Pinewood in the Community
Pinewood has a long tradition of involvement in the local community. The school is involved with several local primary schools providing facilities and workshops as well as supporting a wide range of charities throughout the year. Community projects are a regular feature of school life, giving pupils opportunities to contribute to the local area, and raising awareness of people in the community who are in need.
Pinewood has established links with Ashbury Primary school, who have visited several times for Science workshops and enjoyed a range of experiments in the school science labs. Ashbury, Bishopstone and Watchfield Primary schools also attend sports coaching sessions regularly with Pinewood children, and have the chance to use the grounds and pitches including the Astroturf. Pupils from The Grove School in Swindon have also attended a Kaya Drum workshop along with Pinewood children.
The Pre-Prep, through Friends of Pinewood, sponsors a child called Aminat in Ethiopia, to enable her to attend a local school. They enjoy writing and receiving letters. Links have also been developed with the Shonda Project, a charity which supports St John’s School on the outskirts of Mombasa, Kenya. There are currently over 340 children and 21 teachers and staff at the school. Poverty and illness are common and many children come to school hungry. The Woods family in summer 2011 and more recently the Lawson family (Hugo and Sienna) at Christmas 2014 have visited Shonda, taking clothing, musical instruments and sports equipment donated by the school and the school community.
Pinewood has raised over £10,000 for Shonda since December 2011, through house charity mornings, when pupils in one house run fundraising stalls and activities for the other pupils; home clothes days, and collections at plays and the carol service. The pupils are encouraged to learn about the Shonda community and it is hoped that skype links will also be able to be developed so they can communicate with the St John’s pupils. The money raised has been used to provide new water distribution facilities, computers, books, instruments, sports equipment and an annual salary for one of the teachers. Pre-Prep recently held curriculum WOW days focussing on Shonda. They also sent a range of equipment such as recorders, bean bags, ankle bells and small games to be used and enjoyed by the Shonda pupils.
In recent years the Pinewood community has been deeply affected by the loss of both staff members and several parents to cancer and so it is fitting that parents, children and staff take part in the annual Pinewood Race for Life, in aid of Cancer Research, held in the school grounds. The Race For Life also supports the George Bailey Trust, set up in memory of a Pinewood pupil, George Bailey who died aged 13 from cancer. The Trust aims to provide holistic therapy and support to children and parents affected by childhood cancer.
Events over the course of the year allow Friends of Pinewood to fundraise for the school and other local charities such as the Wiltshire Air Ambulance, CALM (Children’s Cancer & Leukaemia Movement), Swindon Shock, DEBRA, Bag4Sport, Splash, Seesaw and Riding for the Disabled. For more information on the work of Friends of Pinewood, please click here.
In October following the collection for Harvest, children distribute food and produce to members of Bourton village and the wider community.
In May we hold our annual food collection for Swindon Foodbank, an organisation which provides emergency food parcels for those in crisis situations. Staff from the Foodbank visit Pinewood to help the pupils understand the importance of their contribution, and what others in the local community can face in their daily lives. In the summer term Year 8 pupils visit the Foodbank for a morning to help staff and to see the project in action.
Pinewood also enjoys close links with Bourton village who attend the annual Bonfire Night as well as the Summer Evening and other Friends of Pinewood events. The Headmaster is the Chairman of the Alms House Committee. Recently the School has supported the fund for a new floor in the village hall, and members of the village helped to plant trees in the second phase of the Community Woodland planting, where a wood is being developed in the school grounds for use by Pinewood and the village community. The village also use the school grounds for their annual fete. The school regularly uses St James’ Bourton for its school services and also provides the church with a Christmas tree each year; parents have also contributed to a project to provide the church with embroidered kneelers which were dedicated in the church in 2012. Pinewood makes the school facilities available to organisations such as the Shrivenham Cricket Club.