Our Community Projects
St Mary’s campaign for an end to NRPF
We are very proud of our children, parents and staff who continue to campaign and fight for equality and equal opportunity for all. St Mary’s continue to work closely with Citizens UK to ensure that our voice is heard and that we achieve real change. We have joined a new campaign, building on our previous success in enabling thousands of NRPF families to access Free School Meals:
Nobody should be left behind – not now, not ever! Time to end NRPF for good.
Covid-19 has shone a brighter light on the injustices that many migrants face. Many of our neighbours are unable to access government help because of where they were born, and the immigration papers they have.
This is because of a government policy called No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF) that denies people living and working in the UK crucial forms of support from the government. Without assistance like Universal Credit and housing benefit, many people – including 100,000 children – are feeling stranded and left without a safety net.
Please follow this link to find out more about the campaign.
As you will see, St Mary’s children are featured prominently; they are ‘agents of change’ and they know that their voices will be heard and they can make a difference!
School Council Consultation with Lewisham Homes
Members of the School Council and some additional children from Year 5 were invited by Lewisham Homes to the site of the old Ladywell Leisure Centre to discuss what type of accommodation they might like to be built there. They learnt about the role of architects in these situations and using drawings, words and lego began creating their own visions of what the homes should look like.
The children came up with great ideas and creations including lots of outdoor spaces, dance areas and cafes. The children’s models will be part of the consultation programme currently taking place. It will be exciting to see what building is eventually created!
Immigration Action Group win an award!
Congratulations to the Immigration Action Group!
St. Mary’s Immigration Action Group was recently given an award from South London Citizens for best local win of the year. This relates to the work which the parents have done to make Lewisham a more welcoming borough for migrants and newcomers.
After meeting with Councillor Kevin Bonavia the parents are now preparing some training for Lewisham staff who work in the No Recourse to Public Funds Team. Well done to all the parents for their work so far and all parents are welcome to join us at our next meeting as we need more help!
Citizens UK have been working with parents and pupils at St Mary’s on a number of issues including immigration and child citizenship fees. Hannah from Citizens UK came to help us conduct a quick survey about issues that affect families. Parents were asked to place a sticker on the issue that affects them the most. Whilst immigration and employment obtained some votes, housing was the clear winner with over 60 parents indicating that this is a big issue for them.
We will conduct a similar survey soon to find out exactly what housing issues may be affecting you so please do take part and have your say!
These surveys will help us form an idea of how best to support families in our community in the future.
Parents Trip to Sky Gardens
Working in partnership with a local charity, we are delighted that the children of St Mary’s will be able to enjoy a whole year of African drumming workshops. These will be offered to our Year 3 children and also to all children in KS2 as an after-school club. The children will be learning from an experienced and talented performer. Concerts in partnership with the local community (including a local centre for elderly people) have been planned for the Summer Term.
The children and families at St Mary’s have been fully involved in this exciting inter-generational project. The school choir performed to a packed St Mary’s Church alongside a Generation Choir, an adult choir, a Recorder Orchestra and two other choirs from local schools in a spectacular concert, celebrating ageing and youth. Additionally, many children submitted pictures and writing about their families and what makes them so special. This was work was displayed in the Church as part of the Generation Project, you can see the work on the following website:
River Clean Up Project
This year, Year 4 have been discussing the importance of looking after our environment and have begun to make our school community a more eco-friendly place. We introduced paper and card recycling boxes in every classroom and have been keeping up to date with any news about how the waste we produced is damaging our environment. We were really disappointed to see how much rubbish we noticed in the river on the way to our Swimming lessons each week and really wanted to do something about it!
So, we went down to Ladywell Fields and got geared up in special waders and gloves, ready to help the community by removing rubbish from the river. We filled up lots of heavy duty sacks with the rubbish we found. We found lots of plastic, a towel, a shoe, cans, bottles and many more! We felt really happy to be helping out make our green spaces more attractive for our community but the most important thing was that we helped reduce a tiny about of rubbish that would probably eventually end up in our oceans!
Who knew that cleaning up rubbish could be so fun!
Citizens UK Assembly
Miss Bernard was asked to speak and Co Chair at the Citizens UK Assembly held at Southwark Cathedral. The event was attended by several hundred people from across South London. St Mary’s have been collaborating with Corum Children’s Legal Centre and UCL Institute of Education to empower our parents and pupils to understand their rights and fight for change. One of our Year 5 pupils read out his moving poem about the impact that not having UK Citizenship has on families. The event was well attended by the Mayors of 6 London Boroughs, including Lewisham, Southwark and Lambeth, who were challenged on their policies on Housing and Education. Our Bishop of Southwark, Bishop Christopher, was also present at the Assembly and we are very proud to have taken part.
Celebration event and delivering letter to the Department of Education
Following some workshops with UCL students about children’s basic rights to education, housing and health a group from Year 5 travelled to Westminster for a celebration event with other schools who took part in conjunction with Citizens UK. Their artwork was displayed and the children themselves performed a powerful piece about children’s basic human rights. Mr. Wright also spoke brilliantly about the effects of a hostile environment on schools and families.
They then marched to the Department of Education and presented a report and a letter requesting a meeting with the Children’s Minister to discuss the issues which affect children at St. Mary’s and across the UK when the basic rights of housing, health and education are denied.
This is a real example of children being courageous advocates for society and we are very proud of them all.
Petition for a Safer Crossing outside school
Petition for a Safer Crossing outside school
The School Council have been busy obtaining signatures for their petition to make changes to the crossing outside school. We are requesting the provision of a lollipop person, changing the timings on the crossing and installing school crossing signs.
The School Council members have been getting signatures from parents, passersby, local shops and businesses and the church community. Members even met with TFL representatives to highlight the issues and hope to present their petition to Lewisham Council and TFL soon. Have you signed our petition? If not, please do so. It only takes 2 minutes and it could save a life.
Lewisham Hospital Visit
Students from Year 5 visited Lewisham Hospital this week as part of their community project. The purpose of the visits was to visit the elderly on Oak and Elm wards and to have conversations with the patients about their earlier life experiences during the war and whilst at school. The children had such interesting conversations and heard about evacuations, rationing, telephone boxes and life before computer games were even invented! The children also developed their confidence and social skills and were perfect ambassadors for St. Mary’s school. The children will now do some creative writing and artwork which is due to be exhibited – so watch this space
Reception class gardening project
The children in Reception class decided to grow their own vegetables in their garden. They have been busy weeding, digging, planting and watering. Thank you to the parents and grandparents who have supported this project and well done to all of the children. This project will encourage healthy eating and supports our clean air project, as the food won’t need to be transported, instead it will be delicious and fresh!
The children in Year 6 are invited to apply to be Young Leaders. Following an interview, they are trained to complete a variety of jobs around the school. These include setting up and leading worship, helping young children in their play, supporting playground games, hearing children read and supporting in the school office. We appreciate the fact that the children give up their time to take responsibility for helping the school to run smoothly and to help the younger children with their learning.
Clean Air Project
The children have been making plans to improve the Air Quality in our local community. St Mary’s are delighted that we have received a grant to help create a ‘living wall’ of plants which will help to cut pollution. We have also been encouraging the children to walk to school wherever possible – which is good exercise and better for the environment. Here you can see pictures of the children parking their bikes and scooters at school.
Please see attached a special thank you from the Lewisham Churches for Asylum Seekers for all your kindness and generosity!! Thank you
Poetry citizenship day
Here are some photographs from poetry citizenship day. The organisers said that the children were an absolute delight and it was great to have them there. A particular well done to Daniel for reading his poem so confidently and his mum for her public speaking. They were definitely the highlight of the day for all involved!
Recycling Champion Penguin
As part of Year Four’s Community Project, they have introduced recycling bins to every classroom. They had noticed that our bins were full of paper and card at the end of the day and realised that this could be recycled! Today, our eco warriors went around each class to collect the bins and although every class did brilliantly, Year Two’s box was overflowing and have been awarded our first ever Recycling Champion Penguin to display proudly on their door. We wonder who will win the next one in our first week back after the Easter Holidays!
Road Safety Campaign
St Mary’s continue to campaign for a safer road crossing outside our School. We have been in contact with the Mayor of London’s Office, Travel for London and our local Member of Parliament and we are continuing to collect signatures on our petition.
Staff, parents, Police community support officers and local community volunteers have been working together to make our voices heard, actively campaigning on Lewisham High Street, before the Police carried out speed checks.
Children’s collection for the homeless
The children in Year 1 and Nursery have been reflecting on how they can help those in need. Following the words of our school vision ‘Our work is founded on the life and teaching of Jesus Christ, building on his message of equality, peace and justice’, the children decided to collect items to be donated to the homeless. The children encouraged many generous donations from our families and staff from St Mary’s travelled to Central London in order to distribute the items. All of the donations were gratefully received and will make a real difference to the homeless, thank you to everyone who contributed. This will be an ongoing project, so we will be continuing to collect. Please pass your donations to the Nursery or Year 1 classes, the most useful items are:
wipes (baby wipes)
practical warm clothing
blankets or sleeping bags
toothpaste and brush
Christmas Lunch and Special Visitors
Year 5 Carol Singing at Lewisham Hospital
Year 6 Carol singing at the Alexander Care Home
On Monday 10th December, Year 6 Carol singers sang at the Alexander Care Home in Rushy Mead, Lewisham. The children sang a wide variety of both carols and Christmas songs. The residents joined in the singing and some got up and danced! The staff and residents were very happy with the children’s performance.
Year 2 community work at church
Harvest worship at St Mary’s Church
St Mary’s school community joined together as we celebrated Harvest worship at St Mary’s church, led by Father Steve and Father Steffan. We reflected on how we can show Love for those in need in our local community as we share the generous Harvest donations that each class has collected.