St Augustine’s Priory teaches long-lasting habits of well being like no other school. A London day school with 13 acres, we use our land to maximise the potential of our students and families.
On our farm with chickens, ducks, pigs and an endangered variety of sheep, girls become Farm Managers. They care for the animals – including at weekends and in the holidays. We may be a day school but our pastoral care is year long. Parents are involved too. Whether gathering acorns and apples from the orchard for the pigs, or selling eggs to buy chicken feed, these are life-long habits. They farm reduces our carbon footprint and embeds sustainability. We use everything. Sheep are rotated around the grounds reducing the need for using lawn mowers; pigs’ “black gold” becomes manure in our allotment where girls, parents and staff grow vegetables. Wool from the sheep deters slugs and snails.
Our orchard has trees which are 100 years old. We supplemented these recently by planting trees chosen by girls; like the Golden Rain Tree with flowers in summer and lantern shaped fruits in autumn. Most are native species including historic varieties like the Wild Service tree with Autumn fruits that were dried and used as chequers in the Middle Ages.
Girls gather eggs and press apples for juice which they sell. Indeed their enterprise means they sell everything – even bags of animal feed to unsuspecting Open Day visitors. They are learning that protecting the future begins in the present and grows out of the past. The nuns who lived on this site originally were self-sufficient. The produce now grown on our allotment is sold or picked for families. They are learning the politics of food-security and how to sustain crops in drought. Sixth Formers preparing for Veterinary Science applications are learning problem solving in animal husbandry including lambing. Local schools bring their nursery children to visit.
From 3-18, across every department, our grounds provide food for thought, mental space and ways of living sympathetically with our environment. Everything we do is encircled in our logo – a circle like the cycle of life.