'We are a socially responsible school'
At Reigate St Mary’s we have embraced Education for Social Responsibility (ESR). The first, and probably the most significant aspect, is having a heart for other people and caring for a planet which serves not only us but all of the other inhabitants as well. This has to be recognised through a lens of compassion and care for others, getting away from self-seeking behaviours which can so easily be promoted through a materialistic, consumption driven society.
Education for Social Responsibility (ESR) within the curriculum
Education for Social Responsibility has become recognised as one of the most important areas for prep school education. The Headmaster, Mr Culverwell, has been instrumental in establishing a whole new scheme of work which has been embraced by IAPS schools across the country and includes education on:
- Fulfilled lives
- Ethical Trade
- Climate Change
- Eco systems
- Water security
- Finite resources
These topics are woven into the curriculum from Years 1 to 6 because we believe that young people need to understand the importance of sustainable living and they must become the creators of a sustainable and fairer economic system for the future.
Ellen MacArthur made 2b made again
Prince Charles on sustainable economies
Meaning of the 21st Century
Fossil fuel history and future
A child’s plea
Each year group from Reception to Year 6 sponsors a child in the developing world. Many parents sign up to donate £18 a year and children are encouraged to bring in 20p on every first Monday of the month. This provides sufficient funds for each year group to sponsor a child in a developing country through their school years, to provide them with a healthy meal each day, to give them medical and social care and ultimately to give them a future. As part of our Combined Humanities programme the children learn about the countries that their sponsored child lives in, they write to and receive letters from the sponsored child and they understand that our giving can make a world of difference to those less fortunate than themselves.
Reigate St Mary’s has had its Green Flag Eco School status (the highest a school can reach) for the last 4 years. The Green Flag Eco School programme is a way in which we can ensure that caring for the planet becomes, and remains, high profile.
The school has installed a monitoring system which measures the amount of energy that is used in the different buildings and this information is converted into graphs so that the amount of CO2 produced can be easily seen. The actual kilowatt hours used can also be monitored and the school can set targets to compete with ourselves to reduce our energy consumption.
Eco Committee and Green Leaders
The establishing of an Eco Committee has encouraged children to think seriously about ecological issues. Along with Year 6 Green Leaders, the Eco Committee undertake research and raise awareness within the school of the importance of living within limits and protecting the natural environment. The children speak in Assemblies, advise the School Council, write a termly magazine and are generally an inspiration to other children encouraging them to take ecological issues seriously.
Community Outreach Programme
The school has given a responsibility to a member of staff to specifically develop our outreach programmes. The idea is that children should be regularly engaged in doing kind and helpful things for others in the community. This has included regular concerts for the elderly, and projects to raise money for the local foodbank and we were winners of the 2018 Go Givers, Make A Difference Challenge. Sponsored activities raise money for a number of projects. Perhaps the most significant and successful was a sponsored ‘water walk’ where children had to carry, for a short distance, the type of heavy water containers that children in Africa have to carry for miles. In this way enough money was raised to build 5 water tanks in rural villages in Southern Uganda to save them the daily walk to collect water. The founder of the project has visited the school and personally thanked the children for the difference they have made in the lives of others. The children were very excited and fully engaged with this charitable activity.
The school is lucky to have 15 acres of grounds enabling us to allow children into the wooded areas to build dens and enjoy the natural environment. We have outdoor lessons as often as we can and have a small outdoor quiet area called EDEN which is short for Education Enriched. This is an area where children can sit and contemplate, reflect and be still and also where outdoor lessons can take place. We have vegetable gardens and flower beds and a gardening club who work these and produce food which is cooked in the kitchen at the right time of year. It is also home to the school’s tortoise, Ernie.
Joel had a fantastic trip, memories that will stay with him for life.
Parent of a Year 6 child
From Year 4 to Year 6 we run residential trips. The Year 6 residential trip takes place in Snowdonia and as part of this the children earn a certificate in the ‘John Muir’ award in memory of one of the greatest conservationists of the 20th Century. The focus of the trip is individual well-being, team well-being and environmental well-being and through spending time outside working as a team, climbing Snowdon etc. with significant amounts of time for reflection and blogging, the children gain a much greater sense of valuing the environment and the importance of the natural systems we all depend upon.