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St Mary's RC High School

St Mary’s RC High School

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Easter Message 2017

Dear Parents and Carers

Easter 2017 – A Message From Clive Lambert, Head Teacher

I hope you are all well.

So much has happened both in school and on a national scale since I last wrote to you that I must be careful not to turn this letter into an extended news bulletin.  However, there are a number of items I would like to share with you.

We received a letter of congratulations from the schools minister, Nick Gibb MP, in recognition of our GCSE results last summer.  I do not like to talk such matters up too much because I firmly believe in the importance of humility.  Furthermore, if you celebrate and publicise your achievements too much you often set yourself up for a fall: therefore it is best to keep ones feet firmly planted on solid Earth and treat such accolades as a welcome additional extra. 

The ongoing talk of grammar schools worries me: it seems such a retrograde step after all the progress schools have made in providing a good education for all children.  If our recent results and congratulatory letter are anything to go by, then why would a grammar school make a material difference to children’s lives? In reality they would simply exacerbate the social divisions that already exist. Recently I happened to be in Sainsbury’s in Beaconsfield, Bucks, where, apart from the usual services one would expect from a major grocery retailer, there was an education centre situated next to the café.  I was curious and enquired about why Beaconsfield should operate such a facility when in every other branch of this retailer that I have visited no such facility exists.  I was informed that it is to help primary age children prepare for the 11+ selection tests for grammar schools, which are a feature of South Buckinghamshire.  Rather than waste time trailing the trolley round the store, children could more profitably spend an hour brushing up on their English and maths, whilst their parents shopped or sat in the café.  We live and learn - or rather shop and learn!

We were delighted that His Grace the Archbishop of Cardiff, visited the school last Thursday and spent some time with children as well as taking the time to talk to a group of Year 11 pupils.  The Archdiocese of Cardiff has recently celebrated one hundred years since its foundation and this significant milestone has seen a number of events organised in the course of the year.  One event was a reception at the Houses of Parliament, which was attended by the Head Boy and Girl.  The Archbishop invited representatives from the school to the other various functions in Cardiff to mark this anniversary, and we have always made an effort to attend so he wanted to come in and say thank you personally to the staff and children involved.  He presented to us a photograph he had taken when he had a recent personal meeting with his Holiness Pope Francis, an occasion that was very special for him.

His Holiness has given us all a clear message to consider through Lent and to Easter.  The title of his message this year is: “The Word is a gift.  Other persons are a gift”.  Without making room for God’s word in their hearts, people will never be able to welcome and love all human life.  Pope Francis has said;

“Each life that we encounter is a gift deserving acceptance, respect and love. The word of God helps us to open our eyes to welcome and love life, especially when it is weak and vulnerable.”  His Holiness focused on the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus.  In the Gospel account, Lazarus and his suffering are described in great detail.  While he is “practically invisible to the rich man,” the Gospel gives him a name and a face, upholding him as worthy, as “a gift, a priceless treasure, a human being whom God loves and cares for, despite his concrete condition as an outcast”.  Pope Francis added that the parable shows that “a right relationship with people consists in gratefully recognising their value…… a poor person at the door of the rich is not a nuisance, but a summons to conversion and to change.”

The Pope has asked that Lent be a time “for renewing our encounter with Christ, living in his word, in the sacraments and in our neighbour.”  This is something that we should all strive to do.

On that note, on behalf of the governors, staff and students of St Mary’s RC High School, I would like to wish you all a very happy and restful Easter.