Dear Parent/ Carer
We are now just past the mid-point of the school year and we are also half way between Christmas and Easter, which is quite early this year. Next Wednesday will be Ash Wednesday and we will be marking that in school with a short service for each year group in school where Ashes will be distributed. The themes of lent feel particularly appropriate for us as a school community, given that we are at this half way point.
When receiving the ashes, we often hear the words “Turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel”. We are invited to look back and to recognise the ways in which we have strayed away from the best version of ourselves, the version that God created and can always see. The tradition of Lent is not about ‘beating ourselves up’ for our failings. Far from it. We are only human, we will all get things wrong and God loves us anyway. Instead, we are asked in Lent simply to acknowledge the truth that we have all done things which are not good and to commit to action to make positive changes, through prayer, fasting and charitable giving.
In an age where so many, particularly our young people, feel great pressure to present a perfect image of their lives through social media it is refreshing for us to be able to be honest with each other and admit that we are not perfect. It is great too, for us to think about how we can support each other in the positive actions we each intend to take during this season in order to re-set some bad habits and make up for ways we may have hurt ourselves or others. It is my experience that all members of our community, whatever their own personal belief or spirituality, really respond to and appreciate this Christian tradition.
Linking in nicely with Lent and the tradition of charitable giving, we are fast approaching the ‘Sleep out’ that I have mentioned in previous blogs. The St Wilfrid’s centre are running two events at the Abbeydale Picture House on Fri 16th March. There will be live entertainment for the whole family earlier on in the evening and then adults will have the opportunity to ‘sleep out’ at the picture house. The purpose of the event is to raise awareness about homelessness and the work that goes on in Sheffield to help. I have included a link to the St Wilfrid’s Centre website at the end of the blog where you can find details of these events if you are interested.
We are working along with All Saints School in partnership with the centre to put on ‘satellite’ events for students at Notre Dame and All Saints. Following a similar format to the events at the Abbeydale Picture House, we will start with some input looking at issues around homelessness and we will also have some entertainment and activity. The students and staff will then ‘sleep out’ at school. Letters have gone out to 6th form students inviting interest in taking part. We will also be looking to attract some sponsorship for those students, with funds raised going to support the work of the St Wilfrid’s centre.
Looking back, we marked Holocaust Memorial day in school as we do each year with assemblies for every year group and a Shoah service with our Y9 students. The assemblies and the service are very thought provoking, reminding us of the terrible events of the Second World War and calling us to be vigilant against intolerance, discrimination and hate.
I would like to thank all the staff and students involved in preparing and leading these assemblies and services and I would also like to acknowledge the tremendous respect and reverence shown by all of our students. A number of those students have talked about the service and the assemblies and have clearly reflected deeply on those messages and what they mean to us today.
In this Blog, it is the turn of the Art department to share a little bit of the day to day work in school. I am sure you will agree that the student art work round the school is absolutely incredible and is a testament to their talent, hard work and the support and guidance of our teachers. Being helped to create and express our ideas and to appreciate the expression of others is a vital part of the education of the whole person for every child, whether or not it is a personal strength. My thanks to our Art department for their vision and commitment to this part of the children’s education.
Before I hand over to the Art department, I do also want to say a quick public thank you to First bus company. Some of you will be aware that one of the buses carrying our students was involved in an accident on Wednesday morning. Thankfully, no one was seriously hurt but students were understandably shaken and were also stuck on their journey to school. Very shortly after the accident, we got a call from First to say that they were aware of what had happened and had been able to get two out of service buses up to the students who were stuck, to take them on to school. I certainly appreciated the quick and practical way that they helped, particularly given that it wasn’t a First bus involved in the accident.
Dates for the diary
Half term break Monday 19th Feb – Friday 23rd Feb
Training Day; Monday 26th February (First Monday back after half-term break. School closed to students)
Y8 Parents’ Evening; Thursday 1st March (5pm – 7pm in the main building)
Higher Education information evening; Wednesday 7th March. HE 6pm to 7pm,
Oxbridge 7:15pm to 8pm
Spring Concert; Tuesday 20th March (7-9pm in the Salle)
Last day of spring term; Thursday 29th March
Some things going on in school in the coming weeks
Ash Wednesday Services; Wednesday 14th February (All year groups)
Sleep Out; Friday 16th March
End of term Lenten services; Thursday 29th March
Link to St Wilfrid’s centre website; https://www.stwilfridscentre.org/