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Catholic Life

There has been a Catholic school on the site of St. Francis Xavier Sixth Form College since 1897. The Xaverian Brothers, also known as Congregation of the Brothers of St. Francis Xavier, decided to open Clapham College as part of their dedication to Catholic education. Clapham College became St. Francis Xavier Catholic Sixth Form College in 1985.

As a Catholic institution we operate on core values of Kindness, Service, Faith, Inclusion, Courage, Honesty, Respect and Forgiveness. Although a Catholic College, we warmly welcome students of all faiths and no faith. 
The Chapel
We have a beautiful Chapel situated in Xavier Wing, which has been a place of prayer and worship for over 120 years. The Chapel affords an opportunity for students and staff of any faith or none to find some peace and space for reflection. The Blessed Sacrament is reserved in the Chapel which, for Catholics, designates this a particularly sacred space. A lunch time Mass is held once a month for those who wish to attend and additional ecumenical services take place at key times in the academic and liturgical calendar.

The Chaplaincy

The Chaplaincy is an integral part of College life, serving students and staff of all faiths and none. The Chaplaincy promotes the belief that all are made in the image and likeness of God, aims to foster a sense of responsibility for oneself and others, and encourages a deepening and maturing of faith, so as to equip our students to face with faith the challenges and joys of life. The Lay Chaplain provides our community with various opportunities to explore and deepen spiritual beliefs through voluntary prayer services, times of reflection, and retreats. The Chaplain also manages The Chaplaincy Base, a welcoming social space open to every member of the College community. The Chaplaincy Base provides a safe space in which students can meet together, play games, and discuss and debate issues that affect them. There is only one entry requirement; that all feel accepted, valued, and respected.

In accordance with St. Francis Xavier's Gospel values, the Chaplaincy reinforces the Christian instruction to accompany faith with works of justice and mercy. This is supported through facilitation of College-wide fundraising drives and awareness events which uphold our Catholic ethos. Working alongside the College pastoral team, our Chaplain also helps to support individuals coping with the stresses of daily life and those faced with particular challenges such as bereavement, ill health and loss.

In our November 2023 Ofsted inspection, inspectors noted ‘Students make a positive contribution to their local community through the chaplaincy’ and ‘...rightly speak highly of the welcoming nature of the college where leaders
and staff actively respect and celebrate diversity’. The reposrt also states that ‘Students and staff hold dearly and respect the college’s core values, which are based on a strong religious ethos. Tutors further reinforce these values in weekly
religion and philosophy lessons, where they guide students in interesting discussions about ethical and religious issues’.

Core Religion & Philosophy

It is a College requirement that students participate in Core Religion & Philosophy lessons for one session each week. This programme allows students to debate moral and spiritual matters in a secure environment where the dignity of the individual is protected and fostered. The programme considers a wide range of issues: relationships, justice, science and religion, along with an examination of the wisdom that comes from different faith traditions that can be applied to contemporary issues. Students have the opportunity to reflect upon, to question and to debate matters of personal and social importance. In partnership with the College Chaplaincy, celebrations and reflections are also delivered for students to mark significant times in the Christian calendar.

Catholic Social Teaching
In 1891 Pope Leo XIII issued the first encyclical (Papal document) on Catholic Social Teaching. It is called Rerum Novarum (Of New Things). This came about due to the new conditions and situations experienced by people after the industrial revolution. Since 1891, Rerum Novarum has been updated and nuanced seven times.  There are seven principles to Catholic Social Teaching:
1. The dignity of each person
Made in the image and likeness of God, each person’s dignity must be upheld and respected from conception to natural death.
2. Solidarity
We stand in solidarity with everyone for the betterment of humanity. We belong to each other and with each other.
3. Stewardship of the earth
We stand in solidarity with everyone for the betterment of humanity. We belong to each other and with each other.
4. A preferential option for the poor
A principle you will see demonstrated throughout the college. No one is left without the help they need.
5. Dignity of work
“The dignity of work is to be found in the fact that a human being is doing the work.” Laborem Exercens 1981
6. Subsidiarity
Decisions must be made at the level of authority closest to the resolution.
7. Rights and responsibilities
Every right has a corresponding responsibility, every responsibility has a corresponding right.

Equality & Diversity
Our Christian mission demands that we recognise the dignity and equality of every individual. The College actively promotes inclusion and embraces all the legal and moral requirements of our Equality Duty. We are proud of our diversity and support one another in resisting and challenging prejudice and discrimination. The College has worked closely with the National Centre for Diversity to achieve the ‘Investors in Diversity’ Award. As such, we have an Equality & Diversity Group comprising staff and students promoting the aims and objectives inherent in our mission. Each of our subject areas is required to identify how they contribute to our equality and diversity objectives in their lessons and every opportunity is taken to ensure that equality and diversity themes are included in our comprehensive tutorial programme.

Multi-Faith Prayer Room
The College has a designated Prayer Room where prayer mats and beads are available for staff and students to use. Like the Chapel, The Prayer Room affords any member of the College community a quiet space in which to reflect and pray.