May ’21 News Update

St Mary’s Catholic Primary School Axminster

Living, loving and learning with God

Pentecost on the Horizon

As talk of coming out of lockdown progresses and we begin to make small steps to relax our practice the church year has been a great source of strength and encouragement.

On the 4th January we had a training day for staff and everything was focused on next steps. That evening the Government announced a third national lockdown with schools open for keyworker and those pupils with a need to be in school.   Over that half term we had about half of the children in school and half out of school accessing school learning.  On March 8th all children returned. 

It was a confusing time for children. Yes, many were in school and yes all had access to learning and a way to directly contact their class teacher when they weren’t in school. Yes, we were available constantly if parents had concerns or questions…. but it was not what we all needed.  We were all ready for more normal.

Easter People – a people of Hope 

Before we broke up for Easter, we really wanted the children to have a strong sense of hope.  In the true spirit of Easter, we talked to the children about Easter people, those Christians who live a life of gratitude and joy for what God has done through Jesus Christ.

We had celebrations and talked to the children about the exciting possibilities ahead.  We also shared lots of chocolate eggs!

On our return we came back quickly to a very settled and happy community. The children now have access to the field most days (although the weather has not been overly kind this month).  We have also added lots of Mary images and added flowers around school as part of The Month of Mary.

We have also been replanting in the raised beds and pots around school and introducing a wider range of play equipment throughout May.  It feels like life is coming back.  Hope is alive.

As we approach Pentecost, we are planting more flowers around school and have some rainbow and flame coloured play resources to share with the children for a special Pentecost day on Monday 24th May.  This coming Friday we will be adding new rainbow bunting in the outside area ready for Monday. 

I like to think that the timing of Easter and Pentecost and the beginnings of the relaxation of Covid restrictions are no coincidence.  It is helping my sense of joy and my desire to reach out and witness as a person of hope. It is reaffirming my own faith in ways that I never expected.

More steps to a new normal

In the last few weeks, we have introduced children’s book bags back into school so that they can take home their reading book and return it each day.  Volunteers are starting to return.  Music one to one teachers are now back in school.  The piano is now facing forwards with the words ‘Music is alive at St Mary’s’ once again visible.  On Tuesday mornings you can hear singing in our school.   It is wonderful!

We are hoping that it won’t be long before we can plan a school mass again in church.  From where we have been in the last year and the small steps out of lockdown it does feel now like it could be a long time coming but it is ahead of us and we are all looking forward to it happening.

Change Makers

We are growing happy, motivated children who work to be the best they can be for themselves and for others – we are growing change makers.    Here are a few of our projects that are helping to bring this to life.

School success – Unicef Rights Respecting Silver Award

We are very pleased to have achieved the Unicef Rights Respecting Silver Award.   We have been working on this for two years.  The assessment was on Monday 14th May.  We sent in lots of paper evidence to the Unicef Awards assessment team and then had a half day assessment where staff and pupils were asked lots of questions.

This has been an important way to evidence how important each child is to us.  It is very much an expression of our core values to have justice and compassion at the heart of everyone’s thinking.

Summer Challenge for Bristol Hospital

One of our youngest pupils, Poppy, should have started in school last September but due to a complex heart condition has been unable to join us this year.  Poppy has had two long stays in Bristol Children’s Hospital this year. 

Her family are extremely grateful to the hospital for their expertise and care as well as their ability to offer the family a place to stay in Bristol so that they could be near to their little one as she went through a challenging operation and long recovery. 

We are very hopeful that Poppy will be able to join us in September to re start her school journey.

To thank Bristol Children’s Hospital all of our children are running daily to raise money for the hospital. 

See the photos and information on another website page. 

Gift Ambassadors

You will remember that some of our children were disappointed they were not chosen as school councillors and asked how they could make a difference themselves to school life.  From this the Gift Team was born: children keen to shine God’s light into our school.  Before lockdown they came up with ideas to bring light: often fund raising and ways to reach out into the community.   During lockdown they have been working to be especially kind and have also tried to be accepting of all of the restrictions that have affected them: not seeing family and friends, no birthday events with friends, no sleepovers…. big events in little people’s worlds. 

Going forwards, this year, a group of our Year 4 pupils are taking part in some training and will be commissioned by the Bishop as Gift Team Ambassadors.  They will coordinate events and support school liturgy and the prayer life of the school. 

First Communion

We have a group of pupils who were working towards their First Communion.  This was stopped due to Covid restrictions but we are now talking to Father Anthony about a possible date to take this important sacrament before the end of this school year.  

Please keep our children in your prayers and we look forward to sharing more information soon.

Wishing you a very happy Pentecost from all at St Mary’s School