Christchurch Primary School

Posted by Helen Clifton on Friday 14.3.2014

Christchurch Primary School in the only Church of Wales primary in Swansea.

It aims to provide children in the local community and beyond with a centre of excellence which can enable them to fulfill their potential.

Three-quarters of the children come from areas that are among the top ten most deprived in Swansea.

A typical school day begins with a breakfast club to ensure that all children are given the chance to start the day with a hot meal.

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The school’s curriculum operates on a system of values which include courage, trust, creativity, justice, forgiveness, peace, humility, truth, thankfulness, compassion, hope and friendship.

Although it is a Christian school, Christchurch’s pupils are from all faiths and none.

A fifth of the pupils are from a Muslim background and the inclusive nature of the teaching – together with the school’s values-based approach – makes it an attractive place for many parents in the local community and beyond to send their children.

“The morals that we want to celebrate run through every faith,” says Helen-Marie Davies. “When we teach the values we also include stories from other cultures and faiths as well.”

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Each term the children focus on two values from the curriculum, but head teacher Helen-Marie Davies says the most important lesson for the children to learn is to have respect for one another:

“Respect is the big one. Respect for yourself so that you can look after yourself. Respect for others and other people’s feelings. Respect for the environment, and respect for the work that other people do.”

Year Six pupil, Jessica, says respect is the main reason she always looks forward to coming to school in the morning:

“The teachers respect us, they treat everyone fairly and the children are really nice. We get along well and it’s just a happy place. I come in in the morning and I don’t worry about anything.”

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Jessica is a member of the school council where children are selected to represent each year group and give their views on the school’s policies and events.

“The teachers listen to us and if we have a problem they’ll sort it out,” she says. “Once the problem’s sorted I just feel really happy in myself and that makes me stronger.”

The school is a pioneer of restorative justice.

When children behave badly they are actively involved in understanding what was wrong about their behaviour.

The children regularly gather together in a circle and hold discussions to remind each other of the values which make the school successful and happy.

Individual conflicts between children are also solved using a conciliatory, restorative justice approach, which models the kinds of values that run throughout the whole school ethos.

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