Bradford Christian School
In a little enclave called Bolton Woods, off a busy main road between Shipley and Bradford city centre, sits an old Victorian board school, the first to be built in England. Since 2001 it has been the home of Bradford Christian School.
The refurbished school now has an art room and science lab. Its headmaster is Phill Moon, who pioneered the school along with his wife Audrey and other staff 16 years ago.
Phill was deputy head in a state secondary school in Bradford. His 35 members of staff are all Christians, belonging to a wide variety of churches in the area. I have worked at Bradford Christian School (BCS) for eight years and found it to be one of the biggest challenges of my Christian life. As Christian teachers we’re expected to connect our beliefs to classroom lessons. It has been really stimulating and a huge privilege.
Unlike secular state schools, we have freedom to tell the children what the Bible really says, without political correctness. We have proper nativity plays and celebrate the real meaning of Easter, while being able to discuss other religions in a secure Christian atmosphere.
The school currently has 179 pupils from 4-16 years old, with room for up to 225 pupils all told. We have children from Christian families representing 30 churches, as well as from non-Christian homes. Our pupils come from the UK, Philippines, Hong Kong, Jamaica, Dominique, Mauritius, India, Singapore, Morocco and many other countries!
We have a strong parent partnership policy, in which parents are asked to commit time to regular meetings throughout the school year. Many parents help with classroom activities and school trips. More than half the teachers have their own children in the school, which has to be a recommendation!
With the help of the Bradford Playhouse, the school’s drama department has just put on four performances of Street child, a play by Berlie Doherty describing the plight of children in Barnardo’s Victorian London. Forty-five children took part, as well as parents and ex-students. It was a terrific experience for all involved.
For many years the school has sent two teams each year to help in Romanian churches and minister in orphanages. Last year they sent a smaller team to Mumbai, where students helped to build a playground for a Christian orphanage.
In 2007 we had our first major Ofsted inspection. The HMIs said: ‘The school provides good education for its pupils. It is strongly committed to building a partnership with parents, to ensure the pupils are well prepared for the next stage of their education and life beyond school.
‘Teaching is good and the curriculum is broadly balanced and effectively meets pupils’ needs. Pupils are well cared for. The behaviour of pupils is outstanding, as is their spiritual and moral development’.