Fittleworth is a Church of England school and we strongly value our Christian ethos. The school works hard to develop and promote links with St. Mary’s Church while opening eyes and understanding to other churches, religions and cultures around the world.
Religious Education forms an important part of our curriculum and covers all major religions, with a focus on highlighting the many similarities that exist, rather than the differences. We know that it is important to help children to begin the process of developing spiritual understanding in order that they can start to make sense of the very complicated vagaries of humankind.
We are also delighted that Father David attends the school to lead a collective worship each Wednesday. We value our special assemblies with ‘Splash’ and our sessions in KS2 with Bible Explorers.
Children visit St. Mary’s as part of their curriculum. In KS1 children become involved in planning Baptisms and Marriage celebrations and this culminates in a church service with all the children taking part. In KS2 children will typically explore the architecture and layout of the church and churchyard as they begin to understand the customs and traditions of the Church of England. We have Church services at St. Mary’s to celebrate Harvest, Christmas and Easter and also try to host morning family services during the year.
Rather more difficult in this quiet backwater of West Sussex is the task of developing cultural empathy and understanding but we succeed in this through our Modern Foreign Languages lessons and involving the children in charity work throughout the year.
‘Church schools have a Christian character and ethos, where the development of social, spiritual and emotional intelligence is as important as academic achievement. Church schools are not 'faith schools' for Christians but Christian schools for all and, as such, are committed to serving the needs of the local community… It is hospitable to diversity, respects freedom of religion and belief, and encourages others to contribute from the depths of their own traditions and understandings. It invites collaboration, alliances, negotiation of differences, and the forming of new settlements in order to serve the flourishing of a healthily plural society and democracy, together with a healthily plural educational system.’