“More than a grade” – 20 March 2024

Year 11 had their “More than a grade” retreat day on 20 March 2024. The retreat day, which is now in its third year, is designed to give students a chance to take stock just before the busy time of exams begins. As we have been for the two previous years, we were blessed to be joined by Margaret and Barry Mizen as our keynote speakers.

The day began with a liturgy led by Alex, our chaplain where we considered what being “rooted and grounded in love” means to us. Alex led a beautiful reflection, steering the students away from the negative messages that we often hear most loudly when we’re stressed, to the positive messages we need to hear to affirm our dignity and worth. Students then spent time writing affirmations to each other – words to build each other up that could be read when times get tough.

Following this, students heard Margaret and Barry Mizen speak to them. Their son Jimmy was murdered sixteen years ago, the weekend before his GCSE exams were due to begin. While listening to Margaret and Barry’s testimony is difficult, they give a very important message: “you are loved, you matter and you are valued” and that we should all strive to work for forgiveness, peace and hope. Students were privileged to spend time with Margaret and Barry later in the day, talking to them and asking questions. They also had time to spend in personal reflection; creating art related to scripture and writing a letter to their future self – to be opened just before their exams begin.

We concluded the day with a celebration of Mass, led by Fr Jonathan Cotton and time with friends enjoying snacks and a chance to relax and be together.

To all our year 11 students, remember – grades are important, but you are more than a grade.

Mrs Jinks

Assistant Headteacher and Head of RE