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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 and 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 4 years and I would’ve never have imagined becoming Head Girl in a million years. 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 considerate. I have seen how far this school has come and I want to continue to add to this.

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 2 and a half years ago, on October 2015. It has been like a journey that is going to and in one year time but the moments that I shared will never be forgotten. High school is always special, I don’t know what it is about it but I just enjoy it a lot. I was a person who didn’t like to socialise a lot 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. My main objective is to help every student enjoy the school by making sure they are satisfied with the teaching quality.

I am a very sportive person. I play tennis especially during 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 http://bagofhope.world)   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.

Lent Charities 2017

During Lent Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4 raised money for two different types of charity.

Key Stage 3 concentrated on ‘Breast Cancer Care’; and ‘Orchid’, the male cancer charity. ‘Breast Cancer Care’ was chosen by the students because many have loved ones who are, or were, helped by this charity. However, as some students pointed out, male cancers do not have such a high profile, so it was agreed to support ‘Orchid’ as well.

Key Stage 4 opted to support the work of ‘For Jimmy’(The Mizen Foundation) after Barry & Margaret Mizen’s inspiring sessions with both year groups.  Particular congratulations go to 11P for their amazing effort of raising £60, and to Klaudia in 9M who donated £22 in copper coins.

Some forms chose to bring in donations of non-perishable food and toiletries; these were donated to ‘Croydon Nightwatch’, with whom we aim to have an ongoing relationship.

For more information on our school's charity work CLICK HERE

The Good Samaritan Mass 2017

Pupils and staff from St Mary's attended the annual schools' Good Samaritan Mass at St George's Cathedral, Southwark on Tuesday 25th April. The Good Samaritan Mass is organised as a joint effort of the Education Commission and the Westminster Catholic Children’s Society to celebrate all the charitable endeavours which occur in Diocesan Secondary Schools, with particular emphasis on fundraising and awareness of the Southwark Crisis Fund. The fund was launched November 2015 by the Westminster Catholic Children’s Society and Archbishop Peter Smith and provides one-off grants to support families living in Southwark where a relatively small amount of funding can make a big difference.


Good Samaritan Mass Apr17 Pic9aThe story the Good Samaritan is one of the parables of Jesus. He tells it in response to a question  ‘who is my neighbour?’ The story concerns a traveller on the way from Jerusalem to Jericho, who is attacked, robbed and left half-dead by the roadside. It is an outsider - a man from Samaria, which was a country that the Jews despised - who decides to stop and show compassion towards the man, who had been attacked. He takes him to a safe place and provides for his recovery. Jesus' listeners must have been very shocked by this story, which showed that this outsider better understood and fulfilled God's command to love than those who were meant to be God's chosen people.

The key issues to be addressed in this parable are:

  • the challenge to help and care for those who are different from ourselves
  • the challenge to face up to and look beyond our prejudices
  • the challenge to reach out and welcome the stranger and outsider
  • the challenge to treat all people with fairness and compassion
  • the challenge to 'love our neighbour as ourselves'
  • the challenge to treat others with respect, tolerance and justice.

Tee Bello performs at St Mary's

On Friday 21st April, Years 7 & 8 had the opportunity to meet the upcoming solo singer, “Tee Bello,” on his Cyber Bullying, Discrimination & British Values themed school tour. Tee didn’t only perform for our pupils at St Mary’s, he also delivered an important Cyber Bullying, Discrimination & British Values message.

 

Tee Bello has been tipped by BBC's Radio 1 as the UK's next "Usher or Chris Brown." Tee has been singing and dancing since he was a child, studied musical theatre at University, and now Tee is set to take the UK's music industry by storm. Now signed to Universal Records, Tee Bello is an incredible live performer and boasts appearances at the O2 arena as well as supporting Jason Derulo in London amongst his list of achievements to date.

 

This program has toured to more than 3,600 schools around the UK and Ireland, with a mix of different artists who've had outstanding reviews. The pupils watched a unique and entertaining performance from Tee Bello, which was followed by the PSHE educational message.

 

The main message of the presentation is to empower students to make the right choices in regards to Online Safety & Cyber Bullying, as well as to inform students not to discriminate and to treat everyone fairly, whether they have a different sexual preference or are of a different race, sex, or nationality. They also discussed why diversity should be celebrated and the fundamental British Values.

Success at '#Girls4STEM' workshop day at London South Bank University

On Monday 27th March, twelve Year 10 girls from St Mary’s visited London South Bank University to take part in a #Girls4STEM Workshop Day event as part of International Women's Week celebrations.

Year 10 student Rebecca writes: Our first impression of the university was ‘wow!’ - it was so versatile with so many different levels depending on what you want to do. We were introduced to speakers with STEM-based careers. ‘STEM’ stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths. STEM careers are predicted to grow to more than 9 million between 2012 and 2022. The speakers all gave us a brief overview of their jobs and how they got there. We then played bingo – we had to move around and find people with all the things described on our lists such as ‘find someone who dyes their hair’.

Girls4STEMPic3Later on, we were introduced to two members of the University along with a few members of other schools. We went to another room and our task was to create an app for the well-being of the elderly by giving them ways to stay fit, eat healthily and make their lives easier. The winners were then announced in the room we started in and my group ‘My P.A.’ had won! We went to the front to collect our prizes.

I loved all the things they did for us, they ordered pizza for us, gave us prizes for our hard work, organised speakers with busy schedules to talk to us and even gave us beautiful, intricate cupcakes with the name of the university on them!

I found this day incredibly productive and inspiring; #Girls4STEM taught me that you shouldn’t let stereotypes of gender define you and what you want to be. I am so grateful I had this experience to socialise and meet new people because it taught me that you don’t need to know someone for a long period of time just to get on with them and create a successful project. I had so much fun working with girls from other schools to create the app and won a prize that I didn’t even expect!

Girls4STEMPic4At the beginning of the day, we were asked “Who would like to have a STEM-based career in the future?” and there were about two hands raised. By the end of the day, we were asked the same question again and almost the whole room had raised their hands, including me. STEM completely changed my perspective on STEM-based careers and showed me that you can do anything you want to, the only person restricting yourself is you!

For the girls of SMCH, all our aims are the same: to be successful and happy.

St Mary's pupils remember the victims of the Westminster attack

On Thursday morning, pupils from St Mary's joined the Mayor of Croydon and other dignitaries as the Croydon Borough flag was lowered to half-mast in remembrance of the victims of this week's Westminster attack. The pupil representatives joined the Mayor in the Town Hall to sign the Book of Condolence.

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