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An outstanding school at the heart of Long Ditton for 150 years

St Mary's Church of England Junior School in Long Ditton kicked off its 150th anniversary celebrations in style, Victorian style that is, in late May.

Pupils took part in a Victorian Day to experience the school's heritage in a very tangible way, including some of the Victorian curriculum such as dictation, rote times table and problems involving Imperial money.

Since its beginnings in 1874, the school has had strong links with its namesake St Mary's Church. Rector, Revd Dr Kuhan Satkunanayagan, leads Collective Worship (school assemblies) once a week and termly Holy Communion service for the school.

The link between the school and the church doesn't stop there. Kuhan also supports some of the RE lessons, leads meditations and welcomes classes into the church for ad hoc visits and a combined Harvest celebration with the local Infant and Nursery Schools.

Kuhan says, “The partnership between the two St Mary’s in Long Ditton are strong with PCC members serving as Foundation Governors and we are always looking for new and creative ways for the links to be strengthened and widened.:

Two services were held to celebrate the long-standing link between the church and the school over the last 150 years. St Mary's Church held a Thanksgiving Choral Evensong on Sunday 16 June in honour of the school and a celebratory service was held in the Junior school on Tuesday 11 June.

Jim Babbington, OBE, DL representing the Lord Lieutenant of Surrey, and the Worshipful, the Mayor of Elmbridge, Councillor Neil Houston attended the service to celebrate with the school alongside the Bishop of Guildford, the Rt Revd Andrew Watson, and Diocesan Director of Education, Alex Tear, from the Diocese of Guildford.

Bishop Andrew said of the event, “It was a real joy to visit St. Mary's School, to meet with such a great bunch of enthusiastic children and motivated teachers, and to give thanks to God for all the generations who have passed through the school over the last 150 years.”

Prayers were led by pupils, teachers and governors and items symbolising the Church of England school were placed on the altar. Later in the service, the Bishop sprinkled the symbols, the school building, the school community and other people present with holy water.

The school continues to grow from strength to strength having been graded Outstanding following its most recent Ofsted inspection and from September the Junior School will be joining with the Infant and Nursery School as one federation.

“It's been wonderful to hear so many memories of our school through the years as part of our 150-year celebrations.” Shares the school’s Chair of Governors, Rachel Cook. “The day the Bishop came to visit in his cope and mitre will never be forgotten by our current pupils! We are very much looking forward to the next chapter of our school's story as we federate with our village Infant school and hope to make a difference to further generations of Long Ditton families.

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