School News (125)

PRESS RELEASE - June  2013

Saint Paul’s one of the top 20% of schools in England for improving its GCSE results year-on-year!

Saint Paul’s Catholic High School in Wythenshawe was delighted to be recognised nationally for achieving some of the fastest improving GCSE results in the country.

The school recently received official recognition of their achievement from the SSAT (The Schools Network). They were recognised as one of the top 20% of schools in England by improving its GCSE results year-on-year from 2009 to 2012 by at least 17 percentage points overall.

This reinforces the message earlier in the year when Saint Paul’s was recognised by the Minister of State, the Rt Hon David Laws MP, as one of the 100 most improved schools in the country.

The school was highlighted by the Minister as one of the 100 most improved schools in the country in terms of the progress the pupils have made between their Key Stage 2 results (i.e. when the pupils left primary school) and their GCSE results.

Sue Williamson,Chief Executive of SSAT, said: “St Paul’s Catholic High School should be congratulated for their stunning achievement in improving their GCSE results.”

She continued: “St Paul’s Catholic High School has proved itself to be one of the best schools in the country at improving GCSE outcomes for their students. There is plenty that other schools could learn from Saint Paul’s success.”

“These results are testament to the commitment and hard work of the students, teachers and leadership team at Saint Paul’s and a vindication of their belief in high expectations, good teaching and ambition for every young person.”

The school achieved excellent GCSE results in 2012: the eighth year running that they had celebrated improved GCSE exam results.

2012 saw the best ever GCSE results for Saint Paul’s with 59% of pupils achieving 5 A* - Cs including Maths and English GCSEs (the government’s preferred measure), an increase of 11% from 2011. Also, the number of pupils attaining 5A* - Cs increased to an all time high of 90%.

“We are delighted to be celebrating national recognition for achieving some of the fastest improving GCSE results in the country; this is another milestone for the school and is a remarkable achievement,” said Head Teacher, Mr Wiktor Daron. “We are very proud of the year-on-year improving GCSE results which students and staff at the school worked very hard to achieve.”


As part of the Enrichment program, 39 students opted for a Visit to the Historical, Religious and Artistic sites The 'Eternal City' of Rome has to offer.  Travelling as a group of year 12 they spent 5 days exploring the sites while enjoying the fantastic weather, food and company. Taking in visits to The Vatican - scaling the never ending staircase into the cupola of Michelangelo, marvelling at his work in the Sistine chapel and attending the Papal Audience with Pope Francis.  The Coliseum, the Forum and the Catacombs to name but a few.  Students also enjoyed the activities the Borghese gardens had to offer.   Alistair Sidebotham won the biggest Gelato ordered hands down!


Pupils at Saint Paul’s Catholic High School in Wythenshawe are encouraged to cycle or walk to school in-line with the school’s policy to promote healthy and environmentally friendly lifestyles. To support this, Year 7 pupils at the school recently took part in the Bikeability scheme. This is the updated Cycling Proficiency Test, designed to give the pupils the skills and confidence to ride their bikes safely on today's roads.

The pupils’ training included how to control their bikes, being able to look and assess traffic, how to communicate and where to position themselves on the road.

Initially the sessions were based in the playground so that the instructor could assess the groups' bike handling ability and practise skills such as balance, control and observation without worrying about traffic. Once basic skills had been developed, the lessons moved onto the road, a vital step in raising awareness and putting the playground practice into a real-life situation.

Whilst at Saint Paul’s, the Bikeability instructors were also able to advise the pupils on safety equipment and how to check and do simple maintenance on their bikes.

“Cycling is an ideal form of transport for young people providing a healthy, cheap and environmentally friendly way to get about,” explained Ms Diane Keary, Head of Year 7 at Saint Paul’s. “The government recommends that young people should have a minimum of one hour’s moderate physical activity each date so that they stay healthy and help prevent serious illness in later life. Cycling to school is a simple and practical way of achieving this.”

Ms Keary added: “It is obviously vital that children can handle their bikes competently and that they know how to ride safely and with consideration for others. They need to learn about potential hazards and how to deal with traffic safely which is why we provide this training for them.”

“The course included basic road manoeuvres, assessing risks, holding good road positioning, awareness of traffic and a general understanding of the highway code. The pupils started off with basic riding techniques and then moved onto more challenging situations.”

“The course was not just about teaching children to ride a bike to national standards but also about introducing them to cycling as an everyday and fun activity and an alternative mode of transport. Cycling is a very efficient and eco-friendly way of getting around which we would like to encourage.”

“Getting children interested in cycling at an early age is a great way to encourage them to exercise,” commented Mr Wiktor Daron, Head Teacher at Saint Paul’s. “However, young people between 11 and 15 are most vulnerable on the roads, and only one-third of children ever do any cycle training so we wanted to emphasise the importance of training and safety to our pupils.”

 “By undergoing some training and by following a few simple safety rules, we hope we can make sure our pupils keep out of trouble on the roads.”


The Year 9 girls from Saint Paul’s Catholic High School in Wythenshawe made the school proud when they recently won the Wythenshawe Rounders Tournament.

The girls had great wins over Manchester Health Academy and Newall Green High School and went on to be crowned as the overall winners of the tournament.

“Winning the Wythenshawe Rounders Tournament was a fantastic achievement for our Year 9 team,” commented Mrs Janice Stuart, PE teacher at Saint Paul’s. “The girls beat all the other teams they played against very comprehensively. They thoroughly deserve the success they have worked so hard for.”

Mrs Stuart added: “The girls demonstrated extremely knowledgeable tactical fielding which greatly contributed to their success. I was also delighted to see the good sportsmanship of the players as they went out of their way to congratulate the other teams for their efforts.”

“All the girls have a real passion for the game and this is a well deserved achievement for them,” said Mr Wiktor Daron, Head Teacher at Saint Paul’s. “I am very proud of all those who took part; the team has shown great spirit and determination.”


Early last week, (before the snow descended) the SOLSTICE planning group met.   As you may be aware we have parents, one member of staff and Sister Patrick who are all undergoing treatment for various types of cancer.  Cancer in all of its forms is a disease which respects no-one and attacks young and old alike. Fortunately there have been breakthroughs in detection and treatments but research requires money and support of sufferers also needs money. So we have selected Cancer Research UK and Macmillan Cancer as the two charities to support with our SOLSTICE events.

Back in April, The Towers Convent School in Upper Beeding made the decision that as a number of our parents, a member of staff and Sister Patrick were all undergoing treatment for various types of Cancer we wanted to support Cancer Research UK and Macmillan Cancer and began planning our Solstice event.  Also, we decided that, as this is my tenth and final year as Head, we would aim for a total of £10,000. We thought that we were being optimistic and perhaps a little too ambitious but decided that it would be better to aim high.  As I write this the total is just over £13,500 with money from the sponsored runs and silent auction still to come. The original plan was to give £5,000 each to Macmillan and Cancer Research UK and then anything above that amount could go to the Worthing Hospital Scanner Appeal.

The first ‘event’ was our money mile where everyone was invited to place loose change on the tape around the school. The money is still coming in and we are at 1194 yards. Not quite a mile but equating to over £500.  There have been many individual events such as the Daisy Chain Challenge (£88), a parent who asked her dinner party guests to pay for their pudding (£55) cake sales at various churches to name but a few.

Then the Summer Solstice arrived and the Seniors arrived dressed in pink and green outfits plus trainers to do the 5km fun run along the banks of the river adur. The first girl back was Ellie-Rose Teatum with a time of 19 minutes 20 seconds.  In the afternoon all of the Juniors and nursery ran or walked around the field as many times as they could manage. For one nursery child one lap was enough before he declared to Hayley “I have had enough, my feet won’t do anymore” whilst the girl who did the most laps was Amelie Somers completing 48 laps closely followed by Harriet Thornton completing 47 laps.  The sponsor money from both of these events this has yet to be counted but even if each child only raises £10 then that would be a further £3200!

In the evening the auction alone raised an amazing £3905.  With ticket sales and bar sales, lockery and tombola adding a further £1600 to the proceeds from the night.  All 23 lots sold with some competitive bidding, particularly for the tickets to the Ashes which sold for £370 and the Florida apartment which reached an amazing £1000. The champagne tea at South Lodge, Dinner, bed and breakfast at Dean’s Place, a Mappin and Webb watch, signed cricket bat and the bakery courses at The Artisan Bakery were also very popular, each reaching around £200. There were many more items donated and a silent auction for these is still in process.

Saturday saw some serious competitors warming up with exercises demonstrated by Kat O’Neill before setting off on a steep hill over the Downs for a 5 or 8K run, jog or walk. This raised over £1000 in entry fees. Congratulations not only to Will Chambers and ex-pupil Lydia Growns who respectively won the two categories but also to Ellie-Rose Teatum who repeated her achievement of the previous day and was the first Towers pupil to return.

During the afternoon the fete was declared open by Sister Patrick and followed an afternoon of busy its busy stalls, entertainment and games went ahead despite the windy weather.  The rain held off until it was time to pack away and to start the barbecue. Venison or pork burgers provided by a parent were delicious and the entertainment first ‘Fat Owl’ followed by ‘No Pressure’ soon had literally everyone up and dancing to round off a fabulous weekend.


3 June 2013 - Press Release

All Hallows Catholic College has received national recognition for the high attainment of pupils in the GCSE examination in 2012.

All Hallows Catholic College qualified as one of the top 20% of non-selective schools in England for the high average grades achieved by students.

Every school in the country has been ranked according to how well they performed in their GCSE results in 2012 by SSAT - the representative body for schools.

The new rankings, calculated by SSAT using official data, compare how schools nationally performed by counting all students' best 8 GCSE subjects and reflect schools' desire to achieve the very best results for their students.

Sue Williamson, Chief Executive of SSAT said, " All Hallows Catholic College should be congratulated for their stunning achievement is securing some of the best GCSE results in the country.

"All Hallows Catholic College has proven itself to be one of the best schools in the country at securing superb GCSE outcomes for their students.There is plenty that other schools could learn from All Hallows Catholic College's success.

"These results are testament to the commitment and hard work of the students, teachers and leadership team at All Hallows Catholic College and a vindication of their belief in high expectations, good teaching and ambition for every young person.

"Successful schools like All Hallows Catholic College understand the value of data, such as these attainment measures, in helping to ensure that all young people perform to the very best of their ability. The attainment measures show how schools are focused on their performance and out comes of all their students."


SSAT (The Schools Network) Ltd is an independent  membership organisation that works with schools and partners to shape a world class education system. it represents almost 2000 members in England. The company operates with the same broad educational objectives as the old Specialist Schools and Academies Trust.

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

Twenty-eight RE students from seven different schools joined MPs at the House of Commons to campaign on behalf of Religious Education (RE) in schools on Monday, June 24. 

The schools were invited by the All Party Parliamentary Group on RE to update MPs and Peers about two new initiatives designed to give RE a much needed boost in schools. 

The RE Quality Mark (REQM) is a new accreditation supported and monitored by the Religious Education Council for England and Wales to celebrate and recognise quality RE in all primary and secondary school classrooms. 

When it is well taught in secondary schools 11-16 year olds value GCSE Religious Studies as a strong humanities subject. The RE Young Ambassadors programme is a new initiative that draws on this support by bringing together a diverse group of young people from different secondary schools. They volunteer their time to champion RE as subject they believe to be important. 

Stephen Lloyd MP, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Religious Education (RE), said:

“We have found many excuses are given for relegating RE in schools to a single slot, often taught by a non-specialist teacher who has not benefited from subject training. Given the current social and political climate this is shocking, and today it is tremendous to welcome so many schools and young people who want to support RE in our schools. We are working hard to ensure the subject is given a long term view and is not ignored in any curriculum reforms.”

As society becomes more religiously diverse it is widely acknowledged that RE offers pupils the opportunity to explore their own beliefs and reflect on the challenges of serious commitment, allowing them to investigate how different beliefs have shaped individuals, families, communities and cultures. RE is a challenging subject to teach and one that requires support through training and space in the curriculum. By ignoring RE the current Government is threatening to put issues of faith, belief and diversity to one side and not make the most of schools as a safe space to educate, inform and question. 



Notes to editors 

1.    The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Religious Education was set up in November 2012 and is chaired by Eastbourne and Willingdon MP, Stephen Lloyd. In November 2012 it announced its inquiry into the supply of and support for teachers of RE. A list of submissions to the inquiry and a full copy of the report is available by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

2.    The Young Ambassadors Programme was created by the Religious Education Council of England and Wales, and the REC supports and monitors the RE Quality Mark (REQM). The REC brings together academic and professional associations specialising in religions and religious education. It also includes the individual religion and belief organisations which represent the range of faith communities found nationally, including the British Humanist Association. 

3.    For further media information about the Religious Education Council contact: Colin Hallmark / Harriet Johnson, 3:nine Communications. Tel: 0207 736 1888; email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Press Release - June 2013


Budding young engineers from Years 7 and 8 at Saint Paul’s Catholic High School in Wythenshawe recently took part in two Science and Engineering based Challenge Days aimed at encouraging their creativity, innovation and problem solving skills.

The challenges were designed to grab the pupils’ attention, test their skills of teamwork and problem solving and develop their powers of innovation, creativity and communication. The innovative event allows the pupils to delve into the intriguing worlds of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths.

Saint Paul’s has specialist status for Engineering and has a distinctive science and engineering ethos running throughout the school and the school is very keen to inspire and engage the pupils in Science and Engineering. 

During the Challenge Days, the pupils took part in a number of science and engineering based activities including an international marble challenge, a labyrinth puzzle challenge, t shirt design and printing and circus skills. The pupils worked in small groups to carry out a series of tasks where they researched, designed and built solutions to the real life engineering problems

The event allowed the pupils to work together to solve problems, enhancing their team building and communication skills. All those involved commented that they had experienced a challenging but fun day and got to engage in activities which they wouldn’t normally do, for example, in the International Marble Run the pupils had to design and construct a structure that would allow a marble to travel across the continent.

The pupils were observed and then nominated for a series of awards: best team, best team player, best leadership skills, kindest participant, most enthusiastic participant, most competitive participant, most considerate participant, most creative participant and the participant with the best ideas. The awards were then presented in a special assembly to highlight some of the important skills of the pupils.

The pupil comments included: “Everyone was included which was great”, “It was great to work with other people that we don’t usually get to work with” and “The people who ran the day were kind, funny and helpful”.

Ms Catherine Collier, Deputy Head at Saint Paul’s, said: “The challenges are designed to capture the students' imaginations and interest. They experience an innovative programme of discovery with hands-on design and practical work giving them a peek into the life of a real engineer, the variety of engineering out there and the central role it plays in our everyday lives.”

“The 21st century continues to see an increase in technological and scientific advancements, from nano-technology, robotic prosthetics and record-breaking sky-scrapers to research into the cure for cancer, neurological and genetic diseases. If we continue at this current rate of technological and scientific evolution we will require many more people working in science, engineering and maths,” added Ms Collier.

“The days aimed to excite and inspire students and was a great way to show young people the vital role engineering plays in our lives,” commented Head Teacher, Mr Wiktor Daron. “The event was a fantastic opportunity for our pupils. They were able to take part in some exciting problem solving activities which, whilst being fun, enhanced some important skills such as leadership, consideration for others and working together to a common goal.”

Mr Daron added: “We hope that events such as this will encourage more young people to study and consider exciting and rewarding careers in science, technology, engineering and maths.” 

Wednesday, 19 June 2013 08:35

Flying the flag for Eco Schools

13th June 2013 MEDIA RELEASE

Staff and pupils at St Benedict’s Catholic Primary School in Atherstone are celebrating being awarded the Eco Schools’ Green Flag award for environmental sustainability for the third time in a row.

The “Green Flag” is the highest award available through the scheme.And because this is the third time the school has won it, St Benedict’s will now be assisting and inspiring other schools to become more sustainable.

All the pupils carry out eco-jobs within the school, for instance composting fruit and vegetable waste, keeping classroom doors closed to retain heat as well as switching off lights 

Eco Coordinator Niki Furlong Smith explained that the whole school community constantly work together to think ecologically. "The Eco team deserve special recognition for their hard work and dedication. Everyone at St Benedict's is ecologically aware - we are green through and through! The Eco Schools inspector was particularly impressed with the work we have done with our school grounds to provide the children with growing areas and that the food we grow is cooked and served in our school kitchens."

Head teacher, Mrs Susan Shannon, added: “The importance of our children learning about how to protect the planet they live on and preserving it for their children cannot be overstated. Well done to Mrs Furlong-Smith and the whole school for their efforts on a daily basis.”

Local radio station BBC Coventry & Warwickshire was so impressed with the school's eco efforts that they invited 2 of the team, along with Head teacher Mrs Shannon, to come to their studios and be interviewed live on air. Theo and Sophie from Year 6 were very excited to do the interview and found it to be a great experience. 



1.For further information contact Head teacher Mrs Susan Shannon – 01827 712320 

2. Eco-Schools is an international award programme that guides schools on their sustainable journey, providing a framework to help embed these principles into the heart of school life.Schools follow a simple seven-step process which helps them to address a variety of environmental themes, ranging from litter and waste to healthy living and biodiversity. Pupils are the driving force behind Eco-Schools – they form and lead an Eco-Committee and help to carry out an audit to assess the environmental performance of the school. In conjunction with the rest of the school and the wider community, it’s the pupils that decide the environmental themes they want to address and how they’re going to do it.Schools work towards gaining one of three internationally recognised awards – Bronze, Silver and the Green Flag award, which symbolises excellence in the field of environmental activity. Bronze and Silver are both self accredited through this website and Green Flag is externally assessed by Keep Britain Tidy volunteers.

3.In November 2012 St Benedict’s was rated as Good by Ofsted under the tougher new inspection regime and noted children’s exemplary behaviour.In March 2013 the School was also rated Good with Outstanding features for RE in an Diocesan inspection. 


4.St Benedict’s Catholic Primary School is based in Church Walk, Mancetter, Atherstone, Warwickshire and accepts children from all backgrounds in the North Warwickshire area. See

Wednesday, 19 June 2013 08:33

Faith comes to Thanet

On Thursday 23rd May and Friday 24th May Years 2, 3 and 4 put on a performance of “The Faith Comes To Thanet” for their parents and the local parish and visitors to Ramsgate for the local Saint Augustine’s Celebration Week organised by Father Marcus Holden – the school’s parish priest. The children of St. Ethelbert’s Catholic Primary School told the story of the Romans taking Anglo Saxons to Rome as slaves and of Pope Gregory The Great in 595AD seeing these blonde headed slaves and saying that these “are not angles, but angels!”

The Pope then sent Saint Augustine – a Benedictine Monk -  to England and he landed on The Isle of Thanet where he met King Ethelbert – who was a pagan and Queen Bertha who was already  a Christian. St. Augustine was allowed to set up a church in Canterbury and eventually baptised King Ethelbert – who our primary school is dedicated to - and began bringing his missionary work to England.

The play was also filmed in three parts with Year 2 class acting the scene of the Pope seeing the slaves, Year 3 class being the missionary monks on their journey from Italy to Thanet and Year 4 class showing the monks in Thanet meeting King Ethelbert and Queen Bertha and teaching the locals to read and write.

The children have had the help of Chatham House Grammar School  to make DVDs of the play and they have asked to send a copy to Pope Francis, The Queen and our Archbishop. Father Marcus thanked the staff and children , ”On behalf of the parish I would like to thank you all for an amazing production of 'The Gospel comes to Thanet'. The parishioners are still talking about it and it was one of the highlights for me during St Augustine's Week.”

Everyone in the school helped – Mr Dave Fry – the school caretaker – with painting the marvellous backdrops, Mr Bishop – Year 3 teacher - with the hymns and music, the parents with costumes and helping the children to remember their lines and Mrs Butchard-Thursten – the Deputy Headteacher- with writing and directing. David Turner  - the Chair of the Governors said he was delighted in the way the school supported the local parish initiatives about ‘The Catholic Year of Faith’ and John Letts – the Headteacher – is immensely proud of the children and the way they really enjoyed the drama of their religious education lessons and entertaining the general public. “The children are very, very excited about the DVD and keep coming to me with a new list of people to send it to”.

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