The church school distinctiveness of St. Mary the Virgin Primary School is underpinned by our relationship with the Parish Church of St. Mary the Virgin Gillingham. The school and church work in partnership to provide an educational and spiritual experience that starts right from the moment a child is welcomed to the school with our special ‘Welcome Service’ through to the time we say farewell in our ‘Year 6 Leaver’s Service’.
The vision of St. Mary’s Church is ‘Open to God, Open to All’ and that is an ethos that is embedded in the partnership between church and school, where every child and member of staff is valued as an individual loved by God and a member of the church family.
Some of the many ways church and school work in partnership are:
- First Sunday service held at St. Mary’s School – informal and interactive worship at the school on the first Sunday of the month
- Members of the clergy team take Collective Worship each week on a Thursday morning, opening the Bible and worshipping in a fun and interactive way.
- Open the Book – weekly visits by teams from the church to explore Bible stories through drama
- Storybag – opening the Bible through gentle interactive storytelling
- Special services – throughout the seasons of the year we worship together and also celebrate those special moments in a child’s life in the school from welcome to moving on to Secondary School. Year 6’s are also invited to attend the Diocesan Leaver’s Service at the Cathedral.
- Foundation Governors – representatives of the church serve as Foundation Governors on the School’s Governing Board.
- Faith Committee – the clergy team work in partnership with the school’s Faith Committee to develop together the spiritual life of the school.
- After School Club – Tuesday Chill Out is a club run by the clergy and church volunteers based around playing games together and also hearing a Christian story that helps us take our Christian values into our daily lives.
- Church visits – groups of children from all years regularly make trips to the church and whole school worship takes place in church for special events (such as Easter and Christmas services).
- Bibles – Bible are provided by the church to every child entering the school and also as they move on to Secondary School.
- Clergy and church volunteers are involved in all aspects of school life from Sunbeams Toddlers Group to the Friends of St. Mary’s School (FSMS). The school also takes an active part in the mission and outreach committee of the church to reach out to the wider community of Gillingham. This partnership between school and church is mutually flourishing and much valued by all.
- The clergy team work closely in partnership with the school to provide pastoral care to children, parents and staff and we feel privileged to walk with the school community who we see as friends.
For more information on the Parish Church of St. Mary the Virgin, Gillingham please see www.gillinghamanglican.co.uk
The school and church are within the Diocese of Salisbury and more information on the Diocese can be found on www.salisbury.anglican.org