How do we measure the success of a Catholic Education?
‘’By their fruits, you shall know them’’ Mt 7:16
Of course here at St Dominic’s we strive for academic excellence and consider our school environment and ethos - in which every child is nurtured and guided to reach their full potential - to be an important factor in our examination success, year on year. However, as Catholic educators, that is only part of the story and part of our remit. Here, our concern is with the development of the whole person, and so all those that have passed through our school should leave with: a respect for all human life - made in the image of God; with a social conscience - rooted in Catholic Social Teaching ; and with, at the very least, a sense of the Divine.
Moreover, we consider the provision of a comfortable, safe and supported setting, in which each student is allowed to consider and respond to ‘a call to be…’, to be both a basic and essential requirement of our school.
Vocations come in all shapes and sizes. It may be a vocation to married life; to religious life; or a vocation to serve in some way out in the local community or beyond.
Indeed, we take pride in the fact that we have played some part in the development of some very compassionate and courageous young people, willing to serve and to speak out against injustice and inequality.
Here are just a few examples:
The following pupils have given of their time to work in deprived areas of Africa:
Eve Phillips –Rwanda 2014
Amelia Russell – Mombasa 2015
Zara Hirji – Kenya 2017
(All of these pupils were awarded the Catenian Shield for service)
Emily Wilson (who left in 2005), now Doctor Emily Wilson has gone on to found a charity which works for the empowerment of women in Kenya. She has also been active in a campaign to end the practice of FGM in several African countries. (We continue to support her work)
Emily Booth, of the same year group, worked throughout her university life with the homeless in Manchester.
Philippa Slingsby (2008) graduated from Birmingham University, with a degree in Biological Sciences, and then went on to become a Community Youth Worker in inner city Leeds. She then read Vocational Theology at Durham and is now an ordained Anglican vicar.
Alice Chatburn (now Lomas), studied Education and Sociology at Durham University. She then worked at a not-for-profit organisation, specialising in care for the elderly and those with learning disabilities. In her current role, she supports vulnerable and troubled children in homes and schools.
Alice-Rose Perry (2011) received a prestigious degree from the University of S.O.A.S, having taken a year out to work as a volunteer for the Red Cross in Israel.
We know that there are many other former pupils too that, inspired by Gospel values and perhaps in ways less obvious - but no less important, are serving others and so helping to bring about God’s Kingdom. We are very proud of them all.
At Saint Dominic’s we nurture a sense of vocation in a number of ways:
In the RE Department, where vocation is not just a topic in itself but is implicit in much of the curriculum
In school assemblies
Through our charitable giving and our actions e.g. the annual Lenten lunches
Through the provision of retreats at Alton Castle and Soli House
In sacramental preparation
Through the example and witness of the Dominican Sisters in our community
Through the example of service in our Parish Priest
Through the pastoral work of Form Tutors
In our Relationships and Sex Education
In our behaviour policy - in which good spirit and community service is rewarded
Across all subjects when the opportunity arises
“Let us not develop an education that creates in the mind of the student a hope of becoming rich and having the power to dominate. Let us form in the heart of the young person the idea of loving, of preparing oneself to serve, and of giving oneself to others.” Saint Oscar Romero