school trips



June 2024 - Another extraordinary 3 days retreat experience for the year 9s and 10s in Savio House, Macclesfield, Cheshire. It was an opportunity for personal and group reflections, prayers, sharing, walking, problem solving and fun, cooking, housekeeping, talks and many more. 

The theme of the retreat was RESILIENCE, and I must testify that all the students demonstrated some degrees of insurmountable resilient acts. 

June 2024 - Yr 8s visited the Refill facility at The Ascension Church in Balham where they saw how active the parish were in being good stewards of the earth through their Refill facility, their clothes bank, their environmentally friendly garden and other excellent initiatives. Students were able to see how Pope Francis' teaching to 'live simply' could be put into practice.
Karen and Dan made us very welcome at the church and gave our students much to think about.

Click here to read a reflection on the trip written by Dylan, Year 8

Recently, I went on a trip to the Ascension Church, which has taught me a lot, including that it is important to care for our planet. We only have one after all. On this trip, I was taught that it is important to be stewards of the earth because God made everything, and so we are to care for everything that God made.

During the tour of the Ascension Church, they told us that they were growing their plants for the benefit of all the insects. Karen even told us that she doesn’t like bugs too much, but she does it anyway. This shows us that it is good, even if we don’t like something, to care for it – to show stewardship for it because God saw that what He made was good.

We were also taught that, in the beginning, God gave us dominion and stewardship over the earth; so, it is important that we show our stewardship toward all things as we were given dominion (power) to do that.

There are many ways in which we can care for the gift of the earth that God has given us. The Ascension Church showed how that is possible through the use of solar panels that ensured the Church was always powered, showing us that there are better options than to use pollutive material that destroys the planet’s atmosphere. Their refill facility did away with plastic bottles, and their clothes bank showed how humans can use fewer of the earth’s resources by recycling. Our trip made it very clear that we can follow Pope Francis’ request to live more simply

April 2024 - Some Year 10 students visited St George's Cathedral to study the design and architecture of a Catholic place of worship which is part of the RE GCSE syllabus. Students found the height of the nave and the magnificent stained-glass windows particularly striking. We were surprised to find a piece of the alb of St Oscar Romero on display. It was from the alb that he was wearing on 24th March 1980, when he was assassinated whilst celebrating Holy Mass. Canon Michael Branch gave us a very warm welcome and told us that the cathedral had been designed by Augustus Pugin. He also gave us a potted history of London's first cathedral.

April 2024 - At the beginning of April, some Year 11 students visited the Brompton Oratory to look at the design of a Catholic Church and the use of statues as an aid to worship. Students need to be able to recognise how the architecture and decoration of Catholic churches encourage meaningful worship. They also need to  be able to identify what in churches remind Christians of redemption. The Brompton Oratory is a beautifully designed church in the style of the Italian Renaissance, with Roman Baroque elements. Students then visited the stained-glass window exhibition at the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints to see how religious art can inspire Christians to pray. Students were warmly welcomed by Sr Barney and her husband, who gave us a detailed explanation of the beautiful exhibit. The large stained-glass window was full of hidden surprises  and helped students to focus on the person of Jesus through the accounts of the Gospel, as interpreted by the artist of the window panel.
February 2024 - Yr 11 workshop at the National Gallery on the Paschal Mystery focused on how the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus is portrayed in religious art. Students then used information from the pictures they had seen to help them answer RE GCSE questions.

January 2024 - Year 11 RE Conference with Peter Vardy, British theologian who has served as editorial adviser for BBC and Channel 4 documentaries. The conference focused on a range of modern-day ethical issues that encouraged students to think independently and to study, carefully, the stance of the Catholic Church on issues related to the sanctity of life and creation. Students from SJBC, Salesian School, Chertsey and Salesian College, Farnborough engaged extremely well with the topics raised in the conference and ended the day with a debate on whether sanctity of life outweighed a person's quality of life.

December 2023 - A small group of Year 11s were given an experience of a mini-pilgrimage so that they could understand why pilgrimage is so important for many Christians. They visited the Marian shrine at Aylesford, Kent where they were given the opportunity of the Sacrament of Reconciliation and of Eucharistic Adoration; there was also time to pray before a relic of St Simon Stock. The religious art at the shrine is quite unique and tends to appeal to those of an artistic nature. As well as students being able to explore in further detail what they had studied as part of their GCSE course, it gave them an opportunity to be still in the presence of God.

Click here to read a reflection on the trip written by Natalia and Silvia, Year 11

Individuals from my class were highly privileged to be picked for this exciting opportunity to travel out of London and visit this well known place of pilgrimage. We arrived at roughly at midday and we were greeted with the comforting atmosphere of somewhere holy. After enjoying our lunch we walked to the first chapel where we read different passages, as a group we were able to contribute in unity. After concluding our prayer service organised by Father Greg we were able to admire the statue of St. Jude and a stained glass wiindow of Mary.

We were given a work sheet with multiple sculptures and forms of religious art where we could tick them off when we saw them. We encountered hundreds of pew rows where many people can worship on sunny days. Since this was located outside we could be more connected to God since we could look upwards and think of Heaven and the Lord. We were lucky to encounter the singular beam of sunlight hitting the Virgin Mary's statue even on a rainy, cloudy day. The sunlight was able to highlight the gold in the main part of the shrine which allowed us to honour her. Visiting the many chapels helped us grow in understanding the importance of religious  art and how it can have an important impact on us.

As a group we were able to walk around the site feeling tranquil and blessed. Father Andrew bought all of us duck food towards the end of our trip which allowed us able to have freedom and have fun. Walking around the small lake with many ducks reminded us about the fifth day of creation in Genesis where God created birds.

The final thing we experienced was Eucharistic Adoration where we entered the Cloister Chapel in silence. This permitted us to pray for our loved ones and have a moment of peace to pray to God. We all enjoyed this time given to us and the opportunity we had to be connected to God for the day.

December 2023 - Year 7s visited the National Gallery for a 'Spot the Angel' competition. They have been studying Angels and Religious Art in RE, so what better way to explore that than at the National Gallery. Students were split into two teams to complete a work booklet containing cryptic clues. They worked collaboratively and entered into the spirit of the competition really well.

October 2023 - Yr 11 trip to Genesis held at the Swiss Church in London,
which was a light and sound show covering the first three days of Creation

September 2023 - Year 11 and Year 7 trip to Corpus Christi Church in Covent Garden
to look at the internal features of a Roman Catholic Church. 

September 2023 - Yr 8 joint RE and History trip to Hampton Court to explore the split of the Church in England from Rome under Henry VIII.Yr 7s visiting the Offbeat Sari Exhibition as part of their study of Hinduism

Trip to St Francis is Assisi exhibition at the National Gallery for a study of religious art.

From Henry VIII to Mary Tudor at Hampton Court Palace with Year 8 for RE.

October 2022 mini-pilgrimage to the relics of St Bernadette at St George's Cathedral.
Students were able to experience something of what they had studied in RE in terms of pilgrimage
and relics of saints, as well as the importance of prayer.