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St Stephen's School Vision

St Stephen’s School is a wonderful school. Yet it’s not the buildings or the curriculum that make St Stephen’s School wonderful - it’s the people.

While our School achieves excellent academic results in NAPLAN and WACE across all our campuses, the consistent motivation of parents wanting their children to be a part of St Stephen’s School is the kind of people they want their children to grow into. We grow people. 

A CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY

The starting point for understanding St Stephen’s School is that we first and foremost are a Christian community. However, we are not a Christian community because all members of our community are Christian, but because Christ stands at the centre of our community giving our community meaning and purpose.

Christ not only stands as Lord and Saviour but also as the benchmark of what it is to be human (Phil 2), as the perfect image of God. Thus, a Christian community is a wonderfully human affair open to all peoples where we value and care for each other with dignity as people created in the image of God. 

IN THE UNITING CHURCH TRADITION

The Basis of Union (revised 1992) is the founding document of the Uniting Church in Australia (1977) and emphasises the centrality of Christ as mediated by His Word in the power of the Holy Spirit. Biblical literacy is important in the Uniting Church. However, rather than push a particular theology, the Uniting Church seeks to remind Christ’s people “of the grace which justifies them through faith, of the centrality of the person and work of Christ the justifier, and of the need for a constant appeal to Holy Scripture” (Paragraph 10). Thus, a Christian community in the Uniting Chruch tradition celebrates the diversity of humanity while holding fast to the centrality of the Christian message. 

INSPIRING LEARNING

We believe learning should be exciting, inspirational and, above all, relational. At St Stephen’s School teaching and learning is relationship centered. Learning should be a relational activity that inspires us to explore our place in the world. We believe that life has meaning and purpose and therefore we are inspired to learn about God, one another and the world in which we live.

Learning is not just about acquiring content and skills but learning about what it is to be human - to know, to love, to care. It is the people we learn with and learn from that make us into the people we are. The partnership between parents and teachers is so important in setting the relational context in which our children may learn and grow. Learning is a natural, life-long human activity - and so life-long learning and growing is valued, encouraged and modeled at St Stephen’s School. 

THAT TRANSFORMS AND EMPOWERS LIVES

Teaching and learning should be transformative and empowering as we grow into the people God would have us be. During their time at St Stephen’s School, our children are transformed into adults and empowered to transform others and the world in which we live through lives of service. Our children are encouraged to achieve excellence in all they do so that they might be excellent for the sake of others.

Our goal is that graduates of St Stephen’s School might no longer think as children but as adults, that they might be transformed through the renewal of their minds. Consequently, teaching and learning is not so much about what we do as it is about who we become. Thus, our Christian faith is demonstrated as we are transformed and empowered to use our learning to live lives of excellence in service towards God and each other. 

St Stephen's School Values

FAITH: GROWING PEOPLE, GROWING FAITH

The Christian faith lies at the very heart of our understanding of what it is to be human as well as our understanding of education. Faith is our humble response towards God as Sovereign Creator, and it is from this perspective of faithful humility that we strive with thankfulness to be excellent in all of who we are and in all of what we do in learning and service.

The great Christian thinker St Augustine thought of education as “faith seeking understanding”. We understand faith as a critical and informed faith, not merely a blind faith. We also believe it is important
that students know what they believe and why they believe it, whether or not they choose to be Christian. This is why we seek to develop and encourage critical thinking in all areas of teaching and learning. 

LEARNING: CHANGING ONE MIND AT A TIME

Learning describes the central activity of our Christian community. As people we are all in a state of becoming, of learning, of growing. Learning is fundamentally relational in nature and is almost always achieved in the context of otherness. As teachers and parents in relationship with our children we influence each other, collectively and individually. As a Christian community we value and respect the importance and place of learning in growing people - intellectually, physically, emotionally, socially, and spiritually. Learning acknowledges the wisdom and authority of teachers, and responds to the instruction of others with humility. We are never complete and therefore are always learning. St Stephen’s School seeks to empower, enable and encourage learning within the context of Christian community.

Learning, however, is not just for the sake of our own School community, but should benefit others and the world. 

CARE: TO KNOW IS TO CARE

Care is what characterises our community - we care for our students, we care for our staff, we care for our families. We know, we love, we care. Our knowledge is not limited to curriculum but extends to knowing God and knowing each other. Our teachers know our students - it is a wonderful human gift to know and be known. At St Stephen’s School our knowledge is shown in our care for one another.

Knowledge for knowledge sake is not enough. Knowledge should lead to action, and vice versa. The Brazilian educator Paulo Friere referred to this idea as praxis - knowledge in action. Friere also asserted that praxis was a community activity, that knowledge should always be put into action in and for the community. We know that knowledge can be used to exploit others or to benefit others. However, as a Christian community our knowledge should be demonstrated in our care for each other and for our world. 

SERVE GOD, SERVE ONE ANOTHER

Almost every human endeavour is performed in the context of otherness. Whether our children grow up to be doctors, accountants, plumbers, builders, nurses, miners, lawyers or teachers, they will do so in relationships with and for other people. Increasingly, employers are interested in employees who demonstrate a care and concern for others, who are committed to giving of their very best for the sake of serving others. There has been a growing interest in and expectation of community service, pro bono work, and philanthropy.

At St Stephen’s School we understand our motto of “Serve God, serve one another” as the motivation for striving towards excellence in all of who we are and all of what we do. Academic and other achievements are short-lived at presentation ceremonies, but they live long in our service for God and others.

St Stephen was appointed by the Apostles as a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit to serve and support the ministry of the apostles (Acts 6). St Stephen stands as a role model for our community in being fully committed to Serving God and serving one another, of being excellent for the sake of others. 

SERVICE: IT TAKES A VILLAGE TO RAISE A CHILD

 To be human is to be human in the context of otherness. We have been created to know God and know one another - we are relational beings. The best thing and the worst thing about school is often the same thing - friends! When friendships work well, school is great, but when friendships fail, school is a struggle. Thus, when relationships are healthy our community is healthy, but when relationships suffer our community suffers.

St Stephen’s School is characterised by thousands of relationships between thousands of people in a variety of contexts - families, friends, classrooms, sporting teams, year groups, music bands etc. To be healthy functional people, it is important that we have healthy functional relationships. It is important that we know each other. Further, it is important that we be able to relate with people who are different to us - physically, intellectually, culturally, emotionally, spiritually.

 Christianity is open to all peoples, of all backgrounds, cultures and social standing. Diversity is an important characteristic of our School. It is important that we are accepting of all people even though we may not accept all ideas. As a Christian community we affirm particular beliefs and, therefore, will challenge some ideas - especially those that stand in opposition to Christianity and Christian community. Yet, St Stephen’s School is open to all people who are willing to commit themselves positively and actively to the Christian culture of our School. 

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