Extra-Curricular Enrichment

Collective worship

Children and adults are warmly invited to gather, share, celebrate and reflect during our daily Collective Worship that aims to be inclusive, invitational and inspirational. Through exploring our vision, values and ethos, everyone is challenged and engaged with the teachings of Jesus and the Bible and we reaffirm the importance of relationships with opportunities to think about our own lives and of others. Children are encouraged and supported to take on increasingly independent roles in planning, leading and evaluating worship; each term School Ethos Council, Eco Council and Mental Health Ambassadors take the lead to share and champion causes meaningful to them. At Thorncombe St Mary’s everyone can be actively involved and can develop their own spirituality whilst contributing to our shared journey of Living, Learning and Growing Together.  

Our Collective Worship is determined by Christian tradition. Part of this culture is to be hospitable and inclusive to all in the community we serve; we remain mindful that some children may be from families who are members of another faith, or who hold a non-religious world view. 


Our breakfast and after school clubs run every day of the week. Breakfast club runs from 8.00-8.30 and after school club runs from 3.15-4.30. These are led by Lorraine Hodder who is also a Teaching Assistant and Assistant SENCO within the school.

To make the most of our fabulous outdoor space and to promote physical and mental wellbeing, we typically offer weekly after school Sports Club or Forest School on rotation through the school year. These are delivered by Primary Sports and Primary Forest School. Research shows that children’s participation in organised sports and physical activities helps to improve academic performance as well as social, emotional and behavioural skills. To ensure that every child has equal opportunity to participate, clubs at St Mary’s are offered free of charge as often as possible.

Details are communicated to parents and carers each half term with reminders via our newsletters. Any charges are managed through the online payment system, ParentPay.

Awareness Events

National or global themed days, weeks or months help children at St Mary’s to better understand and value how they fit into and contribute to the world. Each year we carefully select events for the best fit with our curriculum planning and Christian ethos. Through ‘pupil voice’, children at St Mary’s help shape the school calendar as we encourage their input in decisions and actions that have a profound impact on their world.

World Democracy Day heralds the start of every academic year, a time when we hold school elections for key ‘pupil voice’ roles and explore our fundamental British Values of democracy and mutual respect. As part of our safeguarding culture, Anti Bullying Week and Safer Internet Day are always on the calendar reinforcing aspects of our PSHCE curriculum. Linked to this, our Mental Health Ambassadors take a lead role in promoting mental health awareness events.

We know that many of our children will have a limited experience of different cultures, nationalities and faiths so Black History Month and World Refugee Week are platforms we might use to explore equality and diversity; International Women’s Week and Science Week are other opportunities to reinforce an inclusive mindset, particularly in challenging gender stereotyping in view of future career aspirations. 

In terms of courageous advocacy, the School Ethos Council’s fundraising may link with national or world awareness events and Eco Council choose themes to encourage appreciation of nature and to inspire action to protect and preserve our world for present and future generations

World Book Day in March is a highlight of the school year, a day on which children and staff dress in character themed outfits to celebrate books and reading!


Visitors to school help reinforce key messages, bring learning to life and further spiritual, moral, social and cultural development. Recent highlights:

  • A tour around a fire engine and talk with our local fire brigade.
  • NSPCC virtual assemblies presented by Ant & Dec and in-school workshops with the key message ‘Speak out. Stay safe’ in terms of tackling abuse including bullying.
  • Dogs Trust workshops helped us understand how to behave safely around dogs and to be responsible dog owners.
  • Thorncombe First Responders shared insights into their life saving community role. 
  • Jessica Spanyol’s virtual author workshop inspired our young writers and illustrators.
  • Hollie Pender’s dance workshops brought freestyle and structured routines together in group performances celebrating cultures from around the world.
  • Thorncombe Minstrels’ performances of ‘The Lord is my Shepherd’ emphasised the universal message that God will take care of all of our needs. 

School Trips and Residentials

Being conscious of costs to families, we invest in as many school trips as we can so that children learn from real and exciting first hand experiences that broaden their horizons and create lasting memories. 

We make good use of our fantastic local area to link themed learning, for example: visits to the Arla organic dairy farm on the Sadborow Estate; fossil discovery at Charmouth’s Heritage Centre and beach; underwater insights at Lyme Regis Marine Aquarium; and exploring Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens. 

Events at Thorncombe’s Village Hall and at St Mary’s Church build our children’s confidence to perform and sing beyond the safety of our school site. At Yeovil’s Octagon Theatre, children are encouraged to actively engage in the action of traditional pantomime or to be inspired by a live orchestral performance; such events help explore communication and vocabulary and develop empathy, concentration and social awareness.

Venues at Exeter, Bridport and Weymouth offer sporting experiences beyond our PE curriculum such as climbing, bouldering and sailing. For their character building adventures, Years 5 and 6 may face the inflatable water course and mud trail at Dorset Adventure Park or orienteering, investigating river habitats and exciting ‘low ropes’ team building challenges at Magdalen Farm.

Ahead of school trips, parents and carers are required to complete consent forms. We are aware that trips away from school may be a challenge for some children, particularly those with SEND; we involve parents/carers and use our best endeavours to enable every child to participate and enjoy every experience offered. 

Given our rural location we plan to consult with parents and carers again to re-establish city residentials.

Inter-School Events and Sports

Through pooled funding and shared resources, children at St Mary’s benefit hugely from our collaboration with the other six schools across the Acorn Multi Academy Trust. Events are hosted ‘at home’, ‘away’ or online!

Teams from St Mary’s take part in Trust inter-school sports tournaments including football, dodgeball, catchball, netball and more. Competitive participation helps to build children’s skills, resilience and teamwork; and importantly enables the forging of new relationships based on respect and sportsmanship. In 2023 St Mary’s achieved a Bronze Award in the School Games Mark programme in recognition of our commitment to developing competition across the school and community.

Beyond sport, our whole school competes in annual Trust Times Tables Rock Stars Tournaments; and most recently Reception and Year 1 enjoyed a dinosaur-themed dance workshop at another school whilst children from different Key Stage 2 cohorts joined their peers from other schools for maths mastery classes and a Mayan workshop including a live Q&A session with a specialist Maya archaeologist.

Active Learning

Through Science, PE and PSHCE we build our children’s knowledge and understanding of healthy lifestyles and guide them to be reflective practitioners with a desire to create their own healthy habits for life. 

In 2022/23, we elevated engagement in regular physical activity across school through: re-introducing the Daily Mile; upskilling children to enjoy more quality physical activities; giving children budget control to select resources to encourage more active play; training Play Leaders to take ownership of active break times; Sports4all support for the least active; and introducing Stormbreaks, short movement breaks to promote wellbeing.

Children at St Mary’s are physically active for at least 60 minutes every day.

We have recently invested in the OPAL scheme to further boost our active play and learning opportunities. We are so excited to see this unveil!

Transition Days

Thorncombe St Mary’s is a feeder school to The Woodroffe School in Lyme Regis and retains good relations with other secondary schools in the area including Beaminster School, Axe Valley Academy, Holyrood Academy and Colyton Grammar School. 

Each year, through the Spring and Summer terms, our Year 6 children join peers from other local primary schools for secondary school transition days giving them insights into secondary school life and opportunities to make new friends. 

Our staff at St Mary’s also work hard to prepare the children by ensuring that they have the knowledge and strength or character to transition with confidence. In collaboration with secondary school teams, we support parents and carers of our children with SEND for the smoothest possible transition. See our SEND Information Report for more detail.  

Parents and carers are invited to our Year 6 leavers’ service at St Mary’s Church when we celebrate each child’s individuality and wish them well as they move forward for new adventures.

External Music Provision

Music is integrated through school life at St Mary’s from younger children learning through song, a well planned enriching music curriculum to rejoicing in song in worship. We want to inspire children to develop a love of music and are very fortunate to have the support of Dorset Music Service, ensuring that every child in Key Stage 2 has the opportunity to learn to play a musical instrument.

Through the Acorn Multi Academy Trust, we are in contact with a range of external music providers who can also offer 1:1 or small group lessons for a range of different instruments. These lessons can take place during the school day but at an additional cost to families; payments are made directly to the music tutors and not to the school. 

Please contact the school office if you require more information and contact details.