The Ascension ProjectThe Ascension Project

A School with a Soul

A school with a SoulIntroduction
The development of the mind has only been part of the education process in our School as we are called upon to develop character as well. Our Church School Mission statement states our intention as being, "To develop young men of character, to serve their community through a learning environment which aids their intellectual, spiritual, moral and personal growth" This Mission is well supported in that our Aims encapsulate such a simple formula to develop the mind as well as character. Our four Aims are Scholastic Attainment, Spiritual Awareness, Personal Growth and Service.

Structurally the School's staffing is resourced to ensure that the spiritual and pastoral care components of
these four Aims are comprehensively covered. We ask Housemasters and Chaplains to be responsible for
the front line tasks associated with these two key aspects which enable us to attain our Mission. Furthermore
all staff appointed to teach, coach, manage and administer are done so on the basis that they will also fully
commit to the Mission and the four Aims.

In essence our pastoral care and spiritual dimensions are of significance and therefore deemed as part of the
core education. Given our Christian status in the Anglican tradition our strategies and programmes define
the daily life of the School which results in people regularly referring to us as a School with a soul. To be
without the emphasis on the existence of God and devoid of living a life of service to others would remarkably
change the complexion of our School. It is fair to say that our interpretation of spirituality does focus on
Christianity; yet we are tolerant and inclusive of other religions. We do ask non -believers and people of
other faiths to partake in the spirit of community even if they are unable to fully engage in worship for personal
reasons. There is a high degree of understanding of our approach. The young men of Churchie are
encouraged to think for themselves and the School feels a strong obligation to at least present concepts
which are thought provoking and evoke questions which provide a platform for dialogue and highly considered
conversation.

Pastoral Care
The Pastoral care system at Churchie is centred around the House system of which there are eleven Houses
including two boarding Houses. The traditional Housemaster model of leadership applies with supporting
staff and student leaders who play a key role. The House system is designed to be a stable point of daily reference
and a structure which not only enables identity but also ensures long term relationships build with the
House staff and the Housemaster in particular. The young men enter the system from Year 7 onwards.

Every young man goes immediately to his House precinct upon arrival at School each day and this precinct
remains the geographical as well as emotional centre for the duration of his schooling. History reveals that
the House becomes significant in every regard for each student.

There are fundamental aspects of administration which occur daily in the House system but it also extends to
inter- House competition with events ranging from Cross Country to House Music to Chess. This competition
amasses points and eventually the winning House is determined. The intensity and rivalry this competition
engenders forms a sound base for School spirit.

It is incumbent on the Housemaster to know his young men and when they enter Years 10-12 he is expected
to know the status of each student from academic progress to the co-curricular endeavours the student pursues
as well as his general performance and demeanour around the School. The whole person is the
Housemaster's focus and this aligns with the School's Mission and four Aims.

The Housemaster is tasked with the responsibility to deliver the Pastoral Care curriculum which is taught formally
and weekly. It provides a focus on the School's Values, a focus on 'Who am I', and the place of an individual
in the context of the wider society. Such topics as leadership, relating to others, self-confidence,
threats to personal well-being and life after school are inherent in this curriculum.

Churchie has introduced an Emotional Intelligence component to its strategy to improve the pastoral care of
each individual young man. In partnership with Swinburne University in Melbourne over recent years, the
School has tested each student using a tool well used in other sectors. This tool determines by self assessment
the nature of one's Emotional Intelligence. This reveals remarkably unique data and provides insights
into how each person perceives himself and how he behaves emotionally. The strength of this assessment
tool is that once its outcomes have been interpreted and understood, dialogue is entered into as to how best
to address any recognised emotional deficiencies or obstacles. Such an approach allows for real growth and
development in the life of each young man. Many adults reflect on how advantaged they would have been
at the same stage of life had they been presented with the equivalent opportunity for personal growth.

Churchie has for many years exercised a Bullying Survey which is completed by the students. It asks for the
confidential use of names and therefore allows the whole unpalatable topic of bullying to be data -driven.
The results permit an understanding of the types of bullying occurring in the School, the frequency of each
type of bullying and who are the main offenders and victims. This provides a platform for behaviour modification
if a perpetrator and developing coping skills if a victim. The survey material makes significant in-roads
to our pastoral care. Over many years the tangible decline in bullying is heartening and attests to the value
of data and transparency.

Spiritual Awareness
We are a Christian school owned by the Corporation of the Synod of the Diocese of Brisbane and a School of
the Anglican Church of Australia.

As an Anglican school we demonstrate our love for God by a life of service to others, together with tolerance
and inclusion for all members of our School community. At the very heart of the School's traditions and
ethos are the concepts of social justice and self-discovery. In keeping with this ethos, the School encourages an open approach to the study of religion and tolerance of the beliefs of others.

There are three Chaplains. The Chaplains conduct regular Chapel worship, with special services for Day
Houses, Boarders, Year Groups and other organisations in the Churchie community. Significant emphasis is
placed on active involvement by boys in the offering of these services. Preparation for Baptism, Admission to
Holy Communion and Confirmation are offered at the appropriate stages in faith development. The Chaplains
are especially concerned that the pastoral care network of the School effectively meets the needs of staff and
students, and are available on request by boys and families for counselling and support at any time. The
School's powerful pastoral care program is supported by the House system, offering a sense of 'belonging' to all boys. Old Boys are always welcome and the Chaplains conduct regular Weddings, Baptisms and Funerals.

Following in the footsteps of our Founder, Canon Morris and guided by our School's four tenets, Religious
Education at Churchie strives to develop the spiritual awareness of each boy. But what does this mean in the
busy environment of modern life? The Anglican Church considers spiritual awareness to be balanced by
scripture, reason, tradition and experience. Religious Education along with Chapel services and other special
services seeks to expose the boys to this range of spiritual engagement. The link between Chapel Services
and what is taught and learned in Religious Education classes has been a focus in recent years. This is to
make relevant in everyday life all spiritual concepts and practices.

The Cathedral Chorister Program offers an excellent opportunity for boys to explore and be a part of a long
standing tradition of choral music in the Anglican Church. The chorister program is a joint initiative of
Churchie and St John's Cathedral, Brisbane. It is open to boys from Year 4 who show an interest in music
and who wish to become members of the Cathedral Choristers. The Choristers receive a scholarship which
encompasses part tuition fees, up to Year 8, as well as quality music tutoring. In return, Choristers commit to
singing at Cathedral services and other events representing the School and St John's Cathedral.
The Canon Jones Memorial Chapel stands as the heart of the School. Our fine Chapel is used for prayer and
worship, and is open throughout the day for pupils, staff and parents who are seeking peace, contemplation
and a place to 'rest awhile'.

In keeping with the School's tenets of Spiritual Awareness and Service, the Chapel Guild seeks to encourage
and support boys in learning and taking on specific roles at School Chapel services. Boys and young men
from Prep through to Senior School, volunteer to be a part of the Chapel Guild. Boys and young men who
show a particular dedication to being a part of the Chapel Guild are invited to represent the School at wider
community and Diocesan events.

Service
The School has a strong commitment to Service, both within the School and in the community at large, with
the aim of strengthening every student's sense of responsibility, whilst fostering community interaction and
the appreciation of cultural diversity.

Each year, students participate in transactional service programs including doorknocks for fundraising,
walkathons, gift-giving and emergency relief efforts, for local, national and international causes. Students are
also involved in transformational service initiatives including overseas Service Workshops and Tours to
encourage awareness of disadvantaged communities, working with Mothers from the School delivering
Meals on Wheels to Senior citizens, attending Special Schools and participating in intensive activities such as
the Sony Foundation Camp hosted at Churchie for physically and intellectually challenged young people. It
is a fundamental desire that a young man will find his participation in the Service program transformational.
It is too easy for people to give money to a worthwhile cause; so as a School we encourage giving of one's
time, energy and talent to actually get involved in active Service. This transforms the giver's life far more
than giving from one's pocket.

In the Prep School, boys participate in a series of fun-filled activities held during Service Week, to raise funds
for local and international charities, as well as to sponsor children overseas in association with World Vision.

All Year 9 students undertake a Service Activity as part of the Personal Leadership and Development
Program, affiliated to the internationally-recognised Duke of Edinburgh Program. Students may choose from
Tri-service Cadets (Army, Navy and Air Force), Scouts or Community Service as their Activity. One of the projects
presently undertaken by students is environmental and designed to sustain a river catchment area. Each
House also participates in a specific Service project, generated by the students within that House, in consultation
with the Director of Service and their Housemaster.

Over the last several years Churchie boys have raised well in excess of $1 million for more than 140 charities.
These include the Salvation Army, Royal Flying Doctors' Service, Queensland Surf Lifesaving, Anglicare, the
Mater Children's Hospital, Starlight Foundation, World Vision, Save the Children, Hear and Say, Multiple
Sclerosis, Cerebral Palsy, Juvenile Diabetes, Muscular Dystrophy, Children's Medical Research, Anglican
Community Aid Abroad, SIDS, Care Australia, St. Luke's Nursing, Radio Lollipop, Guide Dogs for the Blind,
Cystic Fibrosis, Legacy, Lions and Rotary Clubs, Children's Film Festival, the Leukaemia and Queensland
Cancer Council and the Endeavour Foundation.

Each year students participate in collecting cash donations via School dances, door knock appeals, community
assistance programs, organising service events and attending local or overseas experiential service
workshops. Students also engage in service within the School, such as participating as Waiters and Ushers at
key School events including Grandparents' and Special Guests Day.

Conclusion
The School has branded itself with the adage of "Making of Men." With our pastoral care, spiritual and
service programs we remain confident that our young men are given every opportunity to develop their
minds and their character in order for them to be generous contributors to our global community. If we
remain focused on our Mission and four Aims the School will be an exciting and highly relevant place where
young men can feel safe, secure and confident that they will make a difference.

Jonathan Hensman, Headmaster of Anglican Church Grammer School in East Brisbane, Australia
About Jonathan Hensman