I am sure you share our awareness that the dark mornings and evenings are starting to draw in and that there is a real autumnal feel to the air. As the weather is starting to become cold it is advisable that children wear appropriate coats and warming clothing when travelling to school, especially if travelling by bus or walking.
Our Year 11 students are continuing with their after school sessions, or period 6 as they are more commonly known, and deserve to be praised and recognised for their positivity and maturity of approach. Equally so, staff deserve to be commended for the additional planning and consideration given to the tasks prepared for and delivered during these sessions – especially as our first round of mock examinations for Year 11 will commence on Monday November 18th lasting for two weeks. More details regarding study tasks, activities, useful materials and tips for the exams will be included in following editions.
As part of our ongoing programme of inspection within the Diocese, we welcomed Mr Ben McArdle to school on Thursday to carry out our Monitoring Visit or Health Check. This takes place mid way between the date of a school’s last Section 48 Inspection and the next. During this visit Mr McArdle visited all RE lessons to observe the quality of teaching and learning taking place, he carried out a work scrutiny of a large number of the books he saw during these Learning Walks and he also spent time meeting with a group of students from Years 7 – 13 in addition to meetings with both myself and Miss McPhee, as Head of RE. I am very pleased to say that Mr McArdle felt we had met the three developmental points suggested at the conclusion of our last Inspection in 2016 and has set us three new targets to be achieved by the time of our next Inspection in 2021.
As if this was not enough – to add to the excitement of the day we hosted our annual Open Evening later that day. As a school, we feel it was the busiest yet and was a most positive experience. Our school hall was full for both Head teacher talks with standing room only. The most frequently asked question of the evening was ‘how do I get my child into St Thomas More’ and a greatly significant number of parents/carers made it their mission of the evening to hand in their supplementary information forms with additional information as relevant i.e. baptismal certificates. I was overjoyed to see how busy and vibrant the evening was and to receive comment after comment as to the creativity of our teacher’s, the welcoming atmosphere around school and the polite and mature nature of our students, regardless of their age or Key Stage. I was also greatly supported by members of our governing body who spent the evening with us, distributing materials to parents/carers, answering questions, praising students and recognising the hard work and talents of our teachers.
As part of our commitment as a school to the work of CAFOD, a number of students and myself attended Mass in a variety of our local feeder parishes, joined parishioners in their Sunday Social Events after each Mass and availed of the opportunity to thank them for their generosity in financially supporting our students for their pilgrimage to Lourdes. In fact we have just launched this year’s Lourdes campaign and have already recruited a number of Year 13 and 12 students who are keen to participate, including all who attended last summer’s pilgrimage.
You will notice our poster advertising our Harvest Festival Collection commencing this coming week. All donations are greatly received as we depend upon your compassionate generosity in supporting the different food banks accessed via our feeder parishes, the work of the Good Shepherd Ministry in Wolverhampton and The Sanctuary connected to St Chad’s Cathedral in Birmingham. As the poster queries – ‘Do you dare to care?’
On Tuesday coming, October 8th, our Year 7 and 8 students will participate in a Punctuation Road Show designed to support their literacy development and improve their overall skill set in this most essential aspect of school life. Our decision to invest in such an optional initiative is based on the analysis carried out of the Question Level Analysis of students’ KS2 results following their SATS in Year 6. We are also pleased to say that we will welcome a number of parents/carers to this event.
On Thursday October 10th, twelve of our Year 7 students will join with students from the three Catholic primary schools within the newly formed Newman Cluster in Holy Trinity Parish Centre to participate in a school’s workshop to celebrate the canonisation of Blessed John Henry Newman as Saint John Henry Newman on Sunday coming, October 13th. The twelve students attending are past pupils of the the three primary schools participating – Holy Trinity Bilston, St Joseph’s Darlaston and Holy Rosary Wolverhampton. This wonderful day will conclude with the celebration of Mass in Holy a Trinity Church Bilston – I am looking forward to being part of the congregation. Within school our students will participate in a variety of activities to Mark this special event and all families will receive a commemorative book mark as a keep sake. Details as to their participation will feature in our next edition.
Until our next edition. God bless.