St Mary's C of E Junior Academy

Our Christian Distinctiveness

The school takes its name from the local parish church, with which it has close links. The school became the first Church of England Primary Academy in 2011 and has maintained a close relationship with the Diocese throughout this period.

We are proud to be a C. of E. Academy and our distinctive Christian character is celebrated through our Collective Worship programme and our close links with St Mary’s Church and the Diocese of Norwich. Our chosen values are clearly defined by the children, staff, governors and parents (values that are key to our school, eg. Joy are focussed on and celebrated by our members.) Through this we nurture children, provide a strong moral background in a secure, safe and loving environment whilst raising aspirations in our sometimes challenging community in order that every child goes on to reach their full potential in life. In our community we truly value every individual and what they have to offer.

All Governors have an understanding of how the school promotes Christian values. They have the opportunity to raise concerns and suggest possible improvements. They can ensure that the school continues to uphold, promote and celebrate its Christian distinctiveness. Governors have visited our Prayer Space with our chosen value ‘Joy’ in July 2015 and also visited our Prayer Space in July 2016, which has the theme of ‘Trust’.

Our church school Self Evalution Form (SEF) can be downloaded from the link at the bottom of this page.

Our vicar has a strong leadership role in our school:

  • Collective Worship lead
  • After School 3:16 Club
  • Holiday Club
  • Messy Church – the school hosts this for all children from the Long Stratton area
  • Support during Prayer Spaces week
  • Reading and Maths Cafes
  • Attending school trips
  • Chair of Governors in the  past
  • Chair of the School Development Committee
  • Regularly undertakes observation and scrutiny of lessons, planning and work
  • SEND governor – working closely with our SENDCo
  • Supports school staff – drops in on a regular basis and is involved in promoting staff well-being

Other church members help lead collective worship and are developing ‘Open the book’ to start in September 2016. They also support 3:16, Messy church and attend events at the school.

The Church has a strong and interested representation on the Academy Trust and Governing Body. St Mary’s welcomes the school to many events throughout the year. Eg. Passion Play, whole school Easter carousel etc. The School actively works with the Diocesan Director of Education and Schools Support Officer toward the common goal of being a proactive Christian influence in our community.

With scaffold provided by the work of the Principal, the Staff encourage and promote parental attendance at and participation in our Christian celebrations both at school and at St Mary’s Church – eg. Carol concert, harvest celebrations.

The RE adviser and Principal regularly access training from the Diocese of Norwich. The RE adviser attends National RE Conferences and is a Farmington Fellow, thus enabling her to be in ‘the loop’ for new thinking and ideas.

Through the use of signage, displays, thought provoking posters etc., our Christian values and distinctiveness are evident and respected.

Collective Worship

The children are more able to express what makes our values distinctively Christian. This resulted in an effective statement reflecting children’s understanding of Christian values in a meaningful way. They were also motivated to discuss and compare values and will also now feel ownership of the resulting website.

Children are aware of how values are rooted in Christian beliefs. These are delivered linked to the Church calendar. The Enquiry-based RE curriculum leads the children into active engagement with the values as they are raised.

Through staff attending the whole school collective worships, they are part of the delivery of the week’s value through taking the ‘message’ back to the classroom and encouraging the children to see this as a meaningful addition to their lives and that they have a part to play.

An example of our Collective worship programme for 2017-18 can be downloaded from the bottom of this page.


The use of displays such as posters with thought provoking statements from famous people, bible quotes and creative artwork displaying beautiful Christian scenes adds colour to the day and filters through to the business of school life. Children have referred to what they’ve absorbed from these displays during discussions with members of staff.

Prayer Spaces

Every year we create prayer spaces for the children. Below is an example of the 2017 prayer spaces:

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