- Welcome to the Easter edition of our newsletter
- SchoolZine App
- High School Musical
- World Book Day
- English News
- English Career Encounter
- Red Admiral Youth Band
- 'Bits & Bytes'
- Shop Till You Drop!
- Science trip to the Big Bang Fair
- Science Club
- Art News Easter 2019
- Careers Guidance & Inspiration
- Dragons Den
- Lourdes Pilgrimage
- Feast of Saint Blaise
- Pancake Day
- Faith in Action
- CAFOD Fast Day
- Laudato Si
- Y9 Relationships Day
- CAFOD Student Ambassador Scheme
- Lenten Reconciliation
- Feast of Saint Joseph
- Jerusalem Easter Cards
- Palm Cross Challenge
- Crans-Montana Ski Course 2019
- Y7 Football
- Y7-11 Netball
- GCSE P.E. Update
- P.E. Interhouse
- Swimming Gala
- P.E. Employee Encounter
Once again, we have enjoyed a very busy term, with plenty of enriching activities for pupils in all years. Congratulations to all our pupils who have participated in, or contributed to, the ongoing success of St Mary’s.
Our newsletter showcases the full range of how the pupils have ‘Let Their Light Shine’ in this term. We always try our best to ensure that pupils have opportunities to develop their talents, help serve others, try new skills as well as learning how to stay safe – and here are plenty of examples of how we do this on a daily basis.
Please can I ask as we approach the Easter holidays that you keep our Year 11 pupils in your thoughts and prayers. Their GCSE’s begin in May and they have worked tremendously hard to be ready for all their exams. We hope they demonstrate their true talent and receive the rewards they deserve. On that note, may I thank your child’s teachers who have worked tirelessly to ensure success.
Easter is the most special time in the Church’s calendar, where we take heart in the message of Christ’s resurrection. We have marked the season through assemblies and with our end of term mass. May I wish you all a very restful Easter holiday and thank you again for your ongoing support.
Mr P Thompson
Parents please note that the schoolzine app is our preferred form of communication. This allows you to follow school updates through your mobile device, so no more lost letters at the bottom of bags! SZapp is an app which works in conjunction with the school website. The app allows us to communicate much more efficiently with you. There are lots of great features such as an integrated calendar, electronic forms and an easy way to filter information relevant to your child / children. To receive information, you must register by downloading the app. Instructions as to how to download the app can be found at https://smchsleyland.schoolzineplus.co.uk/szapp
The 4-digit pin is 2820 and is specific to St Mary’s.
This month has seen the school production of “High School Musical.” Over 40 students took part in what was a fantastic showcase of the musical, dramatic and dance talent we have here at St Mary’s. The cast were exceptional and performed three evening performances and a matinee performance for local primary schools. Audiences were stunned and captivated by the valorous vocals and accomplished acting of the whole cast, but special mentions go to Steph Williams Y10 (Troy), Jenna Cartlidge Y11 (Gabriella), Jay Wallbank Y11 (Ryan) and Jess Smith Y11 (Sharpay) who excelled themselves night after night. Each performer should be extremely proud of what they have accomplished. The cast have worked immensely hard since September and committed themselves to rehearsing every Tuesday since then, including a half term rehearsal and the occasional Friday after school, too. All of the hard work that went into the performances was not the whole story either! There were numerous helpers who ensured that the show could run as smoothly as it did and both Mr McMahon and Miss Burbidge would like to thank the back stage crew, those on sound or lighting, including Declan Worden (Y10) and choreographer Hannah Kellett (Y11).
The show was a huge success and it wouldn’t have been the same without your support, so thank you to all who were able to come and watch the show and share in the joy that was High School Musical! Plans are now underway for our next production for 2020. Watch this space! Auditions after Easter!
Mr McMahon and Miss Burbidge
This month the English department have been working hard to promote a love of reading!
Our team have been in assemblies talking about their favourite reads and encouraging students to discuss their own. This coincided with ‘World Book Day’; there was a real buzz in the school as forms competed to win a prize by decorating their classroom door as a book cover. Well done to Miss Wilson’s form (10S), who won for their fabulous depiction of ‘The Wizard of Oz’!
In addition to this, year 7 have taken part in a sponsored read, with which they were challenged to read for 20 minutes per day to help raise money for some fabulous new class readers for our department. The total raised is still to be calculated so … watch this space!
We also took some G & T year 10 pupils to Runshaw for a couple of English taster days:
The Runshaw English Challenge took place in December 2018. They participated in a round-robin event that tested teams’ knowledge across the whole range of our subject: spelling, punctuation and grammar; word meanings and etymologies (where they come from); the history of English; famous literary quotes; authors and titles; and it gave them the opportunity to show off their creative prowess. An overall enjoyable and competitive day with other schools from across Lancashire.
‘The Full English’ took place in February 2019. Students with a passion for English were invited to a morning devoted to celebrating its rich variety. Focussing on a chosen theme, students participated in three diverse sessions exploring the worlds of literature and language. There was something for everyone, from modern poetry and an array of fictional and non-fictional narrative voices, to lively discussion, intense analysis and creative writing.
Last term year 7 studied ‘Prisons’ as part of their nonfiction unit, looking at life in prison from the 19th century to today and why so many white, working class boys make up the majority of the prison population, through to the life of Malala (a prisoner to education in her own country).
Year 9 were also studying a gripping theme on ‘Crime & Punishment’ looking at the death penalty and criminals such as Timony McVeigh and how his execution compared to one in Dickens’ time in the 19th century. They finished by studying the Stephen Lawrence case and presented a campaign on tackling Knife Crime to Preston City Council (Mrs Webb).
On Friday, 8th February we had a guest speaker, Phil Burns, give a talk to two year 7 and year 9 groups about being a prison officer as one of their career encounters. Phil had both audiences eating out of the palm of his hand as he regaled tales about some of the toughest prisoners he has encountered in his career, to the daunting job of looking for homemade shivs. He also discussed the effects of drugs on the prison population. Pupils asked Phil some really interesting and thought-provoking questions and thoroughly enjoyed his presentation.
In January, Red Admiral Youth Band competed in the British Open Youth Championships at Preston Guild Hall and a number of St Mary’s pupils formed part of the band.
They were competing against some of the best Youth Bands in the country including the current European Champions, the previous years’ National and European Champions and bands that have been established for many years and have won numerous awards and contests. These bands tend to be made up of players who are in their late teens with several years of playing experience.
Red Admiral Youth Band’s youngest player turned 7 only a couple of weeks prior to the competition and most of their players are aged between 10 and 13, with many only having played for a year or so.
They put on a fantastic performance and actually came 4th out of the 8 bands participating. This was an amazing achievement for them and definitely worth a mention in our newsletter.
‘Bits & Bytes’ prove that they could be tomorrow’s engineers….
In Februrary, schools across the UK were invited to take part in a robotics challenge that saw student teams involved in ‘aviation missions’. Teamwork, robots, design, research, fun and loads of LEGOwere all part of the mix. The programme gets students (11-14s) working together to solve real-world engineering, technology and computing challenges.
The journey started in school when our pupils attended our afterschool robotics club in order to prepare for the challenges. Whilst the pupils were given initial input and guidance, the problem solving, robot building and programming was left completely up to them.
The team researched, designed, planned and implemented their own solution to a contemporary engineering problem. On the day, this was presented to a team of prestigious judges with a wealth of experience within the engineering and aviation industry. The judges were representatives of the Royal Air Force, Rolls-Royce and BaE Systems. Judges also took the time to talk to the pupils about potential new careers, and help put their school learning into context.
Our pupils were an absolute credit to the school! They conducted themselves fantastically on the day and really got involved in all challenges that they were faced with. Whilst they didn’t quite make it through to the finals, they excelled in several heats and were recognised for their achievements in particular challenges, namely the speed challenge in which they left the other teams for dust!
Special mention should go to George Gummer for his optimism, team spirit and ‘motivational team talks’, whilst Harvey Barton went the extra mile taking home the kit to refine and develop ideas in his own time, as well as being particularly quick at thinking on his feet and modifying his designs on the day based on the challenges set.
We hope to re-run the robotics club again with a new team of budding LEGO master builders and programmers. Given the fantastic experience had, we would like to consider entering another teams in next year’s challenge. If your child is in Year 7 and has an interest, please ask them to see Mrs Doran for more details.
314 pupils and 17 staff members experienced an afternoon at the Trafford Centre for the half year rewards trip on February 14th. Congratulations to all of those pupils who achieved the fantastic 50 point score to attend this exciting and enjoyable trip.
Year 10 pupils enjoyed a visit to the Big Bang fair at the NEC in Birmingham recently. The event was well attended by schools all across the country and gave our pupils the opportunity to see just where Science could take you as a career! There were many stalls and exhibitions from various companies including Virgin, National Geographic, GSK, BAE systems, the MoD as well as smaller exhibitions of school projects. As always there were plenty of pops and bangs and many hands on experiences, including using your brainwaves to fly a helicopter. Year 10 pupils thoroughly enjoyed the visit and left feeling inspired and enthused about where Science could take them in the future.
What an amazing start to Science club! We have had a great response from the pupils who have demonstrated a thirst and enthusiasm for Science. Over the past few weeks the pupils have been revealing invisible messages using fire and creating bath bombs. Check out what our students had to say about Science club.
'Science club is fun and it teaches you new things that you wouldn’t learn in normal lessons'. Adam Cruikshank.
'I enjoy Science club because the experiments are fun'. Ashlee Morley.
It’s been exciting times in the Art department this term, with many competitions and exhibitions taking place. Bethany Marsh from Year 8 entered the ‘International Lions Club Peace Poster’ competition and reached the regional final. Her design only just missed out on winning the national competition. Bethany and her family attended a special presentation in Warrington where she received a trophy, £100 prize and a special shield to display in school. Well done Bethany!
Recently Year 11 Art GCSE pupils had their work exhibited in ‘South Ribble’s Secondary School Art Exhibition’. The standard was extremely high and several of the pupils received certificates of commendation from Nikki Taylor, the Head of Visual Arts at Runshaw College. The display was very impressive with a variety of media and techniques used.
Year 10 pupils undertook the Mock Interview experience on 31st January. All year 10 pupils composed a personal statement and submitted it to an employer / training provider prior to their interviews. The interviewers then had time to read the applications and provide written feedback on each pupil’s personal statement. Following the 20 minute interviews, students then received written feedback on their interview performance, along with their personal statement feedback. The training providers and employers who interviewed the pupils spoke very highly of them and complimented them on their interview performance and general maturity. This experience serves to provide our pupils with a rigorously checked personal statement in advance of the post 16 applications this time next year. The idea being that the hard work will have been done in advance of the deadline which falls at a time when GSCE work is reaching it’s peak. Pupils have been advised to keep their personal statement and their written feedback, for this very reason. For the first time, the Mock Interview process will also serve to inform pupils sampling experiences in the summer term, with visits to Leyland Trucks, Myerscough and Preston’s colleges alongside Cardinal Newman and Runshaw.
Year 10 received their ‘My Future’ Super Learning Day on 7th March. Partner training providers and employers delivered sessions informing our pupils about all manner of careers opportunities and pathways, alongside related issues such as financial matters, pressure, stress, mental health and wellbeing and personal goals and achievement. These days are a fabulous addition to our regular school curriculum and they always receive very positive feedback from our pupils.
On 13th March, as part of Runshaw College Horizons, 10 of our year 9 pupils attended an Oxbridge Bound event. The day was targeted at our most academically able pupils who may be very likely to be facing an interview at Oxford or Cambridge or at another prestigious university in the future. The activities undertaken aimed to develop pupils ways of thinking and discussing, essential skills for interviews at prestigious universities. It is critically important to prepare students for any university application that requires an interview. This is of course standard for Oxbridge and for courses like medicine. In our experience, students need to understand and be well prepared for the rules of thinking, valuing and discussion which underpin such interviews. We believe that an introduction to ‘academic discourse’ cannot come too early and we were very grateful for the opportunity to attend the Oxbridge Bound event. Well done to our pupils who did themselves proud on the day.
Pleasingly 100% of our Year 11 pupils have now submitted at least one post 16 application, and so pupils are now tasked with ensuring they achieve the grades required to secure their places on their courses of preference. To provide a realistic experience, we hosted a Mock Exam Results Day for Year 11 pupils on 13th February. On this day pupils received their Mock Exam results and undertook a short interview with a training provider to see if they would be accepted on their career path of choice with the grades they had achieved. The objective of this day was to inspire and motivate pupils to fully apply themselves between now and the GCSE exams in June, to ensure they achieve their full potential.
A number of Year 9 and 10 pupils benefitted from a raising aspirations and careers information afternoon at the Lancashire Apprenticeship and Careers Expo. on 26th March. Students completed a short booklet about their wishes for the future and spoke to employers and training providers to find out the pathways they need to follow to achieve their goal. Or the pupils who were not sure what they would like to so, the event was the perfect place to discover the options available in the local area.
*If you are an employer or an employee and you feel you could contribute to our Careers Guidance and Inspiration programme, Mrs Pilling would love to hear from you; firstname.lastname@example.org*.
Our Year 11 PSHCEE ‘Keeping Safe’ Super Learning Day took place on 7th March. Sessions were delivered by: Lancashire Police regarding ‘County Lines and Knife Crime’; Lancashire Fire and Rescue on Dementia Friends; The NHS Community Team on Sexual Health and Consent and finally the Amy Winehouse Foundation explaining the frightening consequences of substance misuse. All year groups will receive an age appropriate PSHCEE Super Learning Day by the end of the academic year.
PSHCEE assemblies this term took the theme of Bullying, delivered by Mr Thompson. Sadly in our modern society, bullying takes many forms and so Mr Thompson spoke to all our year groups in a continuous effort to encourage our students to make good decisions to maintain their own and other pupils wellbeing, online and also in person.
Finally, our PSHCEE curriculum has benefitted from the direct input of Amnesty International and Lancashire Fire and Rescue Services. Both organisations have planned and delivered a topic of work informing pupils of their human rights and the impact each and every one of us can have in the world wide protection of peoples human rights; also how to spot a cardiac arrest or heart attack and undertake hands only CPR. We very much appreciate the input from our partner agencies and our pupils benefit greatly from their life changing messages.
On Tuesday, 5th March, eleven Year 11 Sociology students participated in the Sociological Dragons Den event at Runshaw College. Pupils had to work in groups to come up with solutions to gang culture and how they would reduce its effects. All three of our teams won, coming first, second and third! It was a great way for them to build on their own revision and knowledge along with a taster of A Level Sociology.
The phrase ‘time flies when you are having fun’ certainly rings true when we reflect on what we have accomplished so far this year! We began our new School term by welcoming various Christian ministers to help us focus on Christian Unity and how we are all called to be God’s Holy people. As we journeyed further into Epiphany, we channelled our focus on how we can use our gifts and talents to benefit the needs of others. Members of the Faith in Action group decided to launch a campaign to encourage staff and students to donate unwanted Christmas gifts to St Catherine’s Hospice. The famous ‘School Trolley’, (kindly donated by Tesco), collected over 7 boxes of items which will be sold by St Catherine’s to raise money. Special thanks to all those involved in this wonderful event.
Continuing the theme of using our ‘gifts and talents’ to benefit others, 5 of our students are travelling to Lourdes in July to be part of the Liverpool Archdiocese pilgrimage. They will be journeying with the assisted pilgrims to experiencing the renewal of spirituality. Students were given a task to raise as much money as possible to supplement the cost of this pilgrimage. Pictured above is one of several cake sales that have taken place, along with bag packing at our local Tesco store. Special thanks also goes to the Knights of St Columba and also the Knights Templar who have individually sponsored our students.
As we progressed further into the term, we celebrated the feast of ‘Saint Blaise’. We decided to bring the feast forward as the actual feast fell on a Sunday. Saint Blaise is the patron Saint for people with sore throats and for those struggling with coughs and colds. Students and staff were able to receive a throat blessing from Fr. Jonathan after Friday morning Mass and also at break. As a reminder of the blessing that they had received, people were invited to take a sweet that was blessed by Fr. Jonathan during Mass.
With St Valentine’s Day falling the week before the half term break, and with Lent rapidly approaching, we embraced the opportunity for the entire school community to focus on how we can ‘love’ and be better stewards to the earth. Staff and students wrote ‘pledges’ on love hearts of what they can do this year to care for the planet, and in doing so, help our brothers and sisters in poorer countries. The love hearts were creatively shaped into the world thanks to the Chaplaincy team. Year 9 Students were also given the opportunity in RE lessons, to reflect on how their ‘hands’ can bring about peaceful change, to combat pollution, poverty and injustice, whilst studying their GCSE topic on creation!
All the teams of Chaplaincy, Faith in Action and Charity really enjoy any opportunity to eat food! And what great way to prepare for Lent by celebrating Shrove Tuesday, commonly known as Pancake Day. Students were invited to remain behind after school to participate in ‘cooking pancakes’. A great time was had by all, and most of the pancakes made were edible! It was so encouraging to see so many students cooking pancakes and then distributing them to staff members throughout the buildings.
Throughout the year, the Faith in Action teams have worked tirelessly donating their time to charity and to service, along with attending Friday and Tuesday morning Mass. Year 7 students remained behind after school to complete their journals, and decided that they would surprise staff members with words of encouragement left on sticky notes on teacher desks and notice boards. Year 9 students decided that it would be important that people were prayed for. Various students visited staff members and students asking if they could pray for and with them. Both these activities were greatly appreciated by all participants.
As we sped into Lent, we focused on our charitable duties, especially to support CAFOD. With the recent reports of the cyclone that devastated parts of Mozambique, the Faith in Action teams organised the CAFOD FAST Day in school. Students and staff were invited to swap their usual lunch time meal for a cup of soup and bread. Special thanks goes to our amazing canteen ladies who produced the beautiful soup and to all those who generously donated, not only financially but also their time. Alongside this event, several students were invited to support an event that was taking place in our parish Church, St Mary’s. Whilst at Church, students were invited to bring with them non-perishable food which would be donated to the food bank. After Mass, the students participated in a shared meal along with having the opportunity to organise food parcels for the food bank and for the homeless within our Leyland community. Special thanks also go to our parish team for organising this beautiful event.
On a very cold yet dry afternoon, the Key Stage 4 Chaplaincy students were invited to help ‘tidy’ the outside of our parish Church, St Mary’s. The theme was based on Pope Francis's encyclical, ‘Laudato Si’, Care for our common home. Students worked quickly to keep warm, wearing protective gloves and ‘extended litter grabbers’ to collect the rubbish. Over 15 large bin bags were collected and it was so inspiring to hear that the students wanted to do this again! Special thanks to all involved!
We all know that relationships are so important, yet sometimes, they are one of the most difficult aspects in life. As part of our PSHCEE programme, we dedicate a full day for our Year 9 students to focus on what a healthy relationship looks like and relationships that can be damaging. Special thanks go to our visitors who made this day possible: Liz and Luke from LIFE Charity, Nicole Samual and Taylor from PAIS Church Community, Christine from CAFOD and Debbie from the Jesuit society.
As a Catholic Christian community, we have great concern on the protection and sustainability of our natural resources. Our world is facing so much climate change, pollution and global warming that we are called to ‘make a difference’. Taken from Pope Francis’ encyclical ‘Laudato Si’, we invited Christine from CAFOD to explain to our students how we can be better stewards of the earth. Several students signed up to the CAFOD Student Ambassador Programme whereby they focused on the impact of global warming in poorer countries, what we do to contribute to pollution and how we can make a difference. Students participated in various workshops and explored the many wonderful works of CAFOD in places such as Ethiopia and Mozambique.
We began Lent on Ash Wednesday, inviting all students and staff to receive Ashes. The Ashes reminds us all of our own mortality and calls us for repentence of sins. To support students and staff to prepare fully during Lent, we held several Reconciliation services, allowing participants to confess their sins to a priest should they so wish. The piece of Scipture used for the service was the parable of the ‘Prodigal Son’ taken from the Gospel of St Luke. The services were quite moving as everyone who participated had the opportunity to fully reflect on their lives and the areas that needed God’s forgiveness and guidance.
To celebrate the feast of St Joseph, dedicated prayer sheets were provided to all forms to support students during their daily acts of worship. In addition to the prayer sheet, students were challenged to find several ‘St Joseph Prayer cards’ strategically hidden within the school. The lucky students that found the cards were invited to join the Chaplaincy team during lunch time prayer to win a prize!
As Catholics and Christians, we are known as the ‘Easter People’. Being the Easter people we are encouraged to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ to all who we meet. This includes making sure our actions and words represent the loving teaching of our Saviour. Students were invited during lunch time to create Easter cards to be sent to the Christian Churches in Jerusalem. Students had the opportunity to pray for the Church in Jerusalem and design beautiful cards to bring joy and hope to our brothers and sisters around the world!
We always enjoy a good challenge here at St Mary’s and our students rose to the task to make crosses out of Palms. The challenge was set after a small prayer service in the school Chapel, with the best made palm cross winning a prize. Special thanks to all involved, especially the RE team who kindly judged the crosses!
10 pupils along with Miss Thornhill and Mr O’Hare embarked on the long awaited 2019 ski course to Crans-Montana, Switzerland. It was a fun filled week with huge progress made by all. By day 3 everyone, including the beginner group, had advanced to the top of Cry’Der, a superb achievement! Glorious sun shone all week, topped off by a group advancing as high as the Glacier, the tallest peak, with a steep black run down from the top.
The Year 7 football team continue to impress and on Tuesday, 26th March, they played in the final of the Chorley Hospital Cup against Parklands. Despite a 2-1 loss, the boys were excellent and should be very proud of their efforts. The team also reached the Quarter Finals of the Lancashire Cup in January, eventually losing a close game to Haslingden High School. The team will also be hoping to win the South Ribble Cup final at the beginning of May; however, they will have to navigate their way past Priory at home in the semi-final first. The semi-final will be played after the Easter holidays.
The Year 7 team before the game V Parklands, which was played at Chorley FC'S Victory Park.
We are now well under way with Rugby both in curriculum time and extra-curricular activities. The attendance for Thursday’s training sessions has been good, but we are always looking for more pupils to be present in order to extend their knowledge in the hope they will represent the school team.
This term has once again seen a flurry of practises, games and training sessions. Years 7, 8 and 9 have shown their commitment in the rain, hail, sleet and wind - a testament to our pupils determination to improve and succeed. Year 7 have played all their games now with a tournament running on 1st April, we have had nearly 21 girls down to practise each week, making selection for the 2 teams incredibly difficult. Each pupil has represented themselves incredibly well and we, as a department, are very proud of them all. Year 8 and 9 have carried on with their postponed games from before Christmas, again their commitment and dedication has been second to none! A great ear of Netball as always - well done girls!
Our Year 11 GCSE PE pupils have now completed their coursework and are awaiting their practical moderation on Thursday, 25th April! Revision sessions are well underway with a number of pupils staying back on a Friday 3-4pm. After Easter the hard work will continue in a final push ready for the countdown to the exams in May!
Our year 10 pupils are well on track with the course. The commitment to extra-curricular clubs has been superb – long may this continue into the summer term.
Interhouse competition has continued after school this year, with pupils gaining one point automatically for attendance. Well done to pupils who have been involved in events so far this year, taking part in: cross country, netball, dance, football, handball and the swimming gala. Results are close!! Next up in the summer term there will be cricket and rounders before the final interhouse competition of the year, Sports Day!
Year 8 and 9 girls at Interhouse Netball
It’s that time of year again for the Swimming gala to take centre stage in PE and for pupils to gain vital points for their house coming into the summer term. The participation levels for the 2018/19 event has been particularly high with over 130 Year 7 – 9 pupils eager to swim.
Some excellent performances throughout, in particular from Tom Arkwright and Rosie Linley. A special mention for Heather Singleton and Owen Brown, demonstrating a true St Mary’s spirit by undertaking three events each.
Well done to all involved.
'Thomas' were crowned overall winners.
On Monday, 25th February the P.E. department hosted their first Employer Encounter. Graeme Atkinson, from Preston North End community trust, came in to talk to Year 9 pupils about PNE and their alternative provision post St Mary’s. During this time he spoke about his career, the pathway he took to get there, roles and qualities needed and how the route he took has helped him in life. He also discussed different job roles in sport, the qualities required and again, how to get there. A very inspirational talk, which hopefully left food for thought as our pupils take the next step, choosing their options.