Religious Education at St Mark’s encompasses a number of things and we think of RE being a part of our focus on haora/ wellbeing. The ‘Te Whare Tapa Wha’ model includes two parts of the roof of the whare and this is a focus on emotional well-being and spiritual well-being and this is what is focused on in our RE curriculum.
Our weekly Chapel services happen every Wednesday afternoon. These are full of singing, and stories and are a reflective and joyful time, led by our highly-regarded School Chaplain, Dr Reverend Digby Wilkinson.
In our RE time, we explore religion, faith and character development in a number of ways. We learn about the life of Jesus and the stories of the Bible and explore questions such as ‘who are our neighbours’ We use the Anglican Schools Curriculum to do this in a fun and interactive way. The Year 7 and 8 students follow a programme called ‘Middle School Theology’ exploring philosophical questions like ‘What Makes Me, Me?’
Our RE lessons can often connect with our units of inquiry, and we also study and learn about world religions to ensure our students are continuing to become open and internationally-minded young people. We celebrate Diwali, Holi and Chinese New Year as a school with fun celebrations, embracing the diversity of our school community and learning more about the ways people celebrate and remember stories.
We also use this time to focus on mental and emotional well-being, through Pause Breathe Smile, a highly researched and regarded mindfulness programme, and we teach sessions throughout the year. Alongside this, we learn about our school values and expectations and our fortnightly virtues, by thinking about what it means to live and show these values every day.
In 2020, the Anglican Schools team reviewed St Mark’s and were highly impressed with how St Mark’s lives its special character each day. Here is an excerpt from the report:
‘The school is in wonderful heart with high levels of trust within and between all levels of the school community and this is due to a combination of a superb, Christ-focussed senior management team, a vastly improved governance structure, highly dedicated staff, a much-respected chaplain, quality chapel services, excellent music input, small classes, the IB-ethos, the inquiry model of learning and well-cared-for classrooms.’
Anglican Schools Special Character Review- December 2020