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Saint John Houghton Catholic Voluntary Academy

Learning without limits

Chaplaincy and Charity Work

Chaplains have played an active part in the life of Catholic Schools for many years.  Traditionally the Chaplain has been a priest who has celebrated Mass and carried out priestly duties under the code of Canon Law.


Here at Saint John Houghton Catholic Voluntary Academy we were one of the pioneers of Lay Chaplaincy in the country.  In recent times there has been a growing tendency to appoint lay chaplains, women and men, religious sisters or brothers or lay chaplaincy teams.


Chaplaincy at Saint John Houghton Catholic Voluntary Academy is at the heart of our mission and the Lay Chaplain fills a pivotal role in the life of our school through leading liturgy to supporting the pastoral care especially of our students to liaising with our family of schools and parishes.


Another vital role is leading the Chaplaincy Team of students and staff in order that we as a school community can live our Mission Statement in all that we say and do.


Our Parish Priest, Reverend Andrew Harding celebrates Mass in our ‘Upper Room’ bringing pupils and staff together, to gather the people, share the story and break the bread during lunch times once a month.  Along side this, Mass is dedicated for the whole school community once a week by a variety of Priests.


We Will Remember - Daily prayer focus for November



Follow Me on Social Media


Keep up with all the news, important dates or join in our school prayer journey and much more by following:





SJH on YouTube


For more news and activities follow NDCYS (Nottingham Diocese Catholic Youth Service – The Briars)



First Holy Communion


It is a pleasure to support the young children who are preparing to make their First Holy Communion in Ilkeston Parish. Please pray for them and their families at this very special and important time. 


If you would like more information about the Catholic Faith please contact Rachel, Father Andrew Harding or Father Paul Newman, no question is ever too small or too silly and we all need to continue our faith journey.


If you would like to support parish life Rachel would be delighted to be a link for parish and school.






The Rosary reflects Catholic teaching on coming ‘to Christ through Mary.’  We dedicate the Month of October to Mary.


Thank you to all the staff and pupils who have added their own prayer, story or reflection in our Mary book and a special thanks to Mrs Ashley and 9D for allowing me to lead the Rosary during Tutor Time.


It was a pleasure to give each member of the Tutor Group a Rosary Bead and indeed I shall be visiting the whole of year 9 to pray the Rosary and present you with your own beads.



Team Chaplaincy 2020-21


Here in SJHCVA we take great care to support our Team Chaplaincy with prayer and meetings with Rachel, Father Andrew and Father Paul.


The Role of Team Chaplaincy is to support the Tutor with the Catholic Life of the School, gather information to promote Collective Worship and support Rachel with Feast Days, Mass, and Liturgies.


Year 7 Team Chaplaincy:  Matteo, Oliver, James and Sophia were commissioned by Father Andrew on Friday 9 October. The Team made their promises in front of God and staff to minister and guard their faith in education.


Year 8 Team Chaplaincy:  Jorja-Louise, Madison, Jagonda, Taylor and Jayden were presented their certificates and badges from Rachel after prayer and a short liturgy. Year 8 will be responsible for supporting their Tutor and the school prayer daily display board.


Year 9 Team Chaplaincy: Oliver, Annie, Grace, Dominic and Freya received their certificates and badges and will be responsible for the ironing and upkeep of the Altar Wear.


Year 10 Team Chaplaincy:  Chelsie May, Georgia, Levi, Jack and Shannon will be confirming their promises by leading the Parish Ambassadors and reaching out to our local community. Thank you for accepting your badges and certificates.


Year 11 Team Chaplaincy:  Fern, Kathryn, Joey, John and Charlie will be responsible for giving priase back to God and being the link between Year 11 Celebrations, Mass and end of year gatherings with Rachel.


We have three new additions to Team Chaplaincy. We are very excited about these roles and responsories held by Miss Dolcimascolo, Lily-Grace and Holly who will be our Social Media leads. Please follow SJH Chaplain on Twitter and SJH Chaplain on YouTube.


Please offer your skills if you would like to present and reach out to students who maybe shielding or sick.


We are all asked to say our prayers and go to Mass.


Oasis Team 2020-21



Please keep the SJH Oasis Team in your prayers. These wonderful young people have chosen to put service before self, they promised to support our younger students and point them all in the right direction.


It was brilliant fun getting to know the Team during their training.


Nicole and Sebastian made excellent towers out of spaghetti and marshmallows, Madeline, Eja  and Noah made paper aeroplanes which flew miles.


Frankie, Jack , Charlotte and Georgia were Bingo champions with Tafara calling the winning numbers.


It was a pleasure to present the whole team with their badges and certificates.


I would also like to praise and thank, Carmen, Emily, Arran, Daniel, Callum, Dylan, Ruby, Madison, Marcus, Arianna, Crystal, Freddie and Billy.



SJH Bereavement Team


It was with great sadness we heard of Canon John’s Berry death during lockdown.  We opened our Book of Condolences for Canon John and with the money raised from our school collection, Rachel will order a flower arrangement which be presented to Father Paul Newman and Eastwood parish during a weekday Mass.  More details will follow.


Thank you to all who gave so generously to this collection.

Here at SJH we believe, ‘The Lord is close to the broken hearted’ and we have a small student Bereavement Team. 


We would like to thank Diya, Jorja-Louise, Ameisha, Harry, Luciana, Luke, Caliam and Ezra for accepting this role and supporting our school community.


It is our honour to walk beside those who have suffered any loss or need quiet time. 



Black History Month

Black History Month always provides a fantastic opportunity for us to recognise the outstanding contributions people of Africa and Caribbean descent have made.  2020 is the time to look forward and celebrate the here and now and the future possibilities.

Here at SJH we will be holding an Act of Worship and remembering icons from the trailblazing composer Samuel Coleridge-Taylor to Margaret Busby, Britain’s youngest and first Black female book publisher.

 Rachel would love to add the men and women you feel have shaped our nations story and have made a difference to make Britain a better place to be.




Year 7 Welcome Liturgy 11 September 2020


Year 7 2020-21 gathered for an outside liturgy in the sunshine with Father Andrew Harding, Mr Brogan, Mr Leaney, Mrs Boddice, Rachel Rose, and the Year 7 Tutors. It was wonderful to see Year 7 together for the first time in Saint John Houghton Catholic Voluntary Academy.


The school altar was at the centre of the gathering with the painting of Saint John Houghton. As the hymn, Dance, dance wherever you may be, came to a close the pupils settled for their first Liturgy of The Word in SJHCVA.


Rachel gathered all the ingredients to bake a cake, explaining Year 7 had been expected, prayed for and gathered from many different Primary Schools, just as the ingredients for the cake bring something different to make something new for many to enjoy. Year 7 come with their different skills, gifts and talents to make our school community brighter and stronger. 


Mr Brogan read out our First Reading and Sophia read the Psalm. Father Andrew read the Gospel of the day and spoke beautifully to the young people, asking them to have the courage to do what is right and to put their heart into everything they do. Father Andrew offered to serve and support Year 7 and promised to visit us again.


Mr Brogan spoke to Year 7, thanking them for their presence, their wonderful manners and with words of hope and excitement for the days ahead.


Mrs Boddice led the Bidding prayers with Team Chaplaincy: Sophia, Matteo, Oliver and James. On behalf of the SJH staff may I think Father Andrew for joining us, thank the pupil’s parents and primary school teachers, they must be so very proud of you. We promise we will take great care of you and continue to teach you well.



Loving God,

You are the source of all wisdom and of all good gifts.

Bless our year ahead, help us when we are stuck.

Fill us with confidence when we doubt.

And give us the strength to work to the best of our ability.





Charity Work



On behalf of SJHCVA may I take this opportunity to thank you all for the support you gave to Rainbows. 


The Saint Ralph Sherwin Trust, baked cakes and enjoyed ‘Bake off’ competitions, danced, ran marathons, walked miles, sang songs and raised a huge amount of money for this wonderful Charity for two years.


It was a privilege to meet the staff and families connected with Rainbows and they will remain in our hearts and prayers. 


The SRS Trust have asked us to support a local charity.  The Student Voice voted for ‘Home-Start’ and we are looking froward to working with Mr Mann in the future.

Saint John Houghton Catholic Voluntary Academy is proud to support the following charities:



Saint John Houghton Catholic Voluntary Academy were the very first school to become partners with Sharewear.


Sharewear was founded in March 2014 by a group of five Catholic women from the combined parishes of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour, Bulwell, and Infant Prague, Bestwood park. Today the team comprises of people who profess several different faiths or non and all want to clothe people with compassion.


Saint John Houghton CVA became involved because we are a Catholic Community who reach out and in the Year of Mercy decided to really work towards transforming lives through clothing support.



We have a staff and pupil Sharewear Team whose mission is to promote, collect and distribute clothing, shoes, and bedding to people in Nottingham and Nottinghamshire. Saint John Houghton has also supported families in our local school community and Derbyshire.


SJH Bookclub have raised money by holding a Sponsored Silence from 8.45am until 3.00pm!  Our Choir have supported Charity Events and we have ‘Bring and Buy’ sales before every non-uniform day in school during our Fairtrade meetings.


We encourage all students to check our second hand uniform stall and to avoid purchasing fast fashion. Over the years we have realised we all buy too many clothes and the challenge is to stop shopping, stop spending and chose to recycle, reuse, and donate to save our planet and volunteer to spend our time wisely.


Sharewear Clothing Scheme
41-43 Mansfield Road



Still image for this video

Mary’s Meals


Mary’s Meals provide one good meal to some of the world’s poorest children every school day.


Here at Saint John Houghton we are so proud of Kolbe House who lead us in this simple, effective and hope filled charity. 


Saint John Houghton Catholic Voluntary Academy is the leading school in Derbyshire supporting Mary’s Meals with staff having the privilege to hold The Lead Volunteer Post.


Our work is named after Mary, the mother of Jesus, who brought up her own child in poverty. Mary’s Meals consists of, respects, and reaches out to people of all faiths and none.


SJHCVA is helping to support 1,667,067 children every school day. We believe every child deserves an education and enough to eat.


Our Headteacher, Mr Brogan, challenged every tutor Group to feed a child for a year.  It costs £15.90 to feed a child for a year through Mary’s Meals.


It is important to us that hungry children are fed and we admire and support the work of Mary’s Meals for working on a long-term solution to getting children fed and at the same time work on a long-term solution.


Working with the Mary’s Meals Team is amazing and inspiring. Do not just take our word for it, please read:  The Shed That Fed A Million Children and contact us for more information.

Romero House Charity



Catholic Agency for Overseas Development


CAFOD is an international development charity and the official aid agency of the Catholic Church in England and Wales.  I feel we really do stand beside people living in poverty, whatever their religion or culture.  During Acts of Worship and in our SJH Fair Trade and Justice and Peace Groups we hear about CAFOD’s work, in Year 7 we have a whole CAFOD day which is run by the SJH Justice and Peace Group and we spend time at Briars listening to the CAFOD Gappers and have activities to help us understand all our choices have consequences.


During our Faith in Action time we learn about Our Common Home, we watch videos and read parts of Laudato Si by Pope Francis.


Because we know everything in our world is connected, and we can see children and families living in poverty, without enough food, poor housing, lack of medication and education. We know our Gospel values:  Courage, creativity, thankfulness, responsibility, compassion, peace, service, justice, trust, hope, love, forgiveness, friendship, humility, generosity, reverence and respect, we have to put our  faith into action and be the change we want to see in the world.


I am nervous about our CAFOD Fast Day on 9 October 2020 because I like my lunch time with my friends, I usually eat fish and chips on Friday and on CAFOD Fast Day we will only have one sandwich and some Fairtrade juice.  I am not looking forward to going hungry but am determined not to cheat. When I realise many children go hungry every day I must stop moaning and put on a brave face.  I want to support my friends on CAFOD Fast Day and keep them going if they feel hungry because I think it is important to be a good friend.


I am really pleased to belong to Romero House and have CAFOD as our House Charity.


Written by a Year 8 student from Romero House



CAFOD Harvest Fast Day 2020

Here at SJHCVA the whole school participates in CAFOD Fast Day, this year it was a fast like no other!   Fasting is very different to dieting because it is an act of faith.  Our cravings and routines can become selfish and block God out and the needs of others.

CAFOD Fast Day is a day to turn around and make a special effort to let Jesus be the centre of our lives.

Taking part in Family Fast Day is our way of saying, ‘yes’ to God, to show others we have not left them behind and the marginalised and the unloved can see we do have enough love to give.

Thank you to everyone who supported this day.  We will let you know total raised as soon as we know.




Home-Start aims to ensure that every child has the best possible start in life by reaching out to and working alongside parents with a positive and non-judgemental approach.


I was really pleased to vote for Home-Start charity as SJH’s whole school charity 2020-21 because families are so important and many families have big troubles on their minds like money, children, work, and health so it is good to support the whole family.


I really thought about my vote because so many different charities exist these days and I am proud I voted for Home-Start.  It may be hard to raise money whilst we live with COVID but we already planning activities like having a tuck shop, a non-uniform day and little games to collect some spare change so I do believe we will make a difference.


I am looking forward to Mr Mann visiting our school to teach us more about Home-Start and share some stories with us.


Written by a Year 7 pupil