Working in partnership to promote our faith
Parents of the school are highly supportive of its mission to educate the whole child, they value the Catholic education on offer and are active in involving themselves in school activities – parents evenings have near 100% attendance and school events such as the Christmas Bazaar and School Concerts are very well-attended.
We are lucky enough to be able to celebrate whole school Masses regularly and every Friday a Mass is led by a students who plan and deliver aspects of the Mass; this Mass is available for all students and staff.
Each Year group attends a day Retreat once a year. These days are provided at different venues with different themes to ensure an individual student receives a broad experience of prayer and reflection.
Students in Year 11 and 12 are given the opportunity to serve as Red Caps in Lourdes as part of the Diocese of Westminster pilgrimage. Year 13 students have an opportunity to go to Luanda in Kenya for 2 weeks after their A levels to teach at different schools in the Catholic Parish.
The RE department organises opportunities to link with other faiths on their visits to the Hindu Temple, Local Synagogue for Holocaust Remembrance, and teaching of world faiths and community cohesion.
In August 2017, our long-serving Chaplain Fr John Ball retired. Following this, the school has appointed a lay chaplain and we have turned to our local parish priests and local religious (Consolation Fathers) to support the school Masses and Reconciliation Services. This has had the benefit of our students seeing their parish priest in school and so has drawn the school closer to its parishes than ever before. We are particularly close to Dom Bernard (parish priest of St Alban’s) our local parish priest who celebrates a number of our Masses and who is also a Foundation governor of the school. All KS3 classes attend the parish Mass at St Alban’s Church in rotation – this enables contact with the local parish and enables our school (which draws students from a wide area) feel more a part of the local Catholic community. Sister Irene (a Dominican sister) volunteers at the school two mornings a week and supports the school through monitoring the study room and supporting the work of the RE department by participating in lessons.
The school, although it is not a Diocesan school, looks to the Diocese for direction and sustenance. An example of this is the active participation in the annual tip to Lourdes (the St Michael’s Red Caps are the largest single-school contingent, even though St Michael’s is the smallest secondary school in the Diocese). St Michael’s staff also are active in attending Diocesan INSET courses (recent examples are: Chaplains’, HODs RE, Deputy Conference and Data/FOI. The school is also supporting the Diocese through allowing its HOD RE to become a Diocesan Section 48 Inspector. The school has actively sought Diocesan help in the appointment of key staff, examples are HOD RE, Assistant Headteacher and most recently, Headteacher. Claire O’Neill is actively involved in the school and her support is greatly valued.