Rev Alison Sowton is the vicar at ST Andrew’s who is heavily involved in the life of the school. She is a governor, leads worship regularly and takes part in many other in school activities routinely.
Hannah Tarring is the Family Link Worker for the church and she also spends a great deal of time supporting children at school. She leads Bible Explorers weekly, supports our prayer council, leads worship and supports individuals through the accompanying project which supports children in their transition to secondary education.
They are both well known and loved by the children and their families.
Children visit church regularly to lead special services which are attended by other pupils, families and members of the community. Children also visit the church to learn more about the church as a special building and place of worship.
Meet Our Vicar and Children and Families Work Coordinator
My name is Rev Alison Sowton and I am the Team vicar at St Andrew’s Church in Melksham, within the Melksham Team Ministry. I have lived in Melksham and served the Lord in this role for 6 years. Before this I served my curacy in South Oxhey, Watford. Since starting I have been privileged to work with the children and staff at Forest & Sandridge School. The school is linked with the parish church of St Andrews and we have a strong partnership. Myself and Hannah Tarring spend a lot of time in school leading worship, being part of the governing body (including the ethos committee which includes some of our children) and leading other special activities such as Thy Kingdom Come and Bible Explorers.
The school’s vision and aims tie in so well with the Church of England vision for Education ‘I have come that they may have life and have it to the full’. The school has at its heart the desire to meet the needs of every individual who walks through the door and help them to flourish as God’s children. What a joy to be a part of that!
I also love Messy Church when over 100 people across the generations com from our community to gather and learn about the Gospels, share food together and find a place of welcome. Please feel free to come along and join us!
You are warmly welcome to come along to services at St Andrew’s on Sunday mornings at 10.00am or to come and have a look around. I would love to hear from you. Please see https://www.achurchnearyou.com/church/9650/
for further details. I look forward to meeting you.
Hi! My name is Hannah Tarring and I am the Children and Families Coordinator for Melksham Team Ministry. I have been in Melksham and this role for 3 years and love the work I am able to do with children and their families in the local area, including at Forest & Sandridge School. Before I had this role, I was completing my training with CYM (institute for Children, Youth and Mission) and working as a Children’s Worker at Abingdon Vineyard Church in Oxfordshire.
I work very closely with the school on a regular basis and know the children and staff well. Some of my key roles within the school are:
Co-leading the Prayer Council with Mrs Biles-Wood.
Leading Bible Explorers for a different group of children each term with other church volunteers… it is always oversubscribed!
Leading worship every couple of weeks together with Rev Alison.
Working with a couple of children each year on the Youth for Christ ‘Accompanying Project’, to support children on their transition to secondary school.
Leading with Rev Alison Big Question Exploration and prayer on Monday lunchtimes every few weeks. A great opportunity to explore some of the big questions the children are asking and to stop in a busy day and pray together for our school, community and needs in the wider world.
I am coordinator of Melksham Messy Church, which meets at Forest & Sandridge school each month, and the Messy Church Regional Co-ordinator for Wiltshire.
I love the work I do…it is great to make a difference to the lives of young children and their families in our town. I look forward to meeting you and your children soon!
We pride ourselves in maintaining a positive reputation within our local area and this is largely due to our involvement within our community. We are proud of our reputation which means that we are consistently oversubscribed. Our school lies in the heart of our community, at the centre of the large housing estate whose residents we serve. As well as letting out our facilities to the church and other local groups for community events, we advertise our own events widely and welcome members of the community along to our summer fete and Christmas celebrations.
These are some of the key ways we get involved in our community:
Co-op – our local Co-op is incredibly supportive through fundraising events, donations and hosting trips. They have funded outdoor play equipment and support the school regularly through donations for cookery projects and PTA events. They use our car park for their own fetes and special events and promote them regularly in our newsletters. We are very grateful for their support. (photos of a co-op trip attached)
Brookside - Brookside is one of our local care homes. Groups of children visit regularly to share stories, have meals, sing and play games with the residents. Our children gain a great deal from these experiences and we know they are highly valued by the residents as well.
Library - We have worked alongside our local library to aim for all children in school to have their own library cards. Groups of children frequently visit the library and their parents meet them towards the end of the session to provide times for the children to explore the library and share books with their families. Library staff come into school to advertise special events such as the Summer Reading Challenge which many children enjoy taking part in.
Fundraising - As a school we actively raise funds throughout each year for those who are less fortunate. This includes national charities such as Children in Need and Red Nose Day as well as charities selected by the children. Children are given the opportunity regularly to fund raise for charities close to their hearts which supports them in demonstrating our Christian values and standing up for those who need support. Each class selects their own charity each year during Lent and spends time raising money in different ways to give something back to others in need during this period of reflection.
Sporting events - We take part in a wide variety of sporting events during each year in our local community. These include the West Wilts dance festival, gymnastics competitions, football tournaments, swimming gala, Quad Kids athletics event and cross country. We are proud that our children are always great sports men and women and great ambassadors for our school. (Quad Kids 2019 celebrating their results photo attached)
Britain in Bloom - We received a highly commended award in the recent Britain in Bloom competition which we are very proud of. This is part of our Eco-Schools work. We also were awarded with the prestigious Green Flag award in 2018 for our eco-work which is led by our children. (See photos below of children working hard to prepare for our Britain in Bloom assessment)
Keep Britain Tidy Campaign - As part of our eco-schools work, we take part in the keep Britain Tidy campaign each year. This enables us to do good deeds to help others in our community as well as taking care of our wildlife. The children enjoy tidying up our local area and local residents are always very grateful. (see our gallery below)
At the heart of The White Horse Federation is a belief in using collaboration to provide a first-class education to a wide range of children. This means that every child understands what they are capable of, and can collectively strive for excellence.
With current news and media full of speculation and conjecture about local lockdowns and the reopening of schools in September, I want to assure you that we're poised to take any required action.
To ensure we both make better decisions, we’ll communicate any plans when it’s closer to September. This will give us time to receive guidance from the Regional Schools Commissioner, the Department for Education, and we'll have a clearer understanding of the ever-evolving local situation. Experience has taught me that making plans on uncertainty and speculation can be costly and confusing, so we won’t do this.
I’m writing this message to let you know we have matters in hand, and you are at the forefront of our thinking. We expect to know more later this month and I will update you with further information on the 21st August.
Until then, please continue to look after yourselves and your loved ones. Health, well-being, and welfare should be at the front of all that we do.