Since its inception in 2002, The Nottingham Emmanuel School has always sought to provide a distinctively Christian and fully inclusive approach to education, standing ‘at the very heart’ of the mission of the Church of England. Our mission is to enable every student to achieve their full academic and personal potential so that they can make a positive impact on the world. As a Church School, we describe this as making the ‘Kingdom of God’ a lived reality, yet we are deliberate in welcoming students from a the widest possible range of backgrounds: students all faiths and no faith are warmly welcome here. Our motto, ‘Together to learn, to grow, to serve’ encapsulates what we are about as a school – one community with a shared mission.
Our values are the permanent ideals which underpin the practice and ethos of the school. They are directly derived from the Church of England’s vision for Education – ‘Deeply Christian, Serving the Common Good’ (May 2016). They are deliberately distinctively Christian and also wholly inclusive of students from all backgrounds.
The Nottingham Emmanuel School fosters confidence, delight and discipline in seeking wisdom, knowledge, truth, understanding, know-how, and the skills needed to shape life well. We nurture academic habits and skills, emotional intelligence and creativity across the whole range of school subjects, including areas such as music, drama and the arts, information and other technologies, sustainable development, sport, and what one needs to understand and practise in order to be a good person, citizen, parent, employee, team or group member, or leader.
In the drama of ongoing life, how we learn to approach the future is crucial. The Nottingham Emmanuel School seeks to open up horizons of hope and aspiration, and guide pupils into ways of fulfilling them. We seek to cope wisely with things and people going wrong. Bad experiences and behaviour, wrongdoing and evil need not have the last word. There are resources for healing, repair and renewal; repentance, forgiveness, truth and reconciliation are possible; and meaning, trust, generosity, compassion and hope are more fundamental than meaninglessness, suspicion, selfishness, hardheartedness and despair.
We are only persons with each other: our humanity is ‘co-humanity’, inextricably involved with others, utterly relational, both in our humanity and our shared life on a finite planet. If those others are of ultimate worth then we are each called to responsibility towards them and to contribute responsibly to our communities. The good life is ‘with and for others in just institutions’ (Paul Ricoeur)5. So education needs to have a core focus on relationships and commitments, participation in communities and institutions, and the qualities of character that enable people to flourish together.
Human dignity, the ultimate worth of each person, is central to good education. The basic principle of respect for the value of each person involves continual discernment, deliberation and action, and schools are one of the main places where this happens, and where the understanding and practices it requires are learned. This includes vigilant safeguarding. It is especially important that the equal worth of those with and without special educational needs and disabilities is recognized in practice.
For the first time in history, there is now something approaching global agreement on the worth of each person through the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights and its successor declarations, covenants and conventions, including that in 2006 on the rights of persons with disabilities. How that is worked out in each nation and each school is a massive task that calls on the inspiration and resources offered by each tradition of faith and belief.