Bishop on hand to christen new school
The Bishop of St Albans officially re-opened Downside Lower School as St Augustine’s Church of England Academy last week.
The Rt Revd Dr Alan Smith cut the ribbon at the newly-christened church school in Oakwood Avenue on Wednesday, September 19.
The change will mean the academy will, like other church schools, develop its Christian character and ethos.
Dr Smith said: “Church schools welcome children from across the community, irrespective of faith and they teach the national curriculum.
“What sets them apart is that they aim to provide an education of the highest quality within the context of Christian belief and practice.
“Church schools also encourage an understanding of the meaning and significance of faith, and promote Christian values through the experience offered to all pupils. What they offer is unique and rightly highly valued by parents.”
Governors of the school say that due to the school’s close relationship with nearby St Augustine’s church, becoming an academy was the natural step to take.
The move has been widely welcomed by parents, who needed little reassurance that children who did not attend church would still be welcome.
Chair of governors, Councillor Roger Pepworth, said: “We were looking for the best way of giving the school a higher profile, wider relationships and a stronger presence in the local community.
“Staff and Governors are confident that this is the right way forward. There has been significant hard work to get to this point and pupils and their parents have shown much confidence in the staff of the school in their warm welcome for the steps we are taking.”
Principal Marilyn Ravenor said “Parents have been happy about the changes. They want their children to be taught values which equip them for their whole lives.
“Our aspiration is to set our pupils on a course to becoming global citizens, living Christian values.
“The children are very happy with the changes and love their new uniforms. Each child has received a Bible – a children’s edition, rather than the King James Bible which every school received last year.”
Originally built in the same year as St Augustine’s church, 1959, the academy is the latest of the 135 Church schools in the Diocese of St Albans.
For more information visit www.staugustinesacademy.co.uk.
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Friday 24 May 2013
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