As you know we have had an A c c e l e r a t e philosophy since the start of term, and I can assure you that the energy with which our young people have engaged in their studies and extra and co-curricular activities this term has not disappointed. From a ‘standing start’ we have been running at full speed. Our spiritual life has been particularly rich, with wonderful retreats at Mount St Bernard’s Abbey and St Patrick’s and extremely well attended celebrations of Voluntary Mass each Friday so much so that we have held some celebrations in the Chapel garden.
I have written to you about some of the Arts Activities earlier in the term which have continued to be tremendous, reaching an exciting climax at the Year 7 concert held in the auditorium yesterday. I know that all those parents who were able to attend were bowled over by the high standard and accomplishment, and that every single member of Year 7 took part. Preparations for ‘Mary Poppins’, this year’s school musical are now also well underway.
It has been particularly heartening to see our sports life reignited after such a long interruption, with on average 200 students attending extra-curricular sports each week. We have had success in the ESFA National School’ Cup Competition, with both the Year 10 and 11 boys’ teams progressing to Round 2. Students have had the opportunity to take part in a running event by participating in the 2021 Virgin Money Giving Mini London Marathon in schools. Runners were presented with their own running bib and ran 2.6 miles around school site joining around 500,000 school pupils across the UK.
All students in Years 7 and 8 have been developing their literacy, cultural capital and communication skills through the weekly Current Affairs Debate in the morning A c c e l e r a t e slot. More able students in Year 8 continue to have online access to 'The Week Junior' and enjoy regular Aspire Club sessions. Meanwhile, more able students in Year 10 have benefited from a programme of extended writing masterclasses in English, Geography, History and Religious Education.
This term has also seen the launch of an Aspire Club for Years 9 and 10; The High Flyer Programme is a 5 week academic programme led by Sixth Form Aspire Champions which gives our KS4 students a taste of university-style learning, whilst developing Sixth Formers' leadership qualities.
Other A c c e l e r a t e events this half term have included much work during the morning Literacy and Numeracy A c c e l e r a t e slots and the highly successful Drop Everything and Read.
Black History month
This month students in the Sixth Form have been leading a series of events celebrating Black History Month with a commendably ambitious sequence of events created around storytelling and cultural exchange. My thanks to all who have made this month so memorable.
Thank you to all who have contributed to non-uniform day this week for the CAFOD Harvest collection.
Sixth Form McMillan Coffee Morning and Concert
Sixth Form students hosted a fabulous coffee morning event earlier this term to raise £430 for the MacMillan nurses. The social event at lunchtime followed by a Music Concert after school for parents was a great success.
I am very pleased to tell you that the number of Covid cases in our community has reduced to very few indeed. Therefore after half term, the requirement to wear a face covering in our school buildings will be suspended. Please note, however, that this could change if the number of cases increases again.
Professional Development Day
On Friday 19th November the school will be closed to students as we are holding the St Thomas Aquinas Multi Academy Trust Teaching Conference at English Martyrs School. Please see the term dates 2021/2022 attached.
Prayer for the Day
Today is the feast of the great mystic, St Teresa of Avila. She reminds us all that in everything we do, we should bring Jesus’ love to our world:
Christ has no body but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours.
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
Compassion on this world,
Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good,
Yours are the hands with which he blesses all the world.
Christ has no body but yours.
May I wish everyone a restful and enjoyable Half Term.