Our Catholic Heritage
The school is first and foremost a Catholic school which was set up by the Sisters of the Poor Child Jesus over 100 years ago. Throughout the time since it has maintained its link with the Sisters and their mission to educate children in the light of the Catholic faith. This approach is maintained by the current Leadership (Senior Leadership Team and Governors) who see the role of the school as one which enables young people to succeed in their studies so that they can take up positions of influence in society and so change it so that it more faithfully reflects the teachings of Jesus.
Senior Leaders are Catholic and play a central role in the prayer life of the school in Assemblies and in Staff meetings where prayer is always a part of the Agenda. In whole-school assemblies the Headteacher or other senior staff actively draw connections between current events and Catholic teaching and understanding. In addition, the Core RE programme in the Sixth Form is part-taught by senior leaders so that students can see directly how faith motivates and inspires the school’s leadership.
The current headteacher has actively maintained the links with the Sisters of the Poor Child Jesus through visiting Southam (the centre for the UK order) where he has met both Sr Mary Paul and the General Superior of the Order.
The governors and trustees are active in maintaining the Catholic nature of the school. Governors support the Luanda initiative, they attend key school Masses (such as the Mass at the start of the academic year with staff), the Christmas carol service and visit the school as subject links (such as the RE link).
Student Leadership Conference: Friday 29th – Saturday 30th November 2019
St Michael’s were invited to take part in the annual Loreto Student Leadership Conference in York. We decided to take students from KS4 as they would be an investment for the future. In particular, we “invited” some of our PP students to take part in this enriching experience. The two days were very well organised and really informative (especially for our students who knew very little about Mary Ward and/or Loreto).
Over the two days, each Loreto school represented gave a presentation about how Mary Ward’s values are expressed in each school. This was insightful for our students to see how Mary Ward is not just a name in the history of the schools but she still embodies all that happens in the schools today. The presentations really made an impact on our students (and me) As the newest members of LET, our students gave a presentation on Clare Fey and the history of St Michael’s, which was also well received.
Many the activities over the two days were designed to allow students from the different schools to work together as teams (particularly the treasure trail around York and the games played after dinner in the youth hostel) The students all mixed well together.
On the Saturday back at the Bar Convent, the students from each school worked together, planning for the future and working out how to keep Mary Ward, her vision, values and charism, alive in their schools. Ideas were then shared.
The whole experience was a great introduction for St Michael’s students to the Loreto family.
Student Leadership Conference – the students’ perspective:
Hannah (Y11, PP)
November last year, a group of year 10 and 11 St Michael’s students visited York for an educational and informative gathering about the Loreto Association.
We started off the day with presentations from each school which briefed us about their school and how the Loreto sisters influence their day to day life. We also explained our situation and how we were already putting Loreto’s values into our school lives.
Afterwards, we were all split up and we went on a treasure hunt all across York. This was an amazing opportunity to talk to new students and their experiences of going to a Loreto school. The treasure hunt was extremely tiring but all together; it was a fun experience despite the cold November temperatures.
After our questionable but all the same welcomed dinner, we all played games like wink murderer which was a good time for bonding and a relaxing, laid-back end to a very exhausting day.
The next day, we ate our full English breakfasts and were on our way by 9’o clock on a chilly walk along the river back to the Bar Convent. Here, we did group work on a3 sheets of paper about how we could incorporate Loreto’s morals into our school for example having assemblies about their work.
My York/ Loreto Experience:
- We all travelled to York on the train and we met up with the other schools, (except for the younger children who has transport issues). Each school had presentations to introduce themselves and explain what they do at their schools.
- Afterwards, we were split up into groups that were mixed up with people from the other Loreto schools so we could all get to know each other and we all did a treasure hunt around York. We got to experience York and see some beautiful buildings.
- Then once we finished the treasure hunt, we all headed to the hostel that we were staying at and we played some games and talked to each other.
- The next day, we learnt a lot about Mary Ward, such as her life, what she did and how it was significant for the times she was living in and how her actions influence us now. We then discussed what we could incorporate into our schools that could improve it and what the school could benefit from. The rest of the Loreto schools already do a lot of things like event days, campaigns, often raising money for many different causes etc. and we took inspiration from what they do and tried to apply it to our own school. Considering we’re still fairly new, the rest of the Loreto schools have already done many things and so hopefully in the future, St Michael’s can achieve those same things too.