The Federation of Briar Hill Infant and St Margaret’s C of E Junior Schools

Get in touch

St Margaret’s CE Junior School



'How good and pleasant it is when God's people live together in unity'

(Psalm 133 v1)


As a highly inclusive Church of England school, our Christian vision celebrates and respects the diversity of our school community. There is a shared understanding that everyone is made in God’s image, regardless of faith, culture or background, and that we all have a spiritual dimension to our existence.


We value spirituality as integral to the holistic development of every child and as a principle aspect of Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural Education (SMSC). Led by our Christian vision, St Margaret’s children are guided and nurtured along the path of life, learning and spiritual development.


The spiritual development of children is fostered through all aspects of our provision. The Federation’s broad, balanced and aspirational curriculum and school ethos creates an environment that nurtures, encourages and supports the minds, bodies and souls of all children and adults to be the best that God intended. Whilst encountering a wide range of opportunities that enable their own spiritual journey to flourish, children and adults develop their sense of self and uniqueness, and develop their worldview whilst flourishing spiritually, socially, academically and personally.


At St Margaret’s, children learn that spiritual development is different for everyone and is a very personal and unique experience that evolves throughout a person’s lifetime, but one that happens in a community alongside others. It is recognised that spirituality is the essence of being human and that a person can be spiritual without having a particular faith. In line with our Federation vision, the uniqueness of all children and adults is respected, explored and valued, allowing everyone to flourish and live life in all its fullness.  


Flourish as a family, love to learn, make memories and shine!

What is spirituality?

Spirituality is at the foundation to ‘living life in all its fullness’. At St Margaret’s we see spirituality as ‘What makes me, me and you, you’. It is the way in which we utilise our thoughts and emotions to reflect, respond to, and seek to give meaning and purpose to the experiences that we encounter in life. It helps us to understand ourselves and our place in the world.


Spirituality relates to fundamental questions about the meaning and purpose of life which affect everyone and is not dependent on a religious belief. Throughout the curriculum at St Margaret’s, children experience opportunities to become good listeners and deep and critical thinkers. The exploration and consideration of Big Questions, and opportunities to ask their own, contributes greatly to children's spiritual development. 

Spirituality is not something we can see; it is something we feel inside ourselves. It is about awe and wonder, asking and answering Big Questions about life, belief and a search for identity where an answer may evoke feelings and an understanding that there is something ‘bigger’ than ourselves.

Spirituality is the way in which we utilise our thoughts and emotions to reflect, respond to, and seek to give meaning and purpose to the experiences that we encounter in life. It helps us to understand ourselves and our place in the world. Opportunities throughout our curriculum allow children to develop qualities such as perseverance, and resilience. This serves them well as they encounter a wealth of experiences and challenges along their life’s journey; strengthening their awareness that they can learn from their mistakes and be proud of what they have achieved.


The former Archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey, wrote:


“Church schools know that their viscera is not just about acquiring skills and good examination results.  It is about forming people who have the moral strength and spiritual depth to hold to a course and weather ups and downs.”

How we explain spirituality to children

It can be very challenging to explain spirituality to young children. Therefore, we use analogies to which the children may connect and help ignite and develop their understanding.


For example, by looking at a ring donut!


This tasty treat is used to represent a person, their mind body and soul. With the soft, sweet outer ring easy to describe and representing a person’s mind and body. The important inner hole is an essential part to make the cake a whole ‘ring donut’. There is nothing seen in that space and so it is more difficult to understand, describe and explain, but it is still important. This space inside the donut illustrates where our spiritual self lives; where our beliefs, faith and ideas support us to share our outer selves with the world; something special ‘beyond’ the tangible that makes us whole.



Likewise, other hooped images can also be used to illustrate spirituality, such as a hoola hoop or a bicycle wheel, where the central unseen parts of the structure form the whole object and give it purpose. However, donuts are often the most popular! Children are also encouraged to describe and illustrate spirituality in their own way through written and spoken word and the creative arts.



As a school with a Christian foundation, we promote the Christian message that we are all made in God’s image (Genesis 1:27). This underpins our inclusive approach and the value that is placed on every individual. In the story of The Potter (Isiah 64:8), the image of God being a potter making people out of clay is used. We can all see ourselves as unique pieces of pottery.


In life, things happen that impact on the physical ‘pot’ of life that may create marks or even cracks, Cracks may be formed when something good and breath-taking happens – we term these the ‘WOWs’ of life. Changes can also happen when something challenging occurs – these we call the ‘OWs’ of life. They can also form in the stillness and ordinariness of everyday life – the ‘NOWs’ of life and times of stillness.


The example of the Japanese ceramic art of ‘Kintsugi’ is used to illustrate where cracks in a piece of pottery are embellished with a golden type of adhesive, creating something more special and beautiful than the original. Using this metaphor, the possibility of ‘marks and cracks’ made by the ‘WOWs’, ‘OWs’ and ‘NOWs’ of life being filled with gold, and becoming more special and unique is explored. The gold in the cracks reflecting a little of the wonder of spirituality.


How do we grow spiritually?

Spirituality is the recognition of your soul, the soul of others and that there is something greater than ourselves. The renowned researcher, consultant and trainer in the field of children's spirituality, Rebecca Nye (2009), wrote about children’s spirituality being defined as the development in relational awareness within four elements of spirituality; learning about Ourselves, Others, The World and Beyond.



Children develop their sense of self-perception, an understanding, awareness and acceptance of themselves as being a unique person. This involves a searching for meaning and purpose – asking questions such as, ‘What makes, me, me?’ and ‘Why me?’ at significant times in their life.


As their insight, intuition and capacity to express their innermost thoughts and feelings grows, children develop an awareness of and ability to express their feelings. Children explore and develop imagination and creativity, plus demonstrate gratitude for the things they have and the person they are. At St Margaret’s we see this as children developing an understanding of what makes their spirit shine.


Children engage in opportunities to reflect on their experiences; to meditate on life’s big questions and to consider some possible answers. They reflect upon the origins and purpose of life and explore their personal faith, beliefs and values. They learn from life and develop in resilience by exploring their own insights and perspectives and those of others. They strengthen their awareness that they can learn from their mistakes and be proud of what they have achieved.


As they learn about and forge relationships with other people, children recognise, value and respect the worth of each individual, demonstrating and understanding how empathy, concern, compassion and other values and virtues affect relationships. Children develop empathy with others and learn to love and be loved.


Archbishop Tutu captured this concept of the importance of relationships as part of spiritual development when he said:


“A person is a person through other persons; you can’t be human in isolation, you are human only in relationships.”


Children demonstrate emotional responses to beauty, kindness and injustice; growing an awareness of when it is important to control emotions and feelings and how to learn to use feelings as a source of growth. Through ‘loving thy neighbour’ children develop a sense of duty and develop their capacity to make a difference by becoming courageous advocates. In helping us to reflect on who we are and the needs of others, spiritual development allows us to think about how we can improve the lives of others and as a result improve our happiness through sharing, caring and being kind. At St Margaret’s all children act as agents of change through their courageous advocacy projects, fund raising and taking part in awareness days.

The World

Children are born inquisitive. At St Margaret’s we nurture this innate sense of natural curiosity and guide children towards noticing the world with awe and wonder. A wide range of learning opportunities and first-hand experiences enables children to respond to the beauty and delights of the physical and creative world. Children learn to enjoy and respond to the miracles of everyday life and appreciate art and nature. Children are inspired by the mystery of the natural world and human achievement, and learn about the significant role they play in protecting our world.


Across the curriculum, children are encouraged to ask, contemplate and answer Big Questions about life, religion, nature, science and anything about the world that fascinates them. Children become aware of the world in new ways; to wonder about life’s ‘WOWs’ (things that are amazing and breath-taking), ‘NOWs’ (times of stillness) and ‘OWs’ (challenging events that bring us up short).


Other experiences, such as times of reflection and prayer, allow children opportunities related to the transcendental where they may explore and develop an understanding of something outside the ‘everyday’. They develop a sense of what lies beyond material or physical things that they can physically see and touch. This type of spiritual learning may give rise to a feeling or belief in the existence of something that cannot be directly seen. This may be a divine being, perhaps encountering or connecting with God or developing their own faith and values.


Children begin to understand that that one’s inner resources provide the strength and ability to rise above everyday experience. Children relish opportunities to ask, explore and debate Big Questions that help them to understand themselves and their sense of the world and beyond. 


What makes your spirit shine?

Everyone’s spiritual development evolves on its own pathway and people find that they resonate with one or more different spiritual styles. Children and adults at St Margaret’s are encouraged to reflect, explore and discover which spiritual style suits them best by asking the Big Question: What makes your spirit shine?


This enables them to participate in an ongoing process of spiritual realisation and to flourish in a way that will help them find peace, comfort and strength throughout life’s ever-changing journey. Children take delight in sharing what makes their spirituality shine.


Here are some examples of spiritual styles of which a person may prefer and connect with one or more:



People who seek spiritual connection through words of stories, poetry, songs, hymns and prayers. This can involve an be listening to words or reading them.



People who enjoy being able to express themselves emotionally, often creatively, through drama, dance, art or music.



Some people enjoy the mystery of symbols and rituals such as the beauty of a stained-glass window, prisms of light, meditation and chants, imagery and reflection opportunities. During school worship we use the symbol of a candle to set the tone and sense of calm for an invitational time of reflection, prayer and worship.



Some people find that times of quiet and stillness, perhaps involving meditation or yoga practises, enhance their spiritual awareness and receptivity.



Other people are energetic ‘doers’, actively seeking out means to express their spiritual thoughts and beliefs with others. For example, by writing letters, debating or other practical forms of sharing beliefs.



Children and adults may find that particular places in and out of school serve as the best places for them to learn, reflect and respond. For some, this may be at home, outside amongst nature, a place of stillness or whilst visiting a place of worship.

Experience Pentecost visit to Coventry Cathedral - May 2023

Understanding Faith Day - What makes our spirit shine? - March 2023

Understanding Faith Day - What makes our spirit shine? - March 2023

Opportunities for Spiritual Development at St Margaret’s


Reflection and prayer

Place and time for prayer and stillness is highly valued and is seen as an opportunity for spiritual reflection and connection. Everyone is invited to connect with, reflect upon and share the messages that personally resonate with them. A rich culture of reflection is evident in the reflection areas prominent in each classroom and within the school grounds. Children, adults and their families are also welcomed to pray and have moments of stillness at St Margaret’s Church, listen to others and join in with or listen to times of uplifting music and song. 


Collective Worship

Pupils and adults at St Margaret’s understand that worship provides a meaningful opportunity to contribute towards their spiritual development. In line with our Christian vision and curriculum intent, worship at our school is always inclusive, invitational and inspirational and raises aspirations. Carefully and deliberately planned worship themes enable the community to explore and reflect upon the Christian vision, core Christian values and messages, as well as significant local and global events.


The language of spirituality is regularly and explicitly shared. Worship allows children and adults opportunities for prayer, reflection, stillness and worship, including a connection with music and singing.


To help children and adults to identify links to spiritual development, we use symbols of a candle, window, mirror and open door to identify key aspects of school worship.


A candle symbolises, invites and prepares the children for a time of worship, reflection and prayer. The greeting, “May peace be with you” and response, “and also with you” also settles the community in a moment of stillness in advance of the teaching and learning to come within the worship session.


This symbol indicates opportunities developing learning and knowledge and an awareness of the world in new ways. Looking through windows helps us to become aware of the world in new ways and to wonder about life’s ‘WOWs’, ‘NOWs’ and ‘OWs’.


Learning new concepts and listening to experiences of others, enables all members of the school community to learn about life in all its fullness and glory. They make connections and look inwards to reflect on their own feelings, learning and experiences, enabling them to develop their individual worldview, making sense of themselves and their place in the world.


This symbol highlights opportunities for children and adults to reflect on their own experiences as well as the experiences, insights and perspectives of others. They meditate on life’s big questions, considering and sharing possible answers. Thinking deeply about new concepts and trying to connect to what we already know can evoke a ‘penny drops’ moment when it fits into our pre-existing web of understanding. This can sometimes result in an emotional response that is visibly and audibly seen.

Open Doors

Through what is learnt and acquired during worship, children and adults move forward in life a little altered, intrinsically motivated, fulfilled and inspired by the experience. The symbol of a door reminds us that we can all respond and make choices, perhaps to do something creative and courageous in expressing, applying and further developing our thoughts, beliefs and convictions. Children learn that as they develop their worldview that they can put into action what they are coming to believe and value.


Find out more about collective worship at St Margaret’s HERE.

How do we know that spiritual development is effective at St Margaret’s?

Spirituality has helped our children to love and respect themselves and enjoy good positive relationships with others. They take an interest and delight in the world around them and openly share their love of learning. They are open to what lies beyond, including in developing their spirituality, and for many, a faith and belief in God.


St Margaret’s children can articulate the school’s Christian vision and a developing understanding of Christian and positive life values, including British Values. They are able to express, understand and manage their feelings as well as respecting those of others. They have a strong moral compass and engage in courageous advocacy projects as active, caring and responsible citizens. They are able to enjoy quiet and stillness. They possess an active imagination and show joy in creativity and discovering new skills.

Role of Religious Education (RE) in Spiritual Development

The Church of England’s ‘Statement for Entitlement’ outlines the aims and expectations for Religious Education in CE schools and guides this school’s approach to RE and spirituality. The role of RE is neither to promote nor undermine organised religion. But part of its purpose is to provide structured opportunity for consideration of the non-material aspects of life. RE can contribute dynamically to children and young people’s education by provoking challenging questions about meaning and purpose in life, beliefs about God, ultimate reality, issues of right and wrong and what it means to be human. It can support their own discovery of their personal spiritual journeys of meaning, purpose and value.


RE allows children to reflect upon and share their own knowledge and lived experiences, plus find out about the experiences, beliefs and traditions of other people. Through this process, children expand their knowledge, begin to shape their own beliefs form opinions and add breadth to their worldview.


High quality RE lessons at St Margaret’s offer children opportunities that challenges children’s thinking through Big Questions. They critically reflect on their own religious, spiritual and/or philosophical convictions and are equipped with the skills to confidently discuss religious, spiritual and philosophical ideas.


Find out more about our RE curriculum HERE

Where you will see Spiritual Development in our school

Provision for spiritual development at St Margaret’s CE Junior School is thoughtful, deliberate and intentional, and evident in all we do. School leaders act courageously and decisively to instil the correct environment for spiritual development of all children and adults. Visitors to our school are ‘wowed’ by the warmth and welcome of our Christian vision in action, with opportunities for spiritual development in abundance.



You can read other positive feedback about the Christian distinctiveness of our school on the testimonials page of our website HERE


Should you visit our school, look out for:


  • St Margaret’s Christian vision and federation vision in action
  • A warm, welcoming and vibrant church school ethos where everyone is valued and seen to be valued
  • All adults and children setting good examples of mutual respect and considerate behaviour within an atmosphere welcomes diversity and invites everyone to belong
  • Children and adults taking an active part in inclusive, invitational and inspirational collective worship, with times of stillness and reflection valued, and pupil Worship Ambassadors fully involved in evaluating and feeding into the development of collective worship
  • Class reflection areas, including the reflections and prayers written by the children, and outside reflection areas including our Reflection Garden and the Copse
  • Uplifting times of music and song
  • Quality teaching and learning in RE lessons where the experience of our children staff and their families is drawn upon to enhance teaching and learning about different religions and traditions
  • The high standard of work and responses in children’s individual RE books and class RE Big Books
  • Our Federation broad, balanced and ambitious curriculum shaped by our Christian vision, federation vision and Big Ideas; tailored to the context of our schools and inclusive for every child
  • Rich spiritual opportunities develop curiosity through experience and questioning in subjects and experiences across the curriculum, allowing children and adults to explore and articulate spiritual and ethical issues – including within the PHSE and RSE curriculum, and mindfulness activities in class and lessons such as yoga in PE
  • Highly regarded inclusive provision that addresses and supports the needs of each individual child
  • Investment in pastoral support of the highest quality that is transformational for pupils and their families  
  • Children inspired to enjoy and value learning; listening well, responding creatively and eager to articulate their love of learning
  • Church Services led by children at St Margaret’s Church at Harvest, Christmas, Easter and summer term thanksgiving services
  • Termly Understanding Faith enrichment days that investigate Big Questions and include pupil conferences with children from other local CE schools, allowing children from different schools to learn from each other become more aware of their own spirituality
  • Children attending diocesan events such as the Coventry DBE Christingle Service at Coventry Cathedral
  • Live music performances, school productions and visiting theatre groups enable the children to develop appreciation of the arts
  • School clubs and activities including the school choir and Young Voices choir
  • Outdoor learning activities, trips and visits that allow children to explore the wider world and beauty of the natural world
  • Involvement with families, including regular Christian Vision newsletters, Home School Values activities that support families in pursuing spiritual discussions at home and parents/carers contributing to worship and other areas of the curriculum
  • Children being ‘agents of change’ through pursuit of pupil-led courageous advocacy projects, fund raising events and awareness days
  • Children taking pride in pupil lead roles
  • Demonstrations of kindness, caring, compassion and respect, including a positive Behaviour and Relationships Policy in action including restorative approaches to resolve and reconcile conflicts
  • Children knowing themselves well and being able to regulate their own behaviour  
  • A range of positive reward systems that recognise and praise positive attitudes, effort and celebrating achievements
  • The quality and nature of the learning environment, including resources and displays, reflecting an inclusive environment where value is placed on learning, celebrating achievements and valuing each individual
  • School leaders ensuring that all school policies, procedures and practices reflect the worth of all individuals, children and adults
  • Displays and pictures encouraging reflection and deep thinking
  • Children and staff welcoming, engaging and interacting with our school partners


'How good and pleasant it is when God's people live together in unity'

(Psalm 133 v1)


View Our Slideshow.

Welcome to Briar Hill and St Margaret's!...Our Federation vision: 'Flourish as a family, love to learn, make memories, shine!'...Our St Margaret's Christian vision: 'How good and pleasant it is when God's people live together in unity.' (Psalm 133)