St Michael's
Church of England Primary School

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Our vision is for every child to live an abundant life (John 10.10)

About St Michael's Church

The church stands next to the school and is regularly used by the school for weekly collective worship led by a member of the clergy, as well as other school functions and activities.

In 2012 the parish merged with a neighbouring parish and is now officially known as the Parish of Forest Hill St George with Lower Sydenham St Michael and All Angels. Revd Ifeanyi Chukuka is the vicar for St Michael's.

For information regarding services or to arrange baptisms, weddings or funerals, see the notice board outside the church in Champion Crescent or contact Revd Ifeanyi

Telephone: 020 3601 7026



The Name & History of St Michael’s School

St Michael is one of the three archangels named in the bible (the others being Gabriel and Raphael).  Michael means “Who is like God” and it is St Michael who symbolizes the triumph of good over evil.  St Michael is recorded in the Book of Revelation as the leader of the angels who fight against the dragon (Satan) and throw him out of heaven. The Church honours St Michael and all the Angels on the 29th September.

St Michael’s school was founded in 1871 in what is now the Junior school, although it is believed that children were not admitted to the school until the following year.  In its early days there were in fact three schools at the site, each with its own headteacher: a girls school, a boys school and an infants school.  The school expanded quickly from its original size and in 1896 the infants school moved into new buildings on the other side of Champion Crescent where it remains until this day.  At that time, it is recorded that there were 206 children in the Infants school, 192 in the Boys school and 179 in the Girls school – a total of 577.  Luckily attendance was not compulsory and was somewhat erratic, so it was very unlikely that everyone attended every day.

In the early years of the school, Empire Day (24th May) was regularly (marked with a celebration) celebrated with the singing of patriotic songs and waving of flags.  In 1909, the school had its own Rifle Corps under command of Captain Flewry.  The Corps fired a salute and then led a march past of the Union Flag with the whole school following them.

Not a lot is recorded of the school during the First World War although twenty former pupils were among the many who died during this frightful conflict.

At the outbreak of the Second World War, pupils met at the school to walk to the railway station where they travelled by train to East Grinstead as part of the evacuation arrangements. The church was hit by a bomb during a night raid in the Blitz, destroying it and badly damaging the vicarage and also causing damage to many other houses in Champion Crescent.  The church was rebuilt during the 1950s and part of the foundations of the old church (the rounded East end) now forms the outline for the current school hall.

In later years, the school expanded to 315 pupils with 45 in each year group.  In 2007 however, the decision was taken to reduce the intake to one form of 30 children per year so that more space would be available to enable the school to provide more targeted learning to small groups of children.

What does it mean to be a Church of England School?

A Church of England school is, like community schools, funded through the Local Authority, but the building is owned by the Diocese of Southwark.   In line with the Church of England, all children are welcome at our school - whether they are from a Christian faith, an other faith or of no faith.  A majority of the governing body posts are 'Foundation' governors, with a specific role to support the ethos of the school. Church schools set their own admission criteria - our admissions criteria can be found in the 'school information' section of the website.

"A Christian school is one in which the atmosphere has the 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 that 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 a conviction that there is something mysterious, and potentially wonderful, in everybody." (Archbishop of Canterbury)

Church schools undergo SIAMS (church-run) inspections as well as government OFSTED inspections. SIAMS inspection focuses on the impact of the Church school's Christian vision on pupils and adults. This involves looking at the school’s Christian vision, the provision the school makes because of this vision and how effective this provision is in enabling all pupils to flourish. Church schools will employ a variety of strategies and styles appropriate to, and reflective of, their particular context in order to be distinctively and effectively Christian in their character and ethos. SIAMS inspectors therefore do not look for a set template of what a Church school should be like, but rather take the particular context of the school into account and base their evaluation on the outcomes rather than the process.

The Evaluation Schedule has one inspection question: how effective is the school’s distinctive Christian vision, established and promoted by leadership at all levels, in enabling pupils and adults to flourish?

This is explored through seven strands:

  1. Vision and Leadership
  2. Wisdom, Knowledge and Skills 
  3. Character Development: Hope, Aspiration and Courageous Advocacy
  4. Community and Living Well Together
  5. Dignity and Respect
  6. The impact of collective worship
  7. The effectiveness of religious education

One overall grade is awarded reflecting the contribution of these strands to the flourishing of pupils and adults in a Church school.

A copy of the latest report can be found in the ‘Achievement & Performance’ part of the website.

How are children from non-Christian backgrounds included?

As a Church of England School, St Michael's is both distinctive and inclusive. This means that we warmly welcome all children to share in a Christian-based educational setting whether they are from a Christian faith, an other faith or of no faith. We believe that everyone is unique, special and loved by God, regardless of faith, ethnicity, sexuality or social status. All should be accepted without prejudice.; "For we are all made in the 'image' of God" Genesis 1:27

One of our seven core values is the value of respect, which is also our one school rule, and this value is at the heart of all school life. It is very important to us to teach children to respect each other, even if they hold different beliefs to their own.

Our collective worship are fully inclusive and all children are encouraged to think and reflect on the theme being conveyed.  Children can choose to close their eyes and reflect or join in with the prayers.

Collective Worship

The daily act of Collective Worship is a legal requirement in all schools and at St Michael's it is based on a Christian and Anglican foundation. We use the Bible as reference, as well as examples from other walks of life.

It provides the opportunity to come together as a school community to promote Christian values and the vision of the school, which is based on Jesus' saying in the Gospel of St John (John 10.10), so that children can experience life in all its fulness.

Christian teaching provides the children with the opportunity to relate the core values to their own lives and reflect on choices they have made and how choices impact on lives and on this world.

It encourages pupils to take responsibility for their own conduct and display good values around the school and on a Friday we celebrate examples of good values in our celebration worship.

Prayer plays a very important role at collective worship. Children have the opportunity to do silent prayers, during quiet reflection as well as write prayers in their special place in the classroom or in the communal area. Children's prayers are dedicated to God as part of the Church worship.

Children play an integral part of collective worship, with them leading the beginning and end of the worship and also running the Wednesday collective worship independently.

The following elements are part of our usual school practice (some of the aspects have been adapted due to Covid restrictions):

  • Music as the children enter the hall to create an appropriate atmosphere. Children are encouraged to join in with the praise and worship songs.
  • Welcome greeting and candle prayer, whilst lighting the candle.
  • A key message
  • A time of reflection where children are prompted to think or pray about the world, the school and people who are not well.
  • This is a quiet time, for children to reflect on how the Christian values can help them to make a positive difference at St Michael’s, in the community and the wider world
  • The final prayer / The Lord's Prayer.
  • Blessing
  • Music/Hymn as children leave the hall

We follow a programme, that includes significant events in the church calendar.

The Collective Worship overview can be seen here (click open as pdf)

Prayers and Symbols

St Michael’s has its own school prayer

May God’s Love shine in our lives
As we care and share and learn together.

Various Christian symbols can be seen around our school to remind children, staff and visitors of our heritage, God's presence among us and of his saving power.

A cross or a crucifix is displayed in every classroom to remind us that God sent his Son into the world to take on our sins and die for us so that we might have eternal life with Him.

Candles remind us that Jesus is the light of the world, a light that no darkness can put out.

Different colour table cloths are used during collective worship

The icon of St Michael the Archangel reminds us of our patron and can serve as a focus of prayer. More information about icons and the icon of St Michael can be found here(click for pdf).

Religious Education (RE)

Our bespoke RE curriculum consists of two thirds Christianity and one third of the curriculum cover the teaching of other main world religions, including Islam, Judaism, Sikhism, Hinduism, Buddhism.

Teaching of RE may be a concern to some parents, especially in the multi-cultural, multi-faith society in which we live. Christianity retains its central place in religious education at St Michael’s (two thirds of the RE curriculum). However, the major world faiths are also studied in all year groups (one third of the curriculum). The children are encouraged to consider many aspects of life in the light of Christ's teaching, and to translate theory into practice by taking part in projects to help the needy, both financially and in kind, and at home and abroad.

Children need to cooperate and share, understand that their behaviour affects others, learn to respect and rejoice in the cultural and religious diversity surrounding them, to respond with wonder to the work of nature and develop a positive attitude to life.

Details of the RE Curriculum can be accessed in the school information-curriculum section of the website.

Restorative Justice

Restorative Justice is a behaviour approach embedded in school and reflects the school’s Christian ethos. God wants His children to take responsibility for their actions, redeem themselves if they have made wrong choices. The restorative approach encourages children to make amends when we have made wrong choices and promotes forgiveness, just as Jesus would do. With this approach the school supports children to reflect about the consequences of their choices and holding them accountable for their actions, rather than a punitive approach where children are tempted to avoid responsibility by shifting the attention to the adult’s actions. Restorative Justice helps children to understand how their choices affect other people.

Children are always encouraged to show integrity - to make good choices, even when no-one is watching and to be the very best that they can be. Teachers have an opportunity to acknowledge where children have demonstrated a core value by awarding them a certificate at our celebration worship on a Friday.

Helping Others

As a school community we want to help others who are less fortunate than us and therefore we are committed to play an active role within the local and global community.This is especially reflected in the charities we support.

Charities we support include:

  • Children in Need
  • Red Nose Day
  • Big Red Box Appeal (Christmas)
  • Local Foodbank (Harvest)
  • Bishop’s Lent Appeal (Easter)
  • An orphanage and disabled house in Gugulethu Township in South Africa

Please see the school blog for more information about our efforts in helping others.


At St Michael’s, we are committed to create an atmosphere for spiritual growth. The children are all individual and unique; they have been and are going on their own spiritual journey, but our mission is to ensure that we develop the whole child, so that they can flourish in their potential.

Spiritual development is the development of the non-material element of a human being which animates and sustains us and, depending on our point of view; either ends or continues in some form when we die. It is about the development of a sense of identity, self-worth, personal insight, meaning and purpose. It is about the development of a pupil’s ‘spirit’. Some people may call it the development of a pupil’s ‘soul’; others as the development of ‘personality’ or ‘character’.

At St Michael’s, we experience faith through:

  • Our vision and school values
  • Having daily act of collective worship
  • Having opportunities to pray during the day and also having a school prayer
  • Being part of St Michael’s Church
  • Father Ifeyani leading Church Worship and visiting classes
  • Having a bespoke RE Curriculum that is designed to teach us about a range of faiths including Christianity
  • Celebrating as often as possible, but in particular on Fridays when we have our Celebration Worship