McAuley Catholic High School, Doncaster – Headteacher, John Rooney shares details of an important initiative that has begun at the school.
How many New Year’s Resolutions remain intact I wonder? In reality we probably don’t take many of them too seriously … being fitter, changing diet, modifying ‘bad’ habits … so not keeping to them is hardly going to have earth shattering consequences. Some resolutions we make are, however, far more significant.
After listening to Y11 concerns about needing more information about the next steps for them, we held a Revision event dedicated to exam preparation and tips for time management. Following this well over 200 parents attended an evening outlining how they can support their children over the coming months. The resolution of the parents was really heartening. Every Y11 has also had an individual interview with senior members of staff to help them make the next step with over 70% expressing a desire to stay on at McAuley.
The resolutions that the students themselves make to prepare for their exams requires self-discipline and support. We have vowed to support all these students and especially by mentoring nearly 40 of them.
On 27 January we remembered the Holocaust. It was that day in history in 1945 when Auschwitz was liberated by Russian troops. Assemblies that week focussed on the experiences of a young man, Arek Hersch, a survivor who was able to build a new life, aged 16, in this country, settling in Leeds.
Students from all year groups were asked to commit to playing their part in guarding against prejudice and intolerance in all its forms, as well as being wary of the messages that some world leaders give out. Students were asked to never forget the lessons of the past and remember the victims of hate. Everyone at McAuley is clear. Our commitment is to keep them safe from harm, free from bullying and intimidation.
Schools are expected to play their part in guarding against radicalisation extremism, promoting British values. At McAuley every member of our school community is in no doubt what values we stand for, hold dear and promote. They are undoubtedly the values that this beautiful and sometimes troubled country hold dear too.
This month saw the launch of our mission to seek and develop a Student Leadership Team. Students had to seek nominations and they have now produced manifestos on how they can move McAuley, their school, closer to its professed, student-made vision based upon our school’s dearly held values. These are, of course, the unshakeable values of the Gospel.
This is the promise that we make to parents and children when they join our school. The values of the Gospel, the non-negotiable core principles which come from the Holy Word, will always be our guide. That is our resolution this year and always.