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St Mary the Virgin, Newington

As a school we feel blessed that our church is a safe and easy five minute walk away.

We are encouraged by our clergy to accept it as an extension of our school building.

The door is always open to us.

Through the church year we hold services for our children and families to celebrate many of the Christian Festivals.

HARVEST – the focus will change each year. E.g. Local fruit, climate change, harvest of the sea, bread. The date is chosen so the school children bring offerings which are added to those of the congregation on the following Sunday. Items are usually collected for the local Trussell Trust Food Bank.

CHRISTINGLE – the service focuses on Advent and raises funds for the Children’s Society. Our children learn about and create Christingles, the oranges and sweets kindly donated by the congregation of St. Mary’s church.

CHRISTMAS – As many classes as possible are involved with the telling of the Nativity story and the service will include music and singing.

EASTER- We do not hold a service at Easter in the church, instead leading up to the holiday we hold our Easter Trail in school, where the children experience the events of Holy Week, as far as Good Friday, in different ways each year, around the school grounds. The clergy join the children to tell the story. On the first school day back after Easter we hold an Easter Celebration Collective Worship lead by our clergy.

PENTECOST- as a school we feel it is important to mark the feast of Pentecost, helping the children to get a better understanding of the Christian belief in The Trinity and what is sometimes called the birthday of the church. The service varies from year to year but often involves flames, flags, wind and the colour red!

RECEPTION CLASS PICNIC- during Term 6 the children from Acorn class visit church for a special tour with their families, finishing with a picnic in the churchyard.

LEAVERS’ SERVICE- on the final day of the summer term we hold a special service with the whole school and families, to say goodbye to our Year 6 pupils. The service is written by the Year 6 teacher and children. At the service the leavers each receive a Bible, complete with book plate, from the congregation of St. Mary’s Church.

CELEBRATING NATIONAL EVENTS – our school often marks national occasions with services or events in the church.  Most recently the death of Queen Elizabeth II and the Coronation of King Charles.

The school contributed to the Coronation Flower Festival with flower displays in a tin can.

At the service to celebrate the Queen’s Jubilee, the children were given an exclusive opportunity to see and hear a harp played.

CHURCH YARD PROJECT – As part of the Wilder Kent Award Scheme every class in the school has spent time in the church yard studying nature, creating art work or improving the environment.

CORNERSTONE CAFÉ- We are proud of our Year6 children who, once each month, take it in turns to act as hosts for the community coffee morning that is held in St. Mary’s. With the support of teaching assistants they serve refreshments and talk with the regulars of Cornerstone. This project benefits all involved and is very much appreciated by the community.

REMEMBRANCE WEEK – As well as a week of planned activities, including a service in school lead by Year 6 children, every class in school visits the War Memorial in the churchyard to place a class cross and take time to reflect together.

VENUE FOR PERFORMANCES – In recent years our school has, with the support of the clergy and congregation, used St. Mary’s as venue for performances including the Year 6 production and a poetry slam.

ACTIVITIES FOR FAMILIES – we work with the church to promote activities and events aimed at the local community that are held in the church.

DROP IN FAMILY CAFÉ – we jointly run with the church, a weekly drop in café after school in the school hall. Families can play games, read or take part in craft activities and share refreshments together. Whenever possible the clergy join us to share activities with our families.

We were delighted when The Rt. Reverend Rose Hudson- Wilkin, the Bishop of Dover, visited the school and joined the children in some games at the café.