GSO Test


Our Vision

Rooted in Christian faith, which underpins the school’s ethos, we seek to enable all pupils to develop their full academic potential; discover skills and talents in art, music, sport and drama; and grow in spiritual awareness and moral character. By striving for excellence within an inclusive environment, enabling every child to develop their gifts and flourish, we seek to shine as a community, so our achievements give glory to God.


History and context:

St Peter’s School was founded in 1849 as a Church of England school, offering free education for local children of labouring, manufacturing and trading families. Today, the school serves a thriving, diverse, and largely residential neighbourhood in West London, which contains areas of considerable affluence alongside pockets of deprivation. The school welcomes children from local churches, as well as those from other faith backgrounds and none, with parents and guardians who are often extremely aspirational, and highly committed to education and to the wider school community.


Our theological vision:

The vision for St Peter’s School is expressed in condensed form in the bible verse: “Let your light shine before others, so they see your good works, and give glory to God.” (Matthew 5:16)


This verse is taken from a longer passage in the Sermon on the Mount, in which Jesus says to his followers: “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and hides it under a bowl; instead they put it on a stand, so it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so they see your good works and give glory to God.” (Matthew 5:14-17) 

In its original setting, this passage emphasises the way in which the Christian community as whole gives glory to God, not through proselytising or conversion, but through the quality of its collective life and good works. By allowing the light of their works to shine before others, Christians bear witness to Jesus, the true light of the world (John 8:12).

In the context of St Peter’s School, this verse reflects our conviction that all pupils, irrespective of faith or background, have talents, skills, gifts and abilities, given to them by God (Matthew 25:14-30). In practice, we seek to enable all pupils to develop their full academic potential; discover skills and talents in art, music, sport and drama; and grow in spiritual awareness and moral character. By striving for excellence within an inclusive environment, enabling every child to develop their gifts and flourish, we seek to shine as a Christian community, and bear witness to the faith which underpins the school’s foundation.

The holistic character of this vision is reflected in six values — courage, perseverance, kindness, service, respect, and thankfulness — which are embedded in practices across the school. These values provide a framework that is rooted in the Christian tradition, but inclusive and accessible to all, to support our commitment to enable the flourishing of all pupils. By deliberately and intentionally cultivating these values, we seek to ensure that, as individuals and as a school community, we shine in our lives together, and our works give glory to God.


Our values: in theory and practice


The command ‘do not be afraid’ occurs repeatedly in the Bible. In the stories of Jesus’ birth alone, for example, the phrase 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. In the Christian tradition, 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 (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.



The Bible frequently draws attention to the virtues of perseverance and endurance. The need to keep going in the face of difficulties is shown 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 urges 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).


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.



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 God’s 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). 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 means valuing the other, and treating them with dignity and courtesy, even - and perhaps especially - when there are disagreements.


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 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 is also 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.


In practice, 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.



Thankfulness has always been at the centre of the life and worship of God’s people. As the Psalmist reminds us: ‘Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his steadfast love endures for ever!’ (Psalm 118:1) Songs of praise and thanksgiving are 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 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.


In practice, we encourage thanksgiving at St Peter’s 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.



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. 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).


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.