International Schools Learning

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 awareness 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.

This year, we launched a 'St Mary's Language Challenge' which encouraged children to complete a range of 


Essex Schools Plastic Pledge

Following on from the visit from Dawn Woods in Spring 2019 when she spoke to children about the plastic pollutions in our oceans, children had written letters to local businesses and the town council. In Autumn 2019, Dawn 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 this 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.  We plan to continue this pledge for the academic year
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 New Zealand. 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 have delayed replies and we are still awaiting response.

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

Our Year 3 pupils have sent letters to pupils in our Czech Republic school and have received replies. Children who are attending school this term have written personalised letters which will be posted in September when the Czech school is open.

We are actively looking for a school for our current year 4 pupils to share letters with.

Children will continue to send and receive letters via schools.
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.


At the beginning of November 2019, 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, Wendy Stamp, 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 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 school vision of ''Achieve, Believe, Belong, Aspire' through
research of individuals.


 Erasmus Visitors



November 2019:

We are ready to welcome our Italian and Czech partners for the second phase of our Erasmus+ project. They will be arriving on 25th November for the week and will be job-shadowing our teachers to find out how we teach and learn maths in particular. Our Learning Forum are deciding on the questions they wish to ask them about schools in Italy and the Czech Republic and also to find out a little more about where they live. 

Please see the letter for parents for more information. 


Erasmus Welcome

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


 Fairtrade Friday

February 2020:

The school focused on this through our Fairtrade Friday event. Each class chose activities to celebrate and learn about Fairtrade goods and the impact on fair trading on the well being and health of people all around the world. This ranged from investigating chocolate and tasting and comparing different brands of chocolate, including fairtrade brands; Fairtrade fruits were bought from our local co-op stores and children did surveys, tastings and data handling. Children investigated the needs behind Fairtrade goods.. School meals for the Fairtrade Friday consisted of Fairtrade items and children with packed lunches were 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 choicesthey make and the differences their choices can make on a local and global scale.

Commonwealth Day

March 2020:

All classes spent some or all of the day, exploring what is meant by Commonwealth and researching countries using resources from the DfE Commonwealth Education Pack. Children were encouraged to think about the links they had with the member countries, either because of family connections ; through travelling or because of the foods and clothes that we buy. This was set as home learning for all classes. The classes shared their work with each other. The school kitchen had a special Commonwealth Day school lunch and included typical dishes from India, such as Chicken Korma. Parents were invited into school, to share the school lunch with their children. A whole school assembly celebrated children's work and learning.
Children were given opportunities to share what they had 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'.

World Book Day

This year, we included an international focus to our World Book Day. Children were encouraged to choose a book from home which had a setting in another country and to create a 3D model of what they imagined the setting to be like. Children came dressed as the character and shared their books with each other in class. Parents and staff were invited to choose a book with a connection to their own culture. Some parents read their selection to several classes. A whole school assembly celebrated children's efforts.
Aims and outcomes:
To encourage children to look for authors written by non-British authors and to have a greater understanding that places around the world can be similar and different. To foster an appreciateion of other cultures. To foster an enjoyment of reading. To encourage creativity. To use the models as a starting point/stimulus for story telling. To foster the school values of respect and fellowship. To encourage the school vision of 'Belong'.