The Activity Plan

familyfriendlylogoWe are holders of an Oxford Diocesan Welcome Award for our approach to families and children in our church community.

The Activity Plan that follows can also be downloaded here as a PDF document.

The activity events will take a number of forms:

  1. Lectures, concerts open to all, organised by promoters and coordinated by the Administrator
  2. Educational sessions and workshops organised by the Administrator in collaboration with schools, colleges and community groups and run by teachers
  3. Special event Trails for families during the school holidays, managed by the Administrator and stewarded by volunteers
  4. Self-guided tours of the building and the churchyard following guide-book, information cards, apps etc.

The activity events will be managed by

  • The community-based advisory panel
  • The Administrator who will be answerable to the advisory panel and responsible for
    • building the programme
    • liaising with schools, specialists and other churches and community groups
    • recruiting, training and managing volunteers
    • marketing the activities
    • managing bookings
    • producing publicity
    • taking responsibility for sessions
    • monitoring and evaluation.
  • Volunteers who will welcome visitors; help with events; provide refreshments; ‘housekeeping’.

NB Volunteers will not be DBS checked as vulnerable children and adults will always come with a responsible adult.

Facilities that will be provided for participants in the Activity Programme in addition to the church and its surrounding churchyard will include:

  • Parking
  • Signage
  • Toilets in our Village Hall
  • Meeting room / class room / cloakroom in our Village Hall
  • Refreshments
  • Gift shop stand (possible)

Activities for engagement

Activities for engaging adults


Visits, lectures, workshops and printed and web-based information on topics, for example:

  • History
    • The building: historiography, conservation and restoration work through the ages.
    • The village, its history, its proximity to Oxford and the Thames
    • The 12th century, Normans, church and society, agriculture, trade, daily life, artefacts and culture.
    • The ‘12th century renaissance’, literature, universities
  • Art and Architecture
    • Romanesque architecture, mediaeval iconography, stained glass, heraldry
  • Worship and Pilgrimage
    • Visitor guide, news and focus on missions, theology
  • Music
    • Choral services, concerts, a CD of music in the liturgy from 12C
  • Environment and natural history
    • Geology and building materials, trees in the churchyard, planting and ecology, swifts
  • Science and technology
    • Construction, materials, aesthetics, engineering and chronology.
    • Stone masonry workshop (5 weeks), stained glass making (5 weeks).

Activities for engaging young people from KS3 (aged 11 years upwards) to university


We will work in collaboration with schools, colleges and community groups to enrich young peoples’ learning in various aspects of the curriculum, eg:

  • Science and technology
    • Starting with visits during the preservation process, and building on the recorded evidence of this work, the programme will focus on construction, materials, aesthetics, engineering and chronology.  Half-day workshops will be offered to investigate practical building, conservation and restoration problems and opportunities (designed to meld with the school curriculum, Air, Sea, Army cadet syllabi and Scout/Guide badge work).
  • History
    • Normans, mediaeval life and thought
  • Worship and Pilgrimage
    • the church as a Christian Place of Worship
  • Music
    • singing, playing and listening
  • Environment and natural history
    • Geology and building materials
    • trees in the churchyard
  • Drama and enquiry
    • exploration of feelings and development of responses towards the historical and religious aspects of St Mary’s
  • Art and architecture
    • structure, style and decoration
    • art and design

Activities for engaging children at KS2 (aged 7-11 years)


We will work in collaboration with schools to enrich children’s learning in various aspects of the curriculum, for example:

  • Science and technology
    • The mechanics of building with stone
    • transport (wheels, rollers, boats; floating and sinking), friction, pulleys, weights. ‘OK, why doesn’t it fall down?’
  • Maths
    • Quantity, size, shape, weight, time, patterns, symmetry
  • History
    • Normans, mediaeval life and thought.
    • Iffley village, Oxford and the River Thames through the ages
  •  RE
    • the church as a Christian Place of Worship.
    • Biblical stories as told in the stained glass windows
    • ‘What lessons did Norman decoration and later stained glass teach those who couldn’t read?’
    • Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural development (SMSC)
    • Preparing pupils for life in modern Britain
    • Prevent – British values
    • Safeguarding
  •  Music
    • bells, organs, pipes, mouth organs
    • singing and listening
  • Environment and natural history
    • Life processes and living things
    • the churchyard
    • the oldest Yew tree in Oxfordshire and the 185-year-old  Chestnut tree
  • Drama and enquiry
    • dressing up and role play
    • pilgrimage
  • Art
    • Carving in Styrofoam
    • patterns
    • stained glass
    • clay modelling eg the bird on the nest and other Norman details at St Mary’s.

Engaging young children and families


We will work in collaboration with families and schools to develop young children’s skills in a number of ways, as well as instilling a sense of wonder, discovery and fun.

We will offer school visits for KS1 children (aged 5-7 years) with choices of Activity Trails and craft sessions as well as age-appropriate curriculum-related activities as for KS2 (above). We will hold special event Trails for families during the school holidays (mainly pre-school and primary-school children). The curriculum-related activities and the Activity Trails and craft sessions will include practical, hands-on activities on a range of themes:

  • The 5 senses
  • Shape and measure
  • Celebrations – dressing up and role play
  • Christmas, Easter
  • Signs and symbols
  • Food
  • Colour and clay
  • Life in a Norman village