From Tiny Seeds, Grow Mighty Trees
Our Distinctive Church School
Our vision and the parable of the mustard seed
Our school aims to give all pupils experience and knowledge of the Christian faith explicitly through our collective worship and religious education lessons, and implicitly through our expectations of how both children and staff conduct themselves and relate to one another. We welcome children, staff and their families and friends to our school whatever their faith or beliefs. We believe that all our children can learn from the stories and morals in the bible and from the teachings of Jesus Christ. This supports their personal development, our school ethos, and their engagement with the modern world.
Our work together with the church provides holistic support for all of our children’s spiritual development through regular collective worship, shared faith days and celebrations at church.
Jesus told us The Parable of the Mustard Seed, Matthew 13: 31-32
“The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.”
This key passage reflects so much of our school vision and is reflected in our motto:
From Tiny Seeds, Grow Mighty Trees
We believe each of us is a unique individual and, like the mustard seed, we all have the potential to grow and to flourish. Jesus said that faith as small as a mustard seed could achieve great things, even move a mountain. In faith, and with hope, we aspire to live as God wants us to; to love God, one other, our neighbours and ourselves. Like the tree that the seed in the parable becomes, we want our school to be a place where everyone belongs feels at home and can grow and flourish; for us all to become the people that God calls us to be and to give thanks we have been provided with.
This parable can be a metaphor for our children, who will blossom during their time at St Thomas’, ready for the next stage of their journey. Each child is nurtured here, and enabled to flourish through our teaching and care. We treat every child with the dignity and respect they deserve as a child of God. Each child is like a mustard seed, and each child grows in our school community and is supported by that same school community. We hope that each child will have an experience of the ‘kingdom of God’ during their time here; through our daily worship, through wisdom gained from teaching and learning, and particularly though a realisation that ‘God is love’ and they are loved and therefore part of the God’s kingdom - that we are in God’s hands.
It is vital that we introduce children to other faiths, demystifying any misconceptions and identifying common similarities and purposes. This enables them to make their own judgements based from sound knowledge. We encourage and respect questioning and provide visits to other places of worship to give a varied experience to the children that will help them to develop their own personal values and beliefs. We promote respect for all, understanding of our similarities and differences, both in the school and as part of the wider world. Questioning and understanding about all aspects of faith and wonder is encouraged from everyone.
The roots of the mustard seed represent our community – a recognition that our children and their families come from far and wide and all with wide reaching and different views and beliefs. However, we all come together to ensure that each member of our school grows. They also symbolise our commitment to be rooted in God.
The trunk of the plant represents our school and especially its strength and stability. We aim for it to be a place where all can find support, become confident, and learn from God and one another.
The branches are each of our ‘wow’ words - belong, hope, aspire, believe, love and thank you. These words represent the Christian values we want to teach all our children and the values we want our school and our community to learn from. We teach our children to question and to wonder as well as respect and accept.
The leaves of the plant are each of the areas of school which enable our children to flourish- our curriculum, our staff, each other and our grounds are some of the leave which give each child the food it needs to flower.
The birds who perch on the branches- are our children, confident and secure in the knowledge of God’s love and presence. In the parable of the mustard seed the birds represent people from all nations who find protection and peace in God’s care. We aim to mirror this inclusivity and prepare all our children, whatever their background, for their next stage and journey in life; knowing they have grown mighty in the hands of God and our school.
Under God, education should be at the heart of the Diocese, with children, young people and school communities feeling a valued and fulfilled part of the Diocesan family. Good practice should be disseminated, with a clear understanding of the difference a Church school can make to the spiritual, moral and educational development of its pupils. The Board should strive to be at the forefront nationally and have a care for Christians working in community schools.
Richard Noake, Diocesan Director of Education
For more about the Diocese in Huddersfield, click here.
St Thomas' Church, Bradley
St Thomas Bradley is a Church called by God to live out the Gospel of Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit, using the gifts that God is giving his Church, through prayer, praise and worship. Based on discovering and celebrating Gods revealed purpose for our lives led by a team of worship leaders and a lively music group. Children are very much part of our worshiping Church, taking part in the services and in their own special groups. We are a Church that strives very much to be an active part of the community, by reaching into Bradley and welcoming groups into the Church building.
To view St Thomas' Church, click here.