Pupils explore common values at Ignite! Conference

Primary school pupils take part in a workshop at the Ignite! Conference
Primary school pupils take part in a workshop at the Ignite! Conference

Twenty pupils from all of the primary and preparatory Jesuit schools in Britain came together at Donhead Lodge in Wimbledon recently to learn about each other and their shared values. They arrived at the prep school of nearby Wimbledon College to take part in the Ignite! Conference.

Four pupils each from St Aloysius Junior School in Glasgow, St Joseph’s School in Hurst Green, St Mary’s Hall, Stonyhurst, Barlborough Hall School near Chesterfield and St John’s Beaumont in Old Windsor took part in various activities and outings so that they could learn from each other and about important themes.

Having been welcomed by the school, the pupils went to meet the local families who would be hosting them for the two-day conference. They then worked together to find out about each other and the similarities between the schools, before visiting a famous local tennis venue: the All England Club in Wimbledon. A tour of the Club and a visit to the Centre Court created a great deal of excitement for the children.The new chapel at Donhead

Common shared values

On the second day of the Ignite! Conference, the pupils had talks and worked on projects based on some of the common shared values of the Jesuit schools. They learned about the importance of living sustainably, the ecological damage affecting parts of the world such as the Philippines, the refugees crisis and the migrant children coming from Calais; they then wrote a prayer about each issue. Their time at Donhead concluded with Mass in the school’s new chapel (right), presided over by Fr Paul Fletcher SJ who also taught them various words in British Sign Language.

After the couple of days at Donhead, the 20 pupils headed back to their respective schools where they will present to their own assemblies what they experienced, learned and enjoyed during their time there. The Ignite! Conference aimed to ensure the schoolchildren understood and appreciated that they are all part of a network of Jesuit schools that promotes universal values from a common Christian tradition.