Personal development (RE, PSHE, thinking skills)

We tell our children to be your best self, aim high and be kind – and we help them to live out this advice by setting a good example and nurturing respect for themselves and each other.

These values are reinforced through the house system, school council and in all our lessons but they are explored in most depth in personal, social and health education (PSHE), religious education and thinking skills – complementary subjects that help the children to develop greater awareness of their own and other people’s beliefs, qualities and behaviour.

We live in a multi-faith world where strongly held beliefs – our own and those of others – underpin the way we and those around us live. To understand how our society has developed, our children need to know the principles on which it was founded – and to develop respect and empathy for those who have a different perspective, they need to be familiar with the fundamental creeds and histories of other religions. Further, our RE teaching promotes engagement with, and acceptance of, the fundamental British values of tolerance, mutual respect, individual liberty, democracy and the rule of law. The children develop and demonstrate skills and attitudes that will allow them to participate fully in and contribute positively to life in modern Britain. 

We therefore introduce the children to the core beliefs of the world’s six major religions – Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism and Buddhism. They learn about places of worship; precious texts, such as the Bible, Koran and Torah; major religious festivals and key symbols and their significance. Places visited have included St. Mary’s Church, Saffron Walden, Ely Cathedral and one of Cambridge’s mosques. Visits and visitors alike aim to inspire and encourage the children’s interest.

Our Christmas and Easter end of term services are Christian, but through a wide range of assemblies and events such as collaboration days with the Foundation Schools we learn about important festivals and celebrations such as Diwali or Passover. We also look at the place and implications of faith at key moments in history and in the modern world: the older children will learn about the Holocaust and the abolition of the slave trade, whilst for everyone Harvest Festival is an opportunity to learn about food miles or about sharing what we have with others. 

In PHSE, they might find themselves learning about keeping clean, the ageing process and the importance of eating healthily and using sun cream, as well as the consequences of bullying, what fairness means – and why they should share their toys.

Thinking skills begin with simple concepts such as taking turns and working together and move on to more complex ideas – including understanding sequences and looking for similarities and differences. Chess is introduced in Year 2 to give the children a real mental challenge – and they love it. Our chess club is extremely popular and the school is a force to be reckoned with on the competitive circuit.