What is a voluntary controlled school?
At Dry Drayton Church of England (C) Primary school we welcome children of all faiths and none. It is a voluntary controlled (C or VC) school because it was originally set up by a voluntary body - the Church of England - and is why we have important links with our church and the Diocese of Ely. Voluntary controlled schools are a type of ‘maintained school’, meaning that they are totally funded by central government via the Local Education Authority. In addition to this, VC Schools have a foundation or trust (the Church of England in our case) which has some formal influence in the running of the school.
Our church, St Peter and St Paul, appoints about a quarter of our governors. The school governing body controls the use of the school premises, but it has to follow general rules set by the Local Education Authority. The LEA employs the staff and has primary responsibility for the school's admission arrangements. Pupils at VC schools follow the National Curriculum.
Recognising its historic foundation, the school aims to preserve and develop its religious character in accordance with the principles of the Church of England and in partnership with the Church at parish and diocesan level.
Dry Drayton School has strong links with the Church of St Peter and St Paul, here in Dry Drayton, and we lie within the Diocese of Ely. We work closely with the church and diocese in a number of ways, including:
At Dry Drayton C of E Primary School, our Christian values are embedded across the whole curriculum and all aspects of school life. The children receive a variety of opportunities to explore and learn about their spirituality throughout the school week. There are also opportunities for prayer and reflection during times of worship, in assemblies and at various points throughout the school day.
As a Church school, Collective Worship lead by a member of the clergy, is an important time during which we can learn more about the Christian Faith and it also gives us the opportunity to celebrate God's love and all that is good about life and the world. Through stories, songs, drama, games and prayer, we aim to help the children to develop their spirituality, as well as become more understanding and appreciative of the beliefs of others.
The Christian values we promote through collective worship are the foundation of our school’s Vision, Values and Mission, and therefore are important for all of our pupils to learn, whether they come from a Christian background or not. Parents do have the right to withdraw their children from Collective Worship, but we encourage the involvement of all pupils so that their sense of belonging as a member of our school family and their knowledge and understanding of the people of the world can be strengthened.
The church community of St Peter and St Paul supports us in our Collective Worship. Rev.
Paul regularly leads worship in school, and we also visit the Church for special celebrations, such as Harvest Festival, Christmas, Easter and to celebrate and give thanks for the end of the school year. The planning for the term’s collective worship in partnership with Rev. Paul reflects the time of year, our curriculum and our values.
The Year 6 Worship Leaders are involved with collective worship with lighting the candle and leading prayers especially when we sign the Lord's Prayer or one of our songs.
Throughout the year, there are plenty of opportunities for parents, family and friends to join the school in Collective Worship or for special festivals and celebrations either in school or at church.
Monday Whole School (Led by the head)
Tuesday Whole School (Led by Rev. Paul)
Wednesday Choral/Musical Worship (led by Miss Pergande – an opportunity to sing and reflect on the words in the hymns we have chosen and what they mean)
Thursday Class based Worship (an opportunity to explore the themes and questions from the week, or new items at an age appropriate level)
Friday Celebration Assembly (parents and friends are invited to join us every Friday)
For half of each term we take a different theme as a focus for collective worship, including a Christian value and something topical for the time of year. We think about these in narratives from the bible and in the life of the school to develop the children’s understanding of Christian values in action.
Parents may withdraw their children from Religious Education lessons and collective worship by written request to the Headteacher. RE is intended to be suitable for all our pupils as it includes studying all the major faiths at some point during primary school. It benefits pupils by increasing their understanding and awareness of other people and helps them to respect the rights of others even where they disagree with their views. It contributes to pupils' spiritual, moral and ethical development and is therefore designed to be of educational worth to pupils from all faiths or none.
The governing body includes two ‘Foundation’ Governors, appointed by the Ely Diocesan Board of Education.