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Pupils with a hotline to God


Children at an infants’ school in Southwell use a home-made telephone in the school’s spiritual garden to say their prayers to God.

Pupils at Holy Trinity Infants’ School use the garden as a place for quiet reflection and prayer.

As well as the telephone to God they also have a table to write prayers, which they then hang on a prayer tree near the telephone.

The school has been assessed by an inspector from the National Society Statutory Inspection of Anglican Schools, who judged it to be outstanding in all areas and declared it a model for other schools in the area for its provision of religious education.

The report commends the school for the use of a spiritual garden to help the children focus on prayer.

It said: “Pupils comment on the spiritual garden as a special, quiet place where they can use the telephone and talk to God by the prayer tree that is used to capture their inmost thoughts.”

The inspector looked at the school’s distinctiveness and effectiveness as a Church of England school, how the school met the needs of learners through its Christian character, the impact of collective worship on the school community and the effectiveness of the school’s leadership and management.

The report said: “Holy Trinity is an excellent church school where everyone is welcomed within its strong Christian environment.

“‘I can, you can, together we can,’ is their motto which is lived out in practice. Indeed, this is truly a small school with a big heart.”

The report praised the work of the head, Mrs Julie Rischer, in working with the Vicar of Holy Trinity Church, Southwell, Canon Mark Tanner, to improve religious education.

Mrs Rischer said: “The children are immersed in a distinctive Christian environment that encourages positive independent learning.

“They incorporate Christian values into all areas of the curriculum whether it is expressing awe at the wonder of nature or talking to God on the telephone during role play.

“The children are respectful of the beliefs of other faiths and obviously feel that they, by their caring attitudes, have the ability to reach out to other people in the community.

“This is a report that reflects the attitude of the staff and children here every day and they wholeheartedly deserve to be acknowledged and recognised for that.”

Mr Tanner said: “It’s an outstanding report that reflects really the development of excellence and teaching staff in the school and the warmth with which the head teacher leads the school and the partnership which we as a church and the school enjoy together.

“I think this is important because a school that exists in isolation is a poorer school. A school that works in partnership, not only with the church but with other organisations, is positively engaged in the community.

“It is a credit to the whole school community and particularly the pupils who are just a joy to see in the school, in the community and to take assemblies for.”

The diocesan director of education, the Rev Howard Worsley, said the diocese would present a certificate to celebrate the school’s achievement.

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