St Mary's C of E Primary School

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Courageous Advocacy

How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live in unity!

Psalm 133

What is courageous advocacy?

Courageous advocacy is defined by the Church of England as “the act of speaking out against an issue of injustice, often on behalf of those whose voice is not heard.” At St Mary’s we encourage and support our children to become courageous advocates who believe that they can become ‘agents of change’ to strive towards a fairer and more joyous world. This means that they champion causes that are special and meaningful to them; connected to matters and concerns personal and close to home for them or linked to wider global issues.

Courageous Advocacy at St Mary's

St Mary's C of E Primary School is a strong Christian community where all unite and flourish. Our family is guided by God’s teachings of courage, compassion and community, enabling everyone to thrive as happy and fulfilled individuals. Ignited by God’s Spirit, our children shine as a light in the world.

All acts of courageous advocacy at St Mary's are driven by our school’s Christian vision. Children act together with a purpose that people may live happily together in unity. Our Christian vision encompasses God’s vision that everyone should live well together. Courage is one of our core Christian values and is at the heart of all actions and decision making by children and adults. Another core Christian value is community. We actively promote the value of serving God and by doing that, serving others in the school, local and global communities.

“Serve one another in love.” (Galatians 5:13)

In collective worship, RE lessons and other times of reflection and prayer, biblical references are explored to deepen children’s understanding and enable them to live out our Christian vision and values to serve others and enable themselves and others to flourish. Children learn how Jesus demonstrated values of courage, community and compassion, and are inspired to follow His example. Children and adults learn about the life of Jesus and God’s vision for the world and reflect on the message of the Bible in the context of their own character and actions.

Jesus spoke up for people who were disadvantaged, disempowered and ignored by their communities. Children are encouraged to reflect on Jesus’ actions and teachings to inform their own values, judgements and courageous choices. Other learning experiences, including, PSHE lessons, character education and learning about British values, enables children to grow in character and independence, develop their sense of respect and justice, and grow in courage “to speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves” (Proverbs 31:8).

The Church of England also promotes the Christian values of wisdom, community and dignity as key values associated with courageous advocacy. For more insight into the theology behind courageous advocacy, refer to section 1 in the Church of England document, ‘Courageous Advocacy’.

Church of England 'Courageous Advocacy'

The fact that our rich, ambitious and inclusive curriculum, is underpinned by our Big Ideas of: Wellbeing; Character, Courage and Resilience; Identity and Diversity; Growth and Aspirations; Restorative Relationships & Reconciliation; Communities and Culture, ensures that character education is a golden thread throughout the whole curriculum. Character education contributes towards children acquiring with the knowledge, skills, virtues and strength of character to act courageously.

At St Mary's, aspirational teaching encourages and challenges children to be their best selves, to take pride in their work, and to be positive members of the school and wider communities. Lessons and experiences across the curriculum, opens the children’s eyes to an understanding of the world, their place in it and how they can act to make positive changes for their local and global communities. Children learn about their own and other communities and world events and issues. They learn about people in history and present day who have shown courage and compassion whilst acting courageously to make the world a better place. This offers children hope and the tenacity to succeed in their endeavours.

Driven by our aim for our children to ‘shine as a light in the world’, staff encourage the children to become ‘agents of change’, championing causes which are especially meaningful for the children themselves. Children research charities and causes that they feel particularly drawn towards, often issues linking to their own lived experiences. The children immerse themselves in fact-finding, debate, planning and taking courageous actions to make a positive difference to the school environment, local and/or global communities. Staff equip the children with skills to research, discuss, challenge, confidently voice their views and opinions, convince others to support their cause, and to become active citizens now and for the future. Children talk passionately about the actions they take and the impact it has on others as well as themselves.

 ‘Carry One another’s burdens. And in this way you will fulfil the law of Christ.’ (Galatians 6:2)

“If the purpose of education is the promotion of life in all its fullness and human flourishing, then this must, by necessity, involve developing young people who can learn to flourish in every aspect of their lives – young people who can work for the flourishing of others and for the planet we share.”

(Church of England ‘Courageous Advocacy’)

Courageous Advocacy Projects