Vision and Values
VISION STATEMENT: 'With God all things are possible. We are all God's children'
With God all things are possible. We are all God's children: It is said, 'With God all things are possible' Matthew 19 verse 26
Our vision is to promote an atmosphere in which the development of the whole child is secured through a strong commitment of Christian Values. We are committed to promoting the highest quality of teacher and learning, in a secure and caring Christian environment where 'We are all God's children'. We believe in an inspiring, enriched curriculum which promotes a thirst for knowledge, the development of life-long skills, values All God's Children and excites all learners.
The family of Birchills C of E Community Academy holds hands with those from all faiths and those with no faith, and provides a vibrant, respectful, friendly and safe community where all will know that all things are possible with God.
We are committed to promoting the highest quality of teaching and learning, in a secure and caring Christian environment in which we Value All God's Children. Through our skills based led, creative and immersive curriculum, all of our children know that 'With God all things are possible'.
Our Core Christian Values are at the heart of everything we do, uniting us as an academy family. Our values have been established by all of our children and staff; and identify the needs and interests of the children at Birchills C of E Community Academy. These are: Respect, Friendship, Forgiveness, Perseverance, Justice and Service.
RESPECT - 'Do to others as you would have them do to you' Matthew 7 verse 12
The Bible has so much to offer in this area of positive personal, relational and community values, and its timeless wisdom can help all us as a Christian school pass on to the next generation the qualities of life that are most valuable and which, as Christians, we believe are not only God-given but also can be God-energised in our lives.
Respect has different meanings but all play a part in how Christians value themselves and the lives of others. Respecting those that love and care for us, our parents, carers and those in the local community, is common in all traditions. We should appreciate what's done for us, finding cooperation not conflict and take responsibility. Romans13 states that we should 'Pay others the honour and respect you owe them'.
Respect for others - everyone is special; everyone's opinion matters; everyone's contribution is important; everyone's feelings should be considered; everyone's faith is sacred
Respect can mean simply treating each other with politeness and courtesy, and recognising that everyone’s contribution is important and that everyone’s feelings should be considered. At Birchills, we regularly discuss how respecting someone does not mean that we always agree with the other person but that we are prepared to listen and share our views without rudeness or impatience.
Christians recognise that respect needs to start with respect for ourselves and our own unique contribution to our homes, schools or communities. Having self-respect means being able to celebrate our gifts and talents, looking after ourselves and the bodies that God has given us. Having self-respect also means nurturing our talents so that we the best we can be, honouring how God has made us and being confident about who we are.
FRIENDSHIP - 'Encourage one another and build each other up' Thessalonians 5 verse 11
Friendship is an undisputed value in our society, with children often spending more time with their friends than with family. It is a key concept in the Christian framework, with Jesus being criticised for being ‘the friend of sinners’ and eating with those whom society rejected.
Sharing a meal with someone is an explicit sign of friendship and the word ‘companion’ literally means ‘one with whom you share bread.’
Jesus tells stories of the heavenly banquet to which all are invited. The barriers between people are broken down in a loving community around God and Jesus had stern words to say to those who refused to recognise that all are included in this community of friendship.
FORGIVENESS - 'Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you must also forgive others' Colossians 3 verse 13
Forgiveness is fundamental to the character of God. Throughout the Bible, God is described as slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiving sin (Numbers 14:18). Jesus was uncompromising in his command to forgive. Forgive, he said, ‘seventy times seven’ (Matthew 18:21), meaning forgive and keep on forgiving without limit. Forgiveness was at the heart of everything he did and is at the heart of the Lord’s Prayer. When Jesus declared a person’s sins to be forgiven, it often aroused the anger of those who were less willing to forgive than he was and yet a prayer for the forgiveness of his persecutors was on Jesus’ lips as he died. Christian preaching has always put forgiveness at the centre.
We forgive because we are forgiven. Forgiveness cannot be given or received unless it is asked for, and the asking must be genuine and from the heart. Too often ‘sorry’ is said very easily, implying: ‘All I need to do is say I’m sorry and everything will be OK’. Real repentance demands that we take what we have done wrong with the utmost seriousness and have a deep desire not to do it again.
PERSEVERANCE - 'God will direct you, you will endure' Exodus 18 verse 23
Emphasis upon endurance and perseverance is common in the New Testament where it is linked with patience and suffering. St Paul is certain that endurance is honed by suffering, is character building and is characterised by love (Romans 5:3-4; I Corinthians 4:12 – 13). It is linked with self-control, godliness (2 Peter 1:6) and steadfastness.
At its root, endurance and perseverance is recognition that life is sometimes difficult and painful, and that it is important not to give up in the face of adversity.
Jesus endured rejection, abuse and the cross, and his followers are warned that they may well have to share that pain as persecution took hold. Discipleship is depicted as ‘taking up the cross daily’ and following in Jesus’ footsteps (Luke 9:23).
Endurance and perseverance are only possible where there is hope and that hope is based on the enduring nature of God’s love and faithfulness. Even Jesus, for all his strength and ability to endure, looked to his disciples to help and sustain him by watching and praying with him (Matthew 26).
JUSTICE - '‘But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream.’ Amos 5 verse 24
When thinking about ‘justice’, some people think first about giving wrongdoers the punishment they deserve. ‘Justice’ evokes ideas of ‘just deserts’, ’the punishment fitting the crime’, ‘an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth’.
However, that would be a one-sided picture of justice. Justice also means giving all people – particularly the poor and oppressed – what it is right and fair for them to have: life, health, freedom and dignity. It is about acting out of a concern for what is right and seeing right prevail. It is about social justice, especially for those who suffer most and are least able to protect themselves.
In Exodus, the people are instructed to deal with everyone fairly and never to show partiality to one group above another (Exodus 23:2,6).The Bible emphasises that ‘The righteous care about justice for the poor’ (Proverbs 29:7).Isaiah says: ‘Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow’ (Isaiah 1:17). Justice is the ‘plumb line’ by which society is measured (Isaiah 29:17). According to Amos, its presence in society should be constant and abundant: ‘Let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!’ (Amos 5:24)
Throughout the Bible, it is emphasised that justice is immensely important to God. It is fundamental to God’s character. ‘For the LORD is righteous, he loves justice; upright men will see his face.’ (Psalm 11:7)
Justice is not about a culture which encourages everyone to insist on their own rights at the expense of others. It is about a community that knows that everyone’s well-being is bound up with that of everyone else.
A commitment to justice leads to fierce opposition to injustice in whatever form it may be found. Justice is a pre-requisite of peace: without justice, there can be no peace.
SERVICE - 'Serve one another in love' Galatians 5 verse 13
Words relating to ‘servant’ and ‘service’ are central in Christian theology. Some of the most important prophecies in Isaiah speak of the coming of the ‘Servant of the Lord’ and his role as a ‘suffering servant.’ That is why Jesus said that he ‘came not to be served, but
to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.’
Jesus washed the feet of his disciples at the Last Supper. This turned upside down the normal relationship between master and disciple, leader and follower. In many ways, this astonishing action symbolizes the essence of the Incarnation: God stooping to share the human condition. Jesus is very clear about the meaning of his action: ‘Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done.’
The parable of the Good Samaritan shows we should serve those in need whoever they are. Such service is not offered to gain some advantage for ourselves. ‘Going the extra mile’ involves sacrifice, putting ourselves out for someone else’s benefit.
Serving God means serving others. It also means that we cannot serve other masters as well – such as money. However, the Christian message is equally clear that service is not all about restrictions. It is precisely in a life of service that we become most truly free.