Past Pupils’ Awards Evening 2017

On Tuesday, 7th November, we welcomed back last year’s Year 11 students, along with their parents, to our annual prize-giving celebration evening.

It was pleasing to see so many of our former students celebrate their achievements, not just in the GCSE examinations, but also their commitment and hard work over the last academic year. In addition, service to the school and outstanding attendance were also recognised. Prizes for individual subjects were nominated by the teaching staff based on progress, achievement, effort, behaviour and enthusiasm for the subject.

Mr Shields welcomed the students back to the school and reminded them of their contribution to the school’s achievements, particularly in the past year, with the award of Croydon School of the Year and our successful Ofsted inspection. He also spoke of the values which the school had instilled in each student over the years and reminded them that, regardless of where their careers take them in the years ahead, they would always remain part of the St Mary’s family.

SMHS PrizeNight2017 PicYThe recent passing of Mr Maurice Reaney (Headteacher 1955-1986) was also commemorated with a reflection on his time at the school as well as his legacy to St Mary’s pupils - past, present and future.

The evening continued with the award of prizes by Mrs Englefield and Mrs Aboyade, following which students collecting their GCSE examination certificates. Special mention must be made of Roshidat Olawale who was awarded the annual Headteacher’s Award by Mr Shields. Deacon Tony started and finished the evening with prayers, including our special School Prayer.

Student Awards 2017
Religious Education Roshidat Olawale                   
English Literature  Janice Teye
English Language           Geraldine Unuigboje
Mathematics   Prakaash Sasitharan
Science Core D’andre Douglas
Science Triple Ayomide Otemolu
MFL – French Elijah Myersli
MFL – Spanish Cheissy Castano
Community Language Didar Karesie
History                                 Toluwanimi Mojola
Geography  Mehmet Demir
Drama Sarah Egbuonu
Art & Design Mikayla Aiyudubia
Physical Education Jahiem Daw
Product Design   Lamar Eccleston
Child Development Jordanne Harty
Ecdl                                       Subira Mohammed
Business Studies Luciana Serban
Finance Joel Mathew
Health & Social Care Helen Aworetan
Pastoral Prize Jeremiah Chima
Overall Achievement Geraldine Unuigboje
Award for Sports James Agho
Headteacher’s Award Roshidat Olawale


Special Commendadtion for Service to the School
Ruben Pereira                                    Head Boy
Jordanne Harty Head Girl
Prakaash Sasitharan Deputy Head Boy (Academic Affairs)
Kenaz Rodrigues Fernandes Deputy Head Boy (Welfare Affairs)
Roshidat Olawale Deputy Head Girl ( Academic Affairs)
Bilquees Sheikh Deputy Head Girl (Welfare Affairs)



100% Attendance Awards
 Noman Ahmad                           Elijah Myers
 Reuben Andoh  Roshidat   Olawale
 Helen   Aworetan  Sarah   Oyeneyin
 Jahiem Daw  Ruben Pereira
 Sarah Egbuonu  Oluwatoyin   Sotimehin
 Jesse   Frimpong  Anna Maria   Ssemuju
 Jordanne Harty  Tatiana Tomas   Pegado Correia
 Esther   Johnson  Geraldine   Unuigboje
 Debora Momoh  






























Please click on the image below to see a gallery of photographs from the event.


Maurice Reaney RIP

Of your mercy, please pray for the repose of the soul of Mr Maurice Reaney, Headteacher of St Mary’s Catholic High School 1955 – 1986.

Born on 8th September 1923 - Maurice attended St Elphege’s Junior School, Wallington and The John Fisher School, Purley. On leaving school, he worked for Coutts Bank before serving in the Royal Tank Regiment during the Second World War. Fighting in N.Africa and Italy, he rose to the rank of Captain and was awarded the Military Cross for bravery in 1945.

From 1947-1949 Maurice trained to become a teacher at St Mary's College, Strawberry Hill, following which he took up his first teaching post at St Mary’s RC Junior School, Croydon. In September 1955, Maurice was appointed as Headteacher of the newly constructed, St Mary’s Secondary Modern School (renamed St Mary’s Catholic High School in 1971). He led the school for 31 years until retirement in 1986, and was awarded the Papal Cross for his services to Catholic Education.

As Headteacher, he was known as a leader who had great care for the welfare of pupils and staff in his care, while at the same time successfully leading the school through a period of great change in education. To mark his retirement the Croydon Advertiser wrote: “Under his leadership the Croydon Catholic School…seems to have stood like a rock in an ever more erratic educational sea… St Mary’s has stuck with ideals of sport and academic achievement…instilling the values of the Catholic Church as important as anything else it does.”

SMHS MRPic2Perhaps it is no coincidence that Maurice, born on the Feast of Our Lady’s birth, served his entire career in Catholic Education establishments dedicated to Mary, the Mother of Our Lord. Maurice visited Lourdes on many occasions and, as evidence in the school’s log book shows, during his time as Headteacher of St Mary’s he ensured that prayer and worship was foremost in the daily life of the school.

In his retirement, Maurice continued his life-long dedication to his  parish of St Elphege’s, as well as supporting many other charitable causes, including the Alzheimer’s Society. He was a proud and active member of The John Fisher Old Boys Association, editing its newsletter faithfully for over forty years with a style and wit unique to Maurice. Amazingly, he continued to play football for the Old Boys Association until he was 71 years old.

Tom’s Midnight Garden is a book which many of Maurice’s former pupils will recall had special significance for him, as he read it to every Year 7 pupil in the school. In the book, Tom, determined to stay in the garden for ever, wishes to “exchange time for eternity”. We can be assured that Maurice has now exchanged his time for eternity and is now in the arms of Our Lady, to whom he was most faithfully dedicated.

Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him.

May his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.

October 'Star Students'

Star Student awards are celebrated in recognition of those students who go above and beyond the normal call of duty. While we have selected one student from each year group, there are many others who could equally be called ‘Star Students’ here at St Mary's.

Star Pupils

September - October 2017

Year 7:   Brandon K. For being helpful during Open Evening.

Year 8:   Ragshidaa K. For consistent excellent classwork.

Year 9:   Rashma K. For the most achievement points in the year group.

Year 10: Amrullah S. For the most achievement points in the year group.

Year 11: Rebecca S. (Head Girl) For leading by example, punctuality and for always doing what is asked.

Art Students Walk with Andy Warhol

Year 11 GCSE art students took advantage of this month’s exciting Warhol Croydon Art Walk and exhibition organised by Croydon’s trailblazing RISE gallery.

Following the Warhol-inspired walk, our students were given a unique insight into the life and times of the American artist, a leading figure on the pop art visual art movement. The walk was the centrepiece of the Warhol Croydon celebrations throughout the town in September.

While the day of the walk was wet it didn’t dampen the students’ interest in this world famous artist. Following the walk students took part in an art workshop at RISE gallery where they had the opportunity to produce work inspired by the pop-art movement.

Kaira in Year 11 writes: “The trip was very successful and all the students who took part really enjoyed it. The walk, led by Kevin from RISE gallery, lasted about one and a half hours and took us across Croydon.

In the workshop at RISE gallery we learnt more about Warhol and the other pop artists, including how they were influenced by different cultures. We also learned about various art techniques and styles which will help us greatly in our GCSE exams this year. We were given a chance to create our own art work using colours used by Warhol.

My favourite pieces were Warhol’s famous ‘Campbell Soup’ as well as the other street art venues we visited.”

To see a gallery of photographs from the Warhol Walk, please click on the image below:

St Mary's students run Year 6 Retreats in local Catholic Primary schools

Students from St Mary’s have attended two local Catholic primary schools to run retreat days for Year 6 pupils.  On Friday 15th September they attended St James the Great, and on 22nd September they attended St Chad’s.

During the day they explored using their God-given gifts and talents for the good of the wider community.  Various games were used to explore the theme; time was spent outside looking for God’s creation and the work of humans, and we also had to learn to trust each other, just as Abraham had put his trust in God. We finished the day with each child lighting a candle, and joining together in praying the Our Father and the St Mary’s school prayer.  All the Year 6 pupils received a prayer card from St Mary’s.

With our school’s growing success, we are aiming to share our talents, not only in running successful retreat days, but across a number of curriculum areas with our local primary schools.

Exciting staff development with St Mary’s University, Twickenham

St Mary’s is establishing growing professional links with St Mary’s University, Twickenham. As part of our school’s commitment to high-quality professional development, this term 12 members of staff are embarking on the MA in Catholic School Leadership; which will be delivered by St Mary’s University at our school. This is an exciting development for our school as we continue on the journey to become an outstanding centre for learning.

Dr John Lydon, Programme Director writes: “St Mary's University is delighted to be forming a collaboration with St Mary's Catholic High School Croydon. The establishment of an MA in Catholic School Leadership Centre at the school is the first significant step in our developing relationship.”

In order to cement our relationship, at the start of term all staff spent a full day of training, as guests of the university, at its renown Strawberry Hill campus, including a keynote address from Dr John Lydon on the importance of ‘Christ Centred Leadership’ in Catholic education today.

Year 11 students celebrate their GCSE Results

There was real excitement at St Mary's as Year 11 students received their long-awaited GCSE results. With the newly-reformed English and mathematics GCSE results awarded the new grades 1-9, staff were on hand to support our students as they opened their result envelopes.

Our Headteacher, Patrick Shields commented: "Well done to our pupils receiving their GCSE results today. There are many stories of excellence which pupils, staff and families will be rightly proud. We look forward to continuing our journey of improvement at St Mary’s."

For a selection of pictures from today's GCSE results click on the image below:

Pupils & staff raise £845 for victims of the Grenfell Tower tragedy.

Pupils and staff at St Mary's have raised £845 for the victims of the Grenfell tragedy as a result of the 'non-uniform' day which was held on Tuesday 11th July. With additional donations still coming in, the money raised will be sent to one of the official charities supporting the victims of the devastating fire.

Father Almighty,
hear our prayers for those
who have died,
suffered and been scarred,
are bewildered and bereaved
at Grenfell Tower.

We give thanks for our emergency services
and all who are offering care and support.
We pray that new homes will be quickly found for those affected,
and that your healing Spirit will be with them in the days ahead.

We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

St Mary's awarded for exceptional exam performance – Top 10% nationally

St Mary's Catholic High School has been nationally recognised for its exceptional 2016 performance by the Schools, Students and Teachers network (SSAT). Educational Outcomes data analysis from SSAT has shown that the school is in the top 10% of non-selective schools nationally for attainment and the top 20% for progress. 

SSATAward Pic2aThe school’s SSAT Educational Outcomes awards was presented at a regional celebration event in London; held to draw attention to the work of high-achieving, improving and innovating schools and teachers.

Sue Williamson, Chief Executive of SSAT said: 

“It’s my great pleasure to commend St Mary's Catholic High School on their excellent 2016 performance, and to have the opportunity to highlight and share their great work at an SSAT Educational Outcomes celebration event. We know how hard teachers work to ensure the success of every child. SSAT’s Educational Outcomes award recognises the professionalism, commitment and hard work of the leaders, teachers and students at St Mary's Catholic High School, A Catholic Voluntary Academy. A big thank you and well done to the pupils, staff and governors.”

New Senior Student Leadership Team Announced

St Mary's is delighted to present the new Senior Student Leadership Team, following the recent school-wide elections. The election process included each of the seven candidiates presenting their reasons for wanting to be elected, as well as outlining their plans for the year ahead.

Following these 'hustings' all pupils and members of staff voted in secret ballots. Unlike the recent General Election, the result was clear, with four students elected to the Senior Student Leadership Team. Last week, Bishop Paul Hendricks, while blessing our new reception area, presented badges of office to the Head Girl, Head Boy and their two Deputies.

The new team take over their responsibilities straight away and will remain in post until they begin their GCSEs in May 2018. We wish them well in their new positions of responsibility and are certain that all students at the school will give them their full support in the year ahead.

In addition to Rebecca, Brajan, Kiyanna & Nathan, a special thank-you and well done to Adrian, Nicole & Mogo who also stood for election. 


Head Girl Head Boy
Rebecca Pic   Brajan Pic
Rebecca Brajan
Deputy Head Girl Deputy Head Boy
Kiyanna Pic3   Nathan Pic
Kiyanna Nathan


Rebecca, our new Head Girl writes:

My name is Rebecca and I am the Head Girl. My first initials thoughts were ‘Am I sure I want to this?’ and ‘Am I really capable of doing this job well?’ I had so many doubts about it, but with some encouragement, I was able to write an application letter and speech in which I performed to all year groups.

I have been in this school for almost four years and I would’ve never have imagined becoming Head Girl. I am, by nature, shy and quiet and I don’t like sharing my ideas with anyone, I would rather keep to myself. However, I soon realised that this job is exactly what I needed – why sit and complain about the school without actually putting any action into it? This job will give me the chance to not only benefit my life, but all the lives of the students and their brothers and sisters too, which I think is very important. I have seen how far this school has come and I want to add to its success.

My main aims are to make sure all the students in this school are happy, by asking them what they want to improve; not just the student leadership putting in ideas.

Some of my main ideas are:

  • Air conditioning in the summer – the heat is unbearable and makes it hard for students to concentrate in lessons.
  • More fundraising ideas – car boot sales, summer fayres, end of year parties etc.
  • Improving equipment – fixing blind sin science and more textbooks.


Brajan, our Head Boy writes:

My name is Brajan. I am the newly elected Head Boy. The process of becoming Head Boy was demanding, interesting and mysterious. It enabled me to look into myself and dig deep in order to find my true potential as a leader. It is challenging being Head Boy, but every day that passes by I learn something new, be that from a teacher, a student or from myself. It rather strange how becoming a Head Boy has developed me from being just a student into a more mature person who knows what rights and responsibilities mean.

I came to St Mary's about two years ago, in October 2015. High school is always special, I don’t know what there is about it, but I just enjoy it a lot. I was a person who didn’t like to socialise much but becoming Head Boy has enabled me to see and understand that two brains are better than one in all senses.

I plan to establish and strengthen a sense of friendship and community within the school. I am aiming to raise aspiration among students, especially in education by helping teachers understand that a practical approach to a lesson is better than a theoretical one.

I am a very sporting person. I play tennis, especially on Saturdays. I have indeed developed into a good tennis player. I always follow the big tennis tournaments such as Wimbledon. I always think that sports are the most fun thing ever. It helps me to enjoy myself and be proud of what I have achieved.

My favourite subjects are Biology, Maths and English Literature. I have been interested how our body works, especially the heart. In the future I hope to be a surgeon and an author. I love medicine which is what I am hoping to study for the future but literature too is fascinated. When anyone asks me what do I like I reply with the famous quote from a Russian Author “medicine is my lawful wife and literature is me mistress”. I should add too that I have developed a great deal of interest in space travel too. I think that is going to be the “job of the future”.

Well that’s all. I am a person who loves change and I am prepared to take the risks



Bishop Paul Blesses our New School Reception

On Monday 26th June, St Mary’s was delighted to welcome Bishop Paul Hendricks to bless our new school reception area and to present badges of office to our new Student Leadership teams. In addition, we were also pleased to welcome Dr Maureen Glackin, Head of School of Education at St Mary’s University, Twickenham.

BishopPaulvisit Pic1Bishop Paul led a special ‘Liturgy of the Word’ for all students in our Sports Hall before presenting badges of office to our new Student Leadership teams, including our Head and Deputy Girls and Boys. Before blessing our new reception, Bishop Paul also blessed the crucifix, statue of Our Lady and photographs of Pope Francis & Archbishop Peter which were placed in the new facility.

We were grateful that Dr Glackin, who along with Mr Bernard Tomkins, our Chair of Governors, and Fr Michael, assisted in the presentation of badges of office to our senior students and pupil mentors. Following the formal events, Bishop Paul and our special guests met with the new Senior Prefect team and talked about their role in the school as well as their hopes and aspirations for the future.

BishopPaulvisit Pic7The school’s new reception area now presents visitors to our school with a more welcoming and modern appearance. Along with the reception area, a new office and meeting room will greatly enhance the facilities at our school. It also gives us a fitting place to celebrate the pupils’ achievements and school awards which have been earned, especially in the past academic year.

Click on the image (below) to open a gallery of pictures

Year 9 at the Pan-London Youth & Public Services Day

AliPali Pic3Year 9 students, along with thousands from across other London schools, visited Alexandra Palace on 15th June to take part in the annual Pan-London Youth & Public Services Day. Shannen Venethethan describes the visit, including meeting London's Deputy Mayor for Policing, Sophie Linden:

The trip to the Pan London Youth Event at Alexandra Palace on Thursday 15 June for twenty-nine Year 9 students was enlightening. We were shown several careers that are open to us, the younger generation, the future of our country.

The welcome speeches given by the host and other service providers were really inspiring and delivered in such an inspiring manner that as soon as they were finished we students from St Mary’s couldn’t wait to explore what was there.  We also met London’s Deputy Mayor for policing, Sophie Linden, who has visited St Mary’s recently, she happily had her photo taken with some of us.

AliPali Pic2We went around to the different stands showing us the different activities which we could be involved in, and were told of the work of our essential services such as the police, firefighters, paramedics, marines, air cadets, and many others which enlightened and inspired us.  Alexandra Palace was engulfed with students from all over London and we had the opportunity for chats with them throughout the visit.

The most popular stands were from the military, where we got to hold deactivated firearms and have a go on a virtual reality demonstration of what life looks in military service. The bomb disposal team showed us a radio controlled robot disarming an old ‘rpg-7’ (or rocket propelled grenade) which had been deactivated already, for obvious reasons.  Another stand allowed us to virtually fly a plane.  In the centre of the event was a boxing arena and next to it four large punch bags; I’m certain every student who attended the event had a go.

Near the entrance was the police and firefighters, they allowed us in each of the two vehicles they bought with them and allowed us to sound the fire engine siren.  In conclusion, this was one of the most inspiring trips that Year 9 have been part of, both socially and educationally and we must thank Mr Irvine for organising it.

United Nations Arts Ambassador, Ibiyinka Alao, Visits St Mary's

On Wednesday 7th June, the United Nations Arts Ambassador, Ibiyinka Alao, visited our School to work with Year 7 pupils on a project called ‘The Bag of Hope’.

This is a global project which raises awareness of the rights of children.  The project raises funds for UNICEF and other organisations working with and supporting children & young adults, and is completed by children from all countries, creating the largest decorated canvas bag in the world. This year, the project will attempt to beat the current Guinness World record for such a bag.  (more information here   We are privileged to be part of this initiative.

In an assembly with Mr Alao, the children were made aware of their rights to free education; to feel safe; to be fed; to receive healthcare; and the right to help when you have been mistreated or abused. Mr Alao shared much of his work with the students, telling us the stories that inspired them.

work Pic2After meeting Mr Alao all of Year 7 moved to the Art classrooms to work on their own pictures to symbolise ‘Hope’.  The students were most excited, and somewhat inspired, when they were told that these will be displayed on the United Nations building in New York.

'Faiths Together in Croydon' at St Mary's

On Wednesday 24 May, St Mary’s hosted a meeting of Faiths Together in Croydon’.  Fourteen of our students joined ten young people from South Norwood Islamic Centre, along with other faith leaders and community workers in order to explore the concept of ‘Respect’.

The primary guiding principles adopted by ‘Faiths Together in Croydon’ are: Respect, Education, Safety, Perspective, Empathy, Celebration, and Tolerance.In our ever-changing world, we find that relationships are under strain amongst our peers, our families and across communities. Activities organised by ‘Faith Together in Croydon’ are aimed at exploring these core principles, and seeking to resolve any challenges we face together.

Everyone present was first asked to write on a post-it note who they respected.  They then met in a circle and played an icebreaker activity.  Two of the girls present, one Muslim and one Christian, then stood up and spoke of their understanding of respect.

Breaking into small groups the notion of respect was explored more fully, with each group choosing a representative to address the meeting with their group’s response to why respect is so vital for community cohesion.

The workshop included a number of role-plays.  Various scenarios of disrespect were acted out, including: a confrontation on a bus, and an argument in a classroom. With the Manchester attack being less than 48 hours earlier, this activity was very topical.

The next event to be held by ‘Faiths Together in Croydon’ will be a Sunday ‘bike ride’ on 9 July; we will be encouraging our students to take part.

Election Fever at St Mary's

Year 10 pupils standing in the annual elections to the various Student Leadership roles at St Mary's, including Head Girl & Head Boy, have been presenting their manifestos to pupils across the school in assemblies this week.

Rebecca Samuels, Year 10  writes:

During the month of May, pupils in Year 10 are applying for leadership roles – Head Girl, Head Boy, Prefects and Mentors. As the Year 11s are soon leaving and are doing their exams at the moment, our school needs new leaders. Being a leader isn’t just about having that title, you have to take into consideration all the responsibility and hard work that goes into it. As a journalist, I find it extremely ironic that none of the Year 10 pupils have gone for Deputy Head Boy or Girl – this means that they are all courageous enough to go for the main roles and want to all make a difference to the futures of not just themselves, but others too.

Hustings SMHS Pic1On Wednesday 16th May – Friday 19th May, the Year 10 students presented their speeches to Years 7 – 10 to convince those years to vote for them. Their speeches were all very insightful and well thought out. On Friday 26th May, those years will vote for a Head Boy and Head Girl. The girl and boy with the highest vote will become Head Girl and Head Boy and the second highest votes will become Deputy Head Boy and Deputy Head Girl. Mr Shields’ aim of this election is to make it as similar as possible to the one taking place here in our country right now. The General Election will take place on 8 June, 3 years earlier than expected. Theresa May wants to strengthen her hand on Brexit negotiations. There is a  comparison between the St Mary’s Election and The General Election which I think is an amazing idea because it prepares us for the future, for example in job interviews where we have to persuade or public speaking in which we have to express our feelings on a topic.

Election SMHS Pic3The pupils have all worked extremely hard – putting up posters around the school, campaigning to promote themselves and spending time with the younger years to answer their questions. In my opinion, they are ALL winners!


St Mary's students' first ever Retreat at Kintbury

On 8 May six students and two staff went on the school’s first ever retreat to St Cassian’s Centre, Kintbury in the heart of the Berkshire countryside.

The six girls who went could not believe the beauty of their surroundings.  Eleven students from another school joined us for a very spiritual and prayerful experience. 

On the first morning we explored who we are, where we see ourselves in the world and what God might have planned for us.  This was done in small groups with new friends.  The second day we looked at the meaning of reconciliation.  Reconciling ourselves to God’s plan and reconciling with others when we get into a tangled mess.

It’s fair to say that after three nights the girls still did not want to come home and are planning an early return in Year 11.


Click on the image below to open a gallery of photos from the Retreat.

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