Our Lady of Grace is a community based on the Gospel values and the teachings of the Catholic Church, which aims to develop each person spiritually, intellectually, physically, culturally and socially.
Preparing for Christmas
On 5th December Year 6 took part in the annual Advent Service at St George's Cathedral, Southwark.
As expected, they proved excellent ambassadors for our School. They sang, not only their own two carols, but also joined in with all the rest - without the need of a hymn sheet.
They presented a donation to the Catholic Children's Society on behalf of our School and, by the end of the Service, we all felt that Advent had really begun.
Catholic Section 48 Inspection - May 2017
'Our Lady of Grace is an Outstanding school which is committed to high academic achievement and all-round development of its pupils. The pupils' experience and understanding of the Catholic Way of life, and their appreciation of social, moral and ethical issues is exceptional.'
'Our Lady of Grace's Mission Statement is at the heart of school Life. Its shortened and well-used form, "Do your best, let God do the rest" is a significant driving force in the considerable success of this school.'
Mass and Blessing of our new School Premises
On Friday 19th May we were delighted to welcome Bishop Patrick Lynch to our brand new School building – and what a wonderful day we had!
Bishop Pat led our Parish Priest and fellow Deanery priests in a prayerful, reflective and joyous celebration and the children responded beautifully. Their wonderful singing and reading made the Mass even more special and spiritual for the congregation. We are so proud of them!
The Offertory procession and Bidding prayers were delivered by members of our School Community and this included Governors and pupils.
After Mass, our special visitors – our MP, Head Teachers, architects Representatives from CAFOD the LA and of course the Catholic Commission, stayed behind for a bite to eat while the children enjoyed a packed lunch, fun and games and…a visit from an Ice Cream Van!!!
Thanks to all the parents who came along to Mass.
These past weeks have been filled with an OFSTED Inspection, the Mass of celebration, and an RE Inspection on 23rd May. Your continuing support is very much appreciated – we know we are blessed – many thanks.
Mark Scully, CAFOD -
Thank you so much for inviting me to be present at the Mass on Friday. I was really impressed with your pupils' behaviour throughout the morning, and the music was truly wonderful. I'm certain that they will all remember the Mass for a long time and especially the words of Bishop Pat.
In particular, a really big thank you to everyone at Our Lady of Grace for your recent fantastic donation to CAFOD of £602. I was pleased to hear that you have received a 'Thank You' certificate from CAFOD. As discussed, would it be possible for you to get a photograph of some pupils with the certificate and we can get it posted on CAFOD's Twitter feed, both in Southwark and nationally.
United Reformed Church
Year 5 visited the United Reformed Church along the road and looked at the similarities and differences between this and Our Lady of Grace Church.
The children asked really searching questions, acted with enormous respect and were reminded of the fact that we should all try to 'build bridges and not walls.'
It was a real priviledge to meet our neighbours and to make links with a Church previously unknown to us.
Lenten Service - March 2017
On Tuesday the whole school took part in our special service for Lent.
We re-enacted the last week in the life of Jesus and, as usual, our children acted with reverence and respect.
The service was beautifully moving. The singing and reading was wonderful and it was a very fitting and relevant reminder to us all that we are approaching the most important week in the life of our Church. The week we call Holy Week.
One of our parents commented:
Dear Mr Small
I just wanted to write and say how lovely this morning's service was. The children behaved impeccably and were a credit to the school. The Easter story was presented with clarity and reverence and really was very moving. The readers did a brilliant job and the young man who portrayed Jesus was mature beyond his years in his dignity and assurance in the role.
A big thanks to the children and especially the teachers who helped put it all together, especially in the light of the recent Ofsted visit, which must have been quite time consuming.
I hope all involved were pleased with the performance.
Mark Scully, a representative from CAFOD, held workshops with children in Years 4 and 6 on the topic of Refugees.
Following his visit he wrote - "Thank you for allowing me to visit Our Lady of Grace on Thursday. I really enjoyed seeing your brand new school in action. I was quite envious having spent my entire teaching career in pretty old and dilapidated school buildings. I do hope that the Year 6 and 4 pupils enjoyed my workshops and learnt more about our work with refugees."
Studying other Faiths - Judaism
On Thursday 23rd March Rabbi Rose came to our school again!
We have all been learning about Judaism during Lent and Rabbi Rose explained to us the symbolism and significance of the Passover Meal and the Seclar Plate.
We had the opportunity once again to recognise the similarities between major World Religions and it was fortunate that just a few days later, we celebrated our own Lenten Service.
When the 'apostles' and our youngest children waved their paper palms in the air, we remembered what Rabbi Rose had told us about the Jewish Feast of Passover.
KS2 Carol Concert
What a wonderful concert the KS2 children performed for parents, carers and the community in Our Lady of Grace Church.
Father Josephat wrote a lovely letter to the school -
I write to thank and congratulate you, your staff and the pupils of Our Lady of Grace Catholic Primary School, Charlton for your brilliant performance last night at the Christmas Carol by the School.
The Clergy and the entire members of the parish are delighted with the performance of the children and are very proud of you, your staff and the kids and say KEEP IT UP!
Wishing you and the entire School Community a very Happy and Joyful Chistmas.
Thanks and God Bless."
Josephine Spittles, Chair of Governors also commented:
"The KS2 carol service is a highlight of the year. This year the childrenb did not disappoint. Their readings of the Christmas story were clear and expressive and they sang beautifully. A special mention for the choir whose part singing was especially appreciated by the audience. A perfect reminder of the true meaning of Christmas."
Last week we were visited by Mark Scully who works for CAFOD. Mark spoke to the whole school about the wonderful work CAFOD does around the world and especially in areas of great need.
CAFOD uses its resources to respond to emergencies caused by Global disasters such as famine, earthquakes and war.
He spoke to us about the need to remember that our world produces enough food to feed everyone - and yet still people die of starvation. In Year 6 we learn about justice and injustices in our world and the fact that we are Stewards of Creation. Mark's talk helped us to have a deeper understanding of this.
We are also happy to support charities in any way we can and the this year children at Our Lady of Grace raised £173.18 during Lent to help build a brighter future through CAFOD's projects around the world. This money will go towards helping communities gain access to clean water and sanitation. Thank you to children for your kind donations.
“When I was hungry you fed me"
During October we celebrated HARVEST. While we gave thanks for our food and its producers we thought too about people who are struggling to make ends meet and are finding it hard to feed their families. We collected tins and packets of food from our fantastically generous parents and we donated these to the local Food Bank. They will now distribute this to families in the area who need help.
This Autumn has taught us some hard lessons about our responsibilities towards others - and stark reminders that we are asked to live the Gospel values we teach at home and in school
Preparing for Easter
As part of our preparations for Easter, we held a whole school ‘Holy Week Service’ which took place on 21st and 22nd March.
Even the very youngest children were devout and respectful as they re-enacted the Journey into Jerusalem and watched in silence as KS2 led us into the last days of Holy Week. A very moving service, beautifully sung and acted.
Jo Keyes, Improvement Partner, was present at the service - 'Thank you so much for your kind invitation to come and see your Passion Assembly. It was a privilege to be part of your re-telling of the familiar story and to see how well the whole school entered into the solemn spirit of the occasion, with everyone watching and listening attentively and singing so sweetly.
The actors and narrators were word perfect and spoke clearly and the whole performance was really 'moving'. It was a fitting start to Holy Week and a reminder to us all as to why Easter is such an important Event. Thank you again.'
Imam Swaleh from the mosque in Woolwich, visited us to talk about his role in the Community.
We weren’t at all surprised to learn that Muslims and Christians have much in common and it was good to hear Imam Swaleh re-affirm this.
The Imam said, as he left, that he loved coming to see us because our children always listened well and he “loved the atmosphere around the place.”
Thank you Imam Swaleh.
Bishop Pat’s Visit to OLOG
The whole School came together for a special Mass which was celebrated by Bishop Patrick Lynch along with priests from the Parish.
After the service, Mr Small invited parents to come along and share tea/coffee and cakes with our School Staff. Many thanks Bishop Pat!
Mr John Vine came to talk to the school about CAFOD. This work is vital and enables people to receive education and help – in this way communities flourish and are able then to “help themselves”.
Our children have Lenten boxes at home and we encourage you to use these last weeks of Lent in helping your child to make small sacrifices in order to fill these boxes. The money collected will be matched by the Government so it’s even more vital that we contribute in this way. It is also a wonderful reminder that we are sisters and brothers and are dependent on each other for survival.
Studying Other Faiths
As part of Judaism week (w/c 24th November) we invited Mr Gerald Rose came from the synagogue in Catford to give a presentation at assembly. He brought a range of interesting artefacts to show us and explained how the Jewish people are descended from Abraham. During this week the children will be working on different aspects of Judaism and their work will be put on display.
The children commented: a Rabbi, known as Dr Rose, came to OLOG to give us a presentation about Judaism. He told us that Shabbat was a resting day for Jews. On Shabbat you are not allowed to work or do anything creative. Switching on a light bulb is considered to be working.
On that day Mr Rose handed out some doorknobs with Hebrew passaged inside. He then showed us some bronze plates.
First Holy Communion
With the beginning of the new school year, the Catholic Baptised children in Year 3 begin their preparation for the Sacrament of Reconciliation in March, and then first Holy Communion in June.
The candidates attending Our Lady of Grace School will be prepared following the school RE programme during their normal classes with occasional contributions from priests of the parish. The other children will attend classes with the parish catechists at times arranged throughout the coming months.
Both groups will have a session together in preparation for their second reception of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Then there will be a final session together and a closing session for the two groups in the parish.
At this important milestone in their spiritual lives, your children will need your support and encouragement. We can all work together, to guide them by teaching and example in the coming months.