As this term draws to a close, we reflect upon some of the remarkable things that have been achieved within our school community at a time of national restrictions. I want to thank you as parents for the unwavering support that you have shown us since returning to school in September. The messages that have been sent in and read out to staff have been deeply appreciated and have truly provided a source of inspiration to keep going and provide the best for your child. I want to also pay tribute to the outstanding work of colleagues at school this term. No matter what challenge have been put their way, or issues they have faced, they have risen to them and worked exceptionally hard to ensure that your child is kept safe and above all, that their education has continued. They have been truly remarkable and I am lucky to lead a team of highly dedicated and professional staff.
Christmas Carol Service and Concert
Whilst we were unable to invite you into school for our usual Carol Service and Concert, we still went ahead and produced one for you to watch. By the time of reading this, you should have received an email with direct links to both the Carol Service and the Concert - please take the time to watch this with your family members and see the wonderful efforts of the children who have performed. I want to particular thank Ms Wilkinson, Mr Bick, Ms Henry, Ms Mealy and Mr Sunny for the huge amount of effort that they have put into producing this for you as a Christmas gift. If for whatever reason you have not received the email, the videos are accessible on our website.
Usually at Christmas, we invite 50 of our local senior citizen residents into the school for a Christmas dinner cooked at school and served by the students. Unfortunately, that is not possible at the moment, so we decided to bring some festive cheer into their homes. Students from across the school made hampers in their form groups to provide to our local community, and on Tuesday 15th December, these hampers were delivered to local residents accompanied by students singing Christmas Carols at a safe distance. This was extremely well received by our usual school guests with one commenting that it "brought a tear to her eye". Thank you to all students and parents who contributed to the hampers and particularly thank you to Ms Maguire and Ms Royce who led on the initiative and were assisted by Mr Sunny, Mr Forshaw, Mrs Shortiss and Mr Butler.
Covid-19 has caused much hardship for so many families. In the last week, we have secured £3300 from Caritas to support families across our school community. This funding has been used to provide families with Sainsbury's vouchers to ease pressure some may be experiencing at this time. Families who have been in receipt of these vouchers have been incredibly grateful for the assistance, especially in the lead up to Christmas. We are wholeheartedly committed to supporting those within our school community who are struggling with financial pressures due to coronavirus.
Once again the local authority is paying for vouchers to cover the holiday period for children eligible for Free School Meals. Parents will receive an email with a link to a Sainsbury’s voucher for £30 by the beginning of next week. For any queries on the FSM voucher scheme of if you are experiencing any financial concerns, please do not hesitate to contact firstname.lastname@example.org over the holidays and we will do our upmost to support you.
Over the course of this half term work has been completed on installing a brand-new set of additional toilets into the school. Furthermore, refurbishment works to renovate the south block toilets will be complete on your child's return in January. Even more exciting is the fact that works will commence on January 4th of the new Music and Performing Arts building which is due to be completed by August 2021. In addition, works will also be carried out in the school to refurbish the current Art classrooms as well as create new Humanities classrooms. This is an exciting time for the school and all of these improvements will benefit your child in their time at All Saints.
Francis Holland Scholarships
I am delighted to inform you that five of our Year 11 students have been granted a fully funded two-year scholarship to the Francis Holland School in Regents Park. The students are Daggie Daniel, Eva Farrell, Zion Francis, Okite Ideh and Dea Meti. I would like to congratulate them all for attaining this fantastic and exclusive offer.
Year 7s had time out of their normal school day to take part in a retreat led by our School Chaplain, Mr Sunny. The retreat allowed students to explore the theme of 'Community' and what it means to be a part of the All Saints Catholic Community. Within their Form Groups, Year 7s spent time truly getting to know each other, exploring different ideas of what makes a strong community. Year 7s thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to reflect on their own qualities which they wish to bring into our school, and look forward to the opportunity to do this again in Year 8.
November Shoulder Day
A group of Year 9 students, plus the entire Year 11 cohort, took part in targeted sessions during our first shoulder day of the Year. Year 11 began the day with a reflection to help them focus their energies on the year ahead, followed by bespoke sessions delivered by their English and Maths teachers. The English Department led the Year 9 in a 'Literacy Festival'. The students engaged in a reading programme designed to improve their literacy. They took part in team building activities, and the day saw the relaunch of the school Newspaper; year 9 are editing the first edition which will be made available in January.
Mr Forshaw and the English Department have been working with Year 9 students on our new reading project. The project aims to develop literacy skills, that will benefit students throughout the curriculum. The students attended sessions held each morning before school, where they were given breakfast whilst reading a range of academic texts with their teachers. Their attitude and engagement was enthusiastic throughout and Mr Forshaw looks forward to rolling out the project with a new cohort of students in the New Year. Most importantly, we have seen a huge improvement in the students’ reading and this will be of huge benefit to them as they progress through the school.
Finally, I hope that you all have a very happy and Holy Christmas and get the opportunity to spend it with your loved ones.
Mr A O’Neill