Why are we called Our Lady’s?
I have to confess that when I joined Our Lady’s in 2020 as Head of Religious Education I knew very little about the Servite order. I had myself been taught in a Catholic girl’s school that was committed to girls’ education underpinned by faith, so I immediately felt a connection with the community that is Our Lady’s Catholic High School.
Being called Our Lady’s reflects the school’s history and inspiration as being a Servite school. It means that, just like the original Servites nearly 800 years ago, we see Mary, the Mother of Jesus as a model of love and compassion. These are the values we nurture in our girls.
How do we teach these values?
When each new cohort of Year 7 arrives in September, our RE department runs an introduction to the school’s history and what it means to be a Servite school. This immediately helps new students to become a part of our
close school community. We help our students to understand the eight Servite values - Compassion, Service, Community, Marian Identity, Openness, Holistic Approach, Evangelisation and Universality, and how they can live out these values in school and the wider community.
The Servite values are embedded throughout school life. An example of this is the school's Holistic Approach, which means valuing the individual parts that make the whole person. This helps our girls develop the confidence to excel and build the resilience needed to overcome any challenges that may come. Student Servite Leaders in each form lead by example by supporting charity events throughout the year.
As well as teaching the values in lessons and form time, we take individual classes on a retreat to St Ignatius Church to allow the girls to reflect spiritually on their own individual beliefs, reflecting our Servite value of universality - welcoming everybody from around the world.
Our girls also get the opportunity to live out our Servite values within the context of the wider community. The Catholic life of the school encourages all students to take opportunities to develop a social conscience and work to make the world a better place, an example being our recent school drive to donate to Hackney Food Bank with students bringing in items that the organisation desperately needs for local families.
What is it like living in a Servite family?
The school strongly advocates the feeling that we are a Servite family. We lift each other up, and through our values encourage reflection on what is most important in an often chaotic and ever-changing world. The community of Our Lady’s builds confidence in our young people, reminding them all that they are part of a family of staff and students, all committed to one another.