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Each week students are introduced to a key theme. The theme is designed to fit with events that are taking place at Kings and the wider world. Links are explicitly made to Christian belief and practice, and the school values ‘Kings principles of PRIDE’ as well as other faith perspectives and secular approaches. Assemblies, curriculum events and the tutor programme are designed to enrich students in their learning and spiritual development.
Students engage with the theme and are encouraged to have ‘think’ time, allowing for philosophical enquiry, quiet reflection and spiritual contemplation.
Literacy is also strengthened by having a word of the week which is considered within the context of the weekly theme.
Here is the theme and word of the week programme for the Spring term 2021:
This week our theme is - Honesty
Being honest with ourselves is something that most of us find difficult. We often find it really difficult to admit that we are good at something, or to show others that we can do something.
I wonder how many times you have been in a situation where you know the answer, but you say nothing, because you doubt yourself. Or when you have done something really well and when anyone praises you, you say “Oh it was nothing.” When actually you should be really proud of yourself and if you were being honest with yourself, it was amazing and you really worked hard.
Being honest with yourself shouldn’t mean that you are overly critical. You should see the good in yourself as well as the negatives.
The Bible verse in the picture is basically telling us "Don't sweat the small stuff." Our life and lifestyle should not be all about what we wear, or what we eat. We shouldn't be stressing about things which are not important. What Jesus meant was, focus on the big picture, think about your life and lifestyle as a whole, rather than worrying about every tiny little thing. It is more important that you are kind, generous, loving, friendly, supportive, helpful, courageous. These are the things that are important in life, not whether you are wearing the "right clothes." Making the right choices about the way that you live is important; we should all be trying to do what we can to look after ourselves, each other and the planet. If we focussed on these aspects of our lifestyle and didn't worry about the small stuff, it would be better for us and for everyone else.
Free will is a strange thing, it means that we as humans can make our own decisions. It means that we are not controlled. Now, you may assume that Free Will is, therefore, brilliant; we can choose to love, we can choose to be kind, we can choose where we live and where we work, we can choose whether we have any religious beliefs or not. Unfortunately, some people use free will to choose crime, to choose hatred, to choose violence.
What do you use your free will for? For good or for bad? Do you think about your choices or do you just react? Free will means that we can choose to make the world a little bit better, but to do that we need to make the right choices.
Stewardship means “The careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one’s care.”
We as human beings are STEWARDS of our world. We have a responsibility to look after our planet, its animals and its resources. As Christians we do this because God has given us this amazing planet to live on, to use, but also to look after. Whether you believe that or not is not the important thing here. The important thing is that we realise that we are stewards and that we all have a responsibility to do what we can to sustain and care for the Earth.
Some things that we do will be small, like picking up litter or recycling. Other things may take more thought and effort like buying clothes and goods from companies that have good records of caring for the environment. Some of us may be involved with charities that contribute to stewardship, for example you might sponsor an endangered animal. However, big or small our contribution, it is important that we strive to do everything that we can to look after our amazing planet. After all, do you want to be the one to tell your grandchildren or great grandchildren that you knew all about climate change, but did nothing; that you knew that animals were going extinct, but didn’t care; that you knew we were running out of oil, but still carried on using it.
Easter gives us a real chance to focus on Hope. The death of Jesus on the cross is not just an event in a book written nearly 2000 years ago, for many of us, as Christians, it is an ongoing reminder that there is life after death. A reminder that there are new beginnings to come, that there is always the chance to start again. It reminds us that we worship a living God.
We can’t celebrate Easter in church as we normally would as a school, but the message of Easter still comes through. Follow this link to find out what different church leaders in Cheddar Valley have to say about Easter https://web.microsoftstream.com/video/8a3638b2-00d5-4cf7-b34f-ea9c33d8a7fa
We wish all our students, their families and the staff a happy, Blessed and safe Easter.
Summing up: Be agreeable, be sympathetic, be loving, be compassionate, be humble. That goes for all of you, no exceptions. No retaliation. No sharp-tongued sarcasm. Instead, bless—that’s your job, to bless. You’ll be a blessing and also get a blessing.
1 Peter 3:8
Compassion is the ability to see someone in need and then help, to do something about it. It is more than showing sympathy, more than showing empathy and understanding; it is realising that someone is struggling, that they need help and support and then actually being that help and support.
How can you show compassion in your everyday life? It doesn’t have to be big, you don’t have to try to change the world for everyone, but you might just change the world for one person!
I wonder how often we focus on what we can see and not on what has gone on in the background? How often do we worry about good things look and not on how good they actually are?
How we structure and build our lives is important. Sometimes the hard work and effort that we put in is not seen, but it is there. Building our lives on the right foundations is so much more important than having the right make-up, being the right size, listening to the right music etc.
We should be building our lives on good solid foundations, that will see us through good times and bad times. These are the building blocks which should be the foundation of our lives.
Having the theme of “Life” for this week is so appropriate. This morning Kings went from having about 60 students in every day to having 1200 in school. Life is indeed returning, there is a buzz of noise everywhere you go. The playgrounds are full of chatter and laughter again at break and lunchtime. The classrooms are full and we learn to live together in a community once again.
In the reading Jesus says that he has come “that they might have life and that they might have it more abundantly.” This is truer today than ever before. Even though many of the students might not have said so, they have all enjoyed being back in school. The have seen friends that they haven’t seen since before Christmas, their lessons are more interesting in person, practical subjects begin to start again. It really does seem that this is a time of new life.
We hope and pray that this is the beginning of the end, of the pandemic, that our lives will return to more and more normality, this will allow everyone to live life more abundantly.
This week’s theme is Fact/Fiction; its World Book Day, so we focus on reading. I think we forget how dependant we are on the written word, but it is everywhere. Even those of us who use the Internet rather than actual written documents, are still dependant on the written word.
Sometimes I feel that I haven’t picked up a proper book, with a story, for years; but then I realise that I have still been reading, emails, text books, theology books (maybe that’s just me), Facebook, WhatsApp, etc. I am reading all the time.
The one book that I read every single day is the Bible. I don’t read loads of it, just a couple of sentences or so. It pings up on my iPad every morning, a couple of verses, a picture and a thought for the day. It’s one of the first things that I do every day. It sets me up for what is to come. It gives me something to think about.
What do you read that makes you think?
I don’t know how many of you watched the Inauguration on Wednesday, but this young lady was amazing. If you haven’t seen her speak her poem, it is well worth looking up.
See Amanda Gorman's inaugural address here
I used this quote in this week’s assembly, because I think it is great and because it fits so well with the theme of “Light in the Darkness”. We have to keep looking for the positives. It is particularly important this week, because on 27th January it is Holocaust Memorial Day. It might seem strange to have the theme of “Light in the Darkness” as a theme for such a week. But even in the darkest moments of the Holocaust, there were glimmers of light and hope. The citizens that risked their own lives to hide Jews, the parents who ensured that even in the camps, their children had food, individuals like Maximillian Kolbe. There is always light. There is always hope.
So take time this week to think about what is good, to look for the light, the positives, the good things. It maybe that it is light as you drive to work for the first time in ages. Spot the snowdrop when you are out for a walk. Look for the buds beginning on the trees. Friends phoning to check that you are OK. Communities helping those who need it. The light is there, but we may have to look a little harder.
Where do you get your inspiration? Is there a person, a picture a piece of music, that you always turn to when you find things difficult, when you need that little bit of a push?
At the moment, we all find ourselves dealing with a situation that is unlike anything that we have had to deal with before. It’s really difficult to find the inspiration to do what we need to do, whether that is logging on and working from home, or coming into school. Whether you have a full day ahead of you with lots of different activities, or a long day with not much to focus on, just remember that you are not alone.
As a Christian, I believe that I can do all the things that I need to do, because I am not on my own. I have Jesus Christ to strengthen me, to inspire me, to help when things get tough. Just don’t forget, that sometimes Jesus might take the form of a friend, or a member of the family, and help you through by prompting them to be there for you.
We use words all the time, we talk, we listen, we text, we email. We see words all around us and we cannot function without them.
Words are very powerful; they can be a matter of life or death. They can harm or hurt. As Chaplain I spend quite a lot of my time listening to students who have fallen out with friends, so much of this starts with “S/he said this about me, then someone told me that s/he said this.” The quote from Proverbs was written nearly 4000 years ago, but it is so relevant today, “Without wood a fire goes out; without gossip a quarrel dies down.” I wonder how quickly arguments and quarrels would die down if others didn’t keep gossiping and stirring? How much better our community would be. It is worth stopping every time we think about passing on something we have heard, does it need to be passed on? Will it help? Is it kind? Would we like it if someone said that about us?
This year marks 100 years since the Unknown Warrior was buried in Westminster Abbey.
This is what happened.
Four bodies from the thousands of British soldiers who could not be identified were selected.
On the night of 7th November 1920. The General Officer in charge of troops in France and Flanders, Brigadier General L.J. Wyatt, with Colonel Gell, went into the chapel alone, where the bodies on stretchers were covered by Union Flags. They had no idea from which area the bodies had come. General Wyatt selected one and the two officers placed it in a plain coffin and sealed it. The other three bodies were reburied.
On the morning of 11th November the coffin was placed, on a gun carriage drawn by six black horses of the Royal Horse Artillery. It then began its journey through the crowd-lined streets, making its first stop in Whitehall where the Cenotaph was unveiled by King George V. The King placed his wreath of red roses and bay leaves on the coffin. His card read "In proud memory of those Warriors who died unknown in the Great War. Unknown, and yet well-known; as dying, and behold they live. George R.I. November 11th 1920". The coffin then continued to Westminster Abbey where it was buried. The grave was filled in, using 100 sandbags of earth from the battlefields, so even though the soldier is buried with Kings and Queens in Westminster Abbey, he is still buried in the same earth as his fallen comrades.
When we think about giving, we often focus on money or presents. But giving can be so much more. You can give your skills, your time, your Knowledge, your abilities. This week think about what you can give that will really make a difference to someone. It may be money, but you might be able to make a huge difference to an individual just by giving your time, to sit with them, to listen to them, to simply be with them. It might not make a huge difference to the world as a whole but giving time to someone might mean the world to them.
We often hope that our dreams will come true, but it does depend on the dream!
If we want our dreams, our ambitions, our aspirations to come true, we must work towards them. Martin Luther King famously said, “I have a dream, that one day my four children will be judged, not by the colour of their skin, but by the content of their character.” It is a dream that we are still working toward, in many places in the world we have a long way to go before Martin Luther King’s dream can come true. But Martin Luther King did not just say that this was his dream, he did everything he possibly could to make his dream come to. He was so committed to his dream that he was prepared to go to jail and ultimately to sacrifice his life. He did all he could to achieve his dream; do we do all that we can to achieve our dreams?
This week we would normally be in church, we would sing, we would bring in gifts for the Food Bank; But this year we can’t do any of those things because of Covid19.
Instead I have asked the students to work as a tutor group on an acrostic poem. They have to use the phrase
Take a close look at the image. You can see that the body here is made up of lots of different people. Each one is different, no two are exactly the same size or shape. It reminds me of the story in 1 Corinthians 12: 14-20, where St. Paul talks about each part of the body being important and each having its own value and its own role in the function of the body.
This week we are encouraging the students to think about co-operation. Co-operation is all about working together and getting on with each other. In order to work well together and co-operate we need to value each other. In the body each organ has its own value, its own purpose, but each organ also relies on other organs. They do not function independently. We have to be the same, we must value ourselves as individuals and value each other equally if we are to co-operate.
This week we welcome our students back to Kings. With one-way systems, masks and staggered break and lunch it is very different, but it is still Kings and our community has been apart for many months. But we are back, we are together again, and now we must work together, staff and students. Showing love to each other in this context means looking out for each other, caring for each other. This could be checking up on a friend, or spotting that someone is unhappy. It could be holding a door open for a teacher or showing a younger student where they must go. Once again lots of small, random acts of kindness, will help us to become a great community.