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St. Giles Church of England Primary School

You must love one another as I have loved you.’ John 13 v 34.

‘learn to love and love to learn’.

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Church Inspection (SIAMS)

Spirituality in St Giles’ CE Primary School


‘You must love one another as I have loved you.’ John 13 v 34.

Working together with love we will provide a happy and nurturing environment where all will, ‘learn to love and love to learn’, making outstanding progress through an enriched and creative curriculum. Through our strong Christian ethos we will celebrate and embrace the richness of our community.

Learn to Love - Love to Learn

‘You must love one another as I have loved you.’ John 13 v 34


Our vision influences the ethos of our school and the policies and practices within it. We believe that spirituality is a core thread that runs through our school, and we attach great importance to it for both children’s development and for the growth and well-being of all within our school community.


We aim for children, and adults, to grow in their ability to:

  • be guided by their beliefs and values and be willing to take a stand to defend them
  • be self-aware and empathise with the experience of others in the school and wider community
  • love themselves, care for themselves, believe in their potential to achieve, and find inner strength and resilience when facing challenges
  • exercise imagination and creativity, appreciate beauty in the world and be alive to experiences of awe and wonder
  • be intrigued by mystery and be open to an awareness of the transcendent in the whole of life
  • be comfortable with stillness and silence and open to engage in reflection/meditation/prayer
  • be ready to say sorry when mistakes are made, to forgive themselves and to forgive others
  • be willing to take risks and to reflect, learn and grow following experiences of failure as well as success
  • demonstrate curiosity and open mindedness when exploring life’s big questions
  • appreciate and be thankful for what is good in life like friends and family, and show generosity towards others


(From David Smith’s work on Spiritual Capacities)


Our working definition of ‘spirituality’


To talk about spirituality is essentially to talk about something which is beyond words. As a staff and governor team, we have come to the consensus that spirituality is linked fundamentally to questions about the meaning and purpose of life; it includes ideas around relating to oneself, others, the natural world and the transcendent; it is not dependent upon religious belief or affiliation.


As a school we have agreed on the following definitions of spiritual development to support us as we talk about spirituality.


Spiritual development is the development of an awareness that there is “something more to life than meets the eye, something more than the material, something more than the obvious, something to wonder at, something to respond to.” (Terence Copley)


Spirituality is delighting in all things, being absorbed into the present moment, not too attached to self, and eager to explore boundaries of ‘beyond’ and ‘other’, searching for meaning, discovering purpose, open to more. (Rebecca Nye)


Spirituality is an awareness of mystery and its value to human flourishing.


“Spirituality was generally viewed as enriching individuals in their understanding of and ability to relate to, others and of society as a whole”. Education for Adult Life (SCAA 1996)


“The term spiritual and moral development needs to be seen as applying something fundamental in the human condition which is not necessarily experienced through the physical senses and /or expressed through everyday language. It has to do with relationships to other people and for believers, with God. It has to do with the universal search for individual identity – with our responses to challenging experiences, such as death, suffering, beauty and encounters with good and evil. It is to do with the search for meaning and purpose in life and for values by which to live.” SCAA discussion paper


Spiritual development is not about becoming, more spiritual (in a measurable or expansive sense). It is about realising or becoming more and more aware of one’s natural, innate spirituality. This is sometimes a slow and gradual process, at other times there might be significant stages of realisation, which are part of the ongoing ‘developing’ process. Unlike the development of a photograph, people don’t reach a finished state of spiritual development, but participate in the ongoing process of spiritual realisation. If spirituality were something which developed or grew in a quantifiable sense, then surely adult would be more spiritual than children. Many would argue that children seem to be far more spiritually aware than adults, Perhaps as a part of growing older, the pressures of life can distract our distort our interests so that as adults, our spiritual awareness is dulled and we do not ‘realise it’ to the full.


The ‘Wow’s, ‘Ows’ and ‘Nows’


The language of spirituality begins from a Christian understanding that everyone is a valued creation, individually and uniquely made by God, like pots made by a potter (Isaiah 64:8). Yet in life things happen that impact on the physical ‘pot’ of life and create cracks that provide a glimpse of something ‘beyond’ the tangible.


Cracks may be caused when something so good and breathtaking that the pot expands and cracks- the wows of life.


Cracks may happen when something challenging happens and threatens the comfort of everyday. The ows of life.


Cracks can also happen in the stillness and ordinariness of everyday everyday- the nows of life. A moment of stillness, a pause, prayer can create a crack in the normal, physical everyday.


Legal requirements:

Section 78 of the Education Act 2002 states:

The curriculum for a maintained school or maintained nursery school satisfies the requirements of this section if it is a balanced and broadly-based curriculum which: (a) promotes the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental, and physical development of pupils at the school and of society, and (b) prepares pupils at the school for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life.


We support pupils in their spiritual development by:

  • providing opportunities for spiritual development in collective worship
  • providing opportunities for spiritual development in RE
  • providing opportunities for spiritual development in the wider curriculum
  • capturing opportunities for awe and wonder as they arise
  • providing ‘Sacred Spaces’ in classrooms, public spaces, outside, and by using the church building, and through the ‘Prayer Spaces in School’ website
  • offering pupils opportunities to develop their own spiritual leadership, through leading collective worship and other opportunities

Prayer spaces in school enable children and young people, of all faiths and none, to explore these life questions, spirituality and faith in a safe, creative and interactive way. 


Prayer spaces give children and young people an opportunity to develop skills of personal reflection and to explore prayer in an open, inclusive and safe environment.

The approach does not proselytise and purposely allows pupils to make their own meaning and to draw their own conclusions.


We have Prayer Spaces throughout school because children and young people are innately curious about life. Growing up raises lots of questions, some to do with their experience, both the good and the bad, and some to do with their sense of wonder at the universe we live in and whether there’s more to life than meets the eye. Many have an interest in the non-material aspects of life, the spirit or soul, and want to explore how these ideas and experiences help them to develop their own sense of identity, self-worth, personal insight, meaning and purpose. We encourage children to explore and develop their spirituality through Wow-Ow-Now moments. 



Prayer spaces are rooted in broadly Christian traditions of prayer, whilst allowing children and young people to respond individually and draw their own conclusions. Prayer spaces are rooted in the teachings and the ministry, the life and the example of Jesus.



Prayer spaces inspire a sense of awe and wonder in children and young people, about how they perceive themselves, how they relate with others, and how they engage with the world around them.


Prayer spaces encourage the development of the non-material aspect of human nature, sometimes called the spirit or soul. They allow space to engage with life’s ‘big questions’, in the quest for purpose and meaning, and in the development of a sense of identity, self-worth and personal insight.


Prayer spaces enable children and young people to interact in their own way with an environment of prayer that includes opportunities to experience stillness, an awareness of the numinous, to express their thanks, hopes, dreams, questions and fears, and to explore ways of praying as practiced by the ‘saints of old’ and people today.



Prayer spaces provide an opportunity for children and young people to stop, think and ask questions about their lives, their experiences, their beliefs, and their relationships, and to learn from this reflection. Prayer spaces use a variety of innovative and imaginative techniques to enable children and young people to express these reflections and/or prayer in different ways.



Prayer spaces are hospitable and welcoming to all children and young people, whatever their beliefs or cultural backgrounds. Prayer spaces provide for a variety of learning styles and are accessible, with appropriate support, for those with mild learning difficulties.

Truthfulness PPT 6.6.24 (1).mp4

Still image for this video

SIAMS Inspection: 15.6.17