Iwo Wojcik, an 18-year-old Polish student at Chavagnes International College looks set to establish something of a tradition linking Oriel College, Oxford with his unique Catholic boarding school in France.
Chavagnes bases its educational philosophy on the teachings of the Blessed John Henry Newman who, before his conversion to Catholicism from Anglicanism, was a Fellow of Oriel College in the University of Oxford.
A former Chavagnes boy (2002-2005), now Father Stephen Morrison, began the latter-day cooperation between Chavagnes and Oriel when he gained a place and then Organ and Academic Scholarships there several years ago.
Then another Oriel man, Father Bede Rowe, was Chavagnes chaplain from 2010-2014.
And now another successful Chavagnes student begins his studies in French literature at Oriel in October. Well done, Iwo!
The boarding school renowned for its back-to-basics approach, Chavagnes International College, was featured on Vatican Radio a few years ago; the journalist then drew attention to its ‘chilly dorms’ …
But now students at Chavagnes will be able to look forward to a cosy winter; double-glazing and extra insulation is being installed in dormitories over the Easter holidays, according to Headmaster Ferdi McDermott.
Chavagnes on Vatican Radio
As this Daily Telegraph Journalist shows, the learning curve of schools that have turned ‘co-ed’ (taking boys and girls) has been a steep one: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationopinion/10576886/A-school-trip-that-went-a-little-too-far.html
The article alludes to the sad outcome of a too close relationship between boys and girls at school, which is the mistreatment of girls by boys ‘just looking to have fun’ and the untold tale of schoolgirl abortions, which can then scar a young woman for life.
http://www.crisismagazine.com/2015/boarding-schools-good-teenage-boys for an article by an American Headmaster on how boarding schools could be just what teenage boys need.
In Europe, visit http://www.chavagnes.org for a Catholic boarding school with similar values and ideals.
Research strongly indicates that most boys have different learning styles and needs when compared to girls. Most boys develop
mentally, physically, and emotionally at a different rate from girls.
It is our experience that boys’ interests, hobbies, and inclination to physical activity respond best to a male focused framework
to learning. We believe that boys who learn in such an environment tend to become more comfortable and confident, enabling
them to develop a diverse range of interests and talents.
The fact that boys in boys’ schools academically out-perform boys in co-educational schools is reaffirmed by a glance at league
tables. But, according to the website of Merchiston College (http://www.merchiston.co.uk/), near Edinburgh, boys also thrive under the outstanding pastoral care provided by staff who are specially experienced in looking after boys’ needs.
Merchiston is a member of the International Boys School Coalition, founded in the United States to promote the study and development of education for boys. Another member school, which also teaches the English curriculum, is Chavagnes International College, the Catholic boarding school for boys, situated in the west of France.
According to st Andrew’s College, Canada (www.sac.on.ca) not only are students less inhibited and more focused in the classroom in a single-gender environment, but research indicates those who attend all-boys schools are more than twice as likely to study art, music, drama, and foreign languages, in addition to the traditional maths and sciences.
This is largely because of the way teachers modify their approach according to the unique needs of boys. In an all-boys setting, we are able to break down gender stereotypes and empower boys to pursue their interests without having to impress or show off. For this reason, it is not unusual for a top athlete to also play the saxophone or have a lead in the School play.
Here is some interesting reading in education and psychology for boys:
The War Against Boys by Christina Hoff Sommers, B.A., Ph.D.
The Wonder of Boys by Michael Gurian
Boys Adrift by Leonard Sax, M.D. and Ph.D.
Raising Cain by Dan Kindlon, Ph.D. and Michael Thompson, Ph.D.
Real Boys by William Pollack, Ph.D.
“The Joy of the Gospel in our Schools” was the title of the recent annual conference of the Catholic Independent Schools Conference, held 15-16 January 2015 at Oatlands Park Hotel, Weybridge.
More details of CISC: http://www.cisc.uk.net
Congratulations to the two leavers this year at the small but respected Chavagnes International College who are now about to begin university studies.
Maximilian Micallef Eynaud (Chavagnes 2007-2014, their first pupil to complete all 7 years of secondary education at Chavagnes) has now gone to the Delft University of Technology (http://www.tudelft.nl/en/) to study Aerospace Engineering.
Ambroise Julien Laferrière (Chavagnes 2011-2014, and their first pupil to qualify for university with the French baccalaureate and British A-levels) is going to the University of Buckingham (http://www.buckingham.ac.uk/) to study Business and Management.
Well done for securing those places, and we wish you all the best in your studies.
Next year (summer 2015), the school expects 3 boys to sit the French baccalaureate and British A-levels, with 3 more sitting just A-levels.
Saint Paul, to the Corinthians, has this to say: “Don’t you realise that the runners in the Stadium, all of them run, but only one gets the medal? You are to run in such a way as to win. Everyone who is in athletic training exercises self-control (but they do it to win a medal that will fade away…!); so I am running in such a way as not to be without purpose. When I box, I do it in such a way as not to land my blows on empty air – instead I let my body know who is boss, and I make it my slave… ” (1 Corinthians).
School sport can be an important part of learning to think about important themes for a good life: the desire for excellence, teamwork, self-discipline, generosity, single-mindedness. The truths learnt in the atmosphere of effort and adversity that is created on the sportsfield are lessons that can forge the characters of strong and caring leaders who know about fighting for a cause with a generous and selfless spirit.
The second century St Clement of Alexandria, one of the first Christian teachers to develop a theory of education, underlines what for him are the two main formative benefits of sport: “to aim at not only a healthy habit of body, but courageousness of soul
” and also the development of a taste for pushing oneself to one’s limit, not out of pride, but simply out of a desire for excellence, or in Clement’s words: “not for the sake of vainglory, but for the exuding of manly sweat!” (The Pedagogue; Bk III, Ch. 10).
Obviously, COURAGE and EFFORT, once developed as virtues, pay off in exam success in other subjects, and even in the spiritual life, the biggest test of all.