Statements to Live By
‘Statements to Live By’ is a unique resource initially developed by teachers across the Middlesbrough, Leeds, Hallam, and Hexham and Newcastle Dioceses facilitated by Theresa Laverick, RE Adviser for Middlesbrough and Frank McDermott (formerly Director of Schools for Hallam) and is used successfully in a number of schools throughout the Diocese.
The resource is rooted in nine guiding principles which support the distinctive nature of Catholic schools. The statements make the Catholic values of the school explicit, promote a positive and caring Christian ethos that is understood and communicated to everyone, promote emotional literacy and contribute towards community cohesion and the common good. They ensure that children and young people are given opportunities to:
- Hear the Christian story and encounter the person of Jesus
- Understand their uniqueness as made in the image and likeness of God
- Experience a sense of belonging within a range of communities, including the local Eucharistic community
- Know, appreciate and understand the importance of social justice
- Know that our limitations are also opportunities for growth
- Understand the connection between knowledge and living
- Know that everything has the opportunity to reveal God’s presence to us, ie to see the divine in the ordinary
- Forgive and be forgiven, to reconcile and be reconciled
- Experience fun, humour, imagination, creativity, play and excitement in life
At St Joseph’s every week a different statement such as ‘I try to be just and fair’ is displayed in every classroom and around the school, and introduced and explained to the children, usually through an assembly. Children are encouraged to think about the statement at the beginning of the school day, it is reinforced throughout the day, explored in collective worship and circle times (written specifically for each statement) and reflected upon before going home.
On a Monday, schools hold a reflection session for children to think about the statement in the context of their week. The statements also support the RE curriculum and provide material and suggestions to involve parents and the wider community. Each statement is also linked to the Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning (SEAL) curriculum. CAFOD have also provided material which explores the statements. Some schools link rewards to the statements and present certificates to those children who have lived the statements well that week.
Statements can be used as ‘screen savers’ on computers, displayed in entrance areas, displayed in the staff room and included in briefing notes. Most schools involve parents by sharing the statements in parent newsletters. The resource also includes reflections for adults.