We welcome a range of visitors into school and encourage parent involvement to support children in their learning and character development. Charity representatives inspire our school community to engage in social action and to be courageous advocates for change in our local, national and global communities. Other visitors include writers, artists, naturalists, scientists and musicians. Recent highlights include:

After School Club Q&A have welcomed several visitors for a weekly Q&A session, including a former undercover Army officer, a local firefighter, dairy farmers with some of their calves, a guide dog puppy trainer, vet and doctor, all of whom were subjected to intense questioning about their professions!

Royal Marines from Elite Commando Survival led an overnight camp at St Mary’s for 70 children from across the Acorn MAT in preparation for Year 6 secondary school transitions. Tasks included casualty extraction, shooting, assault courses and hiking in the adjacent countryside. The children’s confidence grew as they embraced individual challenges and team activities with initiative, endurance and support to each other.

Bugfest brought fascinating invertebrates from all over the world into school bringing Pippin’s class topic to life. Children were captivated and fast to face their own creepy crawly fears to handle living specimens.

Fizz Pop Science delighted everyone with a ‘Bubbles’ themed assembly ahead of five After School Club sessions.

Catherine Davis (Governor) visited Orchard Class to share personal insights into Arabic culture and the Islamic holy month of Ramadan in order to support the children’s understanding of world religion and cultural practice.

School in a Bag led an assembly following the children’s fundraising for the charity which linked to activities in PSHE (Personal, Social, and Health Education).

Liz Rutter and Charlie Portlock shared news of Tara, our sponsored pupil at our link school in Nepal. The children learned Nepalese greetings and compared school life in Thorncombe and Ghale Gaun. The School Council later discussed ideas to continue this worthwhile partnership which has been running for 14 years.

Imogen Hovil made a presentation to Orchard Class about learning the cello.

Iain Green, a wildlife photographer, led ‘Wildlife Wonders Photography Day’ based on the book ‘The Lost Words’. With top tips, children of all ages worked in groups around our grounds to capture super images.

Xtreme Falconry, the bird of prey display team, shared an ‘Owl Extravaganza’ rounding off Pippin’s class topic.

Steve Manning enhanced topic work in Pippin Class through his storytelling about the famous explorer, Scott, in role as of a member of the team from the voyage to Antarctica.

Mrs Cahn joined assembly to share her experiences of the Rickshaw Challenge with a personalised video message from the BBC’s Matt Baker. Subsequently the School Council Bake Sale raised £41.50 for Children in Need.

Miss Natasha Dance School led a ‘Street Dance’ workshop as part of our enrichment curriculum. Following its success, Year 5 and 6 children continued Street Dance as part of their PE provision.

The Royal Marines led Mini Marines Day on our school grounds for our Year 6 children and their peers from other schools. New friendships were formed as the children tested themselves in a reconnaissance exercise and developed resilience through tackling the Commando’s bespoke 60 metre inflatable assault course.

Patricia Barnes (Chair of Governors) and other church members deliver weekly ‘Open the Book’ encouraging children to participate as actors or readers in short sessions based on Bible stories promoting positive values.