Well-Being at St Augustine’s Priory
Wednesday 17th July 2019
A habit for life.
We were thrilled when we heard that we were shortlisted for the Independent Schools of the Year awards 2019. The category in which we have been been shortlisted, Independent School of the Year for Student Well-Being, is apt for St Augustine’s Priory, sitting as we do in 13 acres of grounds looking south towards the Surrey Hills.
As Nell Dobson, Sixth Form student and the school’s Health and Well-Being Ambassador observed, ‘St Augustine’s Priory does a lot to look after us. Having a category for well-being in these awards is in itself important because that is what we should be striving for’.
We ensure that all our children, from Nursery to Upper VI enjoy the well-being benefits and opportunities the grounds afford, from playtimes to sports, from the Forest School, outdoor stage and outdoor lessons to their Priory Farm. Our most recent innovation has been a complete re-design of the Prep Playground and it is now a superb outdoor classroom with outdoor theatre and seating, climbing wall, water garden and sensory garden which all Preps and Juniors, up to and including Upper II, can learn in and enjoy.
The Priory Farm promotes and ensures well-being amongst all pupils. From its inauguration two years ago the farm has involved all pupils from Nursery to Upper VI both in curricular and extra-curricular activities. The farm comprises allotments and livestock: three micro-pigs, several breeds of chickens, a small flock of sheep – and now ducks!
All classes visit the farm with cross-curricular activities involving subjects such as art, physics, computing and mathematics. Outside the curriculum the farm and animals are looked after by pupil Farm Managers, under the supervision of staff.
One of the Farm Managers recently commented, ‘Working at the Priory Farm is an amazing experience – it relaxes me, educates me and enables me to work with animals. I have also made lots of friends – the farm is a great way of bringing the school community together. Although I work hard in the farm, I get such a lot back. The rewards are enormous’.
As Nell Dobson summed up the well-being benefits of life at St Augustine’s Priory, ‘Instead of surrounding our minds and learning with concrete, we open our minds up to nature and the beauty of the world around us.’