Which St Mary's are we?
Names are really important. And understanding ours helps us understand how we relate to our local church and our town.
Our church is the Parish Church of St Mary the Virgin (the mother of Jesus) and St Mary Magdalene. It may surprise you but each of these first-century characters are relevant to our school in the twenty-first!
Mary the Virgin represents parenthood
Children spend a considerable amount of their formative years in the care of Primary teachers, who become significant role models and authority figures. That's a responsibility we take very seriously, and we know that teacher can be a vital anchor-point in a child's life.
In the same way, a school as an organisation has the same 'parental' role within a community. It is much more than a childcare service - it actually brings a foundation and stability to a neighbourhood and town, impacting and influencing lives on a daily basis. With a school at its centre, the community enriched.
Mary Magdalene represents leadership and servanthood
Mary Magdalene occupied a central role amongst the women who travelled with Jesus, was present at key moments in his life and active in the early church. Augustine referred to her as the 'Apostle of Apostles' and in the Gospels she appears first in lists of names, indicating her status. She both served Jesus and had a leadership role amongst his followers.
Like Magdalene, a school provides both service to and a leadership role within its community. The New Testament presents these qualities as one and the same - Jesus said that 'If anyone wants to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.' (Mark 9 v35)
This kind of leadership is not always visible but is always powerful. To lead from a place of humility requires considerable inner security and can only be achieved from a position of strength.
Working with children is is often taken for granted and not always valued. Yet by quietly, consistently and uncompromisingly forming the next generation, a school is actually writing its community's future, taking it forward by 'leading from behind'.
At St Mary's we want our staff to be aware of their worth, and of the power of their position within society.