International Schools Learning 2022 - 2023

Internationalism is embedded throughout the curriculum at St. Mary's. We continue to strive to open the world up to the pupils, enhancing their global knowledge and teaching them new skills in the process. We have continued our strong links with our partner schools in Italy and Czech this year, and are looking to widen our international partnerships again next year when we will be working with Kenyan schools as part of our close links with St. Mary's church and the diocese, focussing on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

Black History Week



The week began with a special assembly conducted by Mrs Denham-Hale, and topics / significant individuals were further explored in additional assemblies throughout the week. Each class focussed on different significant black people. For example, children researched: the black women scientists who made a significant contribution to the American space race during the 1960s; Martin Luther King; Nelson Mandela; Amanda Gorman. The week culminated in an exhibition of children's work in the hall, where each class viewed and discussed what they saw and read. Children also reflected upon the week during a final assembly.

Aims: to celebrate the significant contribution that black individuals have made throughout history; to deepen children's understanding and appreciation of different races and cultures throughout the world; to develop children's understanding of race and gender inequalities that still exist in the world; to develop their understanding of the role that they will play in supporting race and gender equality in the future.

Outcomes: children reflected and fed back upon their learning throughout the week, orally, pictorially and through written work, discussing the significant impact that black people have had throughout history, and across the world, and celebrated the huge positive impact that people of different race and culture have had on many aspects of society.






Inspirational Women of the World Week




St Mary’s hold an ‘Inspirational Women of the World Week’ annually where children learn about inspirational women in the present and past who have challenged and shaped the world around them. The week began with an introductory assembly led by Mrs Scarrott, one of our Early Years teachers. There were further assemblies throughout the week to develop and embed the children's learning and understanding. The school invited local inspirational women into school to talk to the children about their lives. For example, Wendy Stamp (a district councillor) spoke about her responsibilities and Becky Diss, who recently won a ‘Pride of Essex’ community award answered children’s questions about her motivation and aspirations. Children also researched and developed their understanding of inspirational women globally, who have impacted positively on our world, through a range of different activities in classes. They presented their work through displays around the school to publicise their learning to parents and visitors.

Aims: to understand the meaning of inspirational; to develop children's understanding of how being an 'inspirational' woman can uplift and motivate others to bring out the best in themselves; to recognise the importance of women both in their own lives, the wider community and globally.

Outcomes: this special week encouraged children to think about the opportunities they have, and how this could lead to them inspiring others through their own pursuits or goals, regardless of gender.


World Book Week



This year, instead of a World Book Day, our English lead teacher, Miss Murphy, held a World Book Week celebrating international authors, and expanding our understanding of diversity and culture through the medium of literature. Children across the school were encouraged to write book recommendations to promote their favourite books / authors. Children in our international partner schools in Czech and Italy were also encouraged to do the same. Children read their reviews as well as excerpts from their favourite books, which were recorded and shared with our partner schools. Our partner schools reciprocated by recommending and reading excerpts from their favourite books too. This allowed children to hear different languages and be introduced to book titles and authors from different cultures / countries. Furthermore, children were able to compare their choices, giving an insight into cultural differences and similarities.

Aims: to have an awareness of authors and book titles from other countries; to understand the qualities of a 'good book'; to be able evaluate a book and justify whether it should be recommended or not

Outcomes: children were able to evaluate and justify their opinions; they gained an appreciation of international authors / literature; children gained an understanding of similarities and differences in other countries / cultures; they were able to listen to other languages.












Book titled 'by class 4th Scuola primaria Pietralacroce - Istituto A. Scocchera - Ancona Italy'Read this book made on StoryJumper


Fairtrade Fortnight



St Mary's promotes Fairtrade Fortnight every year. This year, Miss Butcher, led an assembly introducing Fairtrade Fortnight. Further assemblies were undertaken during the two weeks to further embed learning. Each class chose activities to celebrate and learn about Fairtrade goods and the impact of Fair Trade on the well-being and health of people all around the world. Activities included investigating, tasting and comparing different Fairtrade brands. Children also investigated the needs behind Fairtrade goods, writing letters to persuade the School Meals Service to include Fairtrade products in school meals. Furthermore, each child was asked to consider one small way in which they can support Fairtrade. They made a Fairtrade promise which was written on a leaf and placed on our Fairtrade Tree display in school. On the final Friday, school meals consisted of some Fairtrade items and children with packed lunches were encouraged to bring a Fairtrade lunch.

Aims: to understand what Fairtrade means; to know examples of Fairtrade goods; to have a greater awareness of the importance of Fairtrade goods; to understand how they can make a difference to people’s lives around the world.

Outcomes: children now have a greater empathy for people who farm and produce goods around the world and understand the impact that consumers have through the choices they make, and the difference their choices can make on a local and global scale.





How we celebrate Easter?



Over the Easter period, children from St. Mary's took photographs and videos of their activities. Mrs Knapton, our RE subject lead, incorporated these into a presentation to explain to our partner schools in Italy and Czech how we celebrate Easter. This included Shrove Tuesday pancakes, an Ash Wednesday church service and an Easter headdress parade, and of course Easter eggs! Children from our partner schools also took photographs and videos to include in their presentations of their Easter celebrations in a similar way. All schools viewed each other's presentations to gain a deeper understanding of different cultures.

Aims: to have a greater understanding of the story of Easter and its importance in the Christian faith; to explore differences and similarities between different countries’ cultures and traditions.

Outcomes: children were able to understand and appreciate the ethnic diversity in the Christian faith, supporting cultural tolerance.





The Great Language Challenge




The children were introduced to the British Council’s ‘The Great Language Challenge’ in a special assembly by Mrs Scarrott, one of our teachers who is from Cuba. They were asked to undertake a range of activities to develop their understanding and knowledge of the Spanish language, as well as welcome and engage with foreign language speakers from the wider school community to develop an appreciation of other languages. This is in addition to the modern foreign language that the children learn in school, which is French. The children were given the option of completing the challenges in a special book or uploading them on their class Google Classroom website. When they completed it, Mrs Scarrott awarded prizes for the best projects across the year groups in a special assembly.

Aims: to introduce children to the Spanish language; to appreciate the importance of different languages

Outcomes: children improved their Spanish speaking and listening skills, their knowledge of Spanish speaking countries, and gained an appreciation of other foreign languages that our children speak, and those within the wider school community.



Eco Team



Miss Tavner and Mrs Warnes led an assembly to highlight the importance of taking care of our planet by looking after our environment. They asked the children to volunteer to become part of St Mary's Eco Team. The children who wished to volunteer prepared and delivered speeches stating why they would be suitable for the role. Once chosen, the team became ecological stewards, developing our school environment, taking responsibility for energy saving strategies, and also promoting this across the school during assemblies etc. The children had regular meetings led by Miss Tavner and Mrs Warnes to discuss any concerns and ways forward to ensure that St. Mary's is supporting both the school and the environment.

Aims: to learn about the dangers facing the environment, and how they can be addressed; to understand that we all responsible for the environment

Outcomes: the children learned co-operative skills working as a team to enhance the school environment. The Eco Team helped co-ordinate all the children across the school to plant trees in our Forest school area. They also discussed recent environmental issues including energy saving strategies in meetings, and shared their ideas with the rest of the school in special assemblies. There is a planned trip in the new academic year to a recycling centre to understand how recycling helps the environment too. Looking forward, we now have a strong team of people who are passionate about looking after our school environment and who are ready to lead the school community in local and global issues.



Song for the World



Using the stimulus 'What world do you want in 2030?' introduced to them by Ms Battson ( our International lead teacher) and Mrs Macartney (our Deputy head teacher and Music subject leader),  the children used their new knowledge to help compose a song, reflecting their hopes and dreams for a better world. The children performed the song, which was videoed and posted on the school's website, to promote our international work to the wider community.

Aims: to work collaboratively for a common goal; to be aware of the power of lyrics to communicate feelings and emotions; to understand how environmental issues affect the world.

Outcomes: the children learned about environmental issues facing the world today and through working collaboratively across the age ranges, were able to compose ideas, contributing to the lyrics of a song for the world.  They developed their musicality awareness of other's feelings and their performance skills, producing a new song, expressing their ideas and emotions.





The Power of Yet



The children of St. Mary's were visited by former world champion scooter rider Terry Scott from BMX, Skate and Scoot Academy to further develop their understanding of the ‘Power of Yet’. This enabled the children to develop strategies to manage their own mental health, well-being and resilience.

Miss Westley, St Mary's Pupil Premium Champion, who introduced the 'Power of Yet' to St. Mary's School, explained this ethos to our international partner schools' in Italy and Czech, helping them to develop this concept in their schools. After a virtual meeting with the international teachers, she sent resources, including certificates and stickers, and they fed back and shared their success with us.

Aims: to promote resilience in children; to develop strategies to manage mental health and well-being; to share good practice.

Outcomes: children developed their resilience during the day through workshops and a final show. They reflected upon their behaviour for learning and self-belief and learned strategies to manage their mental health and well-being. Our partner schools developed the same ethos with children in their schools and shared their successes. Their children enjoyed the certificates and stickers that were sent to them.




International Schools Learning 2020 - 2023

We are extremely proud that we have now achieved the British Council's International Schools' Award three times, which recognises the very good work that we do in this area.

St Mary's Presentation test from Linda Wells on Vimeo.

Through the inclusion of an international focus at St Mary’s School we offer our children a range of experiences that enhance their learning and raise awareness of their impact on others throughout the world. 

Why we take part in International Schools learning

  • It raises awareness of international interdependencies.
  • It builds value and respect for different cultures and beliefs.
  • It develops an understanding of human rights and social justice issues.
  • It helps children gain an understanding of sustainable development of the world’s resources.
  • It supports our children's development into responsible global citizens of the future. 

The learning activities that children take part in

  • Joining in a range of international learning projects, such as European Comenius and Erasmus Projects, which give them the opportunity to meet and build relationships with children from other countries.
  • Developing their cultural capital by welcoming international visitors at the school and occasionally by visiting other countries.
  • Practising their French language skills by speaking with native French speakers.French picture
  • Writing to pupils in our link schools to develop their written skills.
  • Participating in multicultural art, dance and music through our arts curriculum.
  • Studying different ways of worship from faiths and cultures around the world.
  • Developing their geographical knowledge and skills by  studying the countries that we are partnered with, which brings the subject to life.
  • Developing a love for learning by joining in special events such as International Week / Multicultural Arts Week.
  • Building an understanding of the British Values by learning about the diversity of multicultural Britain through trips and links with other schools.


 Welcoming our Czech partners to Burnham.

In May 2022, we welcomed four teachers from the Czech Republic as part of our Erasmus project. Our children were able to learn about life in the Czech Republic during the week. Our learning forum devised and asked many questions to our guests and then reported back to their classes. The whole school, including our youngest children, learnt how to say zero to ten in Czech, learning through a song that we created. The visitors were very impressed with our pronunciation of some very difficult words! The week was an opportunity for us to showcase how we link maths to other areas of the curriculum, as it was also STEAM week where the whole school worked on a project to find out about renewable energy. The teachers enjoyed joining in with the children's learning about wind power and turbines. 

Essex Schools Plastic Pledge

Following on from the visit from Dawn Woods when she spoke to children about the plastic pollutions in our oceans, children wrote letters to local businesses and the town council. Dawn then hosted an event for businesses and the general public to highlight the pollution and its dangers. Part of the event was a display of our children's letters. Our school eco team has met on several occasions the year to discuss the 'Essex School Plastic Pledge' and to feed back to their classes.  Eco team members met with kitchen staff to discuss a plastic free lunch for World Earth day and using less single use plastic packaging. Children created posters which were placed around the school grounds, reminding others about plastic waste and its effect on the environment.  
Aims and outcomes:
To encourage pupils to be agents of change. To enhance established school curriculum. To promote the school vision of 'Belong and Achieve'. To encourage a community spirit, both locally and internationally. Children to have a greater understanding of the impact of the choices that we make on the wider world. To reduce the use of single use plastic within school and to encourage the local community to use less plastic.

Letters Around the World

Year 5 pupils wrote and sent individual letters to pupils in school in New Zealand after researching about the country. We gained parent permission for photographs to be sent along with the letters. We also sent a PowerPoint which the children worked on via padlet to the pupils in New Zealand. We were due to receive replies from the New Zealand school, but the volcanic explosion and Covid interfered with the replies.

Our Year 6 pupils sent and received letters to/from pupils in our Italian partner school. They also communicated through the e-twinning page.

Our Year 3 pupils sent letters to pupils in our Czech Republic school and received replies. Children wrote personalised letters which were posted to the Czech school.
Aims and outcomes:
The aim is to have as many of our children as possible to have a pen pal. To promote the school vision of 'Belong'. To promote the school value of 'Fellowship'. To foster a greater awareness of the wider world. To encourage British values of respect and understanding of different cultures. To enhance children's geographical understanding of seasons and climates around the world. To have a real-life purpose for writing.


St Mary’s  held an ‘Inspirational Women of the World Week’ where children learnt about women in the present and past who have challenged and shaped the world around them. The school invited several local women into school to talk to the children about their lives: Burnham’s mayor answered children’s questions about her responsibilities and read our younger children a book Mama for Mayor. Police-officers, PC Imogen Thomas and PC Sophie Kennedy spoke to children about their roles and why they had decided to join the police the force. We had a visit from Sam Weetch- a member of the the RNLI- and children had a great time trying on some of the outfits she wears when out saving lives. Our older pupils had a visit from coder, Cath Morris, who works for an investment/resource research company, while Justine Page, who runs, answered younger children’s questions.

A busy week! The dictionary definition of ‘inspirational’ is: to offer something valuable, uplifting which motivates others to bring out the best in themselves. To be inspirational is to lead by example and encourage others to feel there is something worthwhile to become and do. Our visitors have certainly done this. The children have  had lots to think about and have gained new insights into the choices they could make in their future lives – both in respect to jobs as well as volunteering to make an impact on their community.



Black History Week

A whole school mini topic in which each classroom chose an influential black person, either living or dead. They each researched the person and investigated the impact and influence of their contributions to society. Those chosen included Barak Obama, Nelson Mandela, Mae Jemison, Usain Bolt, Mary Seacole and Martin Luther King. Each class created a hall display.
Pairs of classes presented their learning with each other and question and answer sessions followed. Whole school assembly was held at the beginning of week to introduce the theme. Children were given homework to do further research at home. Parents/carers and families were invited to work with their children to research and prepare homework projects. This was then shared with peers at school.
Aims and outcomes:
To have a greater understanding of the influence of different races and cultures on the history of Britain and the world. To give BAME pupils and staff opportunities to celebrate their cultures and to provide pupils with good role models. To promote the British values of tolerance, understanding and respect. To enhance the school vision of ''Achieve, Believe, Belong, Aspire' through research of individuals.



Erasmus Welcome

 Our children welcomed our visitors with performances of English poems and songs.


 Fairtrade Friday

Each year the school focuses on this through our Fairtrade Friday event. Each class chooses activities to celebrate and learn about Fairtrade goods and the impact of fair trading on the well being and health of people all around the world. Activities such as investigating chocolate and tasting and comparing different brands of chocolate, including Fairtrade brands take place. Fairtrade fruits are bought from our local Co-op stores and children undertake surveys, tastings and data handling. Children investigate the needs behind Fairtrade goods. School meals for the Fairtrade Friday consist of some Fairtrade items and children with packed lunches are encouraged to bring a Fairtrade lunch.
Aims and outcomes:
For children and teachers to have a greater awareness of the need for fair trade goods. For children to have a greater empathy for people who farm and produce goods around the world. To understand the impact that consumers have through the choices they make and the differences their choices can make on a local and global scale.

Commonwealth Day

Classes spend some of the day, exploring what is meant by Commonwealth and researching countries using resources from the DfE Commonwealth Education Pack. Children are encouraged to think about the links they have with the member countries, either because of family connections; through travelling or because of the foods and clothes that we buy. The classes share their work with each other. The school kitchen has a special Commonwealth Day school lunch and includes typical dishes from India. A whole school assembly celebrates children's work and learning.
Children are given opportunities to share what they have learnt about the Commonwealth and its member countries. 
Aims and outcomes:
Children to have a greater understanding of the Commonwealth, how it came into being and its role in the world. To improve the British Values of tolerance and respect. To encourage the school vision of 'Belong' through study of the links between our countries. To celebrate our school Christian value of 'Fellowship'.