Our contribution to the Common Good
Notices in assembly reflect the charitable interests of the students of the school – the charity committee (a student-led sixth form group overseen by the School Lay Chaplain) is particularly active, but also many individual forms run bake sales or raise money for various charities off their own initiative. Whole-school initiatives supported by both students and staff have included the Grenfell Tower disaster and Lenten fundraising for a variety of charities – records with School Chaplain). In addition: school-organised fund-raising includes an annual Lepra Workout by the Year 12 students who each year raise around £2,000.
The school has a long-standing relationship with a group of schools in Luanda (Kenya) to which teachers and Year 13 students travel each year, the work undertaken is charitable and our teachers assist with the development of teaching at the schools they visit. This is a whole-school effort with Year 7 and 8 raising up to £3,000 from a sponsored sleep-over. In the recent past (July 2016) this included the school accessing a grant to enable a return visit to the UK for an African exchange teacher. This venture is an example of faith in action – it is both a bringing together people in friendship and a charitable exercise – a recent activity has involved the rebuilding a fire-damaged school building. As a result of their participation, five former students have set up “Luanda Link”, a charity which directly supports the African partner schools.
Year 12 students involve themselves in the “Year of Service” which involves a range of activities including visiting the elderly in their care homes (Dr French and Catherine Lodge), volunteering in local primary schools, helping with parents’ evenings and a range of other activities. As part of the large take-up of Duke of Edinburgh Award in Year 9 (Bronze) and Year 12 (Silver), large numbers of our students have been involved in voluntary activities outside of school.
Year 13 students act as “Guardian Angels” whereby they give up their time in the summer holiday to meet with new Year 7 students in order to ease them into their new school – these connections are maintained through the first year to support our youngest students. Our students are involved in the Westminster Diocese retreat to Lourdes. The School Chaplain actively supports the spiritual life of many students by working through members of the sixth form who are Eucharistic Ministers (12 students) or Catechists who visit local primary schools to teach students (8 students). In addition, students have opportunities for spiritual leadership through the active School Council system.
Individual students volunteer their time to run clubs and activities for younger students – such as a Philosophy club, Meditation Club, Christian Film Club and dance club at lunchtime run by a Year 12 student, lunchtime ‘clinics’ to support younger students with their studies and subject ‘buddies’ to support the work of particular subject areas (such as at open evenings and lunchtime events to help Year 9 students choose their GCSEs and Year 11 Subject Fairs).
Teachers also involve themselves in charity fundraising – recent examples include raising money for spinal injury through a sponsored swim and a sponsored midnight walk for cancer research. This is in addition to their active involvement with whole-school initiatives (such as the Grenfell Tower disaster and raising money for the Catholic Children’s Society).