Introduction to Our Faith
Our faith is very important to all members of our school community. It permeates all aspects of school life and remains central to our everyday living.
Our Mission Statement is displayed widely across school and is visible on other school documentation including the website, school policies, the prospectus and in the inside cover of the children’s Religious Education books. For a Lenten competition, the children illustrated the partnership of home, parish and school to be added to the new Mission Statement. A number of these pieces of artwork were then used together to produce an illustration of the Mission Statement.
There are regular links made to our school Mission in assemblies, staff retreat days, lessons and collective worship.
Staff regularly discuss with the children how it can be put into action and lived out on a daily basis. During our school Mass to celebrate our patron saint each year, specific reference is made by the children in their bidding prayers to how we, as a community, can continually look for ways to follow in the footsteps of St. Ambrose Barlow whilst we work and play.
We aim to encourage the children to ‘live’ the teachings of our Mission.
Spiritual, moral, social, vocational and cultural (SMSVC) is an outstanding feature of life at St. Ambrose Barlow.
Children are provided with a wealth of opportunity to develop spiritually through inspiring child led prayer services, collective worship, use of high quality prayer resources and thought provoking lessons.
From a moral perspective, the children are encouraged to approach problems and decisions focused on ‘What Jesus would do?’ Through our varied curriculum, our pupils socialise with others from different socioeconomic, ethnic and other religious groups so that children develop a respect for all people as children of God. Their vocational development is catered for by dedicated parish linked vocations week as a time to reflect on our call to serve others; this encompasses all that we do here at St. Ambrose Barlow.
Children’s cultural development is enhanced by our work during International Culture week in which we study national and international topic work; engaging with the cultures of people who live in a particular country.
SMSVC is a central aspect for our school as through faith and education we seek to achieve fullness of life for all members of our community and the world in which we live, as God’s people.
The Wednesday Word
At St. Ambrose Barlow, we send the Wednesday Word home each Wednesday, via your eldest child in school. The Wednesday Word is also shared with your child during their Wednesday Collective Worship. Please make some time at home to share the Wednesday Word with everyone in your family.
‘The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.’ Psalm 145:18
Collective Worship is a core aspect of our Catholic identity. The importance of spending time in the presence of God has been fundamental the Catholic way of life for centuries.
Here at St. Ambrose Barlow, we ensure that our children have broad and varied opportunities to experience God through prayer and worship.
Key Stage Based Collective Worship
Both our infant and junior children have their own collective worship gatherings every other week. These liturgies focus on the messages in the Wednesday Word.
Each Key Stage also meets once per week to learn and practise a range of different hymns for as St Augustine of Hippo is known to have said “He who sings, prays twice.”
Class Based Collective Worship
Each class is given several opportunities to pray throughout the day, with one on these being a longer, more formal Collective Worship.
Children are taught a range of Catholic prayers to be used in a range of different situations. The children within the class are given the opportunity to plan and lead Collective Worship with the support of the class teachers.
Class Mass or Liturgy
Each Wednesday, our Parish Priest, Fr. Paul celebrates a Mass or Liturgy with a class. Our children are encouraged to participate fully in the Mass and will participate through writing bidding prayers, choosing hymns, preparing the classroom, reading, singing and serving at Mass.
Each term, we also have whole school Masses which we celebrate with the parish for different feast days and solemnities and for our school and the parish community.
Each year, the virtues of generosity and gratefulness are put to wonderful use. Tinned cans of vegetables, soup, tea, coffee, pasta, rice, UHT long life and powdered milk and cereal are collected for those less fortunate than ourselves and are in need of emergency food supplies at Sparkhill Foodbank.
A calm, prayerful and reverent atmosphere is created each Friday lunchtime in Year 1. Weekly, Year 6 children prepare and lead a prayer group for younger pupils of our school.
KS2 children decide upon the prayer focus, read scripture and sing hymns together. Bringing their own style and understanding of prayer to each session, the children are given the opportunity to pray about a particular chosen theme, value or virtue. This may be a theme that is particularly important to the children such as homelessness or a theme that is liturgically topical.