Our Christian Character
As a school community, our ethos, our actions and our thoughts are underpinned by our core Christian Values of Respect, Courage and Compassion. These golden threads permeate our teaching, our policies and the way that we behave towards each other. These values guide adults in their response to the needs of our children and they support our children in the many choices that they make. Our children learn that these values are not just about attitudes and beliefs about others but are also important for your own sense of self-worth.
We have close links with St Mark's Church in Highcliffe and enjoy walking to our church for worship at key points in the year. Reverend Veronica visits us in school and leads worship each term following our school themes. Her presence in school is always welcomed by our community.
In addition to Reverend Veronica's visits, we also enjoy weekly visits from the St Mark's Church Open the Book team. In 1999 a small group of church volunteers started going into primary school assemblies in Bedford to read and act out stories using The Lion Storyteller Bible. The Open the Book project was taken to Gloucestershire in 2001 and spread out to other counties from there. Later, in 2007, it was formed into a national charity. With increasing growth of volunteer numbers into the thousands, OtB joined Bible Society in 2013. We have been enjoying their visits in school since 2018 and the team are amazing at entertaining our Foundation and KS1 children with their action packed story telling!
Saint Mark is our school patron Saint. His feast day is the 25th April.
Mark lived at the time of Jesus. Although he was not one of the twelve apostles of Jesus, he was a cousin of Saint Barnabas, an apostle.
Mark is called an evangelist because he wrote one of the four gospels. Mark's gospel is short, but it gives many little details that are not in the other gospels.
While still young, Mark went with the two great saints, Paul and Barnabas, as missionaries to bring the teachings of Jesus to Cyprus and other new lands.
Before the journey was over, though, Mark had an argument with Saint Paul and immediately returned to Jerusalem. Paul and Mark later made peace with each other. In fact, Paul wrote from prison in Rome that Mark came to cheer and help him.
Mark also became a beloved disciple and was like a son to Saint Peter, the first pope.
Saint Mark was made a bishop and sent to Alexandria, Egypt. There many people who heard him preach became Christians. He worked hard to spread love for Jesus and his Church and founded the first famous Christian school in Alexandria.
He went through long and painful sufferings before he died a martyr for his faith. Saint Mark's relics were brought to Venice, Italy. He is the patron saint of that famous city. People go to the beautiful basilica of Saint Mark to honour him and to pray to him.
Reflection: "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation." (Mark 16:15).
Our School Grounds
We cannot deny that our school has the most fantastic grounds: nature trails, wildlife areas, a significant field, playgrounds, a swimming pool and our own pond all surrounded by a huge variety of trees and shrubs, our school boasts a thriving habitat for all manner of plants and creatures. Being as lucky as we are, we recognise that our children shouldn't take for granted the gifts that have been given to them as members of our school community. Each and every one of us is collectively responsible for taking care of our environment and our children learn to do this from the moment they join us in Foundation. From growing plants to satisfy our population of pollinators to managing our woodland and maintaining the life in our pond, our children are active participants in making sure that our grounds continue to flourish.
"The LORD God then took the man and settled him in the garden of Eden, to cultivate and care for it".(Genesis 2:15)
Our grounds are our "classroom without walls" and our learning is taken outside at every opportunity. We have staff trained in Forest Schools and a teacher taking responsibility for staff development in effective outdoor learning, this is an area which we continuously strive to improve upon. Throughout 2021-2022 we invested in an additional outdoor pursuits provider the Fresh Air Club. Mindful of the positive impact on our children's mental and health and wellbeing that being outdoors has, we run weekly sessions which are fun, safe and adventurous for some of our more vulnerable children.
An important part of our commitment to our environment is recognising that the lessons we learn within our school grounds can also be impactful beyond our school context. We are proud to be a Green Flag school, being awarded our most recent green flag in 2021. We will be working towards our award again in 2022-2023. Children are given the opportunity to be part of our Eco council and are instrumental in the direction we take in looking after our planet. You can find out what our children have to say about the importance of being Eco in their powerpoint below.
Learning to Learn
We have 2 approaches to helping children to become more self aware as learners: developing a positive growth mindset and Building Learning Power. Rooted in much educational and psychological research into the power of positive attitudes towards your intelligence and into the importance of knowing how you learn best, these 2 approaches have been closely tailored to the needs of our children in our setting. You can find out more about how we teach these characteristics of learning in the presentations below. There is also a parents' guide to the language of growth mindset in our video centre.
'Our mind-set really does matter when it comes to learning. This powerpoint presentation explains why we believe that positivity, practise and persistence are the key to progress!'