Senior decans reflect on their role
St Benedict’s Senior Decans – prefects in the final year of the Sixth Form – had their leadership induction and retreat at Douai Abbey, near Newbury, on Saturday 10 September.
The peaceful, rural setting of Douai Abbey provided the ideal space for the 22 sixth form students, who play such a vital leadership role in the school community, to reflect on their role in the academic year ahead.
I really enjoyed the fact I was able to connect with the other decans outside the school environment. I particularly enjoyed the walk as it emphasised the importance of teamwork and hard work."
The Senior Decans' Induction takes place every year in September and is a spiritual as well as uniting experience. The aim is to allow students to reflect on their role and responsibilities, through mapping out the essential qualities of a decan and thinking about the scenarios they might face, and to consider the impact on the life of the school they want to have as team this year.
I found the Senior Decans' retreat very comforting. I am not used to the silent countryside but the pure silence gave me time to reflect and think about my own goals for this year. Considering this was a team building retreat, I do think that this was a great opportunity to work with and talk with people who I normally wouldn’t, especially on the walk. Overall I think it was a fun day out, but also gave me time to reflect whilst also improving relationships with my peers and teachers."
The induction is an important time for reflection on the school’s Benedictine ethos, and central to the day is a mass in the beautiful abbey church. Finally, a walk in the local Berkshire countryside, an ‘Area of outstanding natural beauty’, provides an opportunity for everyone to practise team navigation and simply talk to each other.
I really enjoyed the day. I thought it was a great bonding experience and time to get know some of my peers I didn't know that well. My favourite part of the day was the walk, which gave us time to reflect on the day but also work as a team to read and understand the map. Creating new ideas for ways we can contribute to life at St Benedict's made me really excited for the future and makes me look forward to all we can do together as a team."
I particularly enjoyed the practical element with Mr Heald (Head of Sixth Form) and the open discussions that the Senior Decans can have with the teachers."
I really enjoyed the trip to Douai because whenever there were group discussions, nobody was afraid to participate and everybody became more comfortable with each other as the day progressed. I mostly enjoyed when we made the posters of ‘What makes a Decan?’ because we worked as a team and it was fun to have some friendly competition."
I found it really helpful in a team bonding way, learning which qualities we each need to work on more to become the best decans. Also, I really enjoyed the hike and thought that it was a nice way to get to know each other."