that goes with providing what others need and value. ‘It is in our role as producers not consumers, that we contribute to the common good.’ Tyranny of Merit by Michael J Sandel p. 208
And we are interested in providing all those in our community the opportunity to engage in discussion and public deliberation, to be a truly democratic institution.