Catholic Life: Fully Human, Fully Awake, Fully Alive
St Thomas a Becket is first and foremost a Catholic school. We are proudly Catholic, rooted in the teachings, rituals and ethos of the Catholic tradition whilst being truly catholic, welcoming and nurturing pupils of all backgrounds.
Christ is at the centre of all that we do. As Bishop Marcus wrote in his book “Christ at the Centre”, the role of a Catholic school is to make Christ known to all people, to assist parents as the primary educators of their children in their education and religious formation, to be at the service of the local Church community and to be of service to society.
We never stand alone in our mission – we belong to a number of “families” within the Catholic community – our local churches and parishes with their – and our feeder – primary schools of St Austins, English Martrys, St Ignatius and St Mary’s Rothwell, the Bishop Konstant Catholic Academy Trust, the COLDS (Communion of Leeds Diocesan Secondary Schools) group and the Diocese of Leeds itself.
Within school our Catholic Life takes many forms:
Prayer and Worship
Each year begins with a special Mass of Welcome for each year group. We also meet for Mass on our (deferred) Feast Day and on majorn Saints Days such as All Saints and Sts Peter and Paul. Pupils engage in daily collective worship through a faith-based assembly each week and in form daily. The key points of Liturgical Year are marked with special assemblies, liturgies and celebrations; we are supported by local priests who offer the Sacrament of Reconciliation during Advent and Lent and we involve pupils in Stations of the Cross as we approach Holy Week. The Leavers Mass is a highlight of the events which mark the end of Year 11 as they finish exams and leave our care to move on to college or apprenticeships.
We are blessed to have an ordained school chaplain – Father Chris Butler . Our chaplain celebrates Mass with us each week and all members of the community are warmly invited to attend.
We also have a wonderful fulltime Lay Chaplain in Miss Helen Kington.
We offer a retreat to each year group and we always send a very large group of Year 10 students to Lourdes. We attend the Batley Torchlight Procession and the Diocesan Pilgrimage.
Throughout the school year, we invite and encourage our pupils to pray for and to actively support those in need. We send many parcels to those in need at Christmas through the St Vincent de Paul Society and we raise money for the Good Shepherd Appeal, supporting Catholic Care, during Lent. Other appeals and events take place as need arises and we are always proud of the generosity shown by the school community.
We pride ourselves on the way we care for our pupils and in turn, the way they care for one another.
The individual needs of each pupil are at the heart of our provision and different teams of staff take responsibility for different aspects of this work, whether it be supporting learning needs in the classroom, supporting home in dealing with challenging situations, supporting families into ensuring pupils attend school regularly in order to make the most of their God-given talents or the simple day to day support around friendships and other aspects of young life.
We have pupil prefects and trained pupil Anti-Bullying Councillors who find themselves little used, but are always available at break and lunchtimes.
Unusually, one of our two weekly staff briefings is devoted entirely to pastoral care, whilst the other is a moment of spiritual reflection and collective worship for staff.
Teaching and Learning
As well as our comprehensive RE provision, our approach is to teach new knowledge and new skills within a faith-filled framework which gives our young people a context for the things they learn. We champion an in-house a research-led staff development programme to really challenge and support staff to keep learning and growing in order to offer the very best education for the 21st Century and for life, allowing pupils to progress rapidly and fulfil their potential.
The season of Lent arrives as the days visibly lengthen, spring stirs and new life arrives all around us in the natural world.
The 40 days of Lent call each of us to prepare for Holy Week and the new life of Easter — a new life in which we can truly thrive and flourish.
As with all of nature, in order for new life to really grow, thrive and flourish we have to clear what is in it’s way and nurture what is good.
This vital work takes courage, effort and perseverance but results in flourishing.
The courageous gardener is called to nurture the soil, prune the branches and grow and enjoy their garden; the courageous person to nurture their spirit, to prune away poor choices and habits, to grow their soul in order to live life to the full…
For what is bearing fruit in our lives. Take time to notice, enjoy and give THANKS for those things that BEAR FRUIT in our lives-that make us happy, healthy and whole.
From what makes our lives barren. Step away from THE BARREN things in our lives-things that drain us, make us negative and unhappy, that stop us from thriving.
Nurture and fertilise areas of goodness in our lives that need to grow. Give time, care and attention to areas of our lives we need to grow and develop and to others who need our help and support.