The Catholic Life of St Mary’s is at the heart of everything within school. The quality of relationships at all levels, our connections with the parishes and local communities, our care and consideration for others, the high standards fostered here – these are all reflected in the manner in which we welcome, support, share with and forgive others, linking us to the Gospel values we hold dear.
Jesus said, ‘Love one another as I have loved you.’ We take this as a basis for our Golden Rules, which help us all to work together so that everyone has a happy and safe day, every day. The Golden Rules are revised each year with the children. They are displayed in classrooms and around the building so that all can share and celebrate successes.
We will be gentle – we won’t hurt anyone.
We will be kind and helpful – we won’t hurt people’s feelings.
We will work hard – we won’t waste our or other people’s time.
We will look after property – we won’t waste or damage things.
We will listen to people – we won’t interrupt.
We will be honest – we won’t cover up the truth.
Our calling to be people of charity enables us to further the Catholic Life of the school. Each year, we support CAFOD throughout the school – but we also draw a charity to link with each of our classes. The children love to research, promote, support and fund-raise for their charity – and they show dedication in this work! For further information about our charity work, see Our Charities page.
Each year, we refresh our approach to living out our Catholic values within school – rather like New Year resolutions! Here is a snapshot of some of the things we have explored in recent years.
In 2020-21, we are thinking about St Joseph as a role model as we engage with ‘The Year of St Joseph’. As a hard worker, a caring family man and someone who quietly got on with doing God’s good work, he is a great example for us to follow.
During the various periods of Lockdown, we have been connecting with the local community. We have written cards on a regular basis to the neighbours, those in nursing and care homes and to people working in local shops; we have cheered up the locality through our Advent stone painting in December and by painting permanent designs for decorating an area of the local park. We were inspired by Captain Sir Tom: we sent him cards for his 100th birthday, studies his interesting life and remembered him in our prayers following his death this year.
Within school, we have held our relationships dear and tried to remain upbeat and positive for each other! Our St Mary’s spirit has shone through our Scarecrow competition, Nativity play, Easter productions – as well as our celebratory reunion on 8 March!
In 2019-2020, we engaged with The Year of the Word – the God who speaks. Our Faith Friends helped us to consider how we could encounter God in our lives, be better disciples of Jesus and fulfil our mission to go out and be Missionary Disciples. We developed a deeper interest in and love for The Bible. All our children received a Bible which they could take home to treasure. Our legacy has been holding regular Bible Alive days, where we can explore in creative and fun ways stories from the bible linked to Miracles, Parables and the lives of significant biblical role models.
In 2018-2019, we joined the St Ralph Sherwin Catholic Multi Academy Trust. We found out that we belong to a community of 25 schools and spent time linking with them through events and activities – such as a Lenten Craft Day. We supported Bluebell Wood, a children’s hospice.
In 2017-2018 we aimed to live out our Christian vocation by using our heads, hands and hearts to be the best we can be, while showing love for others. Our prayer was:
Help us to use our heads wisely: may we think kindly of others.
Help us to use our hands wisely: may we do kind actions for others.
Help us to use our hearts wisely: may we show kindness to others.
May we show a kind and loving head, hand and heart in all we do.
In 2016-2017, we wanted to show that we each have a heart which sees.
We turned our focus in 2016-2017 to ensuring that we develop hearts which see where love is needed and act accordingly. We thought about the reality of using our hearts, and love, to make a positive difference. Mother Teresa said: “If you want a love message to be heard, it has got to be sent out. To keep a lamp burning, we have to keep putting oil in it.”
Pope Francis declared an Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy from 8 December 2015 until 20 November 2016. During this special time, we explored the theme of ‘mercy’ in school, learning about how we can increasingly show mercy to others, to ourselves and to the planet. In keeping with the idea of a pilgrim passing through the holy door of the cathedral during a time of pilgrimage, signifying moving into the presence of God and receiving God’s mercy through forgiveness, we created our own Holy Door in school. Here we encouraged everyone to leave troubles and worries behind, walk through the Holy Door and make a fresh start each day in an atmosphere of acceptance and nurture.
Pupils thought about how we should develop during the Year of Mercy in school. They said…
- We should accept people more – not treat them differently.
- We should be more forgiving, not fall out with people, and choose to be friends with more people than before.
- We won’t judge people by how they look.
- We will try always to give people a second chance.
- It is a time to be Peacemakers.
- We will show compassion – which means we will show love to others.
The legacy of our Year of Mercy work should still be seen in the care shown and the relationships cherished in our school family – and beyond.