Context: The origins of today’s Chevening (St Botolph’s) Primary School can be traced back to 1818, when purposeful decisions were made by St Botolph’s clergy, local eminent landowners, generous benefactors and residents of Chevening and Chipstead villages to provide education for the local children, within a Christian context. The founding charter gives many details but provides no clue of a Biblical basis that underpinned this initiative.
In twenty-first century Chevening, different elements of the current school family have given careful consideration to a Biblical basis for all the school has been in the past, its present purpose and also its future potential. Echoing the process of establishing the original school, senior school leaders sought the wisdom of past and present Rectors of St Botolph’s Church, the school’s Governing Board – with Diocesan, Bishop and Parochial Council, Local Authority and Parent representation- local neighbours, staff, parents and children. We are grateful to all who guided us and provided discernment.
The Christian character of Chevening (St Botolph’s) Primary School is evidenced by the core values that underpin our policies, approaches and learning. These values of compassion, courage, faith, forgiveness, honesty, love, perseverance and respect are found in numerous, well-known Bible stories, which inspire and motivate both children and adults alike. Not all adults and children in our school share a Christian faith, but all unite to promote and protect the school’s special inclusive ethos.
Our Biblical Vision is based on the Parable of the Mustard Seed, found in Matthew 13, verses 31-32:
In this passage Jesus is teaching his friends - and us- about His Good News and God’s Kingdom. The story of the tiny seed that grows into a tree, providing shelter and sustenance to birds, helped us to consider how Chevening School has grown over the last 200 years, from the smallest of beginnings to its current form, in order to bring great benefit to all. The initiative of Chevening’s founders was fuelled by their faithful desire to serve and support the growth of God’s Kingdom in the local neighbourhood. By planting the seed that would grow into the village school, the founders demonstrated their:
For today’s Chevening family, the main branches of that initial seed that grew into our school continue to be:
Being true to Christ and His teachings;
Be known for kind and thoughtful actions and attitudes;
Being inclusive in serving, sharing and showing God’s love to benefit all;
These three branches continue to support each child and adult to grow and develop both personally and academically, empowered by our school values: compassion, courage, faith, forgiveness, honesty, love, perseverance and respect. In this way, both personal and Kingdom growth are sustained, aided by the support of the wider school family, local Churches and our immediate communities.
We enjoy opportunities to spot and celebrate our Christian values in school daily life. Please see the weekly Newsletter for examples!
Our school values were selected in the summer of 2017 after children and staff were encouraged to list, explore and discuss the values that they felt were important. From all of the collected responses from school and beyond, the same core 8 were echoed overwhelmingly, time and again.
In September 2017 we had a wonderful day of reflection and activity where we launched the values in the school community, parents and governors were invited to join us to experience special ‘stations’ focused on each value in school.
These values are the basis for our daily lives in school for children and adults. We award certificates recognising where children and staff are reflecting these values in their lives: in class, at play and outside school.
We are keen to ensure that all staff and children who are part of the Chevening family have the opportunity to explore the importance of these values and therefore we regularly refresh their meanings and biblical references.
Our most recent school refresh took place in December 2019, led by support staff and shared with our wider community at our Christmas service at the end of term. Please enjoy our selection of photographs of this event.
For Lent 2019 and 2020, we took part in the 40acts initiative for individuals and groups, with each class tackling a daily 'challenge' to show our Christian Values in action.
The 40acts come from one of the 7 categories below and resonate with our school values:
School Code: Our school code is based on Jesus' Golden Rule:
"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." Matthew 22:34-40