From the Headmaster
Our maintenance manager, Paul Egan, has been making a return to the school this week following time away. We wish him well for his return. Mike Syms, in turn, will return to the College. I wanted publically to say a big thank you to Mike for all that he has done whilst he has been here, and most of all for his energy and his enthusiasm about the school and its pupils.
We have been preparing this week for something a little different for the annual Whole School Retreat. Based on the excellent work that some children have done on the seas, ecology and environment, for part of the Retreat we shall go to Whitby and have a go at collecting plastics, which have been washed up on the beach. Fr John will write to parents presently to explain the plans for the day.
This week I will speak again to our children about Lent. I have been encouraging our children to consider Lent as a time when we should take something on: not merely give something up. I have asked them yet again to take on kindness – most of all to those around them. I have to say that of late, St Martins have been largely very well-mannered and well behaved, and in some contexts have attracted the attention of others for their kindness and supportive attitudes. That is the best news, which I always welcome with open arms.
As a Head of School, I have to keep abreast of all of those developments in the world of technology, which might have an impact upon our children. The most significant of these tend to be Apps that are designed as extensions of social media, but which can be misleading, or can be misused to pressure or bully others. Again, I encourage our children not to see such locations or sites as places detached from good manners or good behaviour towards others. Too often young people seem to think that the rules of polite society can be left at the door as they enter the abstracted world of social media. “Do not utter harmful and hurtful words. Speak only that which will improve, encourage and do good to its hearers. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God; for the Spirit is God’s mark of ownership on you, a guarantee that the Day will come when God will set you free…no more slander or insults; no more malice or spitefulness. Instead, be kind and tender-hearted to one another, and forgive one another, as God has forgiven you in Christ.” (Ephesians 4:29-32)
Of all the ways in which things can go wrong bullying most of all strikes at the heart of a community. I focused rather on ‘e-bullying’ and about the way that unpleasant material about a person on a social networking site or rating sites can cause such painful issues. I explained that The Rule of St Benedict sets out our standards for the life of a community: “They try to be the first to show respect to one another with the greatest patience in tolerating weaknesses in body or character…no-one aims at personal advantage but is rather concerned for the good of others.” As such bullying occurs through media such as mobile phones, cameras, email, and web sites, it can be more intrusive because it can occur 24 hours a day, and may be almost impossible for a victim to escape. While currently we seem not to have such issues at St Martin’s Ampleforth I am keen to continue to raise awareness of the problems and pitfalls, and will ask Jon Mutton, who does much work with on-line media and safeguarding, to speak to some year groups again as the year goes on.
To celebrate World Book Day on 1st March 2018, Dr Clémentine Beauvais will be joining us to deliver an exciting writing workshop to Years 3 to 8.
Dr Clémentine Beauvais is a lecturer in English and Education at the University of York. In her other life, Clementine is a children’s writer and is the author of the Sesame Seade and the Royal Babysitters series. She has also translated Sarah Crossan’s Carnegie-winning novel in verse One into French, as Inséparables.
As well as the workshop, children will have the option of dressing up as a character from their favourite book. There will also be opportunities throughout the day for children to visit the library to take part in activities and collect their World Book Day tokens.
If you would like to discover more about Dr Clémentine Beauvais and World Book Day, please go to http://sesameseade.com/ and http://www.worldbookday.com/
Happy World Book Day!
Mrs Sarah Moore
As we enter the season of Lent we prepare to celebrate the great feast of Our Lord’s Resurrection at Easter. I n this time we reflect on the suffering and death of Jesus on the cross to take away our sins, and we try to use the spiritual tools of prayer, fasting and almsgiving to repent of our sinful ways and help us become better Christians.
The children will have the opportunity to make their confession and to attend voluntary Mass each Friday. In our Chaplaincy periods, we will reflect on Our Lord’s Passion, praying the Stations of the Cross and reflect again on the Sacrifice of the Holy Mass in order to enter more fully the great mystery that Jesus left us at the Last Supper, using film as well as Scripture. We are encouraged to help those in need in a special way during this season and will have our usual collections for Mary’s Meals.
At the end of this term we will have our usual two day retreat, starting with the feast of Our Holy Father St Benedict. This year the theme is Stewardship, reflecting on the Rule and also Pope Francis’ encyclical letter “Laudato Si,” on stewardship and conservation.
We are also planning a retreat day for parents on Saturday 17th March – more details to follow.
The Maths Quiz will return next week.
The next Lyceum session is on Tuesday 27th February and is the second of the engineering workshops. The details of the Lyceum sessions are below:
Structures…or how engineers save lives.
A two part workshop exploring how engineers work in teams using science, maths and creativity to design and model structures.
The children should come prepared to work in small groups to solve a series of practical challenges. Prizes will be awarded.