- Headteacher introduction to December Newsletter
- Christmas Concert
- Art News Christmas 2018
- China Exchange
- KS3 Code Club
- Tomorrow's Engineer Robotics
- The C & W Berry children's art competition
- Lourdes Bag Packing
- Travelling Crib
- Nugent and Derian House
- Carol Singing
- St Catherine's Hospice
- ROCK FM - Cash for kids
- School Advent Reconciliation Service
- Community Reconciliation Service
- Remembering those who gave their yesterdays for our today
- Holy Souls
- All Saints
- Christ the King Feast Day!
- Guardian Angel Programme
- Y7 Friendship Day
- Commissioning of Chaplaincy and Faith in Action students
- Prayer games
- Cross Country
- Sports Hall Athletics
- Y11 GCSE PE Rock Climbing
- Sports Leadership Academy
- Boys Football
Welcome to the Christmas edition of our newsletter.
As you will see from the number of articles included, we have had an extremely busy term! We are delighted with the range of achievements our pupils have accomplished and the variety of activities they have been involved in.
Our school motto is to ‘Let Your Light Shine’, and it is important that every child is given this opportunity. At St Mary’s, we want our pupils to have the confidence to excel in a variety of ways: academically; on the sports pitch; through their creative gifts or by recognising our duty to social justice by helping those less fortunate.
This newsletter gives you an insight into the many wonderful events we have participated in and benefitted from, and, of course, many thanks must go to the staff of St Mary’s who dedicate many hours of their time to offer these opportunities.
I hope you enjoy the newsletter and, on behalf of all here at St Mary’s, I’d like to wish you all a very peaceful Christmas and a healthy and Happy New Year. Many thanks for your continued support.
Mr P Thompson
Countdown to Christmas
The Christmas season was well and truly kicked off in style on Wednesday 12th December with the annual festive Christmas concert. Named “Countdown to Christmas”, the evening was exactly that. It was a fantastic event which showcased the wealth of talent we have here at St Mary’s. The performances spanned all three performing arts disciplines of music, drama and dance. A huge thank you must go to Miss Burbidge for her excellent adaptation of “The Grinch” which went down a treat on the night. In addition, a big thank you to Miss Thornhill, who helped to coordinate two excellent dances for year 7 and year 9.
There were so many highlights to the evening that it would be impossible to mention them all here. However, I would like to commend all performers for their outstanding performances, dedication and commitment to this important aspect of school life. It was particularly poignant to look out from the front and see the school community gathered together, encouraging one another and singing Christmas carols together.
Musical performances included a rousing rendition of “Let it Go” by Jenna Cartlidge and Jay Wallbank, an outstanding drum performance by George Cobham and a multi-cultural “Silent Night” with verses in German by Ronja Kruck and Polish by Natalia Rolirad and Malgorzata Kowalska.
There was also plenty of opportunity for the audience to get involved too and they performed particularly well in a version of “12 Days of Christmas”, including some quite challenging actions. The performance was so good that two tables received a free strip of raffle tickets! It was particularly amusing to see our head teacher, Mr Thompson, and Fr Jonathan getting into the Christmas spirit by trying their best to keep up with the actions.
The evening was very festive and the wonderful refreshments and table decorations added to the whole feel of it. Thanks go to Mrs Martin and her team for a wonderful selection of Christmas cakes, biscuits, mulled wine and juice. In addition to this, it was great to see the Faith in Action stall and a big thanks go to those pupils who joined in and read passages of the Christmas story on the night.
Last, but certainly by no means least, was the performance by the staff choir. A magical performance of “Rockin around the Christmas Tree” saw staff from numerous departments dancing round a human Christmas tree whilst singing! Many thanks to Miss Corris (Christmas tree), Miss Walmsley, Mrs Webb, Mrs Billington, Mrs Danson, Mrs Coates and Mrs Conway for an excellent performance. The outfits were great too!
Finally, may I take this opportunity to thank all the students who took part and made the evening so special. As well as the children, I want to thank parents, carers, grandparents, aunties, uncles, friends and all who came to support the ongoing work of the music department. All that is left for me now is to wish you all a very merry Christmas and a happy and peaceful new year.
Mr J McMahon
Head of Music
It’s been exciting times in the Art department this term, with many competitions and visits taking place. Bethany Marsh, from Year 8, entered the ‘International Lions Club Peace Poster’ competition and won first prize in, not only the Leyland and District competition, but also the Northwest regional final. Bethany’s design now goes on to be judged for the national competition. Year 7 have just completed the annual ‘Design the School Christmas Card’ competition. As always, the standard was very high and after much deliberation Charlotte Carr’s design won first prize, Lin Ting Chen won second prize and finally third prize went to Faye Deacon. Congratulations to all!
During October half term, I was lucky enough to take part in a Chinese exchange with the school and 14 other pupils. We visited the south of China, a city called Fuzhou. Whilst, we were there, the fifteen of us got to go to school and take part in lessons.
My first impression of the school was that it was huge. Number 18 middle school has 7000 students split over two campuses. The campus we visited had five buildings: the main building, the administrative building, the gym, the experimental building and the multimedia building. These buildings ranged from four to eight floors. Whilst at the school we visited two of the buildings: the main building and the multi-media building. School starts at 8 o’clock in the morning and finishes at 5pm; with eight lessons a day each lasting 45 minutes. Lunch is at around 12 o’clock and they have 45 minutes to eat, and as there are local restaurants close by, the pupils can leave school premises to buy food. As well as the long school days during the week, students often have classes on a Saturday.
Everywhere you looked there were students. As we walked through the school, everyone was looking at us; smiling, waving. Firstly, we were greeted by the headmaster of the school and then he invited some pupils to perform for us. We couldn’t believe the talent of the students, they could do everything from singing to dancing to amazing calligraphy. We were offered a warm welcome by everyone we met and we couldn’t wait to see what life at a Chinese school was really like.
Our first lesson was English. It was intimidating at first, being sat in a class of people we didn’t know, but the students were very friendly and made us feel included. We introduced ourselves and then began the lesson. The teacher spoke very good English, so it was easy to communicate with her, whereas the students were at different levels of English, some were much easier to communicate with than others.
Afterwards, we had PE. This class was a bit more difficult because the teacher didn’t speak English, so we had to have a translator. At first the instructions were a little muddled, we started with a quick warm up and then the teacher showed us how to play table tennis. The technique was a little different to how we learnt it at school, so it took a while to get the hang of. After a few tries though, we were playing against the other students and the teacher. Even Mrs. Blundell had a go! Although there was little communication between us and the students, we still had great fun playing against them; especially when it got competitive. The lesson flew by, and in truth, I think we all really wanted to stay for longer.
The next day, we were all in separate classes which was quite scary. Luckily, we were all with our host students which lifted a bit of the pressure. We all went to our lessons, my first being music. Once again, this teacher didn’t speak any English so my host student, Kiki, had to translate what she could for me. The lesson was about traditional Chinese music, which is very different to our traditional music.
The next lesson was English again. For this class the teacher asked if I could stand up and read out some words to the class. This was terrifying as I didn’t really know what I was doing and the only person in the class that I knew was Kiki, but I stood up and read the forty or so words aloud and the class repeated them after me. After reading, the class applauded, and the teacher was very encouraging. The rest of the lesson was about “What’s in the news?”
Whilst in school in China, I learnt that a lot of the things we presume about China are totally incorrect. Many people imagine the schools being very strict and militarized, but that is not the case, they are actually similar to schools in England. But one thing shocked many of us, occasionally, students will sleep in lessons. I asked Kiki about it and she said that because students have so much work to do, sometimes the only time they can sleep is in lessons. Another thing that was very different to our schools is that students will do their homework in class, and that they get one piece of homework for every class of the day, for their next lesson. So, it’s no surprise that students do homework in class, but still shocking. I can now understand why the Chinese students are very intelligent people, they obviously work very hard and spend a great deal of time on their studies. They seem to do everything to perfection and it makes me question if we are quite lazy in comparison.
By Kasia Kuczaj (Year 10)
In their first term at LSM, it is clear that we have some computer enthusiasts and keen programmers. In order for our pupils to develop these skills in a more informal environment, this year we have launched our first ever Code Club. The club is organised and led my Mrs Doran, but is delivered by one of our former pupils, Liam Hill. Liam was an exemplary student, and his hard work paid off when he was awarded a Level 8 in his GCSE Computer Science examination this year.
The club is a chance for pupils to meet and develop their programming ability through a series of mini projects. Projects are easy-to-follow, step-by-step guides that our young people use to make their own games, animations, and websites with coding languages such as Scratch, HTML/CSS, and Python. Whilst the project is school based, there is nothing to stop the pupils accessing the resources and developing their work in their own time.
Our first cohort have just completed their first challenge using Scratch, and have been awarded with their certificates to recognise their hard work and participation. The sessions will resume after Christmas, giving another group of pupils then chance to start programming!
For more information, please visit: https://codeclub.org/en/
Each year, schools across the UK are invited to take part in a robotics challenge that will see student teams involved in ‘aviation missions’. Teamwork, robots, design, research, fun and lots of LEGO® are all part of the mix. Last year our team, Bits and Bytes, unfortunately didn't get to compete as our heat at BAE Systems was cancelled due to snow. We are happy to say that this year we have been able to re-enter our team so they will be able to show off their hard work. Our heat is held in February, so in the meantime the team are meeting weekly to brush up on their skills and perfect their robot designs.
Wish us luck!
Bethany Marsh entered the C & W Berry children's art competition to mark the occasion of Bobby the Iron Horse statue in Leyland reaching 1 year of age. Bethany’s work was outstanding, and she was awarded the first prize- which was a large range of art materials and the Lucky Horseshoe Plaque.
In History this term we looked at the topic of slavery. Pupils were asked to create a slavery project to represent a key area of the topic.
Pupils created an edible plantation and a stunning 3D model of the slave trade triangle to name a couple.
Well done year eight!
On the 30th November, twenty-four Year 11 Sociology students went to the Sessions House in Preston to enrich their understanding of how courts work. Before the trip, students were assigned roles and were given a briefing of what it is that they were required to do within the court room. After a talk from a representative of the National Justice Museum, the students were given time to prepare for their roles. This included preparing questions if they were on the prosecution or defence team and preparing their answers to these questions if they were a witness! The court trial included lots of intriguing and probing questions – with some excellent responses from all. Even the facilitators were impressed with some of our student responses! All pupils were actively involved within the trial and said that it was an insightful day into how the courtroom works.
The Faith in Action team rallied together, giving up a Saturday morning and afternoon to raise money for several of our students travelling to Lourdes next year. Students packed shoppers bags in our local Tesco store. The students that will be attending Lourdes will undertake a variety of roles throughout the week whilst on pilgrimage. Some of which is taking part in celebrations, ranging from assisting the sick in getting to Mass, taking them shopping, or simply chatting over cup of tea.
To take home the true meaning of Christmas, Year 7 and 8 students were invited to take a travelling crib home to place on their Christmas tree and to pray together as a family. Taken from the Mexican tradition, Posada, students and their families were able to pray and reflect on what makes Christmas, and importantly, to come together as a family at Christmas! Well done to all involved!
This year, we were approached by Nugent to make 15 special food hampers to support local families within our archdiocese. The purpose of this programme is to bring the joy and happiness of Christmas to those which Christmas might be a difficult time for. Tasked with this challenge, the teams from Chaplaincy, Faith in Action and Charity student’s arranged a fun way to promote and gather the food. Special thanks go to Tesco for loaning us a trolley, which was beautifully decorated by our students. Throughout form time and break, student’s collected food donations in their shopping trolley. For the two weeks of Advent our students and staff brought in luxury Christmas food items, so much so that we actually filled 30 boxes of food! Well done everyone that contributed and thank you for making Christmas happier throughout our Archdiocese!
Special thanks goes to Jess and Eve who contributed greatly to Nugent. Not only did the young ladies make 12 luxurious Christmas hampers for Nugent, but they also promoted a charity close to everyone’s hearts in our school, Derian House. Not only did they do various fundraising activities within their neighbourhood, but they also raised the awareness of this charity by contacting local organisations who contributed to their fundraising. In addition to raising the awareness of Derian, Mimi gathered specific food items for a local family being supported by Derian. Well done ladies for all your hard work and support!
To spread the joy and peace of Christmas, a small group of students travelled to our local Tesco store to entertain shoppers. Our group sang traditional Christmas Carols to raise money for students traveling to Lourdes. Special thanks goes to students and staff that supported this joyous event
A charity that is very special to many people in our school and parish community is St Catherine’s. Christmas can be a difficult time of the year for many people and with this in mind, our Technology department kindly volunteered their expertise to create Angels with personalised messages. Special thanks to all staff and students that purchased an Angel to raise money for this charity.
Special thanks goes to Chloe and Lewis, who organised the Cash for Kids competition in school. Both students sold raffle tickets for students to have the opportunity to win a luxury advent calendar containing various beauty products. This charity supports the most vulnerable children under 18 within the Lancashire area.
As we journeyed closer to Christmas, we are reminded that we are to prepare ourselves spiritually for the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. Our reconciliation service this year was based on Matthew 4:12-17 “Repent for the Kingdom of God is near”. Students had the opportunity to reflect on how their lives may have turned away from the love of God and how, through this healing Sacrament, they can get back on the ‘right path’ and be the people God calls them to be. Special thanks goes to all staff and students involved, especially our visiting priests, Fr. Jonathan, Fr. Xavier, Fr. Bernard, Fr. Raphael and Fr. Dermott.
This year, we were invited to lead the evening Advent Reconciliation service in our parish church, St Mary’s. It was such a joy to witness the enthusiasm and commitment demonstrated by our many Faith in Action teams. Lizzy, who is completing her Gold award, composed a drama and a script that was used as part of the examination of conscience. Special thanks goes to the students involved and the parish for giving us this opportunity to ‘Let our Light Shine!’
November 11th was the First World War centenary, marking 100 years since the First World War. All students and staff were issued a name of a soldier that served during World War One and we were asked to pray for that soldier and his family throughout the month of Holy Souls. It was also an honour for our school community to be invited by the Lord Mayor to present a poppy wreath to the Leyland Cenotaph on Remembrance Day. Mayor Councilor Graham Walton led a parade from the Civic Centre, in Leyland, to the cenotaph to lay a wreath and observe a minute’s silence at 11am. After the minutes silence, the Lord Mayor reflected on the war, stating “It’s really important that we all take the time to stop and remember those who lost their lives or suffered catastrophic injuries on the frontline” Pictured are several of our students in both school and cadet uniforms.
The month of November is dedicated to the Month of Holy Souls. This is the month that we take a moment to remember and pray for all our loved ones whose pilgrimage on earth has ended. Students and staff were invited to write a name of a loved one on our prayer tree along with placing the name on our prayer wall. The names on the prayer wall were remembered and prayed for every Friday during our morning Mass in the Chapel.
On the feast of All Saints, students were invited to a small prayer service to focus on what various Saints did and how, we too, are called to be modern day Saints. Students were reminded that Saints were ordinary people that did extraordinary things for the Greater Glory of God. During the Collective Worship session, students decorated their own ‘Saints’ in the shapes of gingerbread people. A great time was had by all and all were challenged to be the Saints that God calls them to be.
It was such a beautiful experience to witness so many of our students attending the Birthday of the Church - Christ the King. Many of our students participated in a mini drama based on the Gospel as well as supported by being Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion.
Prior to the breaking up for summer holidays, it was agreed that the current year 9 students would take the lead in delivering the programme. The year 9 students were tasked to demonstrate their leadership and communication skills by providing the year 7s with a tour of our buildings and showing them where their classrooms will be. We find that the programme helps build confidence in year 9 students along with providing support and a ‘friendly face’ to the year 7s.
We based our Year 7 Friendship day on Luke 6:31, focusing on how we should treat each other in the same way in which we too wish to be treated. Year 7 students and form tutors, along with their Pastoral Leader and assistant, all gathered in our parish Church, St Mary’s, where students enjoyed a variety of ice breaker games on the piazza followed by collective worship. They were then able to explore with their form tutors what qualities make a good friendship, and what to do when friendships break down. A great time was had by all especially during the talent show, which this year group certainly demonstrated that they are packed with talent!
Special thanks goes to Fr. Jonathan, our parish priest, and all students that were able to make the Friday morning Mass in the school chapel. We celebrated the patron Saint of Chaplaincy, St. Martin of Tours, focusing on service to others and loving one another as Christ loved us. The feast was moved to Friday as it falls on the 11th of November, which is also Remembrance Day.
We recognise the importance of gathering together as a community and making people feel welcome. This is particularly true for our New Year 7 students. It can always be daunting starting a new school, therefore throughout the first term, our chaplaincy team led various prayer game activities in the chapel during lunch times. It is a great opportunity for students to make new friends, build confidence and importantly, pray together!
This term we have seen a vast number of pupils down for netball practice! Year 10 and Year 11 have now completed all their games, Year 11 have been successfully moderated in their GCSE practical, with Year 10 having had a wonderful season, winning the majority of their games! Year 8 and 9 have started their season very well indeed, racking up some great team performances! In particular the Year 8 and 9 girls have had great success in coaching the newly developing Year 7 team. A truly outstanding individual performance has also come from Ece in Year 10, who has been selected to represent Lancashire County in netball - congratulations again Ece, we are all very proud!
With the new term approaching in January, we wish year 8 and 9 continued success in their seasons and Year 7 all the best of luck as their season begins!
On Saturday, 6th October on a bright but cold morning, the South Ribble X-Country championship took place at Hutton Grammar School.
All of our pupils performed extremely well in tough conditions but we must applaud our Year 7 pupils who were placed 3rd and 8th in their races. This was their first experience of the x-country and they represented themselves and the school superbly.
A huge congratulations.
On Monday 3rd December, our Year 7 and 8 girls took part in an indoor athletics competition at Lostock Hall. The girls all performed really well against strong opposition and there were some outstanding individual performances. On Tuesday, 4th December, it was the Year 7 and 8 boys turn. Again, all performed superb, pushing themselves until the end.
On Saturday, 15th December, a group of twenty six Year 11 pupils (accompanied by Miss. Thornhill and Mr. Park), went to High Adventure Outdoor Education Centre, in Cowling near Skipton for a residential indoor climbing weekend. The purpose of the weekend was to try and improve pupil grades, on the practical side of the course. All the pupils were superb and worked extremely hard over the course of the two days. There was also time on the Saturday night to have a speed climbing competition. Most pupils are also working hard in the classroom in preparation for their GCSE PE mock exam, which takes place in January.
This term the St Mary’s Sports Leadership Academy have been working superbly behind the scenes, leading a number of sports event/teams both in school and also in the local community. All are working extremely hard, completing their Lead2Employability award. A number of girls have gone above and beyond, setting up their own Year 7 dance class in order to prepare a dance for the school Christmas show. Keep up the hard work guys!
It has been a very busy term with football fixtures, with all year groups playing in the South Ribble League, against other schools in the district. The Year 7 football team have had a superb start to the season, winning four of their first five games of the season and currently sit second in the league behind Priory. The team are also through to the quarter finals of the Lancashire Cup, after beating St Bede’s of Ormskirk 1-0 on Friday, 7th December, courtesy of a wonder strike from B. Coxhead. The team play Haslingden High School at home next, with the game due to be played in early February. A special mention to defender M. Orme, who has captained the side magnificently well. He is our very own Virgil Van Dijk!
The Year 10 team have also had a great start to the league campaign and have had notable wins against Balshaws and All Hallows. The combination of T. Ball and F. Hatch is making a real difference to the team in the attacking third of the pitch and with captain, M. Lawrenson, marshalling the defence superbly at the back, there are high hopes that the boys will have a strong finish to the season. The individual performance of the season so far, has been M. Pallet’s hat trick against Balshaws away.