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Our Spirituality

Our Spirituality

We encourage and support all learners to think deeply about themselves, their relationships, their sense of worth and identity, and their sense of well-being. All our subjects contribute to this search for meaning and a recognition of being part of something bigger and beyond oneself

  • Our Students ‘accept themselves and each other, even in difficult times’

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  • Our Students consider how they relate to the rest of the world and have a ‘deep sense of self’

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  • Our School provides opportunities for the children to develop: respect, feelings and values, sense of enjoyment, fascination in learning, imagination and creativity and reflection

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  • Students at our school understand other people’s kind of ways of thinking

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  • We are a progressive and varied ‘values’-based school

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  • Our curriculum provides opportunities for all Students to understand, respect and celebrate difference and diversity

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In each subject area and year group there are hundreds of distinct opportunities for our community to grow spiritually. Some are distinct and others are shared, but all are acknowledged and valued: 

Spirituality in Art

The very art of being creative is a spiritual moment. The human history of art has always been closely linked to spiritual content, whether it be long forgotten, sacred ceremonies in caves deep underground or the close links between Islam or Christianity and the arts. In Latin, Spirituality means ‘to breathe’ with the idea of creativity in the art room linking directly to the breath; letting something out, expelling, freeing, literally to express before we breathe in again, absorbing fresh ideas and new knowledge. In art, students are encouraged to express themselves through the art they make, taking time to pause, reflect and possibly recreate.

Students have strong positive emotional and supportive reactions to each other’s work; they appreciate the work, the effort and creativity, often responding in awe. Students assess and reflect on their own and others’ work in order, for collaboration; the goal being to reflect, improve and progress. The sense of enjoyment and fascination in learning new techniques, ideas, concepts, coupled with the celebration of a finished piece, relates directly to the school values of faith, hope and love.

Spirituality in Business and Computing

The Business and Computing curriculum nurtures spirituality by encouraging students to reflect on their own lives and the lives of others as they look at various Computing and Business case studies. Through these case studies students are encouraged to be motivated, confident and resilient. Students have the opportunity to debate and formulate their own set of values and beliefs through the study of corporate social responsibility and ethics. Computing in particular can nurture a sense of awe and wonder through considering the technological advancements that have taken place in recent times. Possibilities for the future are explored. To promote students’ spiritual development, their sense of self and their will to achieve, the Business and Computing department take every opportunity to praise students for their great work and lesson contributions.

Spirituality in Design Technology

Design Technology develops student’s spirituality by ensuring there are opportunities for inner growth. The Design Technology curriculum will enable learners to value the importance of empathy and tolerance through peer assessment and giving others thoughtful constructive feedback.

Students get opportunity to problem solve during design and make activities; they explore a wide range new of processes, materials and techniques, this allows them to become curious learners and reflect on their work as it progresses. They get a real sense of satisfaction when they have achieved their final design outcome.

Students are able to develop empathy and tolerance through a range of projects which promote cultural identity and being respectful of others. Through Design and Make projects students develop consideration of others by constantly reflecting on their target audience’s/markets design need. Through careful consideration, students are able to understand that they have an impact on the world.

Spirituality in Drama

Sitting in a darkened space watching human beings tell us stories with their voices and bodies and faces and drawing from us emotional, psychological and often physical responses is at the heart of how Drama harnesses the spirit. The desire to either reveal or interpret meaning, to express or receive fragments of who we are as people is always alive in the Drama classroom and we are at our spirited best when we get excited by these things. And it is often when they can’t explain why, that our students have found something nourishing and visceral that takes them to a place beyond exams and institutions. A place where they are reminded that the human spirit moves and is moved in mysterious ways and Drama can help us share, if not solve the mystery.

Spirituality in DSP

Spirituality of Deaf Education opens up our minds to a creative way of thinking and learning where we see, listen, speak and use body language and to express ourselves in different ways. We do this by using a bilingual approach; both spoken English and British Sign Language to exchange information, ideas and feelings.

Our Deaf students are inspired to develop and learn British Sign Language skills, by a Deaf role model to develop a strong, positive Deaf identity. By doing so, this encourages Deaf culture/community within the school community for both Deaf and hearing students and staff. Our aim is for our Deaf students to be always encouraged to become more self-aware and prouder of their Deaf identity. They do this through discovering their personal understanding of Deafness and expressing a positive attitude towards members of society by learning how they can respect, appreciate, embrace and relate to different people from a range of backgrounds and walks of life and face challenges of the real world.

We guide our Deaf students to connect to the community by taking part in self-less acts in a variety of fund-raising projects with NDCS. This enables our Deaf students to live a rich and fulfilled life in a hearing world.

Spirituality in English

The English curriculum nurtures spirituality as it allows students to meet and consider humans beings from a wide array of backgrounds and across the decades and indeed centuries. In the deeply personal reading experience our students as readers make connections with characters and their circumstances and context thus allowing them to build empathy, concern, compassion for these characters whilst also considering deeply their plights, circumstances and choices. In doing so our students further engage in a spiritual experience as they then also are able to reflect on the characters they study, and the themes, to engage in self-reflection. We lose and find ourselves in books – their worlds, characters, issues, contexts etc – which is in itself a deeply spiritual experience.

In the process of cultivating and crafting language our students also further their spirituality as they learn to appreciate and understand the nuances and importance of language and how this can be used for meaningful self-expression and the communication of self-perception. The process of writing is a deeply personal one in which we use language to express our inner thoughts and feelings which, in itself, is a spiritual experience.

Spirituality in Geography

The geography curriculum sparks curiosity and fascination about our planet, whilst providing opportunities for students to be good citizens. They are able to recognise that spiritual development takes place within a global context, and that local decisions affect and are affected by decisions and processes in other countries, e.g. plastic in the oceans. Through our curriculum, students evaluate the effects of human actions on their environment, including their own e.g. litter in their school surroundings. Students also consider the moral and practical issues of pollution, conservation and sustainability of our environment for the next generation.

Spirituality in History

The History curriculum encourages students to be curious about the world they live in. They learn about a wide range of people throughout History and are encouraged to reflect on why they act in the way they do. History is ultimately a study of human behaviour. It provides students with an opportunity for self-reflection and helps them to consider their beliefs, morals and actions both day to day and in the long term. Through studying what has happened in the past, students gain the opportunity to consider issues in the present and future, focusing especially on themes such as equality, religion and race.           

Spirituality in Maths

We believe that studying mathematics is fundamentally a deeply personal spiritual experience.

Whether it is to cast a scrutinising eye at the convergence of a geometric series, to study the inclination of a curve through differentiation, or to investigate the area under a graph with integration, mathematics is often concerned with the infinite. Mathematics is often also concerned with exploring counterintuitive aspects of our experience, and thriving in doing so; such as the arresting beauty of Euclidean geometry, or the system of algebra, that extends arithmetic and seeks to codify a manner of thinking that can also be represented through visual means and regarded from different angles.

But for us, it is not the topic dealt with; what is being done; that makes of mathematics such a worthy effort and turns it into a profound search into the deeper recesses of our own selves; rather it is how it is being done that matters most and that, ultimately, justifies and validates this inspiring journey. The process is what matters most to us.

We believe that we need to create the opportunities for students to carve their own path through the understanding of mathematics, thus appreciating through the coherence of their own learning experience the consistency and beauty of mathematics.

We are now seeking to develop, whenever practical to do so, a problem-based approach to learning. We want our students to primarily experience where “the problem” is coming from, so for them to understand what the problem really is and, in doing so, develop the tools to tackle it successfully. Once again, we try to meet and discuss this as much as possible, because these are the conversations that really matter.

It is this that will hopefully enable us to create the environment for those rich conversations in class that will spark a more profound, and spiritually gratifying, appreciation of the subject.

Spirituality in MFL

In MFL, our new curriculum helps students embrace an understanding of other cultures, show an interest and develop tolerance as well as a meaningful understanding of how people from other countries (particularly French and Spanish speaking countries) think, speak and live. We have also embedded in our curriculum a number of references to various religious festivals from various faiths from French and Spanish speaking countries.

Spirituality in Music

Here at St Augustine’ s Church of England High School music has played a significant role in religion and spiritual settings over the years and continues to be included throughout church history, forming an important aspect of worship, contributing to support spiritual growth and wellbeing. Our choir and worship band regularly accompany Mass and end of term Services at Christmas, Summer and Easter.

Within the music curriculum we listen to Classical, pop, Rock, Reggae, African, Indian and world fusions etc all of which affect our mind, body and spirit in substantial ways. Music also gives us increased feelings of happiness, sadness, or feelings of awe when we listen to different genres of music or songs.

Whether we are feeling sombre, reflective, angry or joyful music gives the ability to travel further into these feelings or change emotional direction and by discovering which songs ‘speak to us’ this will enhance, lift or change our mood / spirit. 

Spirituality in PE

Spiritual physical education develops deep thinking and questioning in the way in which the body works and how we can take charge of our body in the world around us. Students are encouraged to analyse and seek ways to improve both their own performance, and that of those around them. A variety of skills are developed e.g., gymnastics and trampolining, which allow Students to express their feelings and emotions, as well as be amazed by what their bodies can achieve. Students are encouraged to be inspired by events – e.g., The World Cup, Olympics, etc. And are encouraged to develop team building skills and to motivate, be determined and resilient. Students are taught to accept and rise to challenges and to reflect on their work through self-evaluation and how this relates to our school values.

Spirituality in PSHCE

PSHCE is an all-encompassing subject that sparks thoughtful reflection in our students, and involves the growth of their sense of self, their unique potential, their understanding of their strengths and weaknesses, and their will to achieve. It encourages all students to develop a sense of tolerance and respect towards others and to learn about oneself, their peers and the surrounding world. PSHCE inspires curiosity into how our identities are complex, can change over time and are informed by different understandings of what it means to be a citizen in the UK. Ultimately, PSHCE is a subject that pushes to inspire all students to develop an overall understanding of spirituality and perspective on life. 

Spirituality in Psychology

Psychology develops student’s spirituality by helping students to show inner growth. The psychology curriculum will enable learners to value the importance of psychological research and will promote an awe-driven curiosity of the human body and mind.

Through learning about the different approaches to understanding the mind, psychology promotes the development of empathy and tolerance. Students are able to debate and respect a wide range of distinctive views covering topics such as freewill and ethics. Through careful consideration, students are able to understand that the way they see and experience things is often different from others.

Spirituality in Science

'Students get the chance to reflect on the beauty of the natural world, and to consider the ways that they can preserve biodiversity.'

Biology

  • Learning about evolution allows opportunity to consider our own origins and reflect upon our conduct as “stewards” (or otherwise) of our world
  • Learning about evolution also allows us to consider our place amongst other organisms and consider what is and is not ethical in our treatment of them
  • Learning how our body works allows us to understand how remarkable it is and how fortunate we are
  • 'Students get the chance to reflect on the beauty of the natural world, and to consider the ways that they can preserve biodiversity.'

Chemistry

  • Learning about how humans have drastically changed the makeup of the atmosphere and our impact on the natural environment is an important ethical consideration
  • Considering our world at a microscopic scale allows us to better understand and appreciate the macroscopic world which we are used to.
  • Learning about volcanoes shows us the destructive force of the natural world and makes us realise how powerless we can still be, despite all of our advances

Physics

  • Reflecting on the creation of the universe allows for philosophical thought and discussion/debate
  • There is less scope than previously, but reflecting on the possibility of extra-terrestrial life allows us to reflect upon our own significance and role in the universe
  • The remarkable example of phenomena such as wave-particle duality, relativity and dark matter/energy make us realise what a complicated universe we live in, and how much we still need to develop our understanding 

Spirituality in RS

The Religious Studies curriculum nurtures spirituality by giving students opportunities to reflect on their relationship with themselves, others, the world, and God. Firstly, and within our context as a fully inclusive school, all students are encouraged to reflect on their own uniqueness and intrinsic value as individuals made ‘in the image of God’. Students will encounter both religious and non-religious ideas related to the value of humanity. On analysing this fundamental belief further, students will be given the chance to appreciate its implications in terms of the way they view others; reflecting on the values of empathy, equality, justice and peace that are found in both religious and non-religious belief systems. Similarly, studying beliefs, art and scripture pertaining to the fundamental value of the universe and nature will not only nurture a sense of awe and wonder, but also encourage students to develop the value of stewardship. Finally, as a department we believe that a rigorous study of religion will enable students to understand their faith or beliefs more deeply, and to encounter either God or a sense of ‘the beyond’ intellectually. 

Spiritual development in Year 7

Year 7 is a vital yearn not only in terms of the student’s transition from primary to secondary school but also in a student's personal and spiritual development. There is a holistic approach taken to the student's development when they enter the year. A strong emphasis is placed on the school values and instilling within the students a sense of what we expect from a St Augustine’s community member. Students of Year 7 are introduced to the school values, with a particular emphasis on the values of kindness, inclusivity, and respect. These values that embedded in year and serve the Students well throughout their time in St Augustine’s and as they reach adulthood, the wider community.

Students attend weekly collective worships where they see the schools' values in action. The weekly theme of the week is a time for inward reflection and an encouragement to display the traits associated with the school saints daily. There is also a strong focus on independence and resilience which serves the students well while studying at St Augustine’s. All adults working with Year 7 students do so in a trauma informed manner and as such allow the students to develop at a pace comfortable for them. As a Year Team, Jackie Brady and Niall Russell try to model the values they wish to see in their year group and take a patient approach to developing students into kind and considerate members of the community. Students are given the opportunity to vote for their student leaders in their forms to continue to take an active role within our school community.

The students take part in various charitable pursuits, including this year’s phenomenally successful reverse advent calendar project. During the period of advent students brought in assorted items for the Trussell Trust foodbank and then these were delivered to the food bank in the lead up to Christmas. This will hopefully foster a sense of community spirit and giving in all students within the year group. 

Spiritual development in Year 8

Opportunities for spiritual development are embedded into tutor routines each morning.   Students can experience, create, inquire, and enjoy things beneficial to life’s meaning and purpose. Which is exercised and advanced through experience and reflection.

Theme of the week: Students are given the chance to reflect about their own beliefs (religious or otherwise) and their perspective on life through a different theme each week.

Collective worship: Upholds Christian values by developing interest in, and respect for, different people’s faiths and feelings. Also, providing opportunities for prayer including silence and stillness.

Personal growth through PiXL: Students explore themes to help them reconnect with their deeper selves. Exploring principles such as respect and kindness which seek to foster spiritual capacities, e.g. imagination, insight and empathy. 

Debate day: Students are encouraged to develop essential critical thinking skills and to become curious about new ideas. Allowing Students, the security and opportunity to explore and express feelings and emotions and to celebrate diversity.

At the end of each day, Students are given time to reflect about how they have fostered the school values. Students have a School Value Diary which is completed upon reflection, allowing Students to share feelings and experiences that foster hope and joy.

All Students are encouraged to take part in a photography competition which is themed by the seasons of year.  Stimulating a sense of awe at the natural world by capturing autumn, winter, spring and summer. 

Spiritual development in Year 10

Year 10 focuses on the holistic student transitioning from Key Stage 3 to Key Stage 4, where they will embark on a new path as young adults, preparing for their future subject choices and careers. Students will be mentally and physically challenged as new themes and exams are introduced. They will be trained in areas such as human rights, revision skills, and personal relationships, to name a few, during PSCHE lessons and during free time. In order to build a deeper understanding of the subjects they have chosen, they will be required to think outside the box in their classes to come up with solutions to challenges, which will lead to Mocks at the conclusion of Year 10. The Students will receive the greatest possible support from the Year 10 tutors, pastoral coordinator, and Academic Director.

Students are given the opportunity to vote for their student leaders in their forms to express their concerns for the different committees in the school, with experience in extracurricular activities ranging from sporting to educational to entrepreneurial. Students can talk to outside and in-school learning mentors about difficulties that are impeding their learning; tutors can observe differences in students' looks and mood and bring it to the attention of academic directors. Unifrog, which provides students with reliable information about occupations they might be interested in pursuing, also offers work experience and career guidance in Year 10. As a result, students in Year 11 are prepared to face the year's challenges. While being faithful to the school's core and beliefs, working to produce a thorough, well-rounded young adult.

Spiritual development in Year 11

Year 11 focuses on preparing students as they begin to transition to adulthood and take their place in the world and society.  Specifically, the focus is on preparing students for their GCSE exams and their next steps and post-16 education. Students will spend parts of this year reflecting on their own strengths, needs and dreams as they consider what will best serve them as they prepare to take important public exams, but more importantly, their place in society and the world of work.  Students will have the chance to explore these avenues through form time activities, targeted sessions, work experience talks etc. PSHCE sessions focus on future pathways but also mental health and wellbeing, healthy relationships and British values and human rights – all crucial parts of developing students holistically as young adults. 

The strength and resilience of students will be tested as they prepare for what is often considered the most stressful year of secondary school.  A wide base of support will be put in place to ensure that students are challenged but also nurtured and supported via the Year 11 pastoral Team.  We have developed a strong open-door culture where students understand their place within the school community and how and when to seek support.  All adults working with Year 11 are alert to potential signs of concern and communicate directly with the Pastoral Year Co-ordinator or the Director of Learning.  Students will also be supported through the Christian values and ethos at St Augustine’s and given opportunities to reflect on their faith and personal spirituality.

Students are given the opportunity to vote for their student leaders in their forms to continue to take an active role within our school community.  They will also have the chance to take part in a range of extracurricular activities from sport, entrepreneurial opportunities, to theatre and music. 

As a result, students in Year 11 are prepared to face the challenges of this academic year and beyond while being faithful to the school's values and beliefs as we support them to become a kind and responsible citizen of the UK.