Dear Parents/Carers,

I can’t quite believe that I am writing to you as the Easter Holidays start, it only seems that it was a few weeks ago that I was writing to you at the start of the January Term. The students and staff have been very busy in the intervening months. Students have taken part in a number of activities over this time.

School Activities Students from Years 9, 10 and 11 have performed in the Dance show. Students have sung Choral Evensong at Christ Church in Oxford and attended St Patrick’s Day Mass. Year 8 students performed on-line and in front of their peers and teachers.

In sport we have had a number of boys and girls football teams competing across the county and further afield. For the first time in 30 years our Year 7 football team have played in the County Cup final. We held a non-uniform day to raise money for Migrant Help, a migrant charity. Students were encouraged to come dressed representing their cultural heritage, to celebrate the amazing diversity of the school.

We have had a group of year 8 students travel to Alton Castle on retreat for 3 days. A year 12 student competed in the Catenians debating competition and Year 10 have been taking part in Work Experience Workshops. Sixth form students have launched the Henrietta Lack Society to enable students to consider ethical implications and deliver presentations to inspire young minds to pursue scientific careers and contribute to future educational discoveries. A former student now working at NASA came and spoke to Science discuss the most recent scientific advances, students. Students have been working hard preparing for the school production of Mary Poppins that will be taking place in June, I hope that you will come to support the students.

Over the last few weeks Years 10, 11, 12 and 13 have all been working hard preparing for and then sitting their mock exams. Students from Year 10 and 11 have taken part in expeditions for their Duke of Edinburgh Award. We have had the Physics Olympiad and Year 8 Students visited the Black Country Living History Museum. We have had speakers visit us ranging from the Grandson of suffragette Alice Hawkins, whose statue now stands in Market Square to historian, George Morton-Jack talking about World War I, to Oddballs Charity speaking to Sixth form students about Testicular Cancer.
Lent We have had a very full celebration of Lent with all students attending the Ash Wednesday liturgy led by Sixth Form students. Each form group has had the opportunity to receive the Stations of the Cross in the school chapel. All students have had the opportunity to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation and attendance at voluntary Mass every Friday has been particularly high. I would like to thank all of our clergy who have given us a great deal of time during Lent to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation with students. The theme during Lent this year has been Walking In Other People’s Shoes and I have been very impressed by so many acts of kindness students have shown to one another, as well as in their work in raising money for CAFOD in order to promote justice and peace for all around the world and live in the Gospel message. Every Friday during Lent students had access to soup and a roll for £1.00 to raise funds for CAFOD.

Staff When I last wrote to you it was to announced that I would be heading the school in the interim for the rest of the school year. I know that Mr Lockyer wrote to inform you that I have now been appointed as the permanent Principal at English Martyrs. This role officially begins on our return from the Easter holidays. I wanted to express my great pleasure and pride at being given the opportunity to lead such a fantastic school, with amazing students and committed, caring staff. I look forward to working with all parents to ensure that all students have the best education and to watch your son/daughter grow and flourish with us over their time here.

You will notice over time some changes to the way in which we communicate with you. It is my intention to reduce the amount of paper the school sends out, to adhere to our commitment as “Eco-Martyrs” to be more eco-friendly. Therefore, we will attempt to communicate school letters by e-mail. Please can I ask that you make sure the school has the most up to date contact details and that you do check your e-mails and possibly the junk/spam section in case any letters are sent there.

At the end of this term we are saying goodbye to Miss Bryant who is moving to Bristol. We would like to thank her for all her hard work and wish her all the best in her new school. We also send our best wishes to Mrs Harrison and Mrs Webster who will be on maternity leave and we look forward to welcoming new additions to the school community. We welcome back Mrs Raja from maternity leave and I would also like to offer my thanks to Mrs Frost who has done a wonderful job as maternity cover and wish her all the best in the future. We welcome Miss Carr, Receptionist. Miss Ambasna and Mr Johnson, Pastoral Support. Mrs Alessandrelli, Librarian and Miss Pourkarimi, Maths Teacher.

Holiday revision classes for Year 11 Thank you to all of those teachers who are generously offering additional revision classes to Year 11 during the holidays. English, Maths, Science and Textiles are holding revision sessions during the Easter holidays. Year 11 students have been given a range of revision materials and a presentation on ways to revise that they can use in the lead up to their exams.

Pre-loved Uniform At English Martyrs we recognise that school uniform is expensive and as students grow, they can grow out of uniforms. As part of our commitment to ‘Eco-Martyrs’ to help with the environment. We will be opening a ‘Pre-loved shop’. We would like parents to donate pre-loved school uniform that would have been thrown away due to not fitting. These pre-loved clothes will then be available in our pre-loved uniform shop for parents to visit and see if there is uniform they would want. There will be a donation box, if parents wish to make a donation towards the clothes. Once we have received a reasonable amount of pre-loved uniform, I will write again with details of the shops opening times. Please note if you wish to donate pre-loved uniform to the shop it must be of good quality and clean. I hope this will be a small way in which we can all contribute to reducing clothing waste and protect the environment.

Covid You will be aware in the news that there has been an increase in Covid numbers and that schools have seen this increase. We have over the last few weeks seen an increase in staff absence which has been replicated in schools across the country. I would like to thank the staff for working hard to ensure that all lessons continued without missing classes. This commitment from staff ensured we were able to avoid, what some other schools had to do, sending year groups home. We are aware that lateral flow tests are no longer free and we appreciate this is an extra financial cost, therefore we have sent home a box of tests with every student.

I would like to thank all of our staff for their very hard work over a very long and busy term since the new year. I wish everyone the blessing of the Easter season and look forward to welcoming students at the start of the new term on Monday 25th April at 8.25am.

Yours sincerely,

M Calen Principal