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Saint Gabriel’s College

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Ethos Statement

1. A church of England School

“I came to give life – life in all its fullness” (John 10:10b)

Saint Gabriel’s College is a Church of England school, serving our local community. Our inclusive Christian ethos is rooted in our faith that we are all made in God’s image, and put into practice through our school Christian values, which help us learn and live well together, becoming the people God calls us to be.

We are a joyful and diverse school. We strive to be a community that is hospitable to students and staff of all languages, ethnicities and nationalities, those with special educational needs and disabilities, those who are LGBT, those of all family structures, of all socio-economic backgrounds, of all body types, of all faiths and none.

We are a member of the family of Church of England schools in the Diocese of Southwark. Together we share a distinctive Anglican identity with over 100 primary and secondary schools in south London. We are proud to be part of the Church of England and the Anglican Communion, through which we are members of a worldwide church.

2. Our Vision Statement

“We will all fulfil our unique, God-given potential”

We believe that all our students are made in the image of God and as such are of intrinsic value. Our mission is to help everyone in our school flourish and fulfil their unique, God-given potential. We seek to educate the whole child, pursuing academic excellence through the principles of wisdom, hope, community and dignity.

3. Our School values

Service to Others: following the example of the Son

“So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.” (John 13:14)

The night before he died, Jesus took a bowl of water and a towel and washed his disciples’ feet. He told the disciples he was setting an example for them to follow – an example of love and service.

Service to Others is shown through practical actions and considerate behaviour. We work for justice – for ourselves, for others and the environment. We work to build reconciliation and peace in our communities and in our world. We promote service in school through student leadership and volunteering, and in our community through partnerships with local organisations including our church, other schools and South London Citizens.

Generosity of Spirit: reflecting the generous love of the Father

“While he was still far off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion; he ran and put his arms around him and kissed him.” (Luke 15:20b)

Jesus taught about the generous love which God the Father has for us. He told the story of a son who asked his father for half of everything he owned. The son left home, spent all the money and then came back when he had nothing. The father showed generosity of spirit – instead of being angry, he had compassion on his son, forgave him and welcomed him home.

Generosity of Spirit is shown through our attitude towards others. Generosity is about sharing what we have, and about giving value to other people. We remember the importance of all human relationships, try to act out of love instead of fear, and show compassion and kindness towards other people. We try to show forgiveness when someone has hurt us, not holding grudges but being willing to let go and move on. We respect ourselves and other people, especially those whose opinions, faith or culture are different from our own. We show thankfulness for all the goodness in our lives, and for the opportunities we have been given.

Commitment to Excellence: nurturing the gifts of the Holy Spirit

“Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works.” (Matthew 5:16)

The Bible reminds us that we are called into being by God and made in his image. God fills us with the Holy Spirit to equip us with the gifts we need to fulfil his calling for us. We are called to nurture our gifts and talents by aspiring to the highest standards in our work, offering everything we do as a gift to God.

Commitment to Excellence is shown through our attitude to learning and how we conduct ourselves. We show perseverance when we find things difficult and live in hope for a better future. We practice self-control in our words and our actions, and act with honesty. We practice good stewardship by using our time, talents and money wisely. We expect everyone to work hard to the best of their ability, to be on time with the equipment they need, and to look smart and professional. We set high aspirations to help everyone fulfil their unique, God-given potential, and we celebrate each other’s achievements.

4. Religious Education

“Wisdom is the most important thing. So get wisdom.” (Proverbs 4:7)

Religious Education helps students to explore the depths of wisdom, hope and dignity in different faiths; to listen to the opinions of others; to learn from different traditions; and to discuss controversial issues with sensitivity. Religious Education provides a framework for students to pursue the big questions such as “Who am I?”, “Why am I here?”, “What do I desire?” and “How then Shall I live?” Religious Education encourages students to make connections with their own spiritual journey and by doing so to grow closer to God.

Religious Studies lessons teach our students respect for all backgrounds and beliefs. The major world faiths are studied in Years 7 and 8; Christianity and Islam are studied in depth to GCSE level. We are proud of the diversity in our school and learn to listen to each other as we explore different cultures, faiths and Christian traditions.

The whole school curriculum is designed to draw out, and make connections between, the religious and spiritual dimension within all subjects. This is done primarily through the Big Ideas Curriculum.

5. Collective Worship

“I will sing of your love and justice; to you, Lord, I will sing praise.” (Psalm 101:1)

We hold a daily act of Collective Worship which forms the heart of our community life at school. Our worship is rooted in the Christian tradition of the Church of England, but we work hard to ensure that our worship is inclusive and welcoming to everyone in our school community, both Christian and non-Christian. When we are not able to worship physically together, Collective Worship will take place virtually. Collective Worship takes several forms to provide a wide range of experiences:

  • Assemblies take place every week. They are an opportunity for the Learning Community or year group to meet together to worship and pray, to reflect on our school values and their meaning in our lives, to grow together as a family and to celebrate each other’s achievements as a community.

  • Advisory Worship, which includes Thought for the Week, is a form of daily reflection which take place within each Advisory group in their classroom. It draws on scripture, the school values, contemporary issues and students’ personal experience. It may be led by the Advisor, students within the Advisory, or a visitor. 

  • Faith on Friday is a short time of reflection and contemplative prayer delivered by class teachers or students at the beginning of Period 1 on Fridays. It is based on the Ignatian Examen and provides a moment of stillness and spiritual reflection for staff and students. 

  • Church services happen several times a year in our parish church, St John the Divine. We go to church for important festivals and special occasions in the life of the school, such as Saint Gabriel’s Day at Michaelmas, and the Prefect Commissioning Service.

  • Chapel worship is at the heart of our collective worship and our new school chapel is the heartbeat of the school. Each advisory group has the opportunity to worship in chapel once per full term. 5 Chapel worship can also include Eucharistic and non-Eucharistic acts of worship, and will often include group art projects, prayer stations and Taizé worship.

  • Stillness, quiet, and contemplation are important parts of the Christian tradition and thus included in the daily act of collective worship: a short time of Christian meditation or mindfulness are a key part of all forms of worship.

  • Music is an important feature of worship at St Gabriel’s. Church services will always include a hymn or worship song, and music is regularly used as a form or prayer and reflection during assemblies and advisory. Taizé chants are regularly used to help enable prayer. 

  • Form - Collective worship always includes a liturgical greeting, a bible reading, a time of contemplation or mindfulness, and a time of reflection. Students all get a chance to plan and lead an act of worship as part of their advisory groups twice per year.

As an inclusive Christian school, we welcome students of all faiths and no faith and we are delighted that almost all our students, including most Muslim and Hindu students, are able to attend church services and participate in the service as much as they feel able to.

Our home-school learning agreement asks parents, carers and students to support the Christian ethos of our school. As such we strongly encourage all students, of whatever faith, to come to church. However, parents and carers have the right to withdraw students from all or part of collective worship for religious reasons, and we respect their right to do so. A very small minority of students are withdrawn from church services and have alternative provision in school. Parents and carers wishing to withdraw a student from Collective Worship or RE lessons should do so in writing to the school chaplain.

6. Values for living in Britain (British Values)

“Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.” (Jeremiah 29:7)

As a diverse school with young people from all over the world, we take seriously our responsibility to educate all our students to become active and responsible citizens in modern, multicultural Britain. British Values are upheld, promoted and taught across the curriculum, including democracy, rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance for people of different faiths and beliefs.


Students are taught about democracy from a theoretical perspective in History and PSHCE where they consider the advantages and disadvantages of democracy, and how democracy and the law works in Britain, in contrast to other forms of government in other countries. Students also experience how democracy works by actively promoting democratic processes through the student council whose members are voted for by the students. Our membership of South London Citizens enables students to engage in democracy and politics at local and national level. Students learn to discuss and debate different points of view through the English curriculum, DebateMate club and the Jack Petchey Speak Out Challenge.

The Rule of Law

Students are taught the value and reasons behind the rules which we enforce within the school and also the wider laws that exist within society. Our behaviour systems offer a clear and consistent approach to rules, rewards and sanctions. We have close links with our Police Liaison Officer who regularly visits the school to speak with students and their parents.

Individual Liberty

Students are taught that with rights come responsibilities. The restorative justice behaviour system in the school enables students to take responsibility for their actions and to mend relationships. We educate our students to make informed choices based on the evaluation of facts. For example, students are taught about the risks of using the internet and how they can keep themselves safe.

Mutual respect

Our students learn about respect through our emphasis that everyone is created by God and deserves respect. Our behaviour policy, including our restorative justice system, PSHCE lessons and Advisory time help students build respectful relationships with others.

Tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs

Our inclusive Christian ethos places a strong emphasis on teaching students about the value of respecting difference and embracing diversity. All students study Religious Studies to GCSE, which enables them to learn about the major world faiths and reflect on social and moral issues from different faith perspectives. The vertical Advisory system and PSHCE lessons provide a solid platform for discussions on respect and tolerance, which can be seen in action around the school on a daily basis.