A Catholic school is more than just a school that practices a particular religion. A Catholic school provides an education in the spirit of the gospel of Jesus. Holy Family College maintains a set of lived values and attitudes which influence all aspects of the school’s life. These values are called Gospel values, based on the example given to us by Jesus, which include compassion for others, ecumenism and inclusion of the other, and the pursuit of personal integrity and social justice through the development of servant leaders. As a Catholic school, Holy Family College provides a vibrant Religious Education programme that develops in pupils not only an understanding of and respect for Catholicism but for all religions and for the role that all religions play in the development of one’s spirituality and relationship with God. While all pupils of Holy Family College attend mass, those who wish to can extend their faith by becoming initiated into the Catholic sacraments of baptism, reconciliation, communion and confirmation.
The Catholic ethos entails the development of the spiritual capacity for faith, hope and love. It also requires the upholding of the dignity of the human person, of all beings, and of all creation, with a special concern for the poor and the marginalised. Outreach to others, pastoral care for all, and celebration of the school’s religious character are of the essence of this ethos. As such, the College strives to prepare pupils to take their place in society as responsible, honest and compassionate citizens. While classroom teaching is compliant with the objectives of the National Curriculum, the search for excellence and depth in teaching and learning is shaped by Gospel values. This means that all curriculum areas are integrated in a meaningful way and infused with these Gospel values.
According to UNESCO, inclusive education is seen as “a process of addressing and responding to the diversity of needs of all learners through increasing participation in learning, cultures and communities, and reducing exclusion from education and from within education.” The goal is that the whole education system will facilitate learning environments where teachers and learners embrace and welcome the challenge and benefits of diversity. Within an inclusive education approach, learning environments are fostered where individual needs are met and every student has an opportunity to succeed.
Non-sighted children are included in mainstream classes. There are two children in 00 class, two in grade R and one in grade 1.
The programme is adjusted for the blind and visually impaired so that all the children in the class can participate in the teaching process. Braille, tactile pictures, special teaching aids and electronics devices give them access to know the world.
After school, the non-sighted children are part of a rehabilitation programme where they have Braille lessons, orientation and mobility, vision therapy and touch development.
Restorative justice began formally in New Zealand’s criminal justice system when, Maori elders sought a solution to their social challenges, one which would help those harmed and make the perpetrators face the consequences of their actions. Restorative justice focuses on mediation and agreement rather than punishment. The primary aim of any restorative process is for a positive outcome for all parties, where individuals understand the harm they have caused and have been given the chance to put right that harm, as opposed to condemning, punishing and excluding individuals.
In schools, the restorative approach removes the climate of fear that negatively affects teaching and learning and encourages the development of self-awareness and self-discipline. It works by strengthening relationships and managing conflict through repairing harm and building community. It brings safety, hope and dignity to all members of the school community. The lessons that the young people of Holy Family learn through restorative justice allow them to move into the world as confident, empowered and well-rounded young people, freed from the anger, violence and fear that pervades our country.
The Three2Six Project was started in 2007 by Sacred Heart College in Observatory. It was founded to meet the needs of the refugee and asylum seeker children living in conditions of great poverty and exclusion in the inner-city suburbs of Johannesburg. When it expanded beyond the capacity of Sacred Heart, Holy Family College was proud to join and contribute to the Three2Six project. Every day Holy Family transports, feeds and educates the many children who would receive little to no education or sustenance without the project.
While the children of the Three2Six project benefit from their contact with Holy Family, the Holy Family learners benefit from being able to engage in meaningful community service with the project thereby growing as African citizens and developing an understanding of the challenges that so many other children their age face.