St. Michael's School Prospectus

The mission and philosophy of St Michael’s School are outlined in this School Prospectus. School rules and policies are set out in the accompanying School Handbook.

Introduction to St. Michael's School

St Michael’s School is owned and operated by the Society of St Pius X, which is a congregation of Catholic priests and religious dedicated to the preservation and promulgation of the traditional teachings and liturgy of the Roman Catholic Church.

Our facilities are situated in the beautiful countryside of North Hampshire in the rural village of Burghclere, about four miles from Newbury, Berkshire. The school property extends over more than ten acres of land, which includes open fields and woods in addition to the school and chapel grounds, recreation areas and sports fields. The original school building, St Raphael’s House, was opened on 29th September 1991, the Feast of St Michael.

Modern buildings were constructed and added to our facilities in 2004. The new buildings are the Collett Library, the Vigoureux Hall classroom wing for the Junior School, the Archbishop Lefebvre Refectory and Kitchen, Campion House (the Senior Boys’ Dormitory), and Walsingham House (the Presbytery and A-Level Boys’ Dormitory).

Our Mission

The mission of St Michael’s School is to provide children with a thorough Catholic formation and education, founded upon the traditional doctrines of the Catholic Faith and upon the traditional principles of education. We admit children of traditional Catholic families from the parishes and Mass centres of the Society of St Pius X, and other closely aligned traditional Catholic religious congregations.

Since our pupils are not abstract beings but children of real families, the cooperation between School and Family in the formation of each child is natural and necessary; and in order to be fruitful, presupposes harmony in principles and a unity of outlook. Hence it is necessity that pupils at St Michael’s School come from Catholic families that share the Church’s concept of education, and that pledge their commitment to Catholic doctrine, morality and social teachings.

Concept Of A Catholic Education

What is a Catholic education? In this Prospectus we hope to convey the concept and ideals of a Catholic education, to lay out our goals, and to outline the values that St Michael’s School shall endeavour to give to your children.

According to the Catholic concept, the object of the school and of education is the formation of the perfect Christian. This means a balanced formation that has the perfection of the child in all spheres – spiritual, intellectual, moral, social and physical – as its goals. Since man is a creature of God in all these realities, every aspect must be subject to the motherly guidance of His Church.

The concept of Catholic education is admirably presented by Pope Pius XI:
Since education consists essentially in preparing man for what he must be and for what he must do here below, in order to attain the sublime end for which he was created, it is clear that there can be no true education which is not wholly directed to man's last end, and that in the present order of Providence, since God has revealed Himself to us in the Person of His Only Begotten Son, who alone is “the way, the truth and the life,” there can be no ideally perfect education which is not Christian education. (Encyclical Divini Illius Magistri)

Importance of a Catholic Education

We must remember that success in this world can only be defined with reference to the next. Man was created to know, love and serve God. The one necessity in this life is that he saves his soul. If he suffers the loss of his soul, he has lost everything.

A truly Catholic education will help your children to save their souls. It will give them the tools they need to fulfil their duties here below. It will foster in them vocations to the priesthood and to religious life. It will enable them to become the leaders of tomorrow; strong Catholics who will lead their families, their communities, their industries and businesses, their countries and its laws back to the sweet and gentle reign of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Who is the Way, the Truth and the Life. It is an education that will prepare them to resist the revolution which seeks to put man in the place of God. It is an education that will not only profit them here in this world but more importantly also for all eternity. It is an education committed to the restoration of all things in Christ.

We cannot overestimate the importance of a Catholic education. St Michael’s School is unique because of our commitment to the Church’s concept of education. We understand that any discussion of education must be in reference to eternal values.

Our Goals

St Michael’s School seeks nothing other than what the Church has always sought and achieved in the education of young Catholics. We share the Church’s desire to spread the Kingdom of God on earth. With loyalty and dedication, we are devoted to the command of Archbishop Lefebvre:
We have to build, while the others are demolishing. The crumbled citadels have to be rebuilt, the bastions of Faith have to be reconstructed; firstly the holy sacrifice of the Mass of all times, which forms saints; then our chapels, our monasteries, our large families, our enterprises faithful to the social politics of the Church, our politicians determined to make the politics of Jesus Christ - this is a whole tissue of Christian social life, Christian customs, Christian reflexes, which we have to restore.

Our founder's goals are also our goals.

Reign of Christ the King

Since our ultimate goal is the forming of good Catholics, we draw our inspiration from the Church and her mission to teach all nations. Unlike modern man and his obsession with his own subjective feelings and rights, as Catholics we must seek the reign of Christ in all aspects of our lives.

As the education of the young people of today is the foundation of the Christian society of tomorrow, a society which must be fully subject to Our King, we must always remember the words of Psalm 126: “Unless the Lord build the house they labour in vain that build it. Unless the Lord keep the city, he watcheth in vain that keepeth it.”

Spiritual Formation

Our school finds in the traditional liturgy of the Church the privileged source of supernatural life and of solid piety. For this reason, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is offered daily in the Tridentine Rite. The Rosary is prayed each evening. Pupils have a regularly scheduled time for the Sacrament of Penance, but are encouraged to come to a priest at any time if they wish to go to Confession. In addition, other devotions such as Sunday Vespers and Benediction will prove conducive to fostering a greater love of God in the heart of the pupil.

All pupils receive Catholic instruction as part of the curriculum. This is given by Priests and Oblate Sisters of the Society of St Pius X. Children are prepared for the reception of the Sacraments, the boys are taught to serve Mass and all pupils are taught to sing the hymns and the prayers of the Mass.

Catholic feast days form an integral part of the school calendar, and hence attendance of the pupils at Mass and special activities on religious feast days is compulsory as they form an important part of their spiritual and cultural formation.

Intellectual Formation

Although the school is not bound by the National Curriculum, its guidelines are followed insofar as they are helpful or practicable. St Michael’s School follows the traditional approach of formal, systematic, whole-class teaching, Homework is set daily and given emphasis as a means of consolidating class work and developing independent study.

All subjects are taught in harmony with the Faith, for it impossible for faith and reason to be at variance with each other. The school aims to improve the child’s powers of reasoning, which will preserve the intellect from error and enrich it with varied knowledge.

The Junior and Senior Curricula are discussed in greater depth on here and here.

Physical Formation

Physical exercise and organised sports are seen as an essential part of education; they instil a sense of discipline, develop a child’s coordination, serve as a means of expending energy in a constructive manner, and are an aid to health. Although the school is small, it possesses a large gymnasium which is designed to accommodate a variety of sports such as badminton, basketball, five-a-side football, and volleyball. When it is possible, matches are arranged with other schools. The school also has a large sports field that can accommodate sports such as football, rugby, rounders, cricket, etc.

Moral Formation

Education is more than the mere imparting of facts, it also consists in the instilling of virtues. Through the School’s teaching, the example of teachers and fellow pupils and the Sacraments of the Church, the child learns the practice of virtue and that his Catholic Faith is an integral part of everyday life. Self control, good manners and disciplined behaviour are instilled with a view to developing the child’s character and sense of moral responsibility. This is also enhanced by participating in the domestic organisation of the houses by keeping dormitories and classrooms clean and tidy under the supervision of prefects who are expected to set an example of good conduct. As a small school, we are able to create a family atmosphere in which the children are cared for in a friendly yet disciplined setting.

In its approach to discipline the school conforms to Catholic Tradition expressed by Pope Pius XI in his Encyclical Letter Divini Illius Magistri:
Disorderly inclinations must be corrected, good tendencies encouraged and regulated from tender childhood, and, above all, the mind must be enlightened and the will strengthened by supernatural truth and by the means of grace, without which it is impossible to attain the full and complete perfection of education intended by the Church, which Christ has endowed so richly with divine doctrine and with the Sacraments, the efficacious means of grace.

Social Formation

Man, by his nature and by the conditions of his existence is called to live in society. Thus, any true formation must take into account man as a social being. A good Catholic, “precisely because of his Catholic principles, makes the better citizen, attached to his country, and loyally submissive to constituted civil authority in every legitimate form of government.” (Pius XI: Divini Illius Magistri)

The school endeavours to impart a social formation to the pupils that enables them to resist the exaggerated individualism of today. In truth, as Pius XI reminds us, children “enter into and become part of civil society, not directly by themselves, but through the family in which they were born.” Thus, it is essential that the home and school work together, endeavouring to aid the development of good relations and associations with others and working to distance the child from those influences which may be un-Christian or corrupting.

The importance of the home environment with regard to religious practice, order and discipline, entertainments, dress and music cannot be overemphasised. The media, especially the television and the Internet, can cause considerable harm. All parents will therefore need to show their commitment to the school’s policies on these matters as a necessary condition of obtaining/retaining a place for their child at the school.

Guiding the pupils carefully in their reading, spare-time activities and social contacts is the important responsibility of every parent and teacher:

More than ever nowadays an extended and careful vigilance is necessary, inasmuch as the dangers of moral and religious shipwreck are greater for inexperienced youth... This necessary vigilance does not demand that young people be removed from the society in which they must live and save their souls, but that today more than ever, they should be forewarned and forearmed as Christians against the seductions and the errors of the world. (Pius XI: Divini Illius Magistri)

Vocations and Christian Families

The natural fruit of Catholic education is the flowering of Priestly and Religious vocations and the foundations of new Catholic families. In this way, our school will fulfil a goal of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre who prescribed in the Statutes of the Society that:
Schools, truly free and unfettered, able to bestow on youth a thoroughly Christian education, shall be fostered and, if need be, founded by the members of the Society. From these will come vocations and Christian homes. (Statutes III, 4)

St Michael’s School was founded in order to fulfil this sublime ideal.

Admission

Admission is regardless of colour, ethnic group or national origin. However, right of admission is reserved for children of traditional Catholic families from the parishes and Mass centres of the Society of St Pius X and other closely aligned traditional Catholic religious congregations, where such families share the Church’s concept of education, and pledge their commitment to Catholic doctrine, morality and social teachings.

Applicants giving evidence of unusual learning, emotional, or behavioural difficulties cannot be accepted because of our limited facilities and teaching resources. Each pupil must be academically ready for the year for which he is applying. In doubtful cases, the school will give an admission examination to determine placement.

Boys and girls between the ages of five and ten may be enrolled as day pupils in the Junior school. A child is eligible for the Reception Year in the school year in which he will turn five years old.

Boys between the ages of eleven and eighteen may be enrolled in the Senior school, as day pupils or as boarders. In general, boys below the age of eleven are not admitted as boarders, but exceptions may be made at the discretion of the Headmaster. Parents are encouraged to visit the school before enrolling boarders.

The tuition fees are outlined in the Tuition Contract which is available upon request. These fees must be paid on time and do not cover consumable classroom supplies (pens, pencils, exercise books, etc) extracurricular activities such as field trips. The School reserves the right to exclude pupils from families who fail to pay tuition fees.

Curriculum

Junior Curriculum

The Junior Curriculum lays the foundation upon which the pupil’s advancement in later years will depend. The Junior Curriculum of St Michael’s School is broad-based and balanced, and enables each of our pupils to meet or surpass the pedagogical goals of the Key Stages 1-2 set by the National Curriculum, whilst benefitting from a Catholic environment which has man’s true nature and end in view. The emphasis in these critical years is on skills in the English Language, Reading and Handwriting, Mathematics, and Religious Education. Lessons in History, Science, Geography, Music, Art, Latin and Physical Education complement the curriculum.

Senior Curriculum

Religious Education is the most important subject a pupil studies and thus progress in the school will be determined, at least in part, by his application with regard to this subject.

In addition to Religious Education, the following range of subjects are taught at GCSE level: English Language, English Literature, Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, French, History, Latin, Law, Computing and Design and Technology.

Additional classes in Physical Education are offered.

The Senior Curriculum is designed to satisfy the pedagogical goals of the Key Stages 3-4 set by the National Curriculum, but modified so as to maintain the school’s Catholic ethos and educational objectives. The Senior Curriculum is based on the following framework:

Senior 1-3

Religious Education (Catechism & Bible History, Catholic History & Old Testament)

National Curriculum Subjects: Mathematics English Biology Physics Chemistry History French Latin Greek Design and Technology Physical Education Astronomy, Etiquette , Typing

Senior 4-5

Religious Education (Catholic Social Principles & Catholic Fatih)

Pupils follow courses leading to GCSEs in: Mathematics English Language and English Literature Biology Chemistry Physics History French Latin Computing Law Design and Technology

Pupils at this level also follow courses in: Physical Education

A-Levels

After completing GCSEs pupils may stay on at the school for A-Levels. The School offers A-Level instruction in Mathematics, Biology, History and French. Pupils wanting to study additional subjects should make arrangements with the Headmaster by April of the preceding school year to see if the school can offer these subjects. The A-Levels offered by the school are subject to change. Please contact the Headmaster to confirm subjects.

Ofsted Inspection Reports

Ofsted – the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills – is the UK government agency responsible for inspecting and regulating educational and training institutes for children in the UK. Prospective parents who wish to read reports of recent Ofsted inspections of St Michael’s School may obtain this information by visiting the Ofsted website (www.ofsted.gov.uk) and entering the Ofsted unique reference number for St Michael’s School (116594).

DCSF Achievement & Attainment Tables

The Department for Children, Schools and Families publishes annually on its website the School and College Achievement and Attainment Tables (formerly Performance Tables). These tables provide information and statistics for all schools in the UK concerning their pupil numbers and pupil performance in national exams. Prospective parents may obtain information with respect to the numbers of pupils at St Michael’s School in previous years, as well as the performance of our pupils in GCSE and A-Level exams in previous years by visiting the following website:

www.dcsf.gov.uk/performancetables/

Note that in cases where ten or fewer pupils are entered by a school to write national exams in any particular year, the DCSF does not publish the pupil exam performance results of that school for that year because of the risk of an individual pupil’s results being identified.

CONTACT INFORMATION

St Michael’s School is owned and operated by the Society of St Pius X, which is registered in Great Britain as charity no. 274695. The District Superior of the Society of St Pius X in Great Britain is Rev. Fr. Robert Brucciani. The Headmaster of St Michael’s School is Rev. Fr. John Brucciani.

Prospective parents who are interested in enrolling their children in St Michael’s School are asked to contact the Headmaster, Rev. Fr. John Brucciani:

Address: St Michael’s School
Harts Lane
Burghclere
Newbury
Berkshire
RG20 9JW
Telephone: 01636 278137
Fax: 01635 278601

General enquiries and complaints may be addressed to the school administration, using the aforementioned address, telephone number and fax number, or by making use of the following email address:

Email: [email protected]

Prospective parents who wish to contact the Society of St Pius X in Great Britain are asked to contact the District Superior, Rev. Robert Brucciani:

Address: St George’s House
125 Arthur Road
Wimbledon
Park London
SW19 7DR
Telephone: 020 89467916
Fax: 020 88797669
Email: [email protected]

Prospective parents who wish to obtain more information about the work and the history of the Society of St Pius X in Great Britain are asked to avail themselves of the information available at the following website address: fsspx.uk

Teaching Staff

St Michael’s School is staffed by qualified and dedicated teachers who share our vision. The staff is led by the priests, brothers and oblate sisters of the Society of St Pius X, who ensure the School’s essential commitment to the Catholic Principles of education. The staff is complemented by competent and dedicated lay teachers.

The priests assigned to the school are:

  • Rev. John Brucciani (Headmaster of the Junior and Senior Schools)
  • Rev. Gary Holden (Housemaster of the Senior Boarders)
  • Rev. Lawrence Barrett (Assistant Housemaster)
  • Rev. Reid Hennick (Assistant Housemaster)

The brothers assigned to the school are:

  • Br Ignatius
  • Br Columba Maria B.Sc. (Hons.) Computer Science (University College, Dublin—1985)

The oblate sisters assigned to the school are:

  • Sr Mary-Elizabeth (Deputy Headmistress of the Junior School)
  • Sr Maria Ancilla
  • Sr Maria Salome
  • Sr Maria Vicenta
  • Sr Maria Bridget

A complete list of the teaching staff of St Michael’s School is given below:

Name & Subject Qualifications

  • Birchenough, Patricia Wendy – Mathematics B.Sc. (Economics), PGCE
  • Blatchford, Emily – Maths (Junior School) B.Se. Hons. (Mathematics & Educational Studies), Qualified Teacher Status
  • Brucciani, John  Rev. – Religious Knowledge (Headmaster) Seminary courses in Philosophy & Theology
  • Columba, Br – Computer Studies, English, History, Religious Knowledge, Sport B.Sc. (Hons.) Computer Science
  • Crivelli, Gabriele -- Latin B. Sc. Veterinarian, 2010 Milan Diploma Translator/Interpreter, 2004 Munich 
  • Dunn, Rachel – English, Knowledge & Understanding, Art (Junior School) B.Sc. Hons. (Nursing), RN
  • Franey, James – Physics B.Sc. (Physics), PGCE
  • Friar, Eric - 
  • Gaillal, Carol - Mathematics
  • Gómez, Robert – Mathematics, Physics M.Sc. (Physical Sciences)
  • Holden, Gary Rev. – Astronomy, Computer Studies, Etiquette, Religious Knowledge (Housemaster) Seminary courses in Philosophy & Theology
  • Mary-Elizabeth, Sr. – Religious Knowledge, History, Infants & Reception (Deputy Head- mistress, Junior School) Davis Dyslexia Programme Facilitator (2004), Teaching Licence for French, English and Music primary & lower secondary (2003, Switzerland)
  • Morley, Michael – History GCE O-Level Examinations
  • Murphy, Mary Jacinta – Infants (Junior School) Diploma in Education, Dublin University
  • Roche, Jayne – Biology, Physics B.A. Hons. (Biology), Teaching Certificate (Biology & General Science)
  • Webber, Alan – English Language, English Literature, History M.A. (History) Oxon
  • Withers, Dany – French Licence ès lettres