Grayrigg CE School - Start Small Think Big


In 2023, we decided to review our School Vision. The previous vision had been in place since 2013 when our headteacher became our school leader and it has been the driving force behind the school’s development and growth. As the school has grown, the world around us has also changed and the school family including staff, governors and of course the children and their families have changed - it felt time for the vision to grow a little too.

“Without meaning to, I had become a little too possessive of the vision and values. I felt passionate that the vision and values must remain at the core of the school but over the last ten years it had become mine and needed to belong to everyone. If I truly want all the children, staff, parents and governors in school to flourish within that vision it has to be theirs too.”

Kirsty Cooper, Headteacher

In July 2023, a planning meeting was held with the Ethos Leaders and Belonging Crew inspired by John 10:10:

“I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full”

We asked children how we can ensure all who come to Grayrigg flourish. In September 2023, school staff and governors spent a day exploring the vision and values and then our Ethos Leaders led a morning with parents to explore what they wanted from the vision and values. Having pulled together all their discussions, I hope our updated school vision exemplifies our hopes and dreams for our school and all who come through its doors.

Ensure every unique child and adult is able to flourish by…

  • Inspiring them all to reach further than they ever thought they could in all they do academically and personally.
  • Inspiring them all to look beyond what they already know, encouraging children to have confidence to explore beyond their own experiences.
  • Inspiring them all to be confident to lead, having the confidence and courage to be the change and know that “what just-is, is not always justice”.
  • Ensuring we have created a place of true belonging so everyone’s physical and emotional needs are met and all can flourish.


We are proud to be a Church of England school. Our Vision, which is rooted in the theology and teachings of Christianity, has one core purpose - ensuring all children and adults, regardless of their faith, are able to flourish within and beyond our school. To support this, we have our values that run through our curriculum and all areas of school life.

Our first school values were established in 2014 and matured with the children as they moved through the school. However, these got a little lost as the school and the staff team grew, so when we reflected and updated the school vision, we also reflected upon the school values with all stakeholders.

“There are powerful moments amongst the worries of leading a school, where you are forced to stop reflecting and acknowledge that things are good, that some things are turning out exactly how you had hoped. Discussing the school’s values, in different meetings, with different stakeholders, was one of those moments where I stopped worrying about everything I needed to do to ensure the school is always improving and just said “WOW!” Within every discussion two values came out, they were synonymous with our hopes, aspirations but also something that stakeholders feel have become part of the fabric of the school here and now!”

Kirsty Cooper, Headteacher

The first value written down by all groups of Ethos Leaders and Belonging Crew members was BELONGING. Their dream is for our school to be a place where people can be their true authentic self. As a value, Belonging goes beyond Grayrigg:

  • We want them to know and be able to bring their true authentic selves into school every day.
  • We want Grayrigg to be a place where they can come back if they ever face the feeling of not belonging.
  • We want the children to be able to create spaces of belonging wherever they find themselves in the future.
  • We want them to shape a world that is a place of belonging for all humanity.

It was this final point that led us to the second value - JUSTICE. We want to provide experiences and a curriculum that enable the children to shape a better future, whether this is for the beautiful earth we are destroying, understanding the connection of being part of a whole human family, the understanding of UBUNTU* (one of our favourite words) or understanding the need to challenge injustice knowing that “What Just-is, isn’t always justice!” We want our children to be humble, courageous advocates.

So with BELONGING AND JUSTICE overarching all we do, the children chose concepts for each class.

The Tiny Acorns concepts are Friendship and Kindness, as children spend more time in school and begin to understand the impact they have on other people beyond their family.

In the Acorns, we mature a little with the concepts of Fairness and Understanding supporting children to begin to understand that fairness is not always about everyone having the same and that understanding our differences helps us to ensure everyone in the class has the opportunity to flourish and that they all play a part in making that happen.

The Oaks’ concepts are Respect and Compassion as they begin to understand Belonging and Justice beyond our school gates and their impact within the family we call humanity.

Finally the Mighty Oaks, who we are preparing to send off into the world beyond Grayrigg, their concepts are Courage and Humility: to have the courage to be the change they want to see in the world and the humility to know that one member of our humanity is no more important than any other.


Everyone at Grayrigg is incredibly proud of the ethos we have created for the wonderful children in our care.

It is an ethos where every child is nurtured and valued for their own uniqueness. Our school is not about expecting children to conform, but about inspiring every child to be the best person they can possibly be and to be the change they want to see in the world.

We celebrate our rural setting through our outdoor curriculum, which all classes access in our natural classroom alongside visits to local woodlands as part of our forest school work. We also recognise that there is a world beyond our rural community; through ensuring all children are given the opportunity to explore cosmopolitan environments including London and that they appreciate the diverse country and world in which we live.

At the heart of our ethos is a belief that to truly succeed, everyone needs to feel that they belong. Belonging is being able to bring your whole authentic self into a place. We believe every child can be successful, however, the route to success will be as individual as their fingerprints. We will not mould them into the shape we think they should be: Our responsibility as teachers and educators is to support them, back them, guide them and when necessary, lift them.

Our school family reaches beyond those who attend the school: parents; community members; links with the church and the local toddler group make Grayrigg CE Primary School a very special place at the heart of both the local community and the wider community, who choose to travel to Grayrigg from the surrounding areas so that their child can experience everything Grayrigg has to offer.

To read the school’s BELONGING policy click on the link below

Grayrigg CE School BELONGING Policy