Parents considering an OLA education can sometimes be uncertain what we mean when we say that the school is ‘Catholic’. ‘What difference does this actually make on a day to day basis?’ is the question most likely to be posed. I cannot think of a better way of summing up what we do at OLA than by quoting a few lines from an address Pope Francis gave to schoolchildren in 2013. As ever, Francis showed his ability to encapsulate in a few words what many people have struggled to express in whole volumes. He told the children:
‘School broadens not only your intellectual dimension, but also the human one. I would like to focus on two fundamental values: freedom and service. Before all else be free persons! Freedom means knowing how to reflect on what we do, knowing how to evaluate which are the behaviours that make us grow. It means always choosing the good. Being free to always choose the good is challenging, but it will make you persons with a backbone, who know how to face life, courageous and patient persons.
‘The second word is service. In your schools you participate in various activities that prepare you not to be wrapped up in yourselves or in your own little world, but to open yourselves to others, especially to the poorest and most in need, to work to improve the world we live in.’
Freedom, the Good, Intellect, Service: these words encapsulate the essence of an OLA education. Our aim, as Francis says, is to set children free to be themselves, to release their potential and become the people their gifts and talents show that they can be. Cultivation of the mind goes hand in hand with developing the whole person, ensuring that our pupils develop a moral sense in an increasingly value-free world.
Intellectually curious young people, challenged to explore what makes life worth living, are far more likely to become balanced, well-rounded adults than those drilled in a more narrow school. This is the vision we have for our students at OLA. Come and see for yourself.
Stephen Oliver, Principal
During the year, pupils are offered retreats, which are greatly valued, nurturing spiritual growth. In our busy and often hectic world, a period of time
taken to reflect, to be still and to pray is vital. These days are most enjoyable, with interactive exercises, helping to create a sense of awareness of
Parents and staff work together to help pupils develop into happy, balanced individuals with a clear framework of beliefs and principles. We aim:
To enable each pupil to recognise his/her own value as a unique person
To enable them to understand their own physical, sexual, moral and spiritual development
To enable them to appreciate and consider the feelings of others
To enable them to make informed decisions and to assume responsibility for their own actions, so that they acquire the skills necessary for maintaining
relationships and an awareness of their roles in society.
Topics are pertinent to the pupils’ stage of development and to the values and priorities which we wish to encourage.