A Coventry school has been presented with a prestigious ICONS (International Cross of Nails) award in recognition of its commitment to peace.

On Monday (2 Dec 2019) pupils from Cardinal Newman Catholic School received the award following a presentation on Sunday 24 November at the celebration of High Mass at Coventry Cathedral.

Canon Kathyrn Fleming and Jennifer Jenkins from Coventry Cathedral presented the ICONS award.

ICONS, the International Cross of Nails, is an award presented to schools in recognition of their commitment to peace focusing on the following three priority areas:

• healing the wounds of the past
• learning to live with difference and celebrate diversity
• building a culture of peace

Laura Byrne, Lay Chaplain at Cardinal Newman Catholic School, said: "As a school we are honoured to receive this award, we are the 51st school to receive this award internationally and the first Catholic school to ever receive this award.

"These priority areas will remain a focus for our school as will the beautiful cross of nails which will be housed in our school Chapel and visited by students and staff alike to serve as a reminder of our commitment to peace and passing it on to others."

Peace in our school community

Here at Cardinal Newman School we aim to build an environment that is rooted in peace, through our pastoral system and opportunities offered to our students to develop peace in their lives and communities.

Our Peace and Justice group have developed a culture, across the wider school community, of remembrance and helping to heal the wound of the past through their work with the late Denis Davison, D-Day celebrations, Hiroshima remembrance, and links with Dresden and Volgograd.

In addition to this as a school, our focus upon the Holocaust has helped us to achieve status as a Beacon School.

Further to this work, supported by the pastoral system and Chaplaincy we endeavour to create an environment that fosters a culture of peace and diversity.

Reconciliation is at the centre of our faith and also our pastoral care. Students have the opportunity to receive the sacrament of reconciliation and also to reconcile with each other through restorative justice work.

We provide students with the opportunity to learn about the lives of others outside of the classroom through guest speakers, retreat days and community work.

Students have developed close links with the Lord Mayor's Peace committee and local Peace and Justice organisations.

Our peace prayer garden and our work in the Peace Orchard helps to create a physical environment of peace and our outreach work with a number of charities and care homes provides the students with the opportunity to put peace into practice and pass it on to others.