Setting Off From Sandwell valley

Friday, 14 May 2010

St Mary's Catholic Primary School Visit - 14th May 2010

There have been some amazingly wonderful days on my trip and I know that you must be getting a little jaded from my constant use of superlatives but today has been ...... wonderful.

St Mary's Primary is quite simply the best Eco School that I have visited ever - period.

The children are delightful; friendly, polite and inquisitive. The staff likewise and upsettingly for an old timer like me, very young and with Miss H.Pile at the helm, the Head Teacher they all make St Mary's a very special place indeed.

My visit was because of one of those wonderful coincidences I love so much; a coincidence that shows me that my guardian angels are looking after me. [I have  few!]

Whilst at college I had one particular friend who was extremely special to me. Mike Rogers. Years went by and we lost touch with each other but thanks to this blog Mike got in touch a couple of weeks ago and to cut this short I came to visit him in Congleton, Cheshire. Now it just so happened that I met his two beautiful children at the end of their school day at St Mary's and I couldn't get over what I was seeing around the school grounds. Raised beds with veg growing for each class, willow mazes, composting bins everywhere and I asked Mike's daughter whether this was an Eco School and to my delight it was - and is - a Green Flag Eco School.

A very friendly teacher, Mr Thorpe took me to the Head Teacher, Miss H. Pile and a visit was arranged for today. Mind you it came at the price of working on the willow structure.

What a fabulous school, with a great atmosphere and as I've already mentioned great children and staff. Stuart [hope that's how you spell it], the site manager showed me around and one of the children, Matthew with a TA, Mrs Woodcock [good name for a birdwatcher to meet] did likewise.

So what makes St Mary's so brillaintly special Eco-side? well;

An amphitheatre just like the Romans,
A meadow for wild flowers
An orchard with a carefully placed buddleia for insects to aid pollination,
Raised verg beds for each class - and all of them planted up and being used.
Hanging baskets everywhere
A nest box with video link to a monitor in the classroom with blue tits nesting inside sitting on eggs
More nest boxes and bat boxes around the grounds
A pond with picnic benches
2 willow structures
More raised beds for flowers and herbs
Composting and recycling bins
Dens using large logs
pallet insects houses, not just one but many
Log piles for the same purpose

I could go on because I've been blown away by the enthusiasm the whole school has for outdoor education. Classes had just returned from Anglesey for instance.

What a wonderful school and what a wonderful day.

Thank you so much Mrs Pile, Mrs Woodcock, Stuart, Mr Thorpe, Mrs Pilling and all the other staff who chatted but whose names I didn't hear. thanks to the dinner ladies for a lovely dinner and especially thanks to the children. Parents of these lovely boys and girls can be proud of them and be proud that they go to St Mary's Catholic Primary School, Congleton, Cheshire !

All the best everyone,

Eco monitors, committee members abound

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