Meet Our New Gap Year Chaplains

Daisy WedgeHi! I’m Daisy, I’m 22 years old and from Brighton.

I’ve had a great start to the school year as one of the “gaplains” at St Mary’s. During my time here, I’ll be helping in the chaplaincy, running clubs, and volunteering with CAFOD. I also get to go on a really exciting international trip to see the work CAFOD do abroad. In my spare time, I like baking, swing dancing, and getting lost in the woods.

I’m really looking forward to getting to know everyone better, and I hope I can learn a lot, and also make a positive contribution to St Mary’s this year!

Francis Romano

Hi my name is Francis and I’m one of the two Gap Year Chaplains spending a year with the Chaplaincy team at St Mary’s. I come from a village called Headcorn in Maidstone, Kent.

I’m looking forward to meeting everyone and hope that this term has started well!As a Gap Year Chaplain I work with both St Mary’s and CAFOD, so Daisy and I will be available for anyone interested in CAFOD and their work all over the world. We’ll also be doing clubs and activities throughout the year as well as helping with prayers and masses.

GCSE Star Students Shine at St Mary’s

St Marys GCSE 2019Ten student stars opened their results to reveal 29 grade 9s and 32 grade 8s between them. The group, pictured here, includes: Roberta Rogers-Smith, Darcie Lovell, Sebastian Ebel, Dichhya Sunar, Natalia Konewecka, Jessica Duffy, Michael Woof, Louis Hawkes, Anna Wignall and Hannah Villarino.

A delighted Roberta said “I had some of the best years of my life at St Mary’s, thanks to the amazing teaching staff”. Darcie added her thoughts: “I have loved my time at St. Mary’s, thanks to the wonderful teaching staff and facilities.” Jessica was also grateful to the Academy’s staff saying: “I am very pleased with my results and I am very thankful for all the support from staff. I look forward to continuing my journey at St. Mary’s Sixth Form” and a very happy Head girl Hannah Villarino, who will also be joining the Academy’s Sixth Form College added: “I’m very happy with my results and all the hard work was definitely worth it. I’ve enjoyed my 5 years at St. Mary’s and I am thankful for all the support from my teachers.”

Special mention goes to Anna Wignall and Venice her guide dog, also pictured. Anna is severely visually impaired and the first student to complete her main stream education at St Mary’s supported by a guide dog. Anna completed all of her examinations in Braille, passing all of her GCSEs, including an incredible 2 grade 8s, a grade 7 and 2 grade 6s. Anna was over the moon with her results saying: “My time at St. Mary’s has been amazing and I am so happy with my results. I am looking forward to joining St. Marys 6th form to carry on my studying.”

The number of students achieving a grade 4 or better in English and Maths at the Academy was 60%, the second year running that the Academy has achieved over 60% for this benchmark.  Results were very pleasing in English with 76% of students achieving above a grade 4 in English Language or English Literature. These were backed up by solid results in Maths. Students also performed well across a range of subjects including Sciences, Spanish, Geography and Art subjects.

A delighted Headteacher, Mr Simon Eccles said, “Our Year 11 students have produced another good set of results for St Mary’s. This is a result of the hard work and commitment of our students and the fabulous support of our staff and students’ families”

Mr Eccles was delighted to see students performing so well adding, “Solid results across A Level and GCSE show that the Academy continues to develop from strength to strength. This is a good set of results. I am particularly pleased that students continue to perform well across a number of subjects showing the Academy’s commitment to allowing students to select a balance of subjects that interest them. Huge congratulations go to Year 11 on their results; we are looking forwards to welcoming many of them back in Year 12. I would also like to thank our dedicated staff who continue to deliver innovative teaching based on the latest evidence and research from our research school and for their excellent pastoral care for our students; thanks also to the students’ families for their support and partnership over the last five years.” 

Any Y11 student with 5+ grade 4s or better including English & Maths, from either St Mary’s or any other local secondary schools, who would like to join our thriving Sixth Form can contact Mrs Burrough (Head of Sixth Form Learning House) on 01253 396286 or alternatively complete an online application on the Academy’s website.

St. Mary's GCSE Success

Students at St Mary’s celebrated success once again in their GCSEs this year. The number of students achieving a grade 4 or better in English and Maths was 60%, the second year running the Academy has achieved over 60% for this benchmark. Results were once again very pleasing in English with 76% of students achieving above a grade 4 in English Language or English Literature. These were backed up by solid results in Maths. Students performed well across a range of subjects including Sciences, Spanish, Geography and Art subjects.

Headteacher, Mr Simon Eccles explains, “Our Year 11 students have produced another good set of results for St Mary’s. This is a result of the hard work and commitment of our students and the fabulous support of our staff and students families.”

Mr Eccles was delighted to see students performing so well adding, “Solid results across A Level and GCSE show that the Academy continues to develop from strength to strength. This is a good set of results. I am particularly pleased that students continue to perform well across a number of subjects showing the Academy’s commitment to allowing students to select a balance of subjects that interest them. Huge congratulations go to Year 11 on their results; we are looking forwards to welcoming many of them back in Year 12. I would also like to thank our dedicated staff who continue to deliver innovative teaching based on the latest evidence and research from our research school and for their excellent pastoral care for our students; thanks also to the students families for their support and partnership over the last five years.”

Any Y11 student with 5+ grade 4s or better including English & Maths, from either St Mary’s or any other local secondary schools, who would like to join our thriving Sixth Form can contact Mrs Burrough (Head of Sixth Form Learning House) on 01253 396286 or alternatively complete an online application on the Academy’s website.

St Mary’s Students Record A Level Success

Students at St Mary’s Catholic Academy produced a record-breaking performance for the Academy’s sixth form, with a 100% pass rate in their A Level examinations, continuing the trend of excellent results from previous years. Students also excelled at the higher grades, with 41% of all grades at A*/A or Distinction* / Distinction, 64% of grades at grade B / Merit or above and 82% of grades above a grade C.

A level students with their results

Pictured above are 7 delighted students who achieved a stunning 33 A*/A, Distinction*/Distinction between them. Lily Duffy achieved 2 A*s and 2 As, and will be reading Geography at Durham University; Toby Chick achieved 3As, a B and a D, and will attend Lancaster University to study Maths; Victor Emefe achieved 2A*s, an A and a B, and will attend Liverpool University to study Medicine; Ryan McCormack achieved 3As and a B, and will read Maths and Economics at the University of Leeds; Max Lovell achieved 4 grade As, and will study Biology with Maths at Edinburgh University; Riccardo Sammartano achieved 2 Distinction* grades and a Merit, and will attend Edge Hill University to study Business and Management, and Ellie Lowe achieved an A*, 2 As and a B, and will be studying Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Sheffield.

Ellie Lowe said, “I’m really pleased with my results. It’s been hard work and I would like to thank the staff of St. Mary’s for all their help and support”. Lily Duffy went on to say, “I have had an amazing 7 years at St. Mary’s and I would like to thank the staff for all their help and support”.

Health Academy students with their results

The two students in the second picture successfully completed St Mary’s Health Academy in partnership with Blackpool Victoria Hospital in Year 12, studying three A Levels and spending a day per week at the hospital on a rotation around the hospital’s different departments. Lucy Staveley achieved a Distinction*, 2 As and a B, and will attend the University of Central Lancashire to study English Language and Linguistics, and Molly Southern achieved a Distinction*, 2 A*s, an A and a C, and will study Medical Sciences at Leeds University.

Molly absolutely loved the Health Academy stating, “I could not have done this without the incredible support I have received from the staff at St. Mary’s and, more recently, from the NHS staff. I am glad all the hard work has paid off”.

Head Teacher, Mr Simon Eccles, was delighted for students at the Academy: “I am so pleased for our students who have worked extremely hard over the last two years, they should be proud of their achievements. I would like to thank our staff, who continue to offer excellent teaching and tailored support to our students, and the families of our students, who have supported them through the exam season.”

A delighted Head of Sixth Form, Mrs Jennifer Burrough, explained: “Part of our success is due to the close family feel to our sixth form. We offer a clear support system which enables every student to receive the targeted help they need. It is this care and pride in all of our students that makes our sixth form unique.”

Enrolment for students from all Blackpool schools to St. Mary’s remains open for applications and can be found through the Academy website.

 

St Mary’s Students Record A Level Success

Students at St Mary’s Catholic Academy produced a record breaking performance for the Academy’s sixth form with a 100% pass rate in their A Level examinations.  Results carried on the trend of previous years excellent results. Students also excelled at the higher grades with 41% of all grades at A*/A or Distinction* / Distinction, 64% of grades at grade B / Merit or above and 82% of grades above a grade C.

Headteacher, Mr Simon Eccles was delighted for students at the Academy: “I am so pleased for our students who have worked so hard over the last two years, they should be proud of their achievements. I would like to thank our staff who continue to offer excellent teaching and tailored support to our students and the families of our students who have supported them through the exam season.”

A delighted Head of Sixth Form, Mrs Jennifer Burrough explained that: “Part of our success is due to the close family feel to our Sixth form. We offer a clear support system which enables every student to receive the targeted help they need. It is this care and pride in all of our students that makes our Sixth form unique.”

Enrolment for students from all Blackpool schools to St Mary’s remains open for applications and can be found through the Academy website.

Sixth Form Wonderful Week

Photos of Sixth Formers on Wonderful Week Trips

The Sixth Form started their Wonderful Week with a day at Weeton army barracks, taking part in activities focused on team work, building resilience and developing leadership skills. After a very early start on Wednesday, they headed up to the North East for a guided tour around Newcastle University and very insightful sessions on university life and budgeting, before enjoying some free time to explore the delights of the City of Newcastle. Students were able to compare the attractions of a city university with those of a campus university when they ended the week with a visit to Edge Hill University. Here, they were given a guided tour of the campus; a talk about the university voted 2014/15 Times Higher University of the Year; a workshop looking at exemplar personal statements and an informative presentation about student finance. On the days spent in the Academy, students attended a carousel of apprenticeship talks and a session on how to write a personal statement/ CV, with students being set the challenge to produce a first draft of the one most suited to their future plans before their return in September. A huge thank you to all the Sixth Formers and staff for their active participation throughout the week which ensured it was both a productive and enjoyable week for everyone.

St Mary's Doodle for Google Competition

Doodle for Google SMCA competition entries

The year 7 pupils in Graphics were given a design challenge which was to come up with a range of ideas based on doodle for google and develop them into a final design. We now need your help in choosing the overall winner. There’s lots of different themes including space, nature, art, Disney, transport, construction, gaming and hobbies. You will get one vote so look over all entries carefully and select your winner. All finalists will receive a little prize for working so hard however the winning designer will receive a creative supply of goodies. The competition will last one week so get voting, entries close end of day Tuesday 16th July at 3:10pm.

Click here to view the entries and vote.

Click here to visit the gallery and see larger versions of each entry.

Wonderful Week 2019 Day Five

Photos from the final day of Wonderful Week.

All good things must come to an end and, unfortunately, Wonderful Week is no different, but what a final day it was!

We welcomed back the Barcelona group on Friday and, judging from their beaming smiles, they had an absolutely fantastic time with an abundance of lifetime memories to treasure. Xtreme Action had conquered the slopes at Manchester’s Chill Factor before heading to the Trafford Centre to shop until they drop! In Blackpool, the thrill seekers of Sports and Leisure visited Blackpool Ice Arena on Friday, followed by a dip at the Sandcastle Waterpark. The Challenge team had a jam-packed day on Thursday including zorbing, the water park, water slide and paddle boarding. They ended their night peacefully and in true camp style by devouring delicious S’mores by the campfire.

Meanwhile back at school, the campers returned to school with lots of tales to tell and adventures to share and they rounded the week off with a delicious ice cream. Over in Make It Trend, they finished their week by showcasing their products with a catwalk. The Duke of Edinburgh group had been building shelters and living the high life at Blackpool’s High Ropes. The Sixth Form team concluded their week with a final trip to Edge Hill University.

Domino’s Pizza was popular on Friday at school with the Year 7 and Bake Off group celebrating the end to a successful week with some scrumptious pizza. Team Dance finished their week in style by performing a fusion of different dances, including ballet, street and contemporary. This was effortlessly choreographed by the lead teachers and special guest Miss Pip Thackwray who was absolutely fantastic with students all week. The final day of work experience was a real success with some triumphant work places, including placements at Andrew Mellow Vets, Salon Red and Toys Plus.

After the sheer volume of activities that have been enjoyed last week, I’m sure students (and staff!) will sleep very well! On behalf of students and parents, the Wonderful Week team would like to thank all staff who have made such an unforgettable week possible. It truly has been wonderful!

The Time is Now climate change lobby

Photos from Climate Change London 2019

4:30am seemed like a very early time to bee meeting at Blackpool North train station, especially as we met there before the station even opened. There was a sense of excitement in the air as a sleepy group of 6 students from St Marys' CAFOD group met together for our special day trip to London on Wednesday 26th June. We watched the sun rise as we boarded the train to Preston to meet the coach that would take us down to London to meet our MP's as part of The time Is Now lobby on climate change. We joined friends from Our Lady's Lancaster, St Mary's Brownedge and Thornleigh schools on the coach down to London and spent some time on our journey getting to know each other, creating flags and reflecting on the importance of the day.

When we got to London, we headed over to Church House for an inspirational interfaith service led by important figures from all religions. They spoke to us about the importance of climate change from their faith perspective. Rowan Williams, former Archbishop of Canterbury, told us that "we are living in a bubble, believing that some technology or escape to another planet will be our solution" and that if we imagine the world as a tree, the human race is sawing off the branch we are sitting on". Quari Asim MBE spoke beautifully about the creation story in Islam and described climate change as a smoldering fire that is slowly burning into an unstoppable flame. Anya Nanning Ramamurthy, a Quaker, who has taken a lead role in the recent schools' protests on climate change reminded us that "We have God in us, and it's about time we started acting like it." And many of our students' favourite speaker, Vishpavani, a Buddhist teacher, told us "The climate has no religion. We breathe the same air. It is not left wing or right wing. And it doesn't care about Brexit."

Inspired by listening to such great speakers, our small group headed out to Victoria Tower Gardens to meet with our MP's and tell them how important climate change is to us. We first met Paul Maynard, who told us about his trip to the Philippines with Christian Aid to see the effects of Typhoon Haiyan. He said when he saw what had happened there, he was convinced: "We have to act," he told us. He said that our Catholic faith and in particular Pope Francis' Laudato Si should inspire us to set optimistic challenges that may be hard for us to reach, but we should strive for, and that we should be leading the world, setting an example by reducing our emissions and reaching Net Zero as quickly as possible. We spoke about the issue of rising sea levels in our town and the need for better flood defenses, and he set us the challenge of walking and cycling more, using less energy and wasting fewer resources.

Just after we said goodbye to Paul, the whole place erupted in noise. Nearly 12,000 people had gathered together that day to speak to their MP's, and every one of them had brought an alarm clock set to ring at 2pm. The message was this: time is running out for our planet. We need change, and we need it now! Our students were overwhelmed at the amount of noise that was made by everyone calling for the same thing- climate justice. We were even more surprised 2 minutes later when Steve Backshall from the BBC turned up just behind us for a TV interview! Our students were very pleased to be able to pose for a selfie with him!

We met Gordon Marsden, who told us about the new "green" apprenticeships he had created in the town and how he was against fracking. He asked us about what we do in school to reduce our carbon footprint and challenged us to make some noise by speaking to shops and shopping centres about the need for less packaging and more electric car charging points.

After such an intense morning, we spent some time at the schools zone, taking part in some activities and had a brief site seeing tour before heading home. We were even lucky enough to be given some free vegan ice cream, which was being handed out to everyone who came to the lobby!

Reflecting on our day during the journey home, Hanna said "It felt incredible just to gather with everyone and contribute. I believe that our MP was rather inspired by all the people who turned up, and I feel like he'll help and try to speak about climate change to the rest of parliament." Jess said "I am inspired to recycle more, to set an example so other people will copy." Kyla said "I am going to tell my family and friends: do the best you can to help slow down climate change." A message for us all, and one that the CAFOD group will be considering in our activities moving forward into the next school year.

Wonderful Week 2019 Day Four

Photos from Wonderful Week 2019 Day Four

It’s the penultimate day of the Wonderful Week extravaganza and it’s been another day of fun in the sun!

Today we welcome back the Duke of Edinburgh group as they successfully completed their gruelling expedition for the Bronze Award. Meanwhile last night, over in the capital city, they dined with the stars in Planet Hollywood before a night of laughter at a comedy show. Today they explored Covent Garden before making their way back to St Mary’s. In Barcelona, the group were able to soak up some last rays of sunshine ahead of their flight home this afternoon.

Back at St Mary’s, at Make It Trend, the fashionistas have been creating bespoke clothing as they upcycled leggings, t-shirts and pumps. Strictly Blackpool have been exploring the historic trams and climbed on board for a ride on the Great Western Train before visiting the world famous Blackpool Tower ballroom. After visiting universities yesterday, the Sixth Form group have made their first steps towards their own university applications as they unpick how to write a successful personal statement.

Work experience continues to be a roaring success with Millie Rose and Azzurra perfecting their customer service skills at Topshop and Charlotte at Clarks impressing staff and customers alike. Over at Sports and Leisure, they have had an eventful day at laser tag before heading over to the escape room and then finally being bowled over at MFA Bowl. Xtreme Action have continued their thrilling week of activities by spending the day at Laser Quest, Blackpool. The Prop Making group have made their finishing touches to their designs as they tirelessly craft their creations, such as Ethan’s Templar helmet. In the Dance Studio, street dance has descended upon the Dance group as they get ready for their Friday showcase. The group have choreographed their own routines and are finalising the finishing touches.

It has been a day of baking and decorating in the Bake Off group with icing, chocolate, sprinkles, cones and strawberries galore. Needless to say, all students involved have been ‘Star Bakers’ with some budding culinary experts in the making. In Waddecar, Year 7 students enjoyed a fish supper cooked by the fabulous Miss Hankovics and a hot chocolate before settling down for their first night camping.

We sadly only have one day left of Wonderful Week but we can’t wait to finish on a high!