‘Rooted in Christian values, which underpin the school’s ethos, pupils are inspired to strive for excellence within a thriving, inclusive community. We aim to enable every child to shine and aspire to reach their personal potential, whilst respecting and caring for one another and honouring God with their individual talents.’
Our Vision is underpinned by six Christian values: Perseverance, Kindness, Respect, Courage, Thankfulness and Service. These values were chosen in consultation with the school community during a review undertaken in January 2022. Our values are displayed in and around the school; they form the themes for our daily collective worship sessions; they are reflected in the way we treat one another and behave and also in our contributions to the local and wider communities.
On a personal, social, spiritual and emotional level, we encourage pupils to take responsibility for their own learning, grow in reflection and prayer, build greater confidence and independence, attempt to solve problems themselves and develop their own personal organisation. In line with the school’s vision and broad aims, we encourage our pupils to become successful learners, confident individuals and responsible citizens.
The Bible frequently draws attention to the virtues of perseverance and endurance. The need to keep going in the face of difficulties is shown time and again in stories such as Moses leading the people of Israel through the desert (Exodus 17:1-7); Nehemiah rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem in the face of constant attacks (Nehemiah 4); Job keeping faith in the midst of immense personal suffering; or St Paul overcoming hunger, thirst, shipwreck and persecution (2 Corinthians 11:23-27). In one of his parables, Jesus praised the perseverance of the widow who did not give up her demand for justice from the unjust judge (Luke 18:1-8), and in the garden of Gethsemane and the crucifixion, Jesus showed himself the greatest example of one prepared to endure to the very end (Hebrews 12:2).
The New Testament constantly urge Christians to persevere in the face of suffering and difficulties (Philippians 3:12-14; Hebrews 10:35-36), and sees this as central to the development of character. As St Paul puts it, “suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character” (Romans 5:3-4); or as the letter of James has it, “let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete.” (James 1:2-4) From a biblical point of view, it is only through faithful perseverance through difficulties that Christians reach full maturity and are able to receive the rewards promised by God.
In practice, perseverance at St Peter’s means cultivating an environment in which pupils and staff are encouraged to keep going in the face of challenges, develop resilience, and the character to overcome set-backs. In academic subjects and in sport, art, music and drama, hard work and “stick-ability” are seen as important, and in all these areas we seek to reward effort and attitude, as well as achievement. We also seek to nurture perseverance and longevity in matters of faith and in how we approach relationships: in faith, by seeking to establish habits and patterns of prayer and worship that will endure into adulthood; and in relationships, to work at communication and reconciliation when there are difficulties, rather than being tempted to give up or walk away.
- Let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1-2)
- Not that I have already obtained this or have already reached the goal… but this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on towards the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:12-14)
- Do not, therefore, abandon that confidence of yours; it brings a great reward. For you need endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised. (Hebrews 10:35-36)
- We also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope. (Romans 5:3-4)
- My brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of any kind, consider it nothing but joy, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance; and let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking in nothing. (James 1:2-4)
The Bible refers hundreds of times to the loving-kindness, compassion, or mercy (Chesed in Hebrew) of God. God’s love is seen as steadfast, consistent, and patient, and extends to all he has made; and where humans have sinned or fallen short, there is always the opportunity for forgiveness and reconciliation (Joel 2:12-13). For Christians, it is the loving-kindness of God towards us that is the basis for our love for one another: as the Bible puts it, we love because he first loved us (I John 4:19).
The value of kindness has been increasingly recognised as important in contemporary society. As the Mental Health Foundation (the UK’s leading mental health charity) points out, acts of kindness not only benefit the recipients but also the practitioners, encouraging positive mental health and a sense of belonging, as well as building friendships and community.
Emphasising kindness at St Peter’s involves encouraging staff and pupils alike to cultivate compassion, consideration and care for the feelings and needs of others, with a commitment to healthy community living, and ensuring that all feel included and valued. Acts of kindness, especially to those who might otherwise feel excluded, isolated, or alone, are recognised and rewarded, and instances of unkind behaviour or bullying are dealt with constructively, with opportunities for self-reflection, making amends, forgiveness, and reconciliation. Staff and pupils are also encouraged to practice appropriate self-care (kindness to self), with attentiveness to the importance of their own physical and mental well-being, and appropriate support available to those in need.
- The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. The Lord is good to all, and his compassion is over all that he has made. (Psalm 145: 8-9)
- Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. (2 Corinthians 1: 3-4)
- As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. (Colossians 3:12)
- Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you. (Ephesians 4:32)
- Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. (1 Corinthians 13:4-6)
- The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. (Galatians 3:22)
Respect has become an important value in contemporary education, with schools expected to ensure pupils develop respect for those of different faiths and beliefs, as well as respect for public institutions and services, democratic processes, the legal system, and values such as individual liberty (Promoting fundamental British values as part of SMSC in schools, DFE 2014),
In the Bible, the practice of respect begins with respect for God: the fear of the Lord - better translated as respect for the Lord - is the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 9:10). Respect for God means respect for his laws, summarised in the form of the ten commandments, with an insistence on honouring and respecting God, the sabbath, parents, human life, marriage, property, and truthfulness (Exodus 20). For Christians, the ten commandments provide a framework for respect for social relationships and public institutions.
Theologically, respect for individuals is rooted in the belief that all are made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26), with inherent human dignity and rights. For Christians, therefore, respect is not about blind obedience to authority, but needs to be mutual in character. In the letter to the Ephesians, for example, after telling children they must honour their father and mother, Paul tells parents in turn not provoke their children (Ephesians 6:1-4). Rather than one-way submission, Paul declares that all Christians should ‘be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ’ (Ephesians 5:21). Respect in this sense entails valuing the other, and treating them with dignity and courtesy, even - and perhaps especially - when there are disagreements.
An emphasis on respect also entails cultivating self-respect: recognising that we are made in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:16); that we are sinners and have fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23); but that through Christ we can become the children of God (Galatians 4:6-7). Self-respect means that we are encouraged to act with the dignity that befits our calling in Christ.
In practice, to encourage respect at St Peter’s entails a commitment to safeguarding and the well-being of all. Pupils, staff, governors and parents are expected to treat one another with dignity and honour, to respect those whose beliefs or ethical choices are different, to handle disagreements with appropriate decorum, to cultivate a respectful attitude to rules and to those in positions of authority, and to uphold British values, democracy and the rule of law. Respect also involves encouraging pupils to develop self-respect and appropriate self-esteem, avoiding a culture of shame and guilt on the one hand, and arrogance and ego-centrism on the other.
- The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. (Proverbs 9:10)
- Jesus said, ‘Give to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’’ (Mark 12:17)
- Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ. (Ephesians 5:21)
Honour your father and mother... Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger. (Ephesians 6:2-4)
- We appeal to you, brothers and sisters, to respect those who labour among you, and have charge of you in the Lord and admonish you. Esteem them very highly in love because of their work. (1 Thessalonians 5:12-13)
- Let every person be subject to the governing authorities… Pay to all what is due to them—taxes to whom taxes are due, revenue to whom revenue is due, respect to whom respect is due, honour to whom honour is due. (Romans 13:1,7)
- Honour everyone. Love the family of believers. Fear God. Honour the emperor. (1 Peter 2:17)
It has been claimed that the command ‘do not be afraid’ occurs 365 times in the Bible - one for every day of the year! The words are certainly spoken repeatedly by God (or by an angel) to people throughout both the Old and New Testaments. In the stories of Jesus’ birth alone, for example, the phrase ‘do not be afraid’ is used four times: to Zechariah (Luke 1:13); to Mary (Luke 1:30); to Joseph (Matthew 1:20); and to the shepherds (Luke 2:10). Courage is a central Christian virtue.
Theologically, the biblical injunction not to be afraid is linked to faith in God’s presence and power. It is because God is with us that we are able to have confidence and courage. When Moses feared rejection by the people of Israel because of his lack of eloquence (Exodus 4), it was God’s presence with him that allowed him to lead; when Isaiah felt inadequate to his calling as a prophet because of his sin, it was God who gave him the words to speak (Isaiah 6). The bible is thus full of characters who demonstrate physical and moral courage rooted in their faith in God: David fighting Goliath (1 Samuel 17); Esther risking death to save her people (Esther 4); or Daniel in the lions’ den (Daniel 6). In the New Testament, courage for Christians is ultimately grounded in faith in the resurrection of Jesus, as the proof that principalities, powers, and even death itself have been conquered by Christ (Ephesians 6; 1 Corinthians 15).
In the Catholic tradition, drawing from Aristotle and Aquinas, the virtue of courage (or fortitude) is seen as one of the four cardinal virtues, on which all moral life is based, understood not just as physical bravery but also as moral courage: the courage to admit mistakes, for example, resist temptation, and stand up for justice. In this tradition, to be courageous is not the same as being reckless or foolhardy: instead, to be courageous means being able to acknowledge fears and dangers appropriately and face them in the right way (Aristotle, Ethics 3:7; Aquinas, Summa II-II, 123-128).
In practice, courage as a value at St Peter’s means creating an environment in which all are supported to step out of their comfort zone, to try new activities and develop new skills, whether academic, sporting, musical, artistic, dramatic, or other. We seek to develop an appropriate understanding of risk and safety; to nurture confidence in speaking, presenting and performing in public; and promote positive body confidence and self-esteem. Rooted in Christian faith, we want to encourage all pupils to have the courage to express themselves, and to be able to stand up positively and constructively for their beliefs.
- Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. (Joshua 1:9)
- Do not fear, for I am with you, do not be afraid, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand. (Isaiah 41:10)
- Jesus said, ‘Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.’ (Matthew 14:27)
- Keep alert, stand firm in your faith, be courageous, be strong. (1 Corinthians 16:13)
- In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. (Romans 8:37)
- Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power. Put on the whole armour of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the evil one. (Ephesians 6:10-11)
- For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. (2 Timothy 1:7)
Thankfulness has always been at the centre of the life and worship of God’s people. As the Psalms repeatedly remind us: ‘Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his steadfast love endures for ever!’ (Psalm 118:1) For Christians, thanksgiving is Trinitarian in character, as we express our gratitude to God as creator, redeemer, and sustainer: giving thanks for creation and the gift of life, for God’s providential care, for the gift of salvation in Christ Jesus, and for the gift of his Holy Spirit.
Songs of praise and thanksgiving are therefore at the heart of Christian worship, as are daily prayers of thanks. The central act of Christian worship - the celebration of Holy Communion, or the Lord’s supper - is therefore often called ‘the Eucharist’, derived from the Greek word for thanksgiving.
Psychologists tell us that regularly expressing gratitude is strongly associated with greater happiness, improved well-being, stronger relationships, and the ability to deal with adversity. Expressing our gratitude thus enables us to recognise and become better stewards of all God’s gifts to us, from the gift of creation as whole, to the gifts of our own particular minds, bodies, and talents.
At St Peter’s, we encourage thanksgiving through regular acts of collective worship, which seek to be inclusive, invitational, and inspirational; draw on traditional and modern Anglican liturgy and music; are open and accessible to all irrespective of background; and encourage reflection and transformation. We emphasise the practice of daily prayer in the classroom, as well as offering other regular prayer activities and opportunities. More generally, amongst staff and pupils alike, we seek to encourage common courtesies of thanks and praise to one another, for work well done and positive contributions made.
- Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come into his presence with singing… Enter his gates with thanksgiving,and his courts with praise. Give thanks to him, bless his name. (Psalm 100:1-2,4)
- I give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his steadfast love endures for ever! (Psalm 118:1)
- One of the lepers, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him - and he was a Samaritan. (Luke 17:15-16)
- While they were eating, Jesus took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to them, and said, ‘Take; this is my body.’ Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he gave it to them, and all of them drank from it. (Mark 14:22-23)
- Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, singing and making melody to the Lord in your hearts, giving thanks to God the Father at all times and for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 5:19-20)
- Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. (Philippians 4:6)
- Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1Thessalonians 5:16-18)
The theme of service is deeply rooted in the Bible. In the Old Testament, kings and prophets typically understood themselves to be servants of God: called by God to lead his people or deliver his word, often despite their own will or feelings of inadequacy (Exodus 3; 1 Samuel 16; Isaiah 6; Jeremiah 1). In the ‘Servant Songs’ in Isaiah (42:1-9; 49:1-13; 50:4-11; and 52:13-53:12), Israel itself is portrayed as the servant of God, in a way which anticipates the ministry of Jesus, as the suffering servant, who models a life of service to others, even to the point of death (Philippians 2:5-8).
Jesus’ teaching frequently encourages acts of practical love, compassion and service (Luke 10: 30-37; Matthew 25:31-46), and he himself regularly reached out to those in need, the outcast, and the marginalised (Matthew 14:13-21; Luke 5:12-16; Luke 7:11-17). In his teaching and example, Jesus stressed that his followers, too, would need to become the servants of others (Matthew 20:26; John 13:4-5). Christian history thus has a long tradition of seeing Christian life and work as a vocation, through which we are called by God to serve him and our neighbours, rather than pursue our own self-interest. The concepts of vocation and of ‘servant leadership’, rooted in the Christian tradition, have subsequently spread more widely into educational, business and political spheres, as useful correctives to traditional models of leadership and employment.
In practice, St Peter’s recognises and rewards pupils who offer help and support to each other and to staff within the school environment. Pupils are encouraged to serve in a range of different and important roles in the life of the school, and take on responsibilities within the life of the school community. The school also has a commitment to raising awareness and supporting the work of local and international charities, and providing opportunities for pupils to undertake practical acts of service in the local community.
- Love your neighbour as yourself. (Matthew 22:39)
- Jesus asked the man, ‘Which of these three, do you think, was a neighbour to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?’ He said, ‘The one who showed him mercy.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Go and do likewise.’ (Luke 10: 36-37, from the story of the good Samaritan)
- I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me. (Matthew 25:35–36)
- Whoever wishes to be great among you must be your servant. (Matthew 20:26)
- Jesus got up from the table, took off his outer robe, and tied a towel around himself. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him. (John 13:4-5)
- Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant. (Philippians 2:5-7)