Our Mission Statement
‘Shine as to be a light to others’
Saint John Henry Newman
At our school every aspect of school life is founded on Gospel Values. Our choice of Mission Statement is inspired by the writing and teaching of Saint John Henry Newman, an advocate of personalised learning, and of Saint Philip Neri, who believed that 'cheerfulness strengthens the heart and makes us persevere in a good life; therefore the servant of God ought always to be in good spirits.'
We are committed to providing a safe, nurturing and happy immersive learning environment, based upon the living tradition of the Church, drawing continually upon current educational research.
Our school prepares children to meet the opportunities and challenges of life in contemporary Britain and within a fast changing technological and globalised world through an innovative curriculum that is tailored to meet the needs of all.
A community of lifelong learners, our school and Governing Body work in close partnership with our families, the Fathers and Brothers of the Oratory, our local parish, the local and wider community, and external consultants. We work together to enable all to fulfill their spiritual, academic, emotional and social potential. We are a team, and together we make a difference.
Christ is at the centre of all we do.
Our school is a learning community for all: pupils, staff, governors, parents and carers, outside agencies, and the local and wider community.
Ours is a strong culture of unconditional support for one another’s learning, where all listen respectfully and welcome constructive criticism and challenge.
We offer a vibrant and exciting curriculum and learning experience, ensuring that all pupils, from whatever point they start on entering our School, make at least good progress.
We aim to help our children discover and develop their God-given talents and to encourage them to grow in responsibility for themselves and for others.
We believe that everyone has a right to equal access and opportunity, and equal freedom to work and learn, and freedom from unjust discrimination and from prejudice.
Our practices promote the right of all to participate in school life by actively promoting equality and social inclusion without distinction of culture, religion, language, ethnic background or race.
In June 2011 the Prevent Strategy lists British Values as 'democracy, rule of law, equality of opportunity, freedom of speech and the rights of all men and women to live free from persecution of any kind.'
Advice from the DfE 2014, proposes that 'Schools should promote the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and belief.' It states that schools can demonstrate they are actively promoting fundamental British values by 'ensuring pupils’ SMSC [spiritual, moral, social and cultural] development', by 'meeting requirements for collective worship' and by 'establishing a strong school ethos'.
The Oratory demonstrates that it is actively promoting British values by continuing to ensure pupils’ SMSC development, by building upon our strong Catholic ethos and by gathering as a School community for Catholic worship.
- Democratic values are an explicit part of our ethos and curriculum. Adults listen to the views of adults, adults listen to the views of pupils, pupils listen to the views of pupils and pupils listen to the views of adults. All views and opinions are valued even if not agreed with. Critical debate, reflection and enquiry are continually encouraged.
- Candidates for Pupil Parliament are elected as a result of pupil votes. Opinions of peers is canvassed by successful candidates.
- The Oratory Pupil Mission Team is elected by the Head Teacher in consultation with the Strategic Leadership Team. The Mission Team canvases the opinions of their peers and adults on a regular basis.
- he Head Teacher has an ‘open door policy’ at break time and lunch time affording pupils the opportunity to discuss an idea for a club, talk through a worry or answer a question which has arisen from learning in class, collective worship or a visit from an external provider.
- We demonstrate how injustice can be peacefully challenged, through the examples of the Gospels, and by teaching about inspirational men, women and children of the past and the present: St Philip Neri, Saint John Henry Newman, Dorothy Day, Pier – Giorgio Frassati, Nelson Mandela, Malala Yousafzai and Shibby de Guzman.
The Rule of Law
- The importance of laws and rules are consistently reinforced in the classroom, as well as through school assemblies and the curriculum so that the Oratory is a calm and safe place to be.
- Pupils are taught to understand why we have laws – which exist for individual protection - the responsibilities that this involves and the consequences when laws are broken.
- We ensure our school rules are clear and fair, e.g. through our Behaviour and Expectations Policy based upon the prayer of Saint John Henry Newman, ‘My Vocation’ and our mission statement, ‘Shine as to be a light to others’ for Jesus. Pupils understand our reward and consequence system.
- Pupil Playground Leaders uphold our Behaviour and Expectations Policy during play time and lunch time.
- Half termly Congratulation Assemblies recognise a boy and a girl from each class who have consistently upheld the school rules and have been a ‘Shining Light’ to their peers by earning the most class dojos.
- We teach our pupils to distinguish right from wrong, e.g. by using the example of Christ when dealing with behaviour that is not acceptable and through assemblies and discussions in class. Visits from West Midlands Police, the Fire Service, local organisations and theatre in education help to reinforce these messages.
- Our pupils are actively supported and encouraged in developing their independence, resilience, enquiry skills, emotional intelligence, self-esteem and self-confidence through our Christian ethos, the way in which we treat others and our way of learning through REAL Projects.
- Pupils feel able to take calculated risks with their learning, make choices and learn from mistakes within a safe and nurturing environment which invests in meeting the needs of all children.
- Our curriculum facilitates pupils in taking responsibility for their learning and behaviour as well as knowing, understanding and exercising their rights, through linking rights with responsibilities and having a fair and consistent Behaviour and Expectations Policy.
- Pupils are advised how to exercise their rights safely e.g. through e-safety and cyber bullying teaching.
- Stereotypes are challenged through our curriculum, educational visits and by welcoming visitors into school to raise awareness of disability, anti-racism, anti–bullying and the plight of refugees and migrants.
- Pupils are always keen to support charities, whether local, national or global. They are taught consideration and respect for others through our Religious Education curriculum and REAL Projects.
- Our school’s ethos is based on the Gospel values: Prayer, Joy, Love, Truth, Faith, Peace, Justice, Mission and Hope. Each class has a dedicated Gospel Value which is referred to, discussed and reflected upon in relation to the term’s REAL Project focus; local, national and international events, news and religious festivals thus ensuring our pupils acquire an understanding of and respect for other cultures.
- Assemblies, acts of Catholic collective worship and Caritas Christi Liturgy Roadshows promote respect for others, the importance of good manners and reverence.
- Pupils are taught the significance of self-respect, honest and open communication with others and fair play.
- Team work, listening respectfully and valuing the thoughts, experiences and opinions of others - even if they differ from their own - is constantly reinforced inside and outside the classroom. Pupils learn that their behaviour has an effect – positive or negative - on their own rights and those of others.
- Each half term a Head Teacher’s Certificate and Lapel Pin is awarded in a whole school assembly for pupils who are consistently living the Gospel Values and Oratory learning behaviours. Parents and Carers are invited to share this celebration. The pupils are not told until the Congratulations Assembly so the delight on their face is extra special!
Respecting those of Different Faiths and Beliefs
- At the Oratory we don’t use the word tolerate. To tolerate someone is to put up with them instead we promote love; we show solidarity with our fellow human beings; we serve and we talk with our neighbour; we use our wisdom and we respect one another - those who share our views and those who hold different views.
- As a Catholic worshipping community, pupils are reminded of their place in a culturally diverse society. This is achieved through our Religious Education curriculum and the spiritual life of the school. The RE curriculum specifically teaches pupils about other world religions and visits are made to places of worship in each year group this is cross referenced with the term’s REAL project.
- Assemblies and class work promote the diversity of society and the right for each person to be respected and valued equally regardless of ability, gender, faith, heritage or race. Members of different faiths or religions are always welcome in our school community.
- An annual Multi Faith Week allows for further in-depth reflection on different faiths, beliefs and cultures.
- We discuss and celebrate the differences between people and different family situations such as being a refugee, looked after child or a young carer.
Our School's Context and Culture
Our School mission is based on the belief that every human being is a unique person created in the image and likeness of God, with a God-given potential for growth and an eternal destiny in heaven. Our staff have a special vocation to make sure that all children receive the very best educational experience in order to grow in the love and knowledge of God, their neighbour, themselves and the created world. We see this as integral to our Catholic ethos.
As a school we work together to embed and sustain this ethos. The word 'ethos' can be defined as 'a way of living, behaving and doing things by people who, though diverse, follow common values and are linked by a shared vision of life.' Our school’s Catholic ethos promotes and helps to shape a strong set of values.