Spiritual Development

Our School Vision


Our vision is to inspire and grow a compassionate community of excellence.
A happy place for our children to shine for God, for each other and for themselves.

 John Bradford (1995) stated ’For a human being, especially a child or young person, to have a full quality of life, spirituality in all its aspects must be nurtured and affirmed.’

In all that we do at St Mary’s Church of England Primary School, we endeavor to nurture and value spirituality.

What is spiritual development?

Spiritual development differs from person to person and is a very personal experience. For this reason, it is difficult to put into words. Spirituality concerns a person’s relationship with themselves, with others, with God (or the transcendent), and with nature and the environment. Spirituality is not the same as having a religion or faith; a person can be spiritual without having a particular faith.

In keeping with our Christian Vision, we recognise that we are all created in God’s image and have a spiritual dimension to our existence. We nurture this through the academic rigour we bring to our work and through our passion to help children and adults to flourish and achieve their God given potential.

In summary, spiritual development is a growing awareness of self and one’s consciousness of relations with others, oneself, the world and the divine. At St Mary’s we believe that the whole of life gives opportunities for character growth. As educators we strive for the best for academic outcomes for our children, but we also believe that to allow children to flourish, education has to be holistic. We have to shape character and the people our children will become – resilient, empowered and strong characters.



Spirituality is a growing awareness of

  • Who I am – friend, character, challenges and responses, understanding myself.
  • How I connect to others – family, friends, characters in a book or on TV, those treated unjustly, characters in history, those I may engage with online.
  • How I feel about the world around me  - the wonder of animals , places I gop on holidays, the natural world.
  • how I feel about the divine – do I have a faith, is it growing? Opportunities for prayer.

How we aim to nurture spirituality

Children’s spiritual development is nurtured through all aspects of our provision. We believe it is important to develop strong relationships using our school Vision and Values as well as the development of knowledge, concepts, skills and attitudes. We give children opportunities to:

  • Have regular time in the day for quiet and reflection. This might be listening to a story, listening to music, use of the reflection areas around school or the prayers said throughout the day.
  • Teacher modelling of attitudes to others, self and the world.
  • Have opportunities for creativity and using their imagination.
  • Sing in lessons and as part of our weekly worship.
  • Explore, express, share and compare feelings and opinions. This is planned into all subjects across our curriculum, but it more focused within our PSHE/ RSE using the Heartsmart scheme, worship and RE lessons. Other structures such as Restorative Justice, Mindfulness and ‘I wonder’ questions, are used to support this further.
  • Constantly reaffirm the importance of relationships. How we talk to and relate with each other is fundamental.
  • Express awe and wonder, appreciate beauty in all its forms, and appreciate the connections and unity in the world.
  • Encourage each other to admit mistakes and to say sorry. Recognising and owning up to faults is an important process that allows us to heal and grow from our experiences. We use structures such FAIL (First Attempt In Learning) and Restorative Justice.
  • Encourage everyone to show kindness, caring and compassion, and to express these in practical ways. (eg: how we treat each other every day; charitable works; through prayers)
  • Read often, giving them opportunities to discuss and reflect. This includes both secular and religious texts, in particular the Bible.
  • Begin to develop their own system of beliefs, which may or may not include religious beliefs.
  • Reflect on the situations of others through role play or stories.




Impact: how do we know this is being effective?

Spiritually has helped to develop children love and accept themselves and enjoy good relationships with each other. 

They take an interest and delight in the world around them and are open to what lies beyond the material (this may manifest itself in faith/belief in God).

They are able to express and understand feelings, as well as respect those of others.

They have a strong moral sense and a love of what is good.

Children often volunteer to pray at the end of Collective Worship.

Our children build strong relationships and genuinely want to make a difference.

They are able to enjoy quiet and stillness, they possess an active imagination, and show joy in creativity and discovering new skills.

Our courageous advocacy work demonstrates hearts that want to make a difference.

Children show a resilience and a respect for life.


Role of adults in promoting spiritual development

All members of the school community have a responsibility for helping to nurture children’s spiritual development.
           School staff can do this through:
  • Establishing and maintaining a partnership between children, parents and staff; recognising and respecting the faith background of the children and their families.
  • Understanding and considering the needs and backgrounds of each individual child.
  • Using our School Vision and Values to be positive role models within the community- promoting respect for other people and their views, showing consideration for and support towards others.
  • Drawing on the experiences of children and their families to support teaching and learning across the curriculum, including RE lessons.
  • Being willing to develop their own knowledge and understanding of the Christian faith and the faiths of others.
  • Taking part in, and supporting, Collective Worship.
  • Having a positive attitude to the value of spiritual education 


    Children can do this through:
  • Respecting the views and beliefs of others.
  • Using our School Vision and Values to help themselves and others to learn.
  • Taking an active part in Collective Worship.
  • Being active learners within lessons to enable them to engage with and develop the skills needed to enable them to fulfil their God given potential. 
  • Participating in learning that allows them to engage in examination of and reflection upon a range of religious belief and practice.


    Parents and Governors can help through:
  • Adopting a positive attitude to the value of spiritual education.
  • Supporting the school’s Christian ethos and acts of community worship.
  • Supporting our trips to St Mary’s and other places of worship.
  • Respecting the views and beliefs of others and demonstrating this to others.
 Spiritual Development at the Heart of the Curriculum

Aspects of spirituality

School opportunities

  A sense of the mystery of life

Literacy – poetry & texts

Children’s questioning

Problem solving

Visits / visitors

Current affairs

I wonder ….

In the moment learning

Chicks to hatch in Reception

A sense of awe and wonder

Everywhere – small things and bog things

Use of all our senses

Worship times


Global school links

Working outside / Millennium Green work


Personal achievements 

A sense of the human capacity for choice, decision making and personal responsibility

‘Do everything in Love’

Lunch time/ break time routines

Restorative justice

British values

Courageous Advocacy

School council

Talking through choices and emotions

Accepting / suggesting consequences

Group work

Playground Buddies

Meeting targets in work

Etho Group work

Behaviour choices in and out of the classroom

  A growing self confidence in expressing inner thoughts

Heartsmart work

Interactive play

Opportunities for prayer

Circle time


Time in the memory garden

  A sense of joy and self-worth and the worth of others
Aspirations work

Peer affirmation

Celebration assemblies

House points

International projects

Health and Safety within school

Celebrating effort and achievement

Challenging any behaviour which puts the other down/ lack of dignity.

Broad curriculum which all can access.

An awareness of disappointment and failure, suffering and pain, decay and loss.

History/ Science/ Stories/ PE / RE/ PHSE

Sports Day


Emotional Resilience

House competitions

Attendance rewards

Christian values of compassion and courage

Child protection / safeguarding issues