Catholic Life of the School
Our principal aim is to provide the children with a sound Catholic, moral, social and academic education in a disciplined environment.
As a Catholic School we celebrate Masses and other services throughout the year, with specific classes responsible for each celebration. Mass is celebrated on the Feast of St. Angela Merici (Founder of the Ursuline Order) prepared by our Upper One class; in October, our Lower Two cohort prepare Mass for the Feast of St. Ursula (Patron of the Ursuline Order).
At the start of Lent, ashes are distributed at a service on Ash Wednesday; whilst later in Lent, the Juniors have traditionally participated in a Reconciliation service. We also have a service to pray The Stations of the Cross, prepared by our Lower One children. Lent concludes with a play retelling the events of Holy Week, prepared and presented by Upper Two.
Our infant and junior children are encouraged to say the Rosary in May and October, in addition to prayer times in each class. Upon entry to Pre-Reception, our children are taught the prayers that are used daily throughout the school.
It has been our practice to have a Harvest Mass, celebrated by a priest belonging to the Franciscan Order in Canning Town. Children are encouraged to bring in items for their soup kitchen, including tinned meat and toiletries for the needy homeless of this area. We have been one of their primary supporters and our donations have enabled them to offer support to some of the poorest members of the community.
To mark the beginning of Advent, A Christingle Service of Light is held at Brentwood Cathedral. This is a very important and valued event in our School calendar, during which the infant classes re-enact the Nativity story.
As a school we are very grateful to receive support and friendship from the Clergy of Brentwood Cathedral throughout the academic year, particularly as we are cognisant of the many demands upon their time.
||"Pupils appreciate the daily acts of worship, in line with the school's Catholic values, which provide a genuine sense of community." Independent School Inspectorate 2019.||
Step up to the Plate 2022
This summer CAFOD is calling on our government to keep its COP26 promises to limit the effects of climate change, and to support the poorest communities around the world. They want the UK government to support the people around the world who grow food, not the big companies. Upper Two joined CAFOD’s campaign and spent a morning learning about the injustices in our food system. Their final activity was to write messages on ‘broken’ paper plates asking the UK Government to ‘Step up to the plate’ and start to fix the global food system.
May Procession 2022
On Friday 6th
May were delighted to be able to hold our first, whole school, May Procession in three years!
Each child in the school brought flowers which were placed near our statue of Our Lady, following a reflection on Mary’s life led by Upper One. This complements the opportunity the children have to say a decade of the Rosary during lunchtimes in May.
Following the Church’s tradition of honouring Mary during the month of May, the children are offered the chance to pray a decade of the Rosary during lunchtimes.
As much as the children are invited to pray for their own intentions, this year, we are highlighting prayer for people who find themselves are refugees.
The Holy Family once found themselves as refugees, thus we specially bring the plight of those in our world currently experiencing these terrible circumstances before Mary in prayer.
Upper Two's Walk for Hunger - raising funds for CAFOD
Upper Two completed their Walk Against Hunger fundraising initiative this week with a walk to Warley Place. During Lent the class have been raising funds for CAFOD and set themselves a challenge of walking 200km. Having trekked around the field several times over the last few weeks, it was thought that the final kilometres should be walked in some of the beautiful countryside which surrounds our school. The class thoroughly enjoyed their walk to and from the nature reserve and were fascinated by the ruins of Warley Place and the impact of the meadows full of daffodils.
Upper Two are very grateful for the families that have supported them. If you would like to donate to their Just Giving page please use this link: https://walk.cafod.org.uk/fundraising/upper-2-walk-against-hunger
We were excited to see that CAFOD highlighted our efforts on their Twitter; and thank you for the retweet, Diocese of Brentwood Twitter!
to view the Tweet.
Father Martin's visit to Upper Two 2022
During an RE lesson, Upper Two raised a large number of questions about the life of a priest. In order to respond to these questions, it was a pleasure to welcome Fr Martin into the school to answer them. Fr Martin was very honest, thoughtful (and brave!) in sharing his experience of being a priest; thus the children, and adults, gained a great deal from his visit.
Below are some of the children’s observations.
“Fr Martin, a hardworking and dedicated priest (from St. Helen’s Cathedral), came into our school to answer some of our brilliant and well thought out questions. We think of Fr Martin as an extremely special and important man, which he most certainly is, but he does have a ‘normal’ life like most of the people around the world. He told us that he goes to the cinema, goes to meet his friends, sees his mother etc. He answered some of our more serious questions and he gave us some amazing answers. Overall, it was a great experience!” AG
“Today Fr Martin visited. I was very excited to ask my question, which I had thought of earlier, and loved listening to the answer. Fr Martin gave very thorough answers and afterwards I really understood what being a priest was like. I also loved hearing that Father Martin enjoyed his job as a priest and although he loved praying with people and giving sacraments, his favourite part was saying mass. After Father Martin came in I felt inspired to follow and spread the word of God to my friends and family.” EB
Ash Wednesday 2022
Children, staff and our Chair of Governors, Mrs Deery, gathered together to mark the beginning of Lent in our Ash Wednesday service, which was led by Fr Gary. The service reflected on repentance, thinking of others and preparing ourselves for the joy of Easter, with Fr Gary highlighting the three aspects that we need to focus on during the coming weeks: prayer; doing something extra to help others and giving something up. We were very proud of the children’s beautiful singing and their responses to Fr Gary’s homily.
The school community received ashes on their foreheads with the words, ‘Turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel’. At the end of the service the children were given their ‘Walk With Me’ Lent activity book to support them in their Lenten journey.
The Feast of St. Angela 2022
It was a pleasure to be able to welcome Fr Gary Dench from Brentwood Cathedral to school this morning. Fr Gary came to celebrate Mass for the Feast of St Angela, her Feast Day being January 27th
. The liturgy was prepared and presented by the children in Upper One, who were helped in their preparations by Mrs Macdonald and our Liturgy Prefects, Rosie and Alexander. Upper One were a credit to all that St Angela must have hoped when she promoted education for young people, especially girls, as they proclaimed the word of the Lord so clearly and prayerfully.
Cathedral visit 2022
As part of our recent RE topic - Local Church – Community, we visited our local Cathedral of St. Helen and St. Mary Brentwood. The children of Intermediate enjoyed learning about various locations and objects within the church and their relevance.
The children also took time to light a candle and say a prayer.
The Baptism 2021
The children in Pre-prep have been learning the importance of being welcomed in to the family of Jesus.
Learning hymns, prayers, and religious words that support Baptism and all it entails.
Every child had a part to play in the service.
The preparation as invites were made, home clothes were brought in so family members looked smart made it extra special.
The Priest and Altar Servers were in white and took their roles very seriously.
We were delighted one parent from each family could attend which brought a wonderful loving feeling to the service as they looked on proudly at their children.
Intermediate also joined us and added to the service by clapping along as we celebrated this wonderful time.
Easter Play 2021
Upper Two’s short film of the Easter Story was screened to the whole school on the last day of term. Traditionally the Upper Two class perform a dramatization of Holy Week and the death and resurrection of Christ as part of our End of Term Assembly but this year they have presented the events as a film.
Under the direction of Mrs Macdonald, the class enjoyed acting Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, the Last Supper, Jesus’ Resurrection and the reactions of his disciples and followers. The film follows five class members as they discover the real meaning of Easter through scripture and watching the events as they happen.
Please see some stills from the film below.
As part of their learning about the season of Advent, Kindergarten re-enacted the final part of the Nativity. Normally this ceremony takes place at the Brentwood Cathedral but unfortunately this will not be possible this year. Therefore, a special stable was created in the grounds of the school.
The Baptism 2020
The Pre-prep department were so proud of Kindergarten and Reception as they acted out a Baptism ceremony in the hall. They spent four weeks of RE lessons learning about why children are baptised and the meaning of all the different parts of the ceremony. The children enjoyed a celebration party afterwards with real crisps and biscuits!
Harvest Festival 2020
Thank you for all the donations for Harvest Festival. We know that all of your gifts will be put to good use at the Brentwood Food-bank. In these very challenging times charities are so very grateful for everything that is donated to them. Unfortunately we could not have a whole school assembly this year but Mrs Macdonald created an excellent recording which we all shared. Please view by clicking this link Harvest Festival Assembly 2020
Ash Wednesday 2020
To mark the start of Lent, Deacon Quentin Hall from Brentwood Cathedral came to the school to distribute ashes on Wednesday. Before the service began, Deacon Quentin explained the symbolism of items of clothing he wore in his role. Following readings from the psalms and St Matthew’s Gospel, Deacon Quentin spoke to the children about the things they could do during Lent to prepare for Easter. He then distributed ashes to the children, assisted by Mrs Creavin.
We are very grateful to Deacon Quentin and all the members of the Cathedral clergy for their ongoing support of our school.
The Feast of St. Angela 2020
On Monday 27th
January, it was a pleasure to be able to welcome Fr Gary Dench from Brentwood Cathedral on his first visit to our school, when he celebrated Mass for the Feast of St Angela. The readings, prayers and reflection were presented by Upper One.The children behaved beautifully, thus their attention and stillness created a very prayerful atmosphere.Led by Mrs Khoo on the piano, the children’s singing really added to the celebration.
This annual Christmas service of Praise and Thanksgiving began with a solo sung by Carlos Boxall in candlelight this year, giving a spine tingling start to the Christingle. The children sang, danced, read and behaved brilliantly. The children in the Pre-Prep department formed their Nativity tableau bringing gasps of delight to the congregation and everyone felt the season of advent had really begun. Special thanks to Mrs Macdonald and Mrs Parker-Litjens, Mrs Walsh for the dance, Mrs Khoo for her outstanding choir pieces and accompanying the children. The retiring collection was generously supported raising £925 for our three chosen charities.
Visit the Gallery
to see photographs from the rehearsal of this event. Official photographs will be available in due course from Bardel Photography
Pre-Prep Baptism Assembly 2019
On November the 7th parents were invited to celebrate the baptism of Baby Mary which took place in the school hall. The children of Kindergarten and Reception played the parts of the parents, godparents, the priest and the organ player. Reception formed the choir and sang beautifully. They enjoyed dressing up and re-enacting the baptism ceremony. They sang lots of lovely songs and parents and teachers alike praised their acting and singing abilities.
Visit the Gallery
to see more photographs from this event.
Harvest Festival Celebration 2019
Thank you for all the donations for our Harvest Festival. We had a wonderful assembly thanking God for everything that we have and we know that all of your gifts will go to good use at the Brentwood Food-bank. We continue to ask for donations of clothing for our friends the Franciscan Friars which we will deliver at a later date.
Prize Giving Presentation 2019
At our annual Prize Giving Deacon Quentin presented Lillie with her Citizenship Award on behalf of the Diocese for her contribution to charity work at the school.
Citizenship Award 2019
On May 24th
, we joined 64 other Diocesan Schools in Brentwood Cathedral for this wonderful event. Joseph Bridge accepted the award on behalf of his sister Lillie for her tremendous contribution to the charity work at school. She worked very hard with other members of the school community to raise a large amount of money throughout the year for various charities. The nominations across the diocese were varied from children overcoming great personal and physical challenges to others doing kind acts. The Bishop presided over this wonderful celebration and it was a very humbling experience.
May Procession 2019
On Friday 3rd May Lower Two, Mrs Creavin and Mrs Macdonald led an assembly in honour of our Blessed Mother Mary in which the children were reminded of the joyful, sorrowful and glorious events in her life. Each aspect concluded with a reflection on Mary’s inspiration to us and a recitation of her special prayer the Hail Mary.
At the end of the assembly the children processed out of the hall and each placed their flower at our school statue of Mary in the small grotto near the Secret Garden.
As part of our Lenten preparations the Juniors took part in a reconciliation morning on Tuesday 12th
March. The meaningful and reflective liturgy was led by the Brentwood Youth Service Team from Walsingham House and focused on two parables; ‘The Prodigal Son’ and ‘The Lost Sheep’. The children were invited to join in a variety of interactive prayer activities, whilst Fr Daniel heard individual confessions. The children really enjoyed their morning of reflection and prayer and it was a pleasure to work with the Walsingham House team again.
Ash Wednesday 2019
Deacon Quentin began our Lenten preparations with a beautiful Ash Wednesday Service for children from Kindergarten to Upper 2. He opened the service by telling the pupils about the symbolism of his vestments and then led them in a reflection, which focused on the three features of Lent: prayer, abstinence and almsgiving. Following a short Liturgy of the Word, Deacon Quentin distributed ashes by marking the sign of the cross on each child and member of staff’s forehead.
It was lovely to welcome Deacon Quentin back into school and listen to his poignant words about this most important season, as we get ready for the joyful celebration of Christ’s Resurrection at Easter.
‘Remember you are dust, and to dust you will return.’
Mass for St. Ursula’s Feast Day 2018
On Friday 12th
October Children from Kindergarten to Upper Two enjoyed taking part in the mass to celebrate the feast of St. Ursula. Fr Dan, from the Parish of the Most Holy Redeemer in Billericay, celebrated mass and the liturgy was led beautifully by Lower Two. Father spoke about we can look up to both St. Ursula and St. Angela and aspire to their caring natures, bravery and prayerfulness. We were joined by parents from Lower 2 and Michael, a deacon training for the priesthood in Fr Dan’s parish. Fr Dan and Michael stayed for a short time after mass to talk about their vocation with Lower and Upper 2, who made the most of this opportunity to find out more about the priesthood.
Harvest Festival 2018
Our Harvest Festival celebration took place on Friday 28th September and this year the children supported two charitable organisations; the Brentwood Food Bank and the soup kitchen in Canning Town, which is run by our friends the Franciscan friars. The children brought a variety of foodstuffs for the food bank and also collected items of men’s clothing, which will be taken to Canning Town to be distributed to the homeless.
The whole school joined together to sing, pray and give thanks for the harvest and our many blessings.
Diocese Citizenship Award 2018
Congratulations to the four children who received their Catholic Citizenship Award from Bishop Alan at Brentwood Cathedral. Two boys raised over £1500 for GTCA and two girls from Upper Two have spearheaded the initiative to reduce the amount of plastic we use in school. We are very proud of all four children!
May Procession 2018
Deacon Quentin led our beautiful service in honour of Mary during the month of May. The children listened attentively to the joyous and sorrowful events in Mary’s life and placed their floral offerings at our school grotto.
Visit the Gallery
to view more photographs from this event.
As part of our Lenten preparations the Juniors took part in a reconciliation morning on Wednesday 28th
February. The liturgy was led by the Brentwood Youth Service Team from Walsingham House and Leighton and Gabi began by re-telling the parable of The Prodigal Son. They then invited the children to join in a variety of interactive prayer activities, whilst Fr Dominic heard individual confessions. The children really enjoyed their morning of reflection and prayer and it was a pleasure to work with the Walsingham House team.
Reception and Kindergarten Baptism 2017
As part of their religious studies children from the EYFS have been learning about Baptism. They reenacted a ceremony, each child taking on a specific role. They sang songs and recited the Lord's Prayer as well as blessing the baby by anointing its head and chest with oil and water.
Visit the Gallery
to see more photographs from this event.
St. Ursula's Mass 2016
Harvest Festival Mass 2016
May Procession 2016
On Tuesday, 3rd
May, we had a short service in honour of Our Lady which was led by Fr Graham. It was a beautiful sunny day so we began our celebration on the top playground and processed past our statue of Mary, with the children leaving flowers at the grotto as they passed. The service then continued in the school hall. The flowers the children brought into school were lovely and colourful. Thank you to Fr Graham for leading the service and to parents for providing the flowers.
Please visit the Gallery
to view photographs.
Diocesan Citizenship Award
Congratulations to Charlotte Speller and Francesca Stanford who have been awarded this year’s Diocesan Citizenship Award. They received their award from Bishop Alan at a very moving ceremony at Brentwood Cathedral.
Foundation Day Celebration 2016
On April 20th
the school celebrated its foundation with a special assembly. Staff and pupils all wore white flowers to remind us of Mother Clare who formed the school 116 years ago The assembly focused on the importance of firm foundations and that as a catholic school our faith in Christ is at the core of everything we do. The children had a chance to reflect on this and watch a slide show of the aspects of our school that make us so special. The assembly was concluded by a rousing ‘Happy Birthday’ to the school, the cutting of the celebratory cake and our school song.
Upper Two Easter Assembly 2016
As part of the Easter celebrations the class of Upper Two re-enacted the Story of Easter, from the crucifixion to the resurrection. They spoke very eloquently and their performance gave the younger children a better understanding of this very important time in the Christian calendar.
Reconciliation Service 2016
Fr Graham, parish priest at St. Mary’s, Ongar, led our Lenten service of reconciliation on Monday 7th
March. Father told us the parable of ‘The Prodigal Son’ and the children read some reflections which encouraged us all to think about our preparations for Easter and how we could continue to grow in our relationship with God during Lent. Following the service Upper 2 and Lower 2 had the opportunity to see Fr Graham individually for either the sacrament of reconciliation or a little chat. Fr Graham returned to school the following week for the Upper 1 and Lower 1 children.
St. Angela's Day Mass 2016
Fr Graham said mass on Wednesday to celebrate the feast day of St. Angela, the foundress of the Ursuline Order. It was a lovely service where we thought about the ways in which St. Ursula and St. Angela inspire us with their courage and bravery and the ways in which they stood up for what they believed in.
On Friday 7th
of May the whole school gathered together for a special service to think about Our Lady. The celebration began with a prayer focus followed by a procession to our school grotto where the children placed their floral offerings. Children from Kindergarten upwards then made their way into the hall where we listened to Mary’s story which was read by children from the juniors. Prayer intercessions were interspersed through the readings, calling the children to aspire to Mary’s graces and qualities.
Reconciliation Service March 2015
As part of our Lenten preparations a Reconciliation Service was held in school for the junior children this week. Fr Mark led our service during which the children reflected on the parable of the Prodigal Son and the role of God as our forgiving Father. Following the service Fr Mark spoke to each child individually and heard confessions with Lower 1, Upper 1, Lower 2 & Upper 2.
St Ursula’s Day Mass
We celebrated the feast day of St. Ursula, after whom our school is named, by having mass on the 21st
of October. Fr Martin from the Ongar Parish celebrated mass for us and was impressed by the children’s knowledge of St Ursula. He talked to the children about how they could follow Jesus’ example, just as St Ursula had, in their everyday lives.
St Francis Assembly
Fr Jacob returned to school on the 3rd
of October with his fellow friar Brother John. They talked to the children about the life of St. Francis and how they live out their vocation in London. They showed us some video of members of their community in New York and we were entertained by images of skateboarding friars! The friars gave a very informative and enjoyable assembly and we hope to continue our links with them during the rest of the term.
Harvest Festival 2014
This week, the school celebrated Harvest Festival. Father Jacob, a Fransiscon Friar from the Canning Town Friary, took a mass at which he was presented with gifts of food and toiletries, (by the children). The gifts were for distribution to the poor and homeless in London and for use in their daily soup kitchen run by the Friary. Father Jacob was delighted with the Harvest gifts and thanked the children on behalf of the needy recipients.