Church Foundation and the School Ethos
500 Years ago, a grammar school was founded with a close association with the church of Wimborne Minster, later amalgamating with a county school, to form the current QE School, a state funded C/E Voluntary Controlled school. The school thus combines Church and secular foundations and any statement of its ethos needs to be inclusive, and value-based rather than doctrinal in nature. Each aspect of the school ethos below is derived from a key Christian teaching, expressed in a way that people of different belief systems can identify with.
Who do we think we ARE? Christians believe humans are made in the image of God, for an enriching lasting relationship with God and each other. Each person should be treated as a uniquely valuable individual, in whatever circumstances we relate to them. It is important that in the area of relationships we aspire to EXCELLENCE and not merely to equality or mutual tolerance.
How are we meant to treat one another? We aspire to a model of community where the ethos is one of mutual service – the welfare of the other is sought in preference to one’s own. This is supremely exemplified in the lifestyle and self-sacrifice of Jesus. We seek to move beyond loving our neighbour as ourselves, towards the ideal of loving our enemies. Those with gifts and advantages can use them for the benefit of those less able and gifted than themselves, so the school encourages students to look out for ways of helping and supporting one another, beyond the circle of close friendships or peer groups, into the wider school community. Authority will always be used to build up those who are being served. Mutual respect is a minimum standard - beyond this we will seek to celebrate one another’s achievements and take real pleasure in the success of others. These are challenging but achievable goals.
Tackling success and failure. Christian teaching recognises that there is much wrong with the world we live in, including within ourselves. We believe that there are external absolute standards of right and wrong, and that individuals have responsibility for making good choices in life, and accepting the consequences of their own actions and decisions. We will reward those who make good choices while seeking to robustly correct those making bad choices, helping them to develop more positive attitudes and actions. We recognise our shared responsibility when things go wrong, and we value the experiences and opinions of others. We aim always to try and balance the needs of the individual against the needs of the community.
What happens when we mess up? The Christian message is about transforming grace, not simply reward for success and punishment for failure. We have a bias towards hope, we expect the best from people (while being realistic when things go wrong), we believe that people can and do change for the better, and that we are not the prisoners of past mistakes. When individuals genuinely recognise their own responsibility for failure, there is tremendous potential for healing, reform, and renewal, especially when other individuals from the school community demonstrate this belief in practical ways, with the generous gift of their time, their trust, and the offer of new opportunities. When we have been hurt by the actions of others, forgiveness offers a way of escape, freeing both the hurt person AND the one who has done the hurting, to move forwards and be involved in creating a new and more positive future.
A commitment to hope.The Christian church believes that we are all already on a journey towards wholeness and maturity. We are therefore, committed to hope and a better future, however challenging our present circumstances. We believe in working hard to provide living examples of what is possible in our school community, in the midst of the ups and downs of our present-day lives, so that we can inspire others to emulate our example, and to do better than we have!
Revd Robert M Jones