School News (103)

Friday, 26 July 2013 14:38

Saint Paul’s School Parliament


Pupils from Saint Paul’s Catholic High School in Wythenshawe have formed a School Parliament with the aim of increasing the involvement of young people in the life and decision making of the school.
Each member is elected onto the School Parliament and, once elected, the main purpose of the group is to represent all the pupils of the school, which means that the Parliament is a forum for active and constructive pupil input into the daily life of the school community.
School Parliament members represent all pupils in each year group at Saint Paul’s Catholic High School. They are elected by the pupils to represent their ideas and views.
Currently the members are very busy promoting new initiatives like the new pupil newsletter called ‘Pupil Voice’ which has interesting articles and competitions. They are working with teachers in school to make Saint Paul’s even better and they are getting involved in the local community and other schools to promote ‘Pupil Voice’.
Ms Michelle Davies, School Parliament Link teacher, explained: “The purpose of the School Parliament is to give the pupils a real voice within a manageable system and encourage the students  to take ownership and responsibility for their school. At the same time it enables staff to gain pupil perspective.”
“The School Parliament also raises awareness amongst the pupils about democratic systems and rights in line with Citizenship education and allows them to gain important life skills, such as speaking and listening skills, teamwork, problem solving, oral reasoning skills, self esteem and self confidence,” added Ms Davies.
 “The position of Member of School Parliament (MSP) is one of responsibility and one which provides an important connection between pupils and staff. Becoming a MSP is a valuable goal, it plays an important part in a pupil’s personal development and opens their mind to new levels of responsibility and participation in a very positive way.” commented Mr Wiktor Daron, Head Teacher at Saint Paul’s. “

Press Release - 19 July 2013

Youth homelessness charity Depaul UK is calling on the UK’s Catholic schools to get involved with its first ever annual sponsored Sleep Out/Sleep In and raise vital funds to support their nationwide work with young homeless people.

The Sleep Out/Sleep In will take place on 27th September 2013, to coincide with the Feast Day of St Vincent de Paul, the patron saint of charity whose work and values inspires the work of Depaul UK.

Schools can hold their sleep out in the playground or playing field. Students can also sleep inside the school.

The Sleep Out/Sleep In comes at a time when the need for support for young homeless people is particularly pressing. Most recent figures show that around 80,000 young people will experience homelessness in a year and that the number of young people seeking help from homelessness organisations and agencies is rising.

Tim Harford, Depaul UK’s Head of Donor Care and Individual Giving said, “We’re really hoping to build on the tremendous support we’ve had from the Catholic community to date with our first ever annual Sleep Out/Sleep In.  It’s not just an opportunity for schools to raise funds for the work we do with really vulnerable young people throughout the country- young people who have often had to cope with challenging situations since they were very young -it’s also an opportunity to encourage pupils to think about those less fortunate than themselves and put into action the virtues of charity and compassion.”

Depaul UK’s Sleep Out/Sleep In is supported by the charity’s patron, The Most Reverend Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster.  The Archbishop says: “ Depaul UK helps young people who find themselves homeless to overcome their circumstances, which are often traumatic. It does so by helping them to find stability, a place to call home, and a hope for their future.  As patron of Depaul UK, I am pleased to offer my endorsement of this sponsored schools Sleep Out/Sleep In.  Schools wishing to participate do so with my encouragement and blessing.”

Teachers can register their school and get further information about how to organise and hold their Sleep Out/Sleep In at  For any questions email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or telephone 0207 939 1276. 




Notes to Editors

1) About Depaul UK. Depaul UK is the UK’s largest youth homelessness charity. It provides and supports over 125,000 bednights a year to homeless and vulnerable young people and has helped more than 50,000 people since it was founded in 1989. The charity continues to work with more than 5,000 young people a year. Depaul UK is the new name for Depaul Trust, Registered Charity No .802384. Twitter @depauluk


Friday, 12 July 2013 13:32

Much ado about nothing Mr Gove

10th July 2013 - Press Release

This week the Education Secretary, Michael Gove, set all secondary schools a target of teaching 11-14 year olds two Shakespeare plays. But at St Benedict's Catholic Primary School in Atherstone, Warwickshire, children as young as 5 are studying Shakespeare. And on Wednesday (10th) and Thursday (11th) they will be staging their own performance of A Midsummer Night's Dream.

The performance is the finale of this term’s topic work for Years 5 and 6. It’s not just about learning lines for the play, Shakespeare’s work is used as a springboard to improve speaking and listening skills by doing 'ensemble' approach drama work where the children explore the themes, characters and language of Shakespeare whilst learning about how these fit in to Tudor times. This approach also increases children’s confidence.

Modern day themes are related to Shakespeare’s plays with the children undertaking project work looking, not just at Shakespeare’s life and times, but also crossing into other subject areas, for instance designing and making fairy wings.

Previously pupils have studied Macbeth, Romeo & Juliet and the Tempest. A mixed group of children ranging from Reception to Year 6 has even performed their own interpretation of The Tempest in a festival at Stratford.

Teacher Mrs Niki Furlong-Smith is the school's Literacy lead: "We've taught Shakespeare at St Benedict's for years, even to Reception children, because his works can be accessed by all age groups if done appropriately.”

She continued; “The Royal Shakespeare Company has been very supportive too.We have worked with one of the RSC's Voice Coaches and last October some of our present Year 6s had their own poetry performed by members of the RSC at the theatre in Stratford.

Our main feeder school, St Thomas More School, has stated that the children we send to them are always open to the works of Shakespeare when they begin to study them as part of the KS3 curriculum."


1.    For further information contact Head teacher Mrs Susan Shannon – 01827 712320 or PR Co-ordinator (Parent Volunteer) Angela Baines on 07976 438710.

2.    Press photographers are welcome to visit the performance.  Please contact Angela Baines (Parent volunteer) on 07976 438710.

3.    Photographs show pupils from Year 5 &6 in the dress rehearsal of their performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and examples of project work.

4.    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 a Diocesan inspection.


5.    St Benedict’s School is based in Church Walk, Mancetter, Atherstone and accepts children from all backgrounds in the North Warwickshire area.     Tel: 01827 712320

Friday, 12 July 2013 13:24

Teen Tech

Three brilliant young inventors have won the National TeenTech awards with a life saving invention which could make them a fortune.

The Loreto Grammar School Year Nine pupils beat teams from 450 different schools with the prototype for a blood glucose monitoring device aimed at improving the life chances of diabetics worldwide.

Sarah Griffin, 14, from Altrincham; JessicaTaylor 14, from Altrincham and Sophie Kelly, 14, from Sale, have wowed Britain's science community, receiving their prizes from Prince Andrew at a special ceremony at Buckingham Palace.

The girls impressed judges including Professor Brian Cox, top theoretical physicist Jim Al-Khalili and BBC science correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones to win in three categories for 'International Collaboration', “Healthcare' and the top overall award.

The key to their success said Loreto Grammar School Mathematics teacher Elaine Manton 'was a forensic examination of the project from every angle covering market research, product design and development and the potential for marketing’.

Organised by TeenTech as part of a national drive to promote the STEM subjects, Science, Engineering, Mathematics and Technology, the competition asks gifted pupils to conceive, design, develop and market an original product ready for the market place.

“The first step,” said Sarah, who has ambitions to become a facial plastic surgeon, 'was to identify a gap in the market place. There are blood glucose monitoring devices, but they are too bulky.”

Jessica, who wants to study psychoanalysis and forensic science, added: “We then had to discuss our ideas with some of Britain top engineers and were grateful to be able to liaise with the research and development team at Airbus industries.”

Sophie, who is interested in studying both sociology and philosophy, added: “It was essential to talk to those who might use the device and to get some detailed feedback from the medical profession.”

The girls worked on the project for four months, spending all their available lunchtimes, putting together their entry, being given special dispensation to work on the project in mathematics lessons and then furiously emailing each other in the evenings as they perfected their submission.

Elaine Manton said: “I have beena teacher for20 years and have never seen such innovative and detailed work. Their submission blew the judges out of the water, winning the plaudits of many of Britain's top scientists and broadcasters.”

The trio are to appear on Breakfast TV and are being interviewed by the national media. The girls win digital photo frames and £1,000 for the school, but said: “We are not interested in the rewards, we are genuinely interested in the project and getting the product to the market place.”

Elaine Manton added: “Britain needs the next generation of young inventors to stand up and make their mark in the world and we are all incredibly proud of  Sophie, Sarah and Jessicafor their wonderful work.” 


Press release - 6 July 2013 

The Principal and staff at All Hallows Catholic College, a voluntary academy in Macclesfield, have been selected for a top role, supporting schools in challenging circumstances.

Tony Billings is one of only 96 headteachers to be appointed to the role of National Leader of Education (NLE) in the latest recruitment round. He will now be invited to the National College for Teaching and Leadership’s learning and conference centre in Nottingham in October for a formal induction and training for the role in driving school improvement.

NLEs use their success and professionalism as school leaders, along with the staff in their school - designated a National Support School - to provide additional leadership capability in struggling schools or those in transition to federation or academy status. The deployment is tailor-made to suit the needs of each school. The type of support provided is flexible and can involve NLEs becoming acting or executive headteacher of the client school or schools. They also have responsibility for bringing on the next generation of NLEs and National Support Schools. 

Jacquline Feeley, Chair of Governors said: “This is such exciting news! The awarding of "National Support School" to All Hallows Catholic College and "National Leader of Education" to our Principal, is timely recognition of the great work of all staff inspirationally led by Tony Billings.  It reflects our Mission "to be more rather than have more" and the high standards achieved by our staff and students. We will now be able to share expertise, knowledge and skills with other schools to raise expectations and standards of Teaching and  Learning to enable all to fulfil their true potential. We, the Governors, are very proud of this excellent achievement which places Tony Billings as one of the National Leaders of Education, and of all our dedicated staff members who work and study selflessly and tirelessly as a dynamic team for the good of all our students. Congratulations and Well done to everyone!”

Many in the National Leaders of Education/National Support Schools scheme see improvements in exam results at both the support and client schools with progress achieved in excess of the improvements nationally. 

There are now well over 800 NLEs across the country and the number is set to rise to about 1,000 by 2015. Tony Billings, Principal of All Hallows said:  “This is a recognition of the extensive work we are already doing, sharing best practice with a number of schools facing challenging circumstances. We are delighted to be invited into such important work making a difference to the lives of students and their teachers.”

Charlie Taylor, Chief Executive of the National College for Teaching and Leadership, said: “It’s great that heads like Tony Billings are willing to look beyond their own school gates to help more pupils achieve. Their efforts will be at the heart of a self-improving, school-led education system.

“School-to-school support is having a growing impact and the results speak for themselves with benefits for both the schools being supported and those providing the support.”


Notes to editors:

For further information contact: All Hallows Catholic College, Principal, Tony Billings at 01625 426138 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

All Hallows Catholic College, A Voluntary Academy, drawing students from Macclesfield, Alderley Edge, Congleton, Wilmslow, Handforth, Poynton,Stockport,Whalley Bridge, Knutsford and surrounding areas.

For press enquiries about the national NLE programme contact Richard Earle on 07776 494545, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit:   




Pupils at Saint Paul’s Catholic High School in Wythenshawe are supporting the CAFOD Big IF campaign “Hungry for Change”. CAFOD, the Catholic Association for Overseas Development works in many countries to tackle poverty, encourage development and fight for global justice.

The pupils have learnt that there is enough food in the world for everyone, but it’s not shared fairly. They know that the way forward is to act collectively to push for change hence they signed a pledge which was sent to David Cameron and to bring up at the G8 summit to end world hunger.

“The pupils were very keen to support the Hungry for Change campaign after learning that nearly one billion people go to bed hungry every night and two million children die from malnutrition every year,” explained Miss Kathryn Meehan, RE teacher at Saint Paul’s. “Our pupils were inspired by the values of the CAFOD charity – compassion, hope, dignity, solidarity, partnership, sustainability and stewardship, As part of the Catholic community, we were eager to support this charity and help those in need.”

“At Saint Paul’s, pupils are encouraged to consider their place in the wider community, develop a strong sense of social responsibility and support those less fortunate than themselves.” commented Mr Wiktor Daron, Head Teacher at Saint Paul’s. Our hope is that, through their exposure to a range of activities and causes, our pupils will develop a sense of the type and scale of need that exists in modern life.”


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.”

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