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Being a Church School

Dewhurst St Mary Church of England School is a Church school within the Diocese of St Albans. As a Church school, we have a Christian character and uphold Christian values. This gives our school a sense of community and supports us in creating a nurturing and caring environment for our pupils. We aim to enhance pupil’s spirituality and we have created our own Dewhurst St Mary logo;








What do parents think of our Christian ethos?

“As a parent, I really appreciate the fact that the school educates and teaches values as well as the curriculum. It assures me that my child has the best chance of becoming a well rounded individual” quote from a parent.
“The school values of love, hope and faith are vividly captured by the care and support our daughter enjoys” quote from a parent.
“A quality inclusive learning environment” quote from a parent
“The weekly newsletter is a great way to see what the school value is each week, which can be implemented at home also” quote from a parent.
“The challenging health situation she went through was met with compassion by the school staff, and every effort has been made to ensure she continues to thrive academically and grow in self-confidence” quote from a parent.
Taken from a parent questionnaire.

Church of England Vision for Education: Deeply Christian, Serving the
Common Good

The Church of England vision for education is deeply Christian, with Jesus’ promise of ‘life in all its fullness’ at its heart. In line with the Church of England’s role as the established Church, the vision is for the
common good of the whole community.
Educating for wisdom, knowledge and skills: enabling discipline, confidence and
delight in seeking wisdom and knowledge, and developing talents in all areas of life.
Educating for hope and aspiration: enabling healing, repair and renewal, coping wisely
when things go wrong, opening horizons and guiding people into ways of fulfilling
Educating for community and living well together: a core focus on relationships,
participation in communities and the qualities of character that enable people to
flourish together.
Educating for dignity and respect: the basic principle of respect for the value and
preciousness of each person, treating each person as a unique individual of inherent

Links with the Church

We have excellent links with St Mary the virgin Church opposite our school.

We visit the church throughout the year for worship at Harvest, Christmas, Easter and at the end of the year for a leaver’s service.

Children take part in collective worship in school daily and we say our school prayer and the Lords Prayer during worship.

Christian Values and Ethos

Our unique Christian vision and principles underpin the foundation of the life and work of our school. Every Church of England School has the Ethos Statement below as part of its statutory Instrument of Government. This is the statement from which all other documents flow, including the school’s vision statement.
Dr Rowan Williams, the former Archbishop of Canterbury explained that the ethos of church schools runs deep: “Recognising its historic foundation, the school will 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. The school aims to serve its community by providing an education of the highest quality within the context of Christian belief and practice. It encourages an understanding of the meaning and significance of faith and promotes Christian values through the experience its offers to all its pupils.”

You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.
Matthew 5:14-15

“A Christian school is one in which the atmosphere has that kind of openness about it, that sense that people are worth spending time with, that people need time to grow, need loving attention. The Christian Gospel says that every person has a unique task to do, with God, and for God, whether they know it or not.
“It doesn’t necessarily mean than everyone involved has to share the same theology or philosophy. It doesn’t mean that everyone knows that they have this relationship with God, and is consciously working at it. But a Christian school is one in which the entire atmosphere is pervaded by the conviction that there is something mysterious, and potentially wonderful, in everybody.”

  • We are a School in which every child understands his or her individual goals and feels encouraged and supported in reaching and exceeding them.
  • We are a Church School and we all uphold Christian values. We always embrace kindness and good behaviour.
  • We are a School in which we all feel safe and valued and are given the opportunity to express our emotions appropriately.

The Church of England has a Statement of Entitlement which states what pupils are entitled to, please see the link below and select Statement of Entitlement;

C of E Statement of Entitlement

Our School Prayer

Bless those who help us learn, and those with whom we play,
Bless those who care for us in our school each day.
Bless me as well Lord, yet one more thing I pray,
Help me do the best I can in every single way.

Each class says a daily prayer usually at the end of the day and encourages the class to reflect using their prayer corners in the classroom.

St Mary the Virgin Church is located in Churchgate, Cheshunt.

Inside the church there are a number of memorials including one for the Dewhurst family who were founding members of the Dewhurst Schools, ( Dewhurst St Mary Primary School, Churchfield Primary School and St Mary’s CE High School).

St Mary’s CE High School continues to be supported by the Dewhurst Trust and the Trust is responsible for the appointment of Foundation Governors who are on St Mary’s Board of Governors.

The School uses the church for significant services throughout the school year and provides an opportunity for the school and local community to worship and celebrate together.

Once each year in the spring term, our students join the children from Churchfield and St Mary’s High School for a Founders Day service to celebrate and give thanks for the lives of our founders.

Diocesan Vision

Living God’s Love is the vision of the parishes, church schools and chaplaincies across Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Luton and Barnet. This vision is grounded in the love of God and love of neighbour flowing from God’s love for us. Its three priorities are:

  • going deeper into God
  • transforming communities
  • making new disciples

The Diocesan Board of Education works to see church schools at the heart of the Diocese’s mission.

The Vision of the Diocesan Board of Education 

In January 2019, the Board of Education introduced its revised vision for education: ‘Living God’s Love in Education: Enabling Life in all its Fullness’.

Underpinned by the National Church of England vision for education and our diocesan vision, the Board of Education will ‘Live God’s Love in Education’ through creative and innovative partnerships with local, regional and national partners. In ‘Enabling Life in all its fullness’, the Board will work alongside those providing statutory services to schools, delivering advice and support in a distinctively Christian manner which enables all to flourish.

Across the next three years, the Board will work towards:

  • 90% of its schools being deemed to be good or outstanding church schools
  • Over 90% of its schools using Understanding Christianity as a means of deepening pupils’ knowledge and understanding of the Christian faith
  • Delivering two diocesan-wide initiatives a year which promote an understanding of Living God’s Love through community, worship and prayer
  • Extending and developing its work to promote pupil and staff wellbeing through training, away days and retreats
  • Increasing the number of pupil places available in Church of England schools, especially in the 11-18 age range

A Family of Church Schools

The Schools Team liaises with the 138 Anglican church schools in the Diocese of St Albans, covering six Local Authorities: Bedford Borough, Central Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire, Luton, the London Borough of Barnet and Buckinghamshire. 23 schools are academies. Most of the schools are primary phase, but there are 5 secondary schools and 5 middle schools which are deemed secondary.