01438 352863  I  admin@clitherow.herts.sch.uk

St Margaret Clitherow

RC Primary School, Stevenage

Jesus is our guide, let us follow him

Our Catholic School

St. Margaret Clitherow

Margaret Clitherow (1556 – 25 March 1586) was an English saint and martyr of the Roman Catholic Church, known as "the Pearl of York". She was pressed to death for refusing to enter a plea to the charge of harbouring Catholic priests. She was canonised in 1970 by Pope Paul VI.

Clitherow was born Margaret Middleton in 1556, one of five children of Thomas and Jane Middleton. Her father was a respected businessman, a wax-chandler and Sheriff of York in 1564. He died when Margaret was fourteen. She married John Clitherow, a wealthy butcher and a chamberlain of the city, in1571 and bore him three children. The family lived in The Shambles.

She converted to Roman Catholicism in 1574. Although her husband belonged to the Established Church, he was supportive as his brother William was a Roman Catholic priest. He paid her fines for not attending church services. She was first imprisoned in 1577 for failing to attend church. Two more incarcerations at York Castle followed. Her third child, William, was born in prison.

Margaret risked her life by harbouring and maintaining priests. She provided two chambers, one adjoining her house and, with her house under surveillance, she rented a house some distance away, where she kept priests hidden and Mass was celebrated through the thick of the persecution. Her home became one of the most important hiding places for fugitive priests in the north of England.

Margaret was arrested and called before the York assizes for the crime of harbouring Roman Catholic priests. She refused to plead preventing a trial that would entail her children being made to testify, and being subjected to torture. Although pregnant with her fourth child, she was executed on Lady Day, 1586, (which also happened to be Good Friday that year) in the Toll Booth at Ouse Bridge, by being crushed to death, the standard inducement to force a plea.

Margaret Clitherow was beatified in 1929 by Pope Pius XI and canonised on 25 October 1970 by Pope Paul VI among the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales. Their feast day in the current Roman Catholic calendar is 4 May in England and 25 October in Wales. She is also commemorated in England on 30 August, along with martyrs Anne Line and Margaret Ward.

A relic, said to be her hand, is housed in the Bar Convent in York.

St. Margaret's Shrine is at 35-36 The Shambles.

Catholic Life and Mission

We believe every child is made in God’s image and likeness with extraordinary gifts and talents. With the help of the Holy Spirit we are tasked to nurture and develop our children and encourage them to be independent, resilient lifelong learners who are confident and able to reach their full potential. The bond between our parents, governors and parish is a partnership which we use to support the children in our care, encourage them to shine and have pride in their achievements, whilst being responsible members of society and developing a deep faith in God.

Our primary aim is being a living and witnessing Catholic Eucharistic community with a commitment to excellence (personal social, spiritual, moral and academic), guided by Gospel values and focusing on the core being of every individual. Our mission statement is used as a daily prayer and as a reference point – lived out by all.

School Values

Our School Values are based on the Kingdom of God. They are an opportunity to take Christ’s teaching into the heart of our faith and our school. Jesus taught constantly about “the Kingdom of God”. This concept was at the centre of his teaching and life – we want to have the same at St. Margaret Clitherow School.

Our mission is to do all we can to bring signs of God’s mercy, compassion and justice into the world. This is the mission Jesus has entrusted us to do. If we have faith in Him, we will witness how he can help us to help others.

Our values are:
LovePeace,  Truth,  JusticeGoodness,  Forgiveness,  Faith,  Hope,  Courage and  Freedom.

Please click the powerpoint below to find out more about our values.

Chaplaincy Team

Our Chaplaincy Team is formed of children from across KS2. They have a variety of ministries within the school, which include maintaining a weekly ‘Mission of the Week’ display board, supporting with and leading key stage and whole school assemblies, serving in Masses and being responsible role models within the school.

The school uses the Wednesday Word each week in assembly. As a whole school we explore the Gospel message and then the children link this message to one of our School Values.

Further information is available on the following website:

Fundraising

Our pupils understand the seven pillars of Catholic Social Teaching through the everyday experiences they have at school, they understand how our faith calls us to love our neighbours, not just through words but also through actions. They demonstrate this through the charitable work they undertake throughout the liturgical year supporting local, national and international charities. Pupils see their charitable work as being rooted in Jesus’ Gospel example of helping the needy and vulnerable.

We raise funds for the following charities throughout the year:
(Please click on the links below to visit their websites)

Catholic Social Teaching

Catholic Social Teaching is rooted in Scripture, formed by the wisdom of Church leaders. It is our moral compass, guiding us on how to live out our faith in the world. Our faith calls us to love God and to love our neighbours in every situation, especially our sisters and brothers living in poverty. Following in the footsteps of Christ, we hope to make present in our unjust and broken world, the justice, love and peace of God.

Dignity of the Human Person
Every human person is created in the image and likeness of God. Every person’s life and dignity must be respected and supported from the day they were born until the day they die. CST calls us to recognise that all human beings are our brothers and sisters designed to be one race, one people, one family – the human race , the human family, called to be the People of God, the Body of Christ, to live in communion, one with the other and our God.

Family and Community
Humans are social beings. We live in relation to others, learning from one another. We’re called to live our lives engaged in the world, helping to transform society for the good of all, not just sit back, expecting others to do things for us, or complaining about the way things are. We are made for community and communion with one another, living and sharing our daily lives, hopes and dreams.

Solidarity and the Common Good
We are the People of God, one family. What happens to one has an impact on all, locally, nationally and globally. At the heart of solidarity is peace and justice. Our love for all calls us to work for a peaceful and just society where everyone has a fair share of the goods needed for a sustainable life, and opportunities for growth and development are offered equally.

Rights and Responsibilities
Every human being regardless of background or circumstances has equal rights as a person. Everyone has the right to food, health care, housing, education and employment. We all need to strive to secure and respect these rights for others both locally and globally.

Option for the Poor and Vulnerable
We are judged on how we care for and stand with the poor and vulnerable – our brothers and sisters. The Church calls us to respond to the cry of the poor and put their needs first.

Dignity of Work
Work is a way in which we can continue to participate in God’s creation. Work gives dignity to life and must be carried out in such a way that the basic rights of workers are respected. Everyone has the right to productive work, to fair and liveable wages.

Stewardship
The world God created has to be entrusted to everyone and we are responsible and accountable to God as stewards of the earth. The world has been given to us as a gift, to enjoy and care for so that future generations can enjoy it too.

Religious Education

We aim for all pupils to be religiously literate, know their way around Scripture and the traditions of the Catholic Church and to be able to consider how this impacts on their everyday life.

RE is at our core and we aim for our children to have the knowledge, understanding and skills – appropriate to their age and capacity –to reflect spiritually, and think ethically and theologically, and to be aware of the demands of religious commitment in everyday life.

Our curriculum and the Catholic life of our school isunderpinned by our School Values based on the Kingdom of God.

It is an opportunity to take Christ’s teaching into the heart of our faith and our school. Jesus taught constantly about “the Kingdom of God”. This concept was at the centre of his teaching and life –we want to have the same at St. Margaret Clitherow School.

Our mission is to do all we can to bring signs of God’s mercy, compassion and justice into the world. This is the mission Jesus has entrusted us to do. If we have faith in Him, we will witness how he can help us to help others.

Religious Education is at the centre of everything we do as a Catholic school and permeates through every aspect of the curriculum and school life. We ensure that a minimum of 10% of Curriculum time is allocated for RE teaching across all key stages. The requirements of the RE curriculum are met through the scheme ‘The Way the Truth and The Life’ which  in turn meets the requirements of the Religious Education Curriculum Directory set out by the Bishop’s Conference of England Wales.  

We aim for all children to meet a standard that equals or is better than those of Literacy at all key stages and Foundation stage.  Children are assessed not only on the content of their recorded work but on their individual, group and oral work through each topic. This enables both class teachers and the subject leader to monitor coverage and identify progress made throughout the pupils’ time at school.

A range of teaching strategies and learning methodologies are employed depending on the needs and abilities of the children and the nature of the activities being undertaken.

Approaches will include whole class teaching, group activities and individual work. Children will have opportunities to work individually as well as co-operatively and collaboratively, developing their own knowledge and expertise as well as sharing their experiences with others.

All work will involve thought provoking reflection and discussion, encouraging the children to develop their moral and spiritual consciences. The children are encouraged to ask questions and to listen carefully to the opinions of others.

In the EYFS children begin to explore a range of ways that different faiths celebrate at key points in the year. From Year 1 onwards, pupils explore a unit each year studying Judaism (linking to Jesus’ life as aJew) and a further unit studying Islam. As the children become older, they are also increasingly exposed to the concept that Christianity is wider than Catholicism; that all Christians are not Catholic; and that not all people live their lives according to a faith. RE is not taught in isolation, but as a subject that underpins our daily actions. A rhythm of prayer throughout the school day and the development of a rich tapestry of Catholic Life underpins the RE curriculum at every stage.

Please click on the link below to find out more about RE at our school
Our Learning - RE

Other Faiths

All Catholic schools are required to teach about other religions as part of the Religious Education curriculum. This is a feature of Catholic RE in all stages of a child's development, from the beginning of Primary School. It prepares the pupils in our Catholic schools for life in modern Britain, giving them an understanding of the beliefs of others. This in turn will improve social cohesion and contribute to the common good by increasing mutual respect between those of different religions.

Please click on the link below to find the topics we cover in each class.

PSHE and RSE

PSHE Education is taught through a variety of age-appropriate themes, across the three key areas of Created and Loved by God, Created to Love Others and Created to Live in Community. A safe and effective learning environment will be established using ground rules/class agreement (drawn up by both pupils and the classroom teacher). These will be referred to at the start of every lesson and may be changed and amended throughout the year to reflect the changing needs of pupils within their classroom learning environment. Teaching staff will ensure that pupils are able to talk about topics in a safe and age-appropriate way and questions will be answered to match the social and emotional development of pupils as well as chronological age.

We use Ten Ten’s Life to the Full Relationships and SexEducation (RSE) Programme which is recognised by the Diocese of Westminster as a suitable scheme. The scheme is underpinned and rooted in the teachings of the Church.

Please click on the link below to find out more about RSE at our school.

Collective Worship

Our children fully participate in collective worship opportunities at our school. There are many experiences of collective worship that our pupils lead on and participate in, they engage deeply with it and the quality of their prayer and attentiveness is excellent. Our whole school assembly ensures that our pupils have a clear understanding of the Gospel teachings and their place in living these Gospel values.

Prayer and liturgy are appropriated planned each year in liaison with our Parish Priest. A range of Masses are planned (For example: Harvest, Advent, Ash Wednesday, Lent, First Holy Communion and Leavers’ Masses) and are led by the children. An Act of Remembrance is led by the pupils and our Year 3 pupils lead our Corpus Christi Procession. Children from Year 4 - 6 are given an opportunity during Lent and Advent to take part in the Sacrament of Reconciliation during school time. Our Prayer and Liturgy Policy can be found in the policy section on the school website.

Our children also take part in other events, for example, our Year 6 attend the annual Catholic Children Society Westminster’s Advent service at Westminster Cathedral. Our Year 2 pupils take part in a Christmas Journey and our Year 6 pupils take part in an Easter journey led by Bridgebuilders Christian Trust. Our Year 5 children spread joy to the needy in our local community by taking part in carol singing.

Please visit the school calendar on our homepage to find more of the celebrations we take part in at SMC.  

Corpus Christi

Our Corpus Christi Procession is an annual event which takes place in June. Our children and families donate flowers for each Altar and the local Parish community are invited to join with us. Please enjoy the photos below to see the beautiful procession.

Year of Prayer

In preparation for the 2025 Jubilee Year “Pilgrims of Hope”, 2024 has been designated a Year of Prayer by Pope Francis. He asks us all to join in a great “symphony” of prayer, “to renew our desire to be in the presence of the Lord, to listen to him and to adore him."

Watch this space to find out how we celebrated the Year ofPrayer at SMC!

Symphony of prayer and praise: A prayer for the year of Prayer

God of blessings,
in this year ahead,
give us a spirit of listening,
of openness to your word
and longing for your kingdom. 

As we journey toward the Jubilee,
a time of new beginnings,
we pray for help and strength,
to heal our relationships with each other
and all creation.

Sing your song of love over us,
renewing our faith and courage,
so we may join our voices together,
discovering new harmonies of hope,
new melodies of reconciliation

Attentive to the Spirit,
and awake to the needs of the world,
may we seek your life-giving presence,
as we join as one global family,
in a great symphony of prayer and praise. 

Amen.

Languages Festival

In 2022 we held a Languages Festival to celebrate the diversity of our wonderful school community through language.  

The Languages Festival comprised of language activities both in class and across a central hub of stalls, each dedicated to a specific language, that children visited with their class year group. Behind the scenes, several language stalls were developed by our parent community, with each showcasing a specific language and culture.

All the children were invited to come to school dressed in the colours of a specific flag. This could be the flag of a country that the child has a connection with, ie members of their family may have been born in that country or the child may have family currently living there. It was a wonderfully exciting day!

Due to the overwhelming success of the Languages Festival we now hold a Cultural Day every year celebrating our beautifully diverse community.

School Prayers

Prayer is at the heart of daily life in school. Daily collective worship is varied according to need, containing a dynamic mix of traditional & modern; meditative & lively; still and active. Reconciliation is at the heart of all interactions within the school. Prayers are developed from Nursery to Year 6. Our younger pupils live out their prayers with actions and songs and our older pupils write and share their own prayers in some classes to deepen their faith sharing.

Throughout the day there are opportunities for prayer. These often mark the time of day and may be chosen by the teacher or the children.  We also teach common prayers throughout the children’s time in primary school. If you have any prayer intentions that you would like the children to pray for, please either let the school office know or email admin@clitherow.herts.sch.uk

Daily prayers that are often used as follow:

Mission Statement and School Prayer
Jesus lives in us, our families, our school, our church, our world. Jesus is our guide, let us follow Him.

A morning Prayer
Oh my God you love me, You're with me night and day, I want to love You always, In all I do and say, I'll try to please You Father, Bless me through the day

A lunchtime Prayer
Thank You for the food we eat, thank You for the world so sweet. Thank you for the birds that sing, thank you God for everything

Afternoon Prayer
God our Father, we come to say, thank You for Your love today, thank you for my family and all the friends You give to me. Guard me in the dark of night and in the morning send Your light

Useful Links

Local Parishes

Transfiguration of Our Lord Church
4 Basils Road,
Stevenage,
SG1 3PX
Tel: 01438 226857

St Joseph's Church
Bedwell Crescent,
Stevenage,
SG1 1NJ
Tel: 01438 351243

St Thomas More Church
72 London Road,
Knebworth,
SG3 6HB
Tel: 01438 813303

St Hilda's Church
9 Breakspear,
Stevenage,
SG2 9SQ
Tel: 01438 352182

Local Schools

Our Lady Catholic Primary School
Hitchin
Website: www.ourladys.herts.sch.uk

St Thomas More Catholic Primary School
Letchworth
Website: www.strcjmi.herts.sch.uk

St Vincent de Paul Catholic Primary School
Stevenage
Website: www.stvincent.herts.sch.uk

The Holy Family Catholic Primary School
Welwyn Garden City
Website: www.holyfamily.herts.sch.uk

Our Lady Catholic Primary School
Welwyn Garden City
Website: www.ourladys527.herts.sch.uk

St John's Catholic Primary and Nursery School
Baldock
Website: www.stjohns4.herts.sch.uk

St Mary's Catholic Primary School
Royston
Website: www.stmarysroyston.co.uk

The Saint John Henry Newman Catholic School
Stevenage
Website: www.jhn.herts.sch.uk