OLA is a Catholic school which warmly welcomes pupils of all faiths and none. Many parents choose us for their children because of our strong Christian ethos and the Gospel Values that inform everything we do.
In the Senior School all students and staff meet twice a week for a whole school assembly. There are also Form, House and Year Group assemblies. In the Junior School, all come together for morning prayers on at least three days of the week. On other days there are assemblies delivered by classes following a rota system, and once each week there is classroom based worship organised by the children and their class teacher.
Senior School Masses are held at regular points during the year and on particular feast days. Year Group Masses are also held every term. In the Junior School, Mass is held six times a year in the school chapel and on feast days, when we join parishioners in the local parish church of Our Lady and St Edmund.
All pupils, staff and visitors are welcome to attend Masses, assemblies and religious services.
We work closely with the Parish of Our Lady and St Edmund and its clergy, Father James McGrath and Fr Phil Carroll, who are available for discussion with any member of the community regarding matters of a private or spiritual nature.
In the Senior School, other services take place at suitable times throughout the year, which enhance the spiritual life of the whole community. In the Junior School regular services take place, for example Harvest Festival, to which all members of the community are invited.
A special Leavers' Mass is held in the Trinity Term in both the Junior and Senior Schools.
Religious Studies is a core subject for all age groups in the school. All Senior pupils take GCSE Religious Studies and the PSHE and Enrichment programmes in the Sixth Form build upon this. PSHE is a regular lesson in both Senior and Junior Schools.
The Michaelmas term ends with two carol services, one for each school. Both of these are held in the local parish church or another Abingdon church. Hilary term ends with a Passiontide service, emphasising this special time of the year with an opportunity for reflection and preparation.
During the year, Senior School pupils are offered a series of 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 others, prayer and meditation. In the Junior School there are times set aside for personal reflection, often linked with PSHE and circle time.
Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament takes place in the chapel every morning and is attended on a voluntary basis by both pupils and staff.
Parents and staff work together to help pupils develop into happy, balanced individuals with a clear framework of beliefs and principles.