Staff and pupils from Saint Paul’s Catholic High School in Wythenshawe took part in the first DASH (Diocesan Association of Secondary Headteachers) and Mini DASH meeting to be held at Saint Paul’s.
17 Headteachers and 80 pupils from the Diocese of Shrewsbury secondary schools attended the event. This was the largest gathering of pupils since Mini Dash first started.
The event is organised by the Diocese of Shrewsbury with the aim of getting together pupils from a number of schools to share ideas and work on ideas for future collaboration.
Visiting Headteachers and pupils were welcomed by the school’s prefects and then the day started with breakfast. Following this, the pupils completed some ice breaker activities enabling the pupils from the different schools to get to know one another.
Pupils then looked at the words of Pope Francis and Bishop Mark Davies on the meaning of Lent and its great importance to Christians leading up to Holy Week and Easter.
Each group was given a Station of the Cross to focus on and was asked to select some contemporary pictures that reflected the suffering of people in the modern world. A prayer was then written by each group that related each station to the problems of today.
The Headteachers then joined the pupils who led all present in a very thoughtful and moving reflection. The Headteachers were delighted to see the amazing collaborative work that had been carried out by pupils in such a short time. Other staff present thought that a very meaningful and prayerful atmosphere had been created and it was a pleasure to be a part of it.
Mrs Lisa Baillie, Assistant Headteacher and Head of RE at Saint Paul’s, explained: “The pupils shared and discussed a wide variety of ideas and suggestions and were encouraged to take the ideas back to their own schools, passing them on and developing them. All involved thoroughly enjoyed the day which culminated with all the pupils being presented with goodie bags containing items such as a prayer book and prayer card of St. Paul. Many new friendships were made with pupils promising to keep in touch with each other.”
“I was very proud of our pupils who were excellent ambassadors for the school and several people commented that the pupils who represented Saint Paul’s were outstanding representatives and a credit to us,” added Mrs Baillie.
“It’s important to meet as a Diocese, because, whilst all the people who met together are very different, we all have one thing in common: our faith. The Mini-DASH is also a good chance to build up leadership skills, as the pupils in Mini-DASH helped to plan the event,” said Mrs Fiona Minshall, Head Teacher at Saint Paul’s. “It was an excellent opportunity for the pupils to mix with pupils from different schools to get together and share their thoughts.”