John Rooney, Headteacher of The McAuley Catholic High School, Doncaster writes:
Our distinctive Catholic nature as a Catholic school is emphasised by the language we use. Language and the way we describe what we do cements the culture of the school. One of the ways that we will be doing this is by using references to the Pope’s message to youth in Christus Vivit; Christ is Alive.
As a document it emphasises the challenges facing young people in particular; these manifest themselves every day in our school. Part of our response to underlining our role in developing young people and ourselves is through our pastoral system and the relationships that underpin it. In developing our important sense of identity even further, as well as building even stronger community bonds, we turned to the research.
In their document, Lay Catholics in Schools: Witnesses to Faith, the Sacred Congregation for Catholic Education stated that, “every human being is called to live in a community, as a social being, and as a member of the People of God” (1982, para. 22).
Bryk et al (1993) found that the cultivation of a sense of unity and community was a key factor in developing a climate of excellence in schools. Green (2006) stated, “Houses reflect the school’s diversity, encompassing students of various races, ethnicities, ages, and academic abilities. Teachers and staff members are assigned to houses to encourage stronger relationships between adults and students.”
These social houses have the potential to lessen student anxiety and reduce insecurities. At the same time, engaging in house activities can harness and enhance some of the more positive attributes of early adolescence, such as students’ burgeoning idealism and interest in the world (p 65) “
At McAuley we don’t have ‘Houses’ because they are too small for what we want to do. They aren’t grand enough to properly showcase the beauty and talent of our interior lives. So we have decided on Mansions instead, each with their own focus and sacred word. So 7A becomes 7 Anointed and so on, including the sixth form. You can see examples of the titles on the illustration.
What does it mean to be part of our Catholic school; to be invited to dwell in the Lord’s Mansion?
We are all called to greatness. In responding to that call we ask for the Blessed gift of courage. We need to have courage because we are all holy and anointed children of God, divine by design, made in his image.
WOW! This means that we are exalted by the one for a glorious purpose drawing on a hope filled life, always faithful, celebrating and becoming the #joyous people of God that we were born to be.
Born to be great! Born to be amazing!
Every member of staff, every governor and all of the children are in a Mansion to develop, to celebrate Mansion Feast days with Mass and fundraising, to display our grand vision; a vision that is truly inclusive where everyone is involved, engaged and belongs.