LINKS WITH THE CHURCH
We are proud of our association with St James Church.
This is currently recognised in our Vision statement, values and vision for the school.
A word from Geoff Bayliss, Cowley Rector.
The early 19th century saw a great movement bringing education to the ‘poor’. There was growing recognition that to flourish and find fulness in life the children of any community needed an education. It was the Reverend Georgie Moore who first saw the need to establish a school for the children of the parish of Church Cowley. It focused on teaching the Christian faith (Catechism), reading, writing and arithmetic. The link between Church and School was close. Central funds were becoming available to assist with the construction of school buildings but the day to day costs fell on local funds. Clergy and Churchwardens were involved in both the management of the school and the education of the children.
The original Cowley St James School sat beside the Norman church of St James, in what is now Beauchamp Lane, in the centre of the medieval settlement. It was opened in 1834, pre-dating the reign of Queen Victoria by 3 years. The school was attended by industrialist and philanthropist William Morris (later Lord Nuffield) throughout much of the 1880s, when children would have remained at the school until the age of 14.
The new Church Cowley School was built less than 1⁄2 mile from the original school on what became known at the time as the Airfield Estate. Demand for school places meant that both schools remained in use until the early 1970s. At this time the original school finally closed its doors. All the pupils were now to attend the renamed Church Cowley St James C of E Primary (CCSJ) School on the Airfield Estate where we continue to teach today.
Reorganisation of Oxford City schools followed shortly afterwards and the school was designated a first school, admitting pupils from age 3 (in the nursery) to age 8, before transferring to middle school. Since 2002, a further reorganisation has meant that the school has returned to its status as a through primary school with children staying at the school before transferring to secondary school at the age of 11, in line with the majority of local authorities around the country.
The Christian affiliation, and character, of the school has remained since those early days. Today it retains the strong local link with the parish Church and continues the aspiration of enabling members of the school community, children and staff, to discover and experience fullness in life. The ethnic diversity of the surrounding area has broadened but the aspiration to teach about the Christian faith (Catechism), reading, writing and arithmetic have remained. The nature of the school curriculum is now defined by national statute. Whilst recognising the unique Christian character of CCSJ school it strives equip those of all faith and none with the tools, knowledge and character that is needed to thrive in the 21st century.
Reverend Geoff Bayliss