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Our Mission and Values

The life of St Agatha’s School is centred on our Catholic faith, in which we proclaim the Gospel values such as love, peace and justice, which influence all our activities and relationships.

We value and encourage the uniqueness of each child and recognise that everyone has a positive contribution to make to the life of the school community.

We value worshipping and celebrating together, sharing our Christian witness and building upon the foundations already established at home where parents are the first educators of their children.

We aim to:

    • encourage the spiritual development and prayer life of each child and help them to develop their relationship with God

    • offer a place where differences and problems are talked through and prayed through together and where success is shared and celebrated

    • provide a secure and happy environment where quality teaching and learning can take place

    • deliver a curriculum that meets the intellectual, physical and creative needs of each child as well as delivering spiritual, emotional and pastoral care

    • foster respect for, and recognise the rights of, others regardless of gender, race or ability and to offer equal opportunities to all

    • value the contribution of home, school, parish, community and diocese in our daily lives

WHAT WE ARE IS GOD’S GIFT TO US
WHAT WE BECOME IS OUR GIFT TO GOD

Reflecting on School Values

We would all agree that we want our children to grow up with good values, morals, and ethics. We also know that values need to be both modelled to children and taught explicitly. Throughout this school year we will be spending time thinking carefully about the values that are important to us at St Agatha’s School.
Please see below to find out more about the values that the children will be exploring each month.

June - Equality
Anyone with experience of working or living with children will know their ability to detect injustice is highly developed – “it’s not fair” is a regular refrain. However we rarely ask them to channel this natural flair for fairness into productive and critical discussion about the nature of equality, what constitutes fair treatment, and who gets to define such standards. During the month of June, we will be exploring the concept ‘Equality’ with the children through discussions and role play. We will explore the idea of equality meaning ‘the same’ or whether to achieve equality might mean treating people differently. These are difficult ideas: we will not be providing answers but rather supporting children in their thinking.
May - Honesty
“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.” - Luke 16:10 Teach honesty and it will establish in your child a strong desire to do what is right. Honesty means telling the truth no matter what consequences you may face. Teaching the value of honesty to children is part of the development of moral and emotional strength.
April - Family
“Family” is a bond, a long-lasting relationship that holds it members together with the thread of love. Bonding does not happen overnight. Every second, every minute that you spend with your family, bonds you to them. It is through family that we learn the values of love, trust, hope, belief, culture, morals, tradition and every little matter that concerns us and the society in which we live. Children need to learn the importance of family and how family helps in building a strong future. Children depend on parents and family to protect them and provide for their needs. Parents and family form a child’s first relationship helping them to grow into strong, mature, balanced and caring individuals who are very relevant and much needed in society and the world today.
During the month of April we will be exploring the different ‘family’ groups to which we all belong and reflecting what we learn from those families and how we contribute.
March - Perseverance
Perseverance is the ability to work through challenges. Having perseverance means that when you face a challenge, you use your mind and your body to overcome it. It is important to realise however, that the definition of perseverance is not “don’t give up no matter what” or “never quit. Instead, perseverance is the ability to do our best toward a goal, even though it may be a big challenge.
During March, we will be exploring this concept of perseverance with the children and helping them to relate it to their own experiences.
February - Trust
Trust is an essential value. Children need to know they can depend on adults to care for them and supply their basic needs. Trust is fundamental to their development into healthy human beings. When children can trust others, they develop a positive attitude toward life and have less need to be in control to make things turn out right.
During February, we will talk with the children about the value of trust, what it means to be trustworthy and the qualities a trustworthy person displays.
January - Curiosity  
The world of a young child is full of new experiences. A very young child will touch, taste, smell, take apart, watch, listen, and learn more than at any other time in life. It is, simply, how we learn. Curiosity grows from the safe and familiar. A secure child with a familiar adult will be excited by the world around them. They will explore and ask dozens of questions. In contrast, an insecure child might quietly tolerate their surroundings and feel mostly discomfort. In safe and familiar settings, we seek novelty. When we feel overwhelmed, we seek familiarity. The challenge is that learning opportunities must be safe and familiar as well as novel and stimulating. Shared discovery gives the greatest pleasure. During January, we will be asking the children to explore an aspect of the world about which they are curious and to share their learning with others.
December - Kindness   
We have all experienced kindness; we know how important it is. But, there is more than just anecdotal evidence to support that kindness is important. Scientific studies have shown that performing random acts of kindness is good for our health. They improve our life satisfaction by increasing our sense of belonging and self-worth, and they improve our health by decreasing negative feelings. Also, these benefits apply to the giver of kindness, the recipient of kindness, and anyone who witnesses the act! So, every act of kindness improves the lives of at least three people! The more we give or treat people kindly, the more we inspire others to give and practise kindness. Kindness has been defined for children as being friendly, generous or considerate to them self and others through their words and actions. Small gestures make a big difference such as holding a door open for someone or giving up a seat on a bus.
During December, I will be asking the whole school community to join in with modelling and practising kindness in interactions with each other and complimenting acts of kindness that they witness.  
November - Honour 
When we think about honour, we can easily restrict our thinking to respectful behaviour; being polite, courteous, and having good manners. This however, is a rather narrow understanding and is only a small part of what honour actually is. Honour comes when you recognise a person's worth or value – it comes from the heart. Respect acknowledges a person's position, while honour attaches worth to that person.
During November we will be exploring this value by thinking about what makes a good role model and by discussing:
• how to treat people as special;
• how we can do more than what is expected;
• how it is important to have a good attitude in all things;
• and how we can all be a good Role Model.  
October - Citizenship 
Studying ‘Citizenship’ helps children's social development enabling them to engage with others, to develop understanding of their communities and provides opportunities for responsible and active citizenship. Advocating the five themes of citizenship - honesty, compassion, respect, responsibility and courage - is not enough. Exploring those themes, talking about them, and making connections between those themes and children’s lives are the keys to developing a true understanding of the concepts.
During October, we will explore the value of good citizenship through class discussions and role play.  
September - Ambition 
Ambition is the strong wish to achieve something. It requires self-belief, determination and an ability to learn from mistakes. Thomas Edison, the inventor of the light bulb, failed many times before he developed a light bulb that actually worked. His famous line, "I have not failed, I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work," is a saying used today to illustrate that failure is part of the learning process. There are many ways that we can nurture ambition in children.
During September, we will be considering the concept of ‘ambition’ and asking the children to reflect on their own ambitions and the steps to take in order to realise those ambitions.
July - Justice
Understanding the concept of fairness is important for young people. From an early age, we begin to develop opinions about what is fair and what is not. How many times have we heard a toddler yelling, “that’s not fair” when he/she doesn’t get their way? As we get older, our perceptions of fairness change, but they continue to be based on personal perception. This creates many teachable moments for children. What is fair to one child may seem unfair to another and what seems unfair to many, may offer opportunities to create school-wide, local or national change. It is important to teach children from a young age the importance of fairness in applying rules and laws, fighting for changes in rules, laws and behaviour and treating others with respect and tolerance at all times.
During July, we will be reflecting on our school rules and behaviour policy. We will consider whether any changes are needed to ensure fairness and justice for all members of our school community.
June - Teamwork
The ability to work together with others, as part of a team, is a vital skill used in all areas of life. Teamwork requires people to work cooperatively with others towards a shared purpose. For a team to work together effectively, it takes all members of the team to respect each other’s abilities and opinions. At school, children experience teamwork in many different forms. They work in pairs, small groups and larger groups on a variety of different things such as in PE or on projects. We know that it can feel great to be part of a team, but if a child feels excluded from a team, it can be an upsetting experience.
During the month of June, we will be supporting children in developing their teamwork skills through a range of activities.
May - Love 
“Let us not love in word or speech but with actions and in truth” – 1 John 3:18

The most important value you can teach your child is love. If a child learns how to give and receive love from an early age then all of the other values will fall into place. All living things require love to survive, including us. First, we must learn to love ourselves in order to develop self-esteem and self-respect. Then we can love others as we become caring, compassionate, thoughtful and kind.
During the month of May, we will be remembering that Mary is the perfect example of the Christian life, who in her own actions shows us true love for Christ. 
April - Problem Solving
An important life skill for children to learn is how to solve problems on their own. The reason for this is that children face a variety of problems every day. Problems ranging from academic difficulties, peer issues, problems on the sports fields, difficulty completing a task, or even deciding what outfit to wear can all benefit from a problem solving process. When children learn problem-solving skills, they gain confidence in their ability to make good decisions for themselves. When children lack problem-solving skills, they may avoid doing anything to try to resolve the issue. Helping children to learn how to identify their options can help them ensure they are making healthy decisions for themselves. Children then need to learn that if they choose a course of action, and it does not resolve the problem, they can always try something else.
During the month of April, we will be supporting the children to develop their problem-solving skills in a variety of contexts. 
March - Thankfulness
Thankfulness, or gratitude, is one of the trickiest concepts to teach children but arguably one of the most important. By learning gratitude, children become sensitive to the feelings of others, developing empathy and other life skills along the way. Grateful children have the ability to look beyond them self and understand that their parents and other people do things for them. Children are not born grateful; recognizing that someone has gone out of their way for you is not a natural behaviour for children, it needs to be learnt.
During March, we will be exploring this notion of ‘Thankfulness’ and relating it to the Easter story.
February - Loyalty
Loyalty comes in many forms, including loyalty to your country, principles, or even yourself. For a child, though, loyalty is an abstract concept. Most children first feel loyalty within their family circle as they gain deep love and appreciation for family members. Later, they'll expand their understanding of loyalty to include ideals. Our culture is often inundated with cynicism and negativity, where television shows depict family members treating each other with sarcasm and derision. To develop loyalty we must all speak positively of family members, community and teachers. We must model looking for the good in others and share positive moments with the children in our care.
During the month of February, we will be exploring this value of Loyalty with the children.
January - Challenge
We know that challenge is something that needs great mental or physical effort. However, it is one thing to say that you want children to experience challenges, but it is quite another to sit tight while they struggle through difficult times.  
Though our natural instinct may be to shield children from struggle, we are better off teaching them coping strategies. No child can make it through life stress-free and, as children get older, they should become increasingly involved in solving their own problems.  
During January we will be asking each child to set themselves a personal challenge. as a means of exploring this notion of challenge and giving opportunity to grow in confidence.
December - Inclusiveness 
How do we help our children to internalize the values that underlie decisions about their actions so that they both develop a strong sense of themselves as an individual but also themselves as belonging to a wider community? Promoting connectedness and inclusion in school and the home is critical in keeping children safe and supporting all children to thrive. As we prepare for this special period in the Catholic Church, we will use the Christmas Story to illustrate and reinforce the learning.
November - Compassion
Children learn compassion through many experiences, including caring for the family pet. But children who participate in programs that teach kindness, respect, empathy, and compassion and who have families that reinforce those strengths at home develop into civically-engaged adolescents with civic identities that last a lifetime. During November, we will be exploring the value of ‘compassion’ through activities such as an assembly on the ‘Compassion of Saints’ and children will be asked to practice compassion through involvement in activities such as the ‘Christmas Shoe Box appeal’.
October - Hard Work 
Throughout October we will be considering how there is great value in hard work. How it teaches perseverance, persistence, and determination and that hard work does pays off. It teaches us to push through when times are tough. We will be exploring this concept with the children and will be helping them to develop an understanding that not everything in life is free or comes easily. This will be done through considering the achievements of personalities in the world of sport, science, politics etc.
September - Courage 
During the month of September, we will be asking the children to consider that courage isn’t just about an heroic act but that it is also about becoming our ‘best selves’. Courage might manifest its self as a brave act but most of the time courage is quieter. It is welcoming a new child to our school, speaking out when a friend is being teased or hurt, sharing your equipment with a friend at school who forgot theirs or picking up rubbish not because you dropped it but because it is the right thing to do. We ask that you find opportunities, within your daily family life, to recognise and celebrate acts of courage.