Summary of the theological rationale of St Thomas' Kilnhurst.
- Children are valued as individuals created in the image of God and loved by God
- School is a place of nurture and care and an environment in which children will be loved, safe and secure
- Our education environment will be creative and stimulating and we will follow the way of Christ the teacher, drawing learners into the joy of learning our family walks together on our learning journey
St Thomas’s Kilnhurst is a place of nurture and care. It believes in its responsibility to provide the environment in which children will settle, be secure and learn. Like the good ground for the seed that flourishes (Mark 4:8) St Thomas’s recognises the positive task we need to do to enable this to happen.
St Thomas’s consciously aims to create an education environment in which children are happy and stimulated. In Christian tradition, creativity is affirmed as a quality of God and ‘Creativity is not limited to God: if human beings are in God’s image, then they too can be creative’ (Church of England, Vision for Education, p.12) At St Thomas’s this creativity extends to the school taking responsibility for creating rich and immersive learning environments children will want to enter and in which they will joy in learning.
At St Thomas’s joy is a vital part of children’s experience. In Christian tradition, joy ‘is a mark of the good teacher and the well-taught pupil’ affirmed in the Book of Proverbs, with the image of Wisdom as playful in God’s presence (8:30-31) poetically imagines wisdom playing before God at creation (Church of England, Vision for Education, p.12).
In keeping with the Church of England Vision for Education the school believes that ‘Play and playfulness are part of a full life, and any education that does not communicate joy, wonder, amazement, fascination and delight has failed’ (Church of England, Vision for Education, p.12).
St Thomas’s has high regard for the safety and security of all its children. It mirrors the image of a God who leads us into the safe places (Psalm 23) and, as a school, seeks to guide children through a journey of life and learning that is both challenging and stimulating yet underwritten by a safety and security that will free them to take risks and aim high.
St Thomas’s values children. It treats its children as individuals created in the image of God and carries into the school day a sense of God’s love and compassion for each one of us. It recognises ‘the ultimate worth of each person…shown in the Gospels through his teaching, healing, feeding, sharing hospitality, befriending, and forgiving’ (Church of England, Vision for Education, p.11).
St Thomas’s prioritises educating for Wisdom, Knowledge and Skills and believes its children learn best when ‘hooked’ into learning. As such, it stands with Jesus who engaged learners with images, provoked them with questions and drew them into parables that opened learning to thoughtfulness rather than closing it down to answers. The school seeks to stimulate a desire for learning and enquiring minds that looks with the eyes of the Psalmist and wonders and asks (Psalm 8).
St Thomas’s is a family. At this school ‘our family walks together on our learning journey’ and children experience education through which they form good attachments within a community, living well together in love (Matthew 7:12, 22:36-40; Luke 10:27). The school enacts the principles of Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5), with its vision of life as part of the family of a God who is fully inclusive in loving, ‘making the sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sending rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous’ (Matthew 5:45). ‘The centrality of relationships in education is inspired by our conviction that the love Jesus taught and lived is at the heart of reality’ (Church of England, Vision for Education, p.11).
St Thomas’s grows hope in the hearts and minds of its children. The school is built around Christ as the inspiration for its life and ‘the drama of his life, teaching, death and resurrection, set within the larger story of God’s involvement with the whole of creation and history, is fundamental not only to affirming the goodness of life but also to facing and finding ways through whatever goes wrong with ourselves and our communities’ (Church of England, Vision for Education, p.10). However challenging the environment or circumstances that arise, St Thomas’s continues with the love, aspiration and hope that springs from this vision.