The children at Great Witley CE Primary School have created a series of display boards, which tells the story of the bible in eight parts.The boards were inspired by a similar biblical frieze created by artist Emma Yarlett, whose work is part of the Understanding Christianity Resource put together by ecumenical charity RE Today Services with the Church of England to help improve the knowledge of Christianity in schools.

Great Witley produced their artwork as a ‘Wow and Wonder Day’ in school, where they mixed up the children across the year groups, dividing them into groups which worked on one panel each. RE Co-ordinator, Joanne Nikolaidis, explained: “I had been on a training day at the diocesan office with Steph Boulter, who had really inspired me to come back and look at the Understanding Christianity Resource and see what we could do. We wanted to improve the children’s knowledge of the bible and creating our own bible frieze seemed like a great way to help bring the stories to life.”

Each board reflects a different element of the bible – starting with Creation and working through the Fall, People of God (the Old Testament in two parts), Incarnation, Gospel, Salvation and the Kingdom of God, which explores what it means to live as Christians today.

Creation is a very colourful panel. Millie, from year 5, said: “There are lots of different pots of colour, each representing a different part of God’s creation. It’s a perfect world before sin starts to happen and shows how God dipped his paintbrush into each pot to create the world. We even used real gold leaf!”

Nathan with the Fall“In the Fall, we see Adam and Eve falling from the garden of creation,” Said Nathan from year 3. “We also included some yellow and black to represent the tape used at crime scenes!”

Joanne continued: “Each group looked at the meaning behind one panel and then created it by working in small groups and then bringing the elements together. Everyone’s ideas were included.”

Will with first People of God panel

Isla with 2nd People of God panelThe People of God covers the Old Testament across two different panels. Will, year 5 and Isla, year 2, said: “Here there is too much sin, everyone is worried and they are looking for someone to help them – it’s not a nice place to live. One panel includes a hot air balloon to signify people escaping from the world to get to a better place.”

Isla - incarnationThe Incarnation represents Jesus coming down to earth in human form. Isla, year 5 said: “This board follows Jesus’ path to the cross. It’s a dark one because of his approaching death. It was great to work in mixed year groups and different classes for the day. We had a big range of materials to work from with lots of different textures – many of these were donated by the parents.”

Max & Felix - gospelThe Gospel board is a much happier and brighter place. Max, year 2 and Felix, year 4 said: “You can spot lots of Jesus’ miracles and the story of his life on this board – there are fishing nets and fish and the Sermon on the Mount as well as the feeding of the five thousand are both represented. Also included is the ripped curtain from the temple. This is about the Good News of Jesus.”

Yvie & Meadow - SalvationYvie, year 3 and Meadow, year 5, explained the Salvation panel. They said: “This shows the bridge between earth and heaven and how we should live to be good Christians. It includes many of our school values – kindness, trust, compassion, perseverance and respect. It also links back to creation with heaven as the perfect world.”

Emily - Kingdom of God

The final board represents the Kingdom of God on earth. Emily, year 4 said: “This is about a new beginning and following in Jesus’ footsteps. It’s a colourful world, but there is darkness present because we could slip back to how things were before.”

Headteacher, Karen Banford, said: “We try to provide children with a set of values which will be a foundation for life and helping them to understand the bible better provides some guidelines for living well. It’s fantastic that we’ve been able to create something so incredible thanks to a course run by the diocesan education team.It’s also strengthened our relationships with the local churches. Deanery Mission Developer Vikki Day regularly comes into school to work with us and she has helped to arrange for the panels to be displayed in Great Witley, Little Witley and Shrawley churches before they’re finally put into the school hall. It will be great for the children to see their artwork there.”

Joanne concludes: “Art and RE are a magical combination and now when the Open the Book teams come into school, the children will be able to visualise where the stories come from. We all loved working on these boards and when we came together at the end of the day to show what we had done, it was definitely a ‘wow’ moment!”