Catholic Life at St Vincent’s
At St Vincent’s we pride ourselves on placing Christ and the teaching of the Church at the centre of our children’s lives to form and develop the inspiration to live their lives fully as Christians. This inspiration was taken from the historical and religious background of our school. The school originates from 1868 when a nursery was opened for the benefit of poor milk women. In July 2005 the Daughters of Charity who founded the school sold the whole convent. The site was bought by Westminster Council and is now under the trusteeship of the Diocese. Through our daily worship, we continue to embed many of the traditions and values that were first established here. We celebrate the role of Saint Vincent himself and the core values with which he continues to provide. All of this allows us form strong links with families, the local parish and the wider community.
School’s Mission Statement: ‘Together through Christ we grow and learn’ and the school vision:
- At St. Vincent’s we will endeavour to educate children through the teachings of Christ, to develop their academic potential to the full and nurture their individual needs within an outstanding school.
- The Catholic St. Vincent’s family will work together to develop academic, moral, social and spiritual growth for all within the local, national and global community (giving and receiving).
- We will do this by promoting an ethos of care, support, responsibility and awareness of self and others within a safe, healthy and friendly environment in which we can all inspire and be inspired.
Worship and prayer is at the heart of our school including daily class worship with special worship bags, independent child led worship which is planned and led by pupils, worship activities during lunch in the prayer garden led by our school pupil chaplains. Every day starts and ends with a prayer, and grace is said before meals. Pupils are active and enthusiastic in the preparation of prayers and some have collated their own prayer books which they choose to read from.
There are daily acts of collective worship in different forms, including a singing celebration and learners are able to reflect appropriately. Different people plan & lead the assemblies: SLT, teachers, or classes and our termly cultural assemblies also actively involve parents. Visitors are welcomed such as clergy, parents, local police. Learners are enthusiastic about leading class assemblies.
Mass is celebrated in the school hall or the local church of St. James’, on special feast days, holy days of obligation and for the beginning and end of the school year. The Pupil Chaplaincy team and children in Key Stage 2 prepare Mass on a rotational basis and are responsible for the First Reading, Bidding Prayer and selection of hymns. Parents and Staff are warmly invited to attend whole school masses and celebrations.
Children in Years 4, 5 and 6 have the opportunity to attend confession in school during the season of Lent.
Year 3 pupils receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation and the Sacrament of the Eucharist (First Holy Communion) in their own parish but we always celebrate their First Holy Communion with our school family by having a special mass in our school hall and ‘morning tea and refreshments’ for families.
Collective worship makes a good contribution to spiritual and moral development. St Vincent’s Prayer Book contains all the traditional prayers the children are expected to know. This is given as a welcome gift to all new arrivals into the school. The provision is well planned and is monitored and evaluated as part of our annual cycle.
Children experience a richness of Catholic tradition of prayer, worship and the celebration of the Eucharist by celebrating whole school Masses at key times throughout the liturgical year. Family Mass occurs once a month at our parish church; teachers, pupils and parents help prepare and take an active part in the Sunday Family Mass with the wider parish community.
At St Vincent’s we continuously strive to express our Catholic identify, for example creating a whole school religious art project during World Week based on the Beatitudes.
Pupils have a deep understanding of the Common Good and are fully aware of what we do within our local, wider and globally community but more important they understand why we do this.
Community cohesion is a core value and ethics and cultural diversity are and always has been a rich feature of St Vincent’s. Teachers use pupils of other faiths to support their teaching and to celebrate their religion. This diversity is celebrated further through cultural assemblies.
We challenge children to see God’s presence in our neighbours, especially those who are suffering or struggling. We actively engaged in a range of activities to support those in need, such as supporting different charities, Chamber Choir visiting and singing for the elderly, carol singing to raise awareness and funds for the homeless and collecting goods at the Harvest Festival for the Westminster Foodbank.
The pupils have a sound understanding of how our fundraising activities helps us answer the call to serve and this is developed through assemblies and lessons. We teach the children to be true to themselves and to see individuality in others e.g. singing at the elderly residents home.
School councilors also take an active role in helping their peers understand the call to serve and help others by reporting to pupils on the latest fundraising or community projects.
As Religious Education is an integral part of St. Vincent’s the Common Good underpins relationships and behaviors throughout the school and beyond within the wider community. The children are responsible for creating their own rules based upon their faith and their rights as citizens. These growing displays can be found across the school in every classroom.
Pupils have a good understanding and respect for other cultural backgrounds. This is supported by our international link with the Gyanadaya School in Nepal. Both the Religious Education co-ordinator and the MFL co-ordinator visited our partner school to share our faith and learn. In their return visit to St Vincent’s the children learnt about the vast cultural differences between us and how to respect different faiths and backgrounds.
Pupils actively engage in acts of service and have an excellent understanding of why they are doing it. This was evident during World Week where people learnt about the lack of education within our world. Empowered by this knowledge our pupils created awareness of these issues in a variety of ways from organising a sponsored run to creating art work to highlight the key issues. In addition to this our pupils have lots of opportunities for service including Pupil Chaplaincy Team, Green Team, School Council, Rights Respecting Sports Ambassadors, Junior Travel Ambassadors and the Wallace Collection Young Curators.
Our Parish Priest
Father Philip is the new parish priest at St James’ Church. Before he came here, he lived in Rome for over 20 years. He worked in the Vatican during the time of St John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI, and he has also been the rector of the English College, a seminary in Rome that trains priests for England and Wales.