Recent News2019-01-10T14:36:34+00:00

All The Fun of Thanksgiving
at Mountjoy School

Line dancing, totem poles and turkey
Mountjoy pupils had fun learning all about Thanksgiving

Pupils at Mountjoy School, Beaminster, took part in a host of fun activities planned to help them learn about the traditions surrounding the American day of celebration, including clothes, food and culture. Thanksgiving celebrations started with the children learning to line dance. This was followed by each class making totem poles decorated with native American designs and birds for a competition which was judged by Gill Acton, chairman of governors. For lunch, children enjoyed a Thanksgiving feast of roast turkey and all the trimmings with apple pie and cream for pudding. There was a change of pace for the afternoon, as the pupils settled down to watch Disney’s Pocahontas.

Teaching assistant Davina Pennels said: “The totem poles that the children made and decorated were exceptional, some of the best artwork I’ve seen them produce. It was lovely to see them all being so creative and having so much fun doing it.” Mountjoy School caters for children with a range of complex needs, including autistic spectrum conditions and moderate to severe learning difficulties.

The children were taught the American national holiday is celebrated each year on the fourth Thursday in November and is a tradition dating back to the Pilgrims giving thanks for the harvest, plentiful food and good health. Each class discussed what they were thankful for and wrote it on leaves which were stuck to a Thanksgiving tree in the school’s reception. Headteacher, Jackie Shanks, said: “We celebrate a different cultural event each term to broaden the pupils knowledge of the world and it’s different peoples. My thanks go to Gill Acton for giving her time to judge the totem pole competition, the wonderful Mountjoy staff, all of whom dressed as native Americans or pilgrims and threw themselves enthusiastically into all the days events.”

Royal Wedding Celebrations
at Mountjoy School

The royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle has sparked an enormous amount of interest and excitement, nowhere more so than at Mountjoy School in Beaminster, Dorset.

On Tuesday 15 May 2018, it was Royal Wedding Celebration Day at Mountjoy School. A day of fun activities started with the challenge of creating a Wedding Table Decoration which was judged by Gill Acton, the Chair of Governors.

The children took part in workshops all morning, learning about what to wear to a wedding, what to eat and how to dance. The whole day culminated in a spectacular Wedding Ceremony and Reception in the school Hall with a Reverend, bride, groom, bridesmaids and wedding guests. The Reverend Jo Neary performed the marriage ceremony while the assembled pupils (wedding guests) looked on and applauded.

Teaching Assistant, Davina Pennels said, “The children had so much fun and I think we really gave them a sense of what it’s like to go to a wedding. It may not have been a real Royal Wedding but it was lovely to see the children getting so much enjoyment from the experience.”

Mountjoy School caters for children with a range of complex needs including Autistic Spectrum Disorders and Moderate to Severe Learning Difficulties.

Head Teacher, Jackie Shanks said, “This week the children have learnt about wedding ceremonies from many different cultures and religions. My grateful thanks go to the staff, all of whom dressed in wedding outfits, hats and fascinators for the day and threw themselves enthusiastically into all the days events. I hope everyone has as much fun watching the Royal Wedding on Saturday.”

07th April 2017
Yay, Jackie Shanks on the radio!  What a great interview, just in case you haven’t heard it click on the link below…..she is on at 1 hour, 23 minutes (just slide the
tab along). Well done!

06th April 2017
Mountjoy pupils on Magdalen Farm video clip.  The video is on the 5th box down on the page. Mountjoy pupils are on the clip from 2 mins 50 secs.  Click on the link below.

13th March 2017
Jackie has COMPLETED her challenge!  Please support Jackie at  or donations to the Friends of Mountjoy School. WELL DONE JACKIE.

12th March 2017
Jackie will be completing her challenge on Sunday 12th March 2017.  She has entered the Weymouth Half Marathon, this event starts at 08.30 and the location is The Pavilion, The Esplanade, Weymouth.  Jackie will already have done one half marathon in the early morning at home before travelling to Weymouth.  Go Jackie Go!!  I feel exhausted just writing this!!

12th December
BBC Spotlight News came to Mountjoy School today to film our Headteacher Jackie Shanks and some of our pupils regarding her Half Marathon Challenge.  This will be aired at 6.30 pm this evening on BBC Spotlight News.

Please support Jackie at

Jackie’s story below:

On the 2nd December I will attempt 101 half marathons in 100 days, hopefully finishing with a full marathon on the final day – which may involve the Weymouth Half Marathon.  I intend to raise money again for Cancer Research and The Friends of Mountjoy.

This will be tough – the 50 was hard, but this involves running a Half Marathon not only on Christmas day, but also New Year’s Day (possibly quite slowly whilst clutching my head!)

Please support me, it was you guys that kept me going last time and it is you I am again relying upon.

The total mileage is a little scary at 1323.1 miles – that is about the equivalent of me leaving home and running to Romania!

I will keep you updated on progress as I go.