School News (125)

Tuesday, 25 March 2014 14:11

Saint Paul’s Pupil Sings at Twickenham!

Saint Paul's pupil, Ben Gill, was delighted to have been selected to perform the National Anthem alongside Laura Wright, England Rugby's official anthem singer at the RBS 6 Nations clash. Ben, who is in Year 10 at Saint Paul's Catholic High School in Wythenshawe joined pupils from other secondary schools to sing in front of a crowd of 82,000 fans as the England and Welsh teams lined up on Twickenham's hallowed turf.

Ben had been selected to represent the school as he was instrumental in starting off the Saint Paul's after-school Rugby club as the school joined the Rugby Football Union's All Schools programme.

The pyrotechnics at the ground illuminated his distinctive rugby shirt which he, and other Saint Paul's pupils, designed at a Canterbury kit design workshop. Canterbury, the official kit supplier to England Rugby, runs the workshops for each school to get pupils interested in, and actively involved in, rugby for their school. They use their school colours, emblems and mottos to inspire their drawings, before the kit manufacturer produces the final shirts that are worn with pride by the school's new rugby team.

England Head Coach, Stuart Lancaster, said: "The anthem is a powerful force of unity and on a match day is crucial in building support from the crowd to get behind the team before kick-off. Having created a shirt myself at one of the Canterbury workshops, where the students were also learning about the game's core values, I'm looking forward to seeing the huge variety of designs on show on Sunday."

Ms Laura Wild, Head of PE at Saint Paul's explained: "Whilst designing their shirts, the pupils were able to learn about the core values of rugby, the pride associated with the shirt and the importance of colours, logos and emblems."

"The Rugby Football Union's All Schools, which has Prince Harry as its Patron, is a fantastic programme which we are proud to support," added Ms Wild.

Mrs Fiona Minshall, Head Teacher at Saint Paul's commented: "There was an amazing atmosphere at Twickenham and we were proud for our school to have been involved. It was fantastic to see the newly designed shirts make their debut at such a prestigious venue and event."

"The staff at Saint Paul's have a passion for rugby and would like to use this to help build the skills, confidence and aspirations of the pupils. We now look forward to seeing them in action in their new shirts on the rugby pitch!" added Mrs Minshall.

For more information please contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

For immediate release – 24 March 2014


Newman University continues its celebration of full university title with the installation of Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor as its first Chancellor. As formal head of the University, he will take on a largely ceremonial role, carrying out ambassadorial and representative duties.

Commenting on his appointment, Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor said: "It is a great honour for me to be invited to become the first Chancellor of Newman University. In accepting, I am conscious of the admiration and devotion of so many people to the university Patron, Blessed John Henry Newman and I look forward to working with the University."

Addressing the congregation, the Cardinal continued: "To Newman, the university was about more than just qualifications, it was for a gentleman and gentlewoman to have "eyes on all (his/her) company; (to be) tender towards the bashful, gentle towards the distant, and merciful towards the absurd; (s/he) can recollect to whom he is speaking; guards against unseasonable allusions, or topics which may irritate; s/he is seldom prominent in conversation, and never wearisome."*

"In other words, a university education's primary objective is to shape the whole person; to cultivate the virtues and to leave an indelible mark on the mind and soul. I know that this is what Newman University does - it prides itself on developing the whole person and prepares you for life after graduation – and I pray that it will leave a mark on your soul and get you ready to have "eyes on all (your) company" when you leave the shores of this campus to pursue whatever your definite purpose in life may be."

Archbishop Bernard Longley, led the opening prayer and Archbishop Kevin McDonald preached the homily at the Mass of Celebration and Installation.

In his homily, Archbishop McDonald, Chair of the Bishops' Conference Committee for Other Faiths and of the Committee for Catholic-Jewish Relations, drew attention to the fact that Newman University is a popular choice for young people of other religions:
"Newman University is a Catholic foundation but one which welcomes students who belong to other Christian Communions, other faiths and people without religious affiliation. What I find both interesting and encouraging is that Newman University is, I understand, a popular choice for young people of other religions. I would like to think that part of the reason for that is the outreach and openness to other religions that has developed within the Catholic Church since the Second Vatican Council's Declaration on Non-Christian Religions, Nostra Aetate, the 50th anniversary of which we celebrate next year."

And concluded by affirming the University in its choice of Chancellor: "Cardinal Murphy O' Connor is someone who over many years has sought to inspire people and communities to grasp opportunities and to have a vision for the future. He is the right person to be Chancellor of Newman University. With the election of Pope Francis, it seems to me that the Catholic Church is finding its bearings and finding new confidence in its role in the world."

* Taken from Cardinal Newman's 'The Idea of a University'

Photos from the Mass of Celebration and Installation of Chancellor



Full homily – Archbishop Kevin McDonald
Homily for the installation of Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor as first Chancellor of Newman University in Birmingham
20th of March 2014

I would like to begin, if I may, by congratulating everyone at Newman University on the fact that this institution has now become a University in its own right. I likewise congratulate Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor on being appointed its first Chancellor. As someone who was originally a priest of the diocese of Birmingham and who has visited Newman many times for many reasons I recognise that this is a particularly welcome and auspicious development.

While I was pondering how to address this new situation and, indeed, how to address this congregation, my mind returned to two occasions on which I have visited the city in recent years. One was the last occasion on which I addressed a University assembly. It was during the summer of 2005 when my own University, the University of Birmingham, was kind enough to award me an Honorary Doctorate of Divinity. That was a rather special experience for a bishop - an opportunity to address faculty, students and their families in a secular institution and offer words of encouragement and challenge to people of many faiths and none from a Christian and Catholic perspective.

Today is different. Newman University is a Catholic foundation but one which welcomes students who belong to other Christian Communions, other faiths and people without religious affiliation. What I find both interesting and encouraging is that Newman University is, I understand, a popular choice for young people of other religions. I would like to think that part of the reason for that is the outreach and openness to other religions that has developed within the Catholic Church since the Second Vatican Council's Declaration on Non-Christian Religions, Nostra Aetate, the 50th anniversary of which we celebrate next year.

Relationships between religions have changed significantly in recent decades. When I was parish priest of English Martyrs in Sparkhill, the number of Muslim children in our school increased dramatically. Sometimes people would ask me: don't the Muslim parents object to having their children attend Christian prayers and RE lessons. I was happy to reply that, on the contrary, they were only too happy for their children to be taught in an environment of faith.

I would like to think that something analogous to that would characterise the ethos of Newman University. The future of our society and indeed of peace in our world depend crucially on the development of a culture of peace between religions. Pope John Paul's invitation to members of other religions to bear witness to peace with him in Assisi in 1986 continues to be an icon of the role and responsibility of the Catholic Church in facilitating understanding between the different religions present in our cities and in our increasingly globalised world.

I mentioned another occasion on which I came back to Birmingham and that was for the visit of Pope Benedict when he beatified Cardinal John Henry Newman and visited Oscott College. Cardinal Newman wrote a famous meditation which I think it is fitting to recall and apply today in this University which is named after him.

This is part of it:

God has created me to do him some definite service; He has committed some work to me which he has not committed to another. I have my mission - I may never know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next. I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons. He has not created me for naught, I shall do good, I shall do his work. I shall be an angel of peace, a preacher of truth in my own place while not intending it - if I do but keep his commandments.

There is, of course a message for each one of us in those words, but applying it to today's occasion, I want to say that any school or university should be a place where everyone matters and where people are able to identify and to develop their own particular gifts. It should also be a place in which people come to understand more fully that they have a role and a responsibility in the society in which they will live when they leave. Receiving a University education is a privilege but what is received in a University is not just received for one's own benefit. Rather it should shape and make possible the particular and unique contribution that each person has to make to the Common Good. And here in this University I can invoke Blessed John Henry Newman to say quite explicitly that each of us has a vocation within God's purposes and the more clearly we identify it the more we will fulfill it. In particular, that passage is a good antidote to what I would call the culture of choice. By that I mean the attitude of mind that focuses primarly, on my choices on what I want. We are called to be more than that.

The Word of God which we have heard gives indications and admonitions for today's occasion which may well be uncomfortable but are all the more urgent for precisely that reason. Each of the three readings questions us in turn about personal integrity, about prayer, and about faith. We all needed to hear them.

The second reading from St Paul's letter to Timothy interrogates us at this moment when we meet to pray in this chapel. It says "In every place, then, I want people to lift their hands up reverently in prayer, with no anger or argument." If this chapel situated as it is in the heart of this University were to be genuinely a place of prayer, that I think would significantly enhance the case for its being a separate and distinctive institution. If people of different religious backgrounds were to see this institution as one in which freedom to cultivate a life of prayer was fostered then it would certainly be special. People say we live in a very secular environment. I'm not sure that's true. But I do think that many people don't know how to pray even though many of them want to, they are not sure what it is.

The gospel tells us that no man can serve two masters. You cannot serve both God and money. The ambition to pursue a career simply in order to make yourself rich is not a choice for life. A decision to use your gifts to serve God, humanity and our environment is precisely a choice for life.

Birmingham is a vibrant city with great potential in all sorts of ways and not least spiritual potential. We should not listen too much to the siren voices that tell us that young people are not interested in faith or religion. Recently I was staying in a community in Austria where I met many young people from Central Europe with real passion for Jesus Christ but that was because there was someone to enthuse and inspire them. People just need to be inspired and to be led. What the future will bring to Newman University I do not know but I would encourage you to dream dreams and to look for vision and I am quite sure that there are people here who can nourish and inspire.

Cardinal Murphy O' Connor is someone who over many years has sought to inspire people and communities to grasp opportunities and to have a vision for the future. He is the right person to be Chancellor of Newman University. With the election of Pope Francis, it seems to me that the Catholic Church is finding its bearings and finding new confidence in its role in the world. That role and that profile is changing and developing not least because these have been times of purification and painful growth. There is a phrase from the Second Vatican Council that points to that development, where it says that the Church is as a "sacrament or instrumental sign of intimate union with God and of unity for the whole human race."

The Church is not here to impose itself on people but to be a sign and a witness to what human community is all about. We are here for everyone. The Church needs to be a place of freedom, of justice, and of worship. It seems to me the Newman University can be very much at home in that Church and will have a vital contribution to make to it. Everyone here today will join me in wishing every blessing to the new Chancellor, the Chair of Council, the Vice-Chancellor and all who work and teach and study here.

Elliot Heald, a 10-year old from St Elizabeth's RC Primary School, Wythenshawe, has beaten over 6,000 budding young designers from across the country to win a nationwide sock design competition.

To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the first Fairtrade products sold in the UK, the Catholic aid agency CAFOD – a founding member of the Fairtrade Foundation – teamed up with SockShop to launch the special competition for 7-11 year olds to design an exclusive Fairtrade-themed sock.

Designs were submitted by more than 6,000 pupils from a staggering 142 schools, but Elliot, a Key Stage 2 pupil, was selected as the winner thanks to his beautifully creative design, and understanding of Fairtrade. The panel of judges impressed by Elliot's design included award-winning actress Jo Joyner, formerly Tanya Branning on Eastenders, and a senior designer from SockShop. As a prize, Elliot will receive a £100 voucher to spend at SockShop and will see his design made into a limited edition sock which will be sold on the SockShop website.

On finding out that he had won the competition, Elliot said:

"We learned about Fairtrade in school and I really enjoyed it because it's interesting to see how you can help other people. When I was designing my sock, I remembered that Fairtrade is about paying people a fair wage for things that they produce. It's about making people happy. So that's why I designed a sock with a smiley face made out of fruit.

"I can't believe that I won the competition. It really is amazing and I'm so excited that my design has been made into a sock and is being sold by SockShop. There are no words to describe the feeling!"

Jo Joyner said:

"I know it's a cliché but it truly was so difficult to choose the 10 finalists and then even harder to choose a winner. There was so much thought, time and creativity that had gone into the designs. Some of the slogans were worthy of a top ad agency! Most impressive was the fact that all the children seemed to have grasped completely the concept of fair trade.

"Elliot's design impressed the judges because it said so much in such a simple way. The smiling face out of the fruit demonstrating the happiness that fair trade brings. Crucially, in terms of a design, the colours, the fact that the design is on the ankle of the sock and the sense of humour displayed made Elliot's a really wearable sock. Congratulations!"

CAFOD Schools Programme Team Leader, Monica Conmee, said

"We are absolutely thrilled at the number of schools and individuals who entered the competition from all over the country. It's clear that the children have loved learning about the important issues surrounding Fairtrade in an interactive and creative way, whilst taking part in a unique competition. This has been the perfect way to celebrate 20 years of Fairtrade products in the UK."

CAFOD works with children, young people and young adults in England and Wales to deepen an understanding of the causes of global poverty and injustice, and offers ways to take action to bring about a just and sustainable world.

Visit to view the designs from all the runners up and the competition winner.

For more information please contact Ellie Wilcock at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. / on 020 7095 5451 or 07540 265 715

Year 6 pupils at St Benedict's Catholic Primary school in Atherstone are celebrating the completion of their new classroom in a new block exclusively for the school's oldest pupils.

Following on from being re-confirmed by OFSTED as a "Good" school and achieving excellent SATs results, the school has looked to increase the number of pupils it can accept each year. But there simply wasn't enough space to do this and provide much needed before and after school care as well.

In November 2013 Warwickshire County Council endorsed the school's plans for the future and allocated £165,000 to fund the new facility. Only one other school in Warwickshire was awarded funding at the time.

School head teacher Mrs Susan Shannon said; "This new classroom in its own block gives our Year 6 pupils a little independence and a taster of life at secondary school. We have decorated to look more 'grown up' and the children have new state of the art white board, air conditioning and wifi."

She continued: "I am delighted that Warwickshire County Council has considered our school to be a priority for spending at a time when funding is tight and take this as a great vote of confidence in our ability to provide a fantastic education for children from Atherstone and the surrounding villages."

To mark the official opening of the Year 6 block the building was blessed by Fr Michael Miners at a ceremony attended by pupils, parents and a number of invited guests from, local schools, the Local Authority, City Sites who built the room and the Diocese.

For further information please contact:

Mrs Susan Shannon, Head Teacher – 01827 712320


By The Bristol Post | Posted: February 05, 2014

IT'S been a hot topic in political debates around the country for years, but to date there appears to have been more talk than action on the 'living wage' in Bristol. But one city school is leading the way by introducing it – the first in Bristol to do so.

Since the start of the year, St Bede's Catholic College in Lawrence Weston has been paying all its employees a minimum of £7.65 per hour, a rate deemed to be high enough to cover the costs of living in Bristol.  

As a result, 20 workers at the secondary school and sixth form have seen a pay increase.

It was governors at the school who decided to bring in the salary rise, despite the likely consequence of the move being a reduction in the college's budget.
The school's principal, Catherine Hughes, said: "There was generally a welcome to this change when employees were told. Although governors recognise this will have a consequent impact on the budget, that is not justification for paying people less than a fair amount.
"We feel that it was important to become a living wage employer as it is an expression of our solidarity with those individuals and organisations striving to achieve fair pay for all."

The living wage is an hourly wage rate calculated to take into consideration the costs of housing, transport, food and basic essentials for the worker and their family.
In November 2012, the Catholic Bishops' Conference passed a resolution that fully endorses the principle of the living wage and encourages Catholic organisations and charities in England and Wales to work towards its implementation.

Their resolution recognised that fair wages were essential to the "common good" of society.
The term living wage came to prominence in Bristol when it became one of the election pledges of Labour mayoral hopeful Marvin Rees, who lost out to George Ferguson in the race to become the city's first elected mayor in 2012.

He promised to introduce a living wage in Bristol if he was elected to the figurehead post. He pledged to bring in a rate of not less than £7.20 an hour for all council employees and hoped it would be extended across all firms and organisations throughout the city.
Mr Rees said he would have started the living wage from day one of taking office, which would have made Bristol the first council in the country to implement such a policy.
He said evidence had shown that a living wage made business more ethical and also brought down absenteeism, built a more stable and less transient workforce and improved the quality of work that people carried out.

Eventually, all the candidates bar one pledged their to support for the living wage for Bristol.
The living wage was originally a figure determined by the Centre for Research in Social Policy at Loughborough University as a sum people can reasonably live on.

Read more:


Tuesday, 25 February 2014 14:53

Saint Paul’s Pupils Join Youth Parliament

Staff and pupils from Saint Paul's Catholic High School in Wythenshawe were delighted to receive the news that their Head Boy, George McIlroy, and Head Girl, Mary Jayne Chadwick, have been elected for the Manchester Youth Parliament.

The Manchester Youth Parliament, part of the UK Youth Parliament, which is run by young people, provides opportunities for 11-18 year-olds to use their voice in creative ways to bring about social change.

Now that they have been elected, George and Mary Jayne will be expected to find out the concerns and needs of other young people in their constituency, and represent these views to decision makers on a local, regional and national level.

The Youth Council have been given their own office inside Manchester Town Hall to reflect how serious the Council is about working with young people and listening to their voice.

Ms Michelle Davies, School Parliament Link teacher, explained: "This is a fantastic opportunity for George and Mary Jayne; during their term of office they will have the opportunity to get involved in a variety of events projects and campaigns. They will be able to get to know their local MP and provide feedback for meetings at the House of Commons."

"Whilst working Members of the Youth Parliament, the pupils will be able to develop their communication, debating, negotiating and public speaking skills. They will also have the chance to gain greater knowledge of politics and current affairs and enhance their ability to look at an issue from someone else's perspective, "commented Mrs Fiona Minshall, Head Teacher at Saint Paul's.


For more information please contact:

Jane McAuliffe-Hall
Publicity and Marketing Manager
St Paul's Catholic High School, a Voluntary Academy and Engineering College

Tel: 0161 493 2859

E mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Monday, 24 February 2014 15:59

Students Running to Nationals

Press Release- February 2014 

Two pupils from Austin Friars St Monica's School are ranked in the top four in the North of England after excelling at the Northern Inter Counties Cross Country.

Camilla McKnespiey (aged 13) and Esme Davies (aged 12) helped Cumbria to win the Northern Inter Counties Cross Country event recently in Durham. In the year 8/9 girls race, Camilla finished 1st and Esme finished 4th out of a field of 70 girls from Durham, Cleveland, North Yorkshire and Cumbria. Both girls will now represent Cumbria at the English Schools Cross Country Championships in March where they will be racing for their England vests.

Also this year, Camilla and Esme both performed exceptionally well at the English Schools Fell Running Championship at Queen Katherine School, Kendal. In the year 8/9 girl's race of 140 competitors, Camilla and Esme ran brilliantly, finishing 2nd and 3rd respectively.

The School would like to wish Camilla and Esme all the success at the English Schools Cross Country Championships in March.


For further information please contact: 

Andrew Hullock
Marketing Administrator
Tel: 01228 550 719 email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Thursday, 13 February 2014 14:27

Ealing student wins national poetry competition

Press Release-

A Year 11 pupil and budding poet at Ealing school, St Augustine's Priory has clinched first prize at the prestigious T.S Eliot Shadowing Prize Competition.

Ridhi Thukral was awarded the top prize after submitting a 500 word essay in support of Daljit Nagra, a professional poet and teacher who was nominated for the T.S Eliot Poetry Prize. Ridhi, a pupil of the independent Catholic girls' school, was inspired by the poet when he visited the school's English department and led a poetry workshop.

The pupil's winning essay highlighted her appreciation for Nagra's "artistic scope and multi-dimensional flair", as well as his "colloquial approach." Ridhi was invited to attend the prize giving and poetry reading at the South Bank Centre.

The T.S Eliot Shadowing Prize is hosted by the Poetry Book Society in association with the English and Media Centre. The awards are aimed at pupils aged 14-19 years old, who have a flair for poetry and an appreciation for the arts.
The prize is also designed to encourage teachers and students to read new exciting poems, published that year but aren't necessarily part of the National Curriculum or set text lists.

Ridhi Thukral said: "Winning this award was a great way to begin 2014. I am passionate about poetry and literature and Daljit Nagra is someone who particularly inspires me. Having the opportunity to meet him at our school in 2012, strengthened my love of poetry and opened my eyes to a variety of styles and tones."

Congratulating Ridhi on her win, Sarah Raffray, headteacher at St Augustine's Priory said: "Ridhi is a very accomplished pupil and we are very proud that she has received this national recognition. I would also like to congratulate the other girls at the school who entered the T.S Eliot Shawdowing Prize. Poerty is an important tool in teaching and studying English language and literature. We encourage this creative discipline at the school by inviting respected authors and poets including Daljit Nagra and Faber Poet, Tom Warner, to come and mentor the girls and share their work; it's an approach that continues to inspire and encourage our pupils."


For further information please contact:

Rachel Mortell 01932 829077 

Press Release- February 2014

A Year 7 pupil at Austin Friars St Monica's School travelled to the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London to receive a Lambeth Achievement Award.

Henry Johnson-Ferguson (aged 12) was one of a select number of school pupils across the country to be awarded with a Lambeth Achievement Award. Henry, who performed exceptionally well in his Key Stage 2 tests, was selected for the award by gaining level 5+ in Reading, Writing, Teacher Assessment and a Maths test.

Henry received a letter from Cathy Twist, Director of Education Learning and Skills for Lambeth who said, "The award ceremony will celebrate the achievement of not just pupils but also the contribution and commitment of families and teachers."

Henry said, "When I got the award I felt very proud. It was a shame because of the rain, but due to the Tube strike I got to cycle across London on a Boris bike."

The School is very proud of Henry's achievements and we look forward to sharing his future achievements with him.

- ENDS -

For further information contact: 

Andrew Hullock
Marketing Administrator

Tel: 01228 550 719 email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Press Release- February 2014 

A group of pupils from Saint Paul's Catholic High School in Wythenshawe took part in a special event at the Cornerhouse in Manchester to mark Holocaust Memorial Day. The pupils were able to learn more about the desperate journeys faced by Jewish families as they fled their homes, and countries, to escape the Holocaust during World War II.

The Lord Mayor of Manchester, Cllr Naeem ul Hassan, introduced the event and the guest speaker, Paul Laiken, producer of No Place on Earth. Paul talked about his experience of making the film and the memories of the some of the survivors forced to live in the Ukraine caves.
Holocaust Memorial Day is the international day of remembrance for the victims and the survivors of the Holocaust and other genocides. Each year there is a national theme which provides a focus to the event; this year's theme was Journeys.
Miss Ursula Gallagher, Head of Humanities at Saint Paul's, explained: "The pupils were able to learn how journeys themselves became part of genocide, and how the journeys undertaken were often experiences of persecution and terror for so many people who suffered in the Holocaust, under Nazi Persecution and in the subsequent genocides. They were also able to look at the life stories of some of the survivors and how, in many instances, journeys of return have been part of the experience of rebuilding."

Miss Gallagher continued: "It is important that we involve young people in this learning so we can develop a legacy which teaches the next generation about respect and tolerance and instills the message of peace."

"This important event gives us an opportunity to take time out to remember the victims of the Holocaust and other atrocities and to look at how we can avoid such things happening in the future," commented Mrs Fiona Minshall, Head Teacher at Saint Paul's. "The victims of the Holocaust and the terrible injustice which they suffered should never be forgotten."

For further information please contact:

Jane McAuliffe-Hall

Tel: 0161 499 0000

Direct Dial Tel: 0161 493 2859

E mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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