Spiritual Life of the School
The Spiritual Life of OLA is central to our mission. We are a Catholic school which warmly welcomes members of all faiths and none. We have a strong Christian ethos which permeates everything we do. It is lived out by our staff and pupils especially through our charitable fundraising, which is a key part of our pastoral system.
OLA’s staff work with pupils and their families to build a community of happy, balanced and spiritually aware young people who strive for a better world based on a clear framework of beliefs and principles, open to all and founded on the key value of loving our neighbours.
All come together for prayer three times a week. On two days a week there are assemblies delivered by classes on a rota system. There is also circle time and time for personal reflection built into the Lower School timetable.
Mass is held six times a year in the school chapel and on feast days, when we join parishioners at Our Lady and St Edmund’s church.
There are whole school assemblies twice a week which are based on Christian spirituality and how we should respond to the world today. They are a chance for us to address issues that affect our world and our school. There are also year group assemblies, which are run by Year Tutors and Form Teachers, and Form and House Assemblies.
There are regular Masses held throughout the year, with each year group having a Mass once a term which is held in the school chapel. This is a chance for students to develop their own spiritual life in the company of their friends. Masses are also celebrated at our local parish church of Our Lady and St Edmund. These are whole school celebrations of feast days in the Church’s calendar. Pupils are encouraged to take an active part in the Masses and often take the roles of readers or servers and use their musical talents to enhance our worship experience.
The Michaelmas term ends with two Carol Services, one for the Senior and one for the Lower school. The Hilary term ends with a Passiontide Service which is reflective of this holy time of year.
We have a special Leavers’ Mass in both the Lower and Senior Schools. These Masses are a celebration of all our students’ achievements and are joyous occasions to which family members of our leavers are invited. We have a close working relationship with our local parish church and its clergy, Father Jamie McGrath and Father Robert Stewart, who give much valuable time to us.
The Senior School holds a residential three day retreat each year for pupils in Year 7 and Year 10. These are opportunities not only for spiritual growth but also for pupils to build positive relationships with one other. We believe that in our busy world it is important to set aside time for reflection and to nurture our pupils’ spiritual side, as well as giving them the opportunity to have fun and connect with each other.
Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament
This takes place in the chapel on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings from 8.00-8.30am and on Thursday lunchtimes from 12.45-1.05pm. Adoration is attended on a voluntary basis by staff and pupils. It is a chance to pray, be still and prepare for the day ahead.
Religious Studies (RS) is a core subject in our curriculum and all age groups study it. All Senior School pupils take GCSE RS and PSHE. The OLA 6th Enrichment Programme is built upon our core Christian values. PSHE is a regular lesson in both the Lower and Senior School curricula.