We have decided as a school to pursue the CAFOD Live Simply award. This is an opportunity for us to respond to Pope Francis’ invitation to “work with generosity and tenderness in protecting this world which God has entrusted to us.”
To earn this award, we need to show as a school we are living:
Simply- how we encourage our families to consume less in our daily lives. Taking the time to be more reflective, prayerful and considerate to others.
In solidarity with the poor- being aware that other people might be experiencing difficulties, vulnerabilities, injustice or exclusion.
Sustainably with creation- learning ways that can help rebalance our relationship with the environment. Remembering that God gave us this Earth for us to care for.
We already do so much as a school to fulfil these objectives, but this year we have planned some special events which we will have a positive impact upon our global, local and school communities. The action plan is as below, some of the highlights are:
Engaging with the vulnerable in our local community by writing Christmas cards to older people, inviting them in to watch our Christmas performances.
Developing links with our local foodbank by taking collection of food and hygiene items from staff and children to donate regularly.
Working towards the Oceans Friendly School Award, making concerted steps to reduce our waste in school and electing members of an eco-team to monitor this.
Food bank collection
This Lent we demonstrated how we can be ‘Generous and Grateful’ ‘Compassionate and Loving’ by inviting parents/carers to donate to a food bank that Mrs Buchannon had heard about The food bank is run by Teresa at the back of her café called Lily’s Tea Parlour. Every Friday a collection bin was placed at the Nursery and the gates at the front of school, with a list of items that were most needed. Mrs O’Brien, Mrs Robbins and Mrs Bchannon looked after the Nursery collection and Mr Wayne collected in the donations from the gate. Our parents/carers were extremely generous in donating plenty of items and these were then picked up by Teresa and given out to members of the community in need. We would like to give our thanks to all who felt that they could spare some provisions, especially at this time when costs of our own food and provisions is rising.
Living in Solidarity
We have been demonstrating our virtues of ‘Compassionate and Loving’, and ‘Generous and Grateful’ by inviting residents of Aran Court to our seasonal celebrations this year.
On Wednesday 7th December 2023, we had extra members in the audience for the Christmas Performance of ‘Born in a barn’. The ladies and men really enjoyed their performances as can be seen below in the tweets and photos on the day. They loved getting to meet the cast of the play and our children were delighted to be able to get to chat to them in their costumes.
The Wellbeing staff, Katie and Sharon sent us this lovely message when they got back to the home. We also had Year 4 making Christmas cards for the 80 residents of the home.
"We had a lovely afternoon, thank you very much for inviting us. We felt very welcome in your school and your children were so well behaved too. Thank you for our refreshments - the ladies love a good cuppa!"
When reception held their Easter Bonnet Parade on 29th March 2023, we invited the Aran Court residents in to watch the children proudly displaying their beautiful bonnets. Nursery and Reception were delighted to have an extra special audience.
After the parade we invited our visitors to have tea and biscuits. As can be seen below they really entered into the spirit of the day and came with their own beautiful bonnets!
Sharon and Katie who are staff members of Aran Court are pictured here having a well-earned cup of tea. They have always been delighted to join us in our celebrations.
Our visitors also took a tour around our Easter egg competition entries and were really impressed with the effort put in to making the Religious Stories entries.
We are also inviting the residents for an afternoon tea on Friday 26th May 2023 as this is our Vocations Day for the whole school. We will have some Mini Vinnies attending this tea, having a chat with them to find out more about their previous life, where they worked and just getting to know them better. Check back here soon for how this goes!
Results from the parent/carer environmental survey
Many thanks for the replies to the environmental survey we sent out recently. We had 85 replies and this shows that there is an awareness and care for our local and world environment within our community. Below is a pie chart demonstrating how you consider single-use plastic when out shopping.
This shows there is a care towards using less but we all know sometimes the most convenient solution can be heavily plastic based eg, apples in a plastic wrapper or milk in plastic bottles.
The pie chart above shows that it has sometimes been a decision for you to walk/take public transport instead of using the car. This shows you consider the effect of pollution on the air we breathe, and the cost of petrol makes this decision make sense.
When asked what concerns you where you live 43 out of 85 people said litter/flytipping/waste management. It is all our responsibility to ensure we reduce our waste. When asked what your concerns were for the global environment some people said pollution. Some said plastic waste, others mentioned global warming/climate change.
Our children are so environmentally aware and knew that we needed to do something as a school community about the plastic we dispose of. Although great efforts were made in our classrooms to recycle paper and card we did not have a dedicated recycling system in place for plastics. That all changed this academic year. Special plastic recycling bins were ordered and installed at key places within school. These were clearly labelled with the items which could be recycled within them. The Eco-wardens check the bins in their particular zone weekly and when these are full help Mrs Lennon empty these into the larger plastics bin for refuse workers to collect.
Through the work we are doing for our Live simply award, the Eco-wardens and the Earth Ambassadors are all working together to help make our school more environmentally aware. We are grateful for your support to your children achieving this aim.
Digital Down Day
You may remember that on Monday 20th March, children and staff participated in Digital Down Day. During this day, teachers taught their lessons without laptops and interactive whiteboards, the staff in the kitchen switched off the ovens and served cold lunches and children arrived in bright clothing to light up our classrooms since the lights were switched off. We were so impressed with how this day was embraced by children, parents and staff members. We wished to highlight how making small changes to our everyday routines could have a massive impact upon our energy consumption and thus our impact upon the environment. The charts below show our electricity usage during the month of March. You can clearly see our reduced electricity usage on the 20th March, which was very similar to Friday 10th March – a snow day, where no children and a limited number of staff were in school. We are so proud, thank you for your support.