Alongside our wonderful creative curriculum we are able to offer our children a breadth of other experiences. Our aim is to nurture a child’s intelligence beyond the academic so that they develop strong emotional, interpersonal, spatial and physical skills that prepare them for their life after primary school.
‘One of the very best Primary School libraries I have seen as President of the School Library Association,’ said Kevin Crossley Holland
The school library is open every day for children to visit at break and lunchtimes.
It is comfortable space enabling us to develop the children’s reading and encouraging a lifelong love of books and reading for pleasure. We have embraced the Essex Year of Reading 2022. The Library holds a large selection of books for all age groups from picture books to non-fiction along with a graded reading scheme. Every class has a dedicated library slot each week with their teacher and the librarians enabling recommendations and book discussion.
We have visiting authors and illustrators to ignite the children’s imagination.
During the year we run several second-hand book sales and sell bookmarks rubbers and pencils for the children to purchase. These sales raise funds allowing us to keep our wonderful Library well stocked for all children to enjoy.
Thank you for your continued support.
Mrs Wood and Miss White
At Dunmow St Mary’s Primary School we value the opinions of our pupils. We believe children should have input into how their school is run and encourage them to share their views on all aspects of school life.
Our pupil voice team, made up of pupils from across the school, plays an important role in school development. Regular meetings enable pupils to bring their ideas to the table where they are considered and discussed.
Children across the school are encouraged to offer their opinions and share any new ideas. As part of this, the pupil voice team plays an important role in collecting the views of all pupils in the school, regularly canvasing pupils for their opinions on various school initiatives, ensuring every child gets the opportunity to have their voice heard.
Examples of their most recent projects includes making school snacks healthier, school play equipment suggestions, ideas for reducing our carbon footprint (recycling), feedback into the school travel plan and identifying charities they’d like to raise money for.
Children at Dunmow St Mary’s enjoy a huge variety of musical opportunities inside and outside the classroom. Our music lessons are delivered throughout the school in the rich context of our class topics, and whether the children are singing songs of little red hens and making farm music in the Year 1 farming topic, or composing their own planets suite for the Year 6 space topic, they will be having a wonderful time performing, playing and composing music together.
Children have access to a superb range of classroom music resources, including class sets of chromatic glockenspiels, ukuleles, djembes, tuned and untuned percussion, and even a set of Caribbean steel pans.
We also benefit from close ties with musical groups from the local area. Our choirs regularly perform with local musical groups from Great Dunmow and Bishops Stortford, and our classes take part in workshops from groups like The Junk Orchestra and ensembles from the Saffron Centre for Young Musicians. We enjoy hands-on world music demonstrations from local experts, and we collaborate with local primary schools for singing festivals and local events throughout the year.
And for those children who want to take their musical learning even further, we offer private lessons on an ever-growing list of instruments including piano, guitar, woodwind and brass. Additionally, we offer many extra-curricular music groups including our school choir, instrumental groups and a steel pan band, all of which offer several performing opportunities every year.
KS2 children sing at Great Dunmow’s Live Nativity in December.
Our Y5 children attend the Young Voices show at the O2 in London.
Opportunities for involvement in sport abound at Dunmow St Mary’s. We are extremely proud of the inclusive nature of our clubs and the breadth of sports we offer to all our children. At the same time the world of sport is competitive and we want our talented children to have the chance to enter competitions and put themselves against their peers.
Mrs Anderson, our specialist PE teacher, has worked hard to raise the attainment and profile of sport within the school with excellent results. We have listened to parental and pupil feedback about providing greater opportunities for all children to experience competitions. There are four inter-class competitions organised in dodgeball, netball, rounders and athletics across the year. This gives every child a chance to play in mixed ability teams and develop confidence in their sporting abilities. Mrs Anderson also works with partner schools to organise “friendly” games and matches to ensure a wide selection of children are able to experience competitions.
We have an extensive extra-curricular sports club timetable, many of which are free to all pupils, and last year were able to offer gymnastics, dance, multi-skills, dodgeball, sports hall athletics, cross country, rugby, football, hockey, netball, rounders, athletics, tennis, rapid fire and kwik cricket with 39% of our KS1 and 79% of our KS2 children attending a club. Our aim is for children to experience the wide range of sport that is available and for this to inspire them to participate further.
Via the Uttlesford network of schools we competed in 39 events last year. Pupils are taught the basics skills in lesson time with free extra-curricular clubs offered/provided to develop their knowledge and interest. We hold trials to decide who should be in the competition teams and practices are organised prior to the event. In 2018/19 59% of KS1 children and 78% of KS2 children represented the school in a sporting event. Each year children in Years 2 and 6 are selected to attend gifted and talented days in sport. The sports leaders attend a training session run by USSP where they learn how to encourage other pupils to participate in PE through setting challenges and running their own competitions during breaks and lunchtimes.
We were delighted in 2022 to again be awarded the Sainsburys Platinum Sports Award which recognises the key role sport plays in our school. We also received recognition for our engagement in the School Games Mark Framework for 2020/21.
We re-introduced our Forest Schools programme in September 2018 and employ a forest schools leader. The hands on learning premise of forest schools sits perfectly with the ethos and vision of our creative curriculum. It also means we are able to actively take advantage of the wonderful natural surroundings of our school.
Forest School offers all learners regular opportunities to achieve and develop confidence and self-esteem through hands on learning experiences in a woodland or natural environment. In our school we run sessions currently for both our Early Years and year one classes. As these are regular sessions throughout the year the children can experience and interact with the ever-changing moods and marvels, potential and challenges of the natural world through the seasons.
Sessions combine adult and child led activities such as den building; bug hunting; nest weaving; camp fires; tree climbing; planting; creating swings, see saws and balancing logs from the natural materials around them; making non-salt dough faces and leaf journey sticks. There are infinite opportunities for children to develop their sensory awareness such as smells, textures, tastes and sounds and they are encouraged to take risks within this safe environment.
For more information about the principles behind Forest Schools please follow the link; https://www.forestschoolassociation.org/what-is-forest-school/ or ask to see a copy of our forest Schools handbook.