OLA is a Catholic school, which warmly welcomes pupils of all other faiths and beliefs. Many parents choose the school because of its strong Christian ecumenical community and its ethos.
In the Senior School all students and staff meet three times a week for assembly. 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 Chapel and on feast days we join the parishioners in the local parish church.
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 Parish Priest, Father James McGrath, who is available for discussion with any member of the community regarding matters of a confidential, private or spiritual nature.
In the Senior School, retreats and 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 July 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.
School Mass is celebrated when all meet as a community at prayer. Holy days of obligation and important feast days such as Mercy Day are also celebrated throughout the year.
The Michaelmas term ends liturgically with two carol services, one for each school. Both of these are held in the local parish church. Hilary term ends with a Passiontide service in both schools, emphasising these special times of the year as ones of 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, meditation and Mass, prepared by the pupils.
In the Junior School there are times set aside for personal reflection, often linked with PSHE and circle time, or, at key points in the liturgical year, religious services which are held involving all members of the community.