March 2013 - Press Release
The rustle of palm fronds and the gentle snap of the strands broke the peaceful silence at Saint Paul’s Catholic High School in Wythenshawe last week as pupils prepared the delicate palm crosses that they and their families would wear in celebration of Palm Sunday.
Palm Sunday marks the beginning of Holy Week for western Christians, the most sacred period on the Christian calendar. The week is marked by a multitude of emotions. Christians enter the week rejoicing and waving palms as they recall Christ’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem, then suffer with Christ through his trial and crucifixion until Easter Sunday and the celebration of his resurrection.
“The pupils were very enthusiastic and patient as they tackled this intricate and delicate craft. I have found that our pupils love making things when there is a purpose,” explained Ms Catherine Platt, School Counsellor. “We wanted to stimulate our pupils’ reflection as Easter approaches. Recalling the entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem, churches distribute palm leaves in remembrance of people who waved them and carpeted his path with them. One of the things you can do with these palm leaves is to fold them into crosses”
Ms Platt added: “Making palm crosses is a long-held Catholic tradition which we are keen to keep alive at Saint Paul’s. My Uncle Frank had taught me to make the crosses, he tells stories about how they had to make the palms last during the Second World War as they couldn’t access new palms and it has always remained in my mind. Also, one of our pupils, Excite Mukalazi, who has come from Uganda showed us how they make the palm crosses there.”
“We encourage our pupils to reflect on their faith and its meaning to them and activities such as this help us to do so,” commented Mr Wiktor Daron, Head Teacher at Saint Paul’s. “The small crosses made of palm leaf, act to remember the palm leaves which the people of Jerusalem waved when Jesus arrived, and to remember the cross on which he died.”
Notes for Editors
1.The 2012 GCSE results for Saint Paul’s Catholic High School were its best ever with 90% of pupils achieving 5 A* - Cs. 59% of pupils gained 5 A*-C plus English and Maths. This is the eighth year in succession that the school has improved its GCSE pass rate.
2.Saint Paul’s received congratulations from the Rt Hon David Laws MP Minister of State for Schools when they were recognised as one of the 100 most improved schools in the country in 2012.
3.At the last Ofsted inspection of the school in March 2010 the following comments were made by the inspectors: “Good teaching enables students to make good progress and achieve well. Relationships between teachers and students are strong. They result in good behaviour.”
The report stated that the school is “enabling students to learn effectively and make good progress. Attainment is rising rapidly as a result. Achievement for all students, including those with special educational needs and/or disabilities and those with English as an additional language, is good.”
4.The Ofsted report is reinforced by the preceding inspection of the school by the Diocese of Shrewsbury under the guidance of the Bishop of Shrewsbury. The Diocese report stated “Saint Paul’s is a good Catholic school. The Head and Senior Leadership Team have a clear vision ….. an outstanding feature of the school is the pastoral care of students and the support of staff.”
5.Saint Paul’s was the first school in Manchester to be awarded Engineering College status.
6.The work of Saint Paul’s drama teacher, Ms Ellie Brookes, was recognised with her winning the much coveted North West Teacher of the Year Award. Also Head of Humanities at Saint Paul’s, Ms Ursula Gallagher, gained third place in the Outstanding New Teacher of the Year category of the Northern Area Teacher of the Year.
7.Lively approaches to teaching maintain vigour and ensure that firm foundations are established for higher level work. The school has a modern approach to learning supported by a programme of constant refurbishment and development of its facilities and resources. Saint Paul’s is currently undergoing a total rebuild with the new school buildings due to open in November.
8.The aims of the school are to:
•Teach and foster a Christian perspective in all that it does
•Provide teaching of the highest calibre
•Promote excellence in all areas
•Develop the ability, talents and character of each pupil, enabling them to make their own unique contribution to school life
•Encourage boys to play their part in helping the community run smoothly and effectively, by taking on responsibility and leadership