This July, St Mary’s Catholic Academy and Baines Secondary School took a group of students to visit the beautiful country of Nepal for 12 days for an unbelievable and once in a lifetime experience.
Students stayed in the wonderful Kathmandu Guest House which is surrounded by beautiful gardens in the heart of Thamel, here students have time to relax and explore the local area, visiting all of the different shops, trying the local cuisine and speaking with the local community. During the visit, students embrace the culture of Nepal with visits to various different Hindu and Buddhist Temples, including Swayambhunath, the infamous Buddhist monkey Temple where they climbed a few hundred steps to see the incredible views of Kathmandu from the top and Pashupatinath Temple which is located on the banks of the Bagmati River where the students received Hindu blessings and rubbed shoulders with the local Holy Men. They also visited the Eco-Project Foundation which is an incredible organisation helping families by farming their own foods, building their own homes out of glass bottles and providing mothers and fathers with work to support their children.
Whilst out in Nepal, the students spent 4 days at Shubhakamana Academy where they completed a Teaching Project within the school. This was a really exciting opportunity for students to get involved with the community by providing exciting lessons for children of varying ages. This opportunity allowed the students to plan lessons of their choice; with a focus around conversational English and key words and terminology, allowed them to work with students from different schools and teach exciting and engaging lessons to the children in Nepal. On our final day of the School visit, Shubhakamana Academy put together a celebration event of dancing, singing, speeches and a lunch cooked by the school of local delicacies for us to sample together. The visit to the school really does make the trip very special and the St Mary’s and Baine’s students make lasting friendships with the Nepali children.
Towards the end of the Nepal trip, we travelled down to Chitwan National Park where the students went on an amazing adventure involving a jeep safari where we saw various different animals including crocodiles, spotted deer, monkeys and a very rare sloth bear, a canoe ride with crocodiles (one of which jumped out of the water at us), washing and feeding the elephants, a walk through the jungle trying to spot wild animals, an elephant safari ride and a visit to the elephant orphanage.
The students had the most incredible time, and if you would like to join the next Nepal group for summer 2019, or are interested in going out to Nepal in the future, please come and find either Mr Mannino or Miss Anderton for any more information or detail about this really special trip.
On Saturday 8th September, an enthusiastic group of students set out on an adventure to Liverpool to take part in the Adoremus National Youth Congress. Nearly 1,000 young people gathered in the Echo convention centre for a day of music, drama, talks and workshops on the theme of “Eucharist.” Guest speakers included Archbishop Vincent Nicholls and Katie Prejean (who came all the way from America) and testimonies from young adults who talked about their faith. We even heard a special letter that had been written to us on behalf of the Pope! To top it all off, the whole event was recorded for BBC Radio 4 and broadcast on Sunday morning. The day was part of a wider programme that ran across Liverpool for the whole weekend and finished with a huge procession through Liverpool. This was an event unlike anything seen in the UK for a long time: the last National Eucharistic Congress took place in 1908. It was a pleasure and a privilege to be part of such a historic event, and our student representatives did us very proud!
A group of five students were on cloud nine at St Mary’s Catholic Academy; they achieved 20 grade 9s and 18 grade 8s between them. The group pictured above includes Daisy Court, Rebecca Morgan, Sophie Saglam, Dominic Walker, Amelia Weaver and Alina Sladkiewicz.
Rebecca Morgan was over the moon with her results, achieving eight grade 9s. “I feel very pleased with my results. I worked very hard and felt supported by my teachers all the way. I have really enjoyed my time at St. Mary’s and want to carry on at their VI Form College to study Chemistry, Biology, Spanish and join the Health Academy”.
Alina Sladkiewicz said, “I feel relieved now that I have my results and I am so grateful for all the support from the teachers. I will be staying at the VI Form and studying Chemistry, English Literature and Psychology.
Our Deputy Head Boy Dominic Walker was thrilled with his results. He said, “I cannot believe the results I have got. I am very excited and cannot thank the staff enough. It has been a very exciting journey so far.”
A record breaking set of GCSE results for St Mary’s students saw 62% of students achieving a grade 4 (C Grade equivalent) or better in English and Maths, with 60% of students achieving grade 4 / C or better in five subjects including English and Maths. Strong performances across subjects contributed to a record year. Results in English were particularly pleasing, with 78% of students achieving above a grade 4 in English Language or English Literature.
The latest Government measures look at the grades students gain in eight of their GCSEs called Attainment 8. This year’s Attainment 8 grade set a new record for the Academy at 46.11, better than the national average for 2017. These 8 grades are also used to calculate Progress 8 which looks at the progress students make in the same 8 GCSEs, from a starting point based on their Key Stage 2 results and in comparison to all other students nationally. Whilst this Progress 8 data will not be available until later in the year, things are looking hugely encouraging. As Headteacher, Mr Simon Eccles explains, “Our Year 11 students have produced a record breaking set of results for St Mary’s. Their Attainment 8 data is above last year’s national average and is a result of the hard work and commitment of our students and the fabulous support of our staff”
Mr Eccles was delighted to see students performing so well adding, “Strong results across GCSE and A Level once again this year show that the Academy continues to build from strength to strength. This is a very pleasing set of GCSE results, students should be proud of their achievements. I would like to congratulate Year 11 on their results and the progress they have made, we look forwards to welcoming many of them back in Year 12. I would like to thank the staff who continue to develop innovative teaching based on the latest evidence and research and deliver excellent pastoral care in addition to thanking parents for their support and partnership over the last five years.”
Any Year 11 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 at www.st-mary.blackpool.sch.uk
St Mary’s Sixth Form students once again produced an excellent performance in their A Level examination results, carrying on the trend of previous years. A Level results saw a record-equalling 99% pass rate. 40% of all grades were at A*/A or Distinction* / Distinction, with 75% of grades above a grade C. 100% of students achieved 2 A Levels or equivalent passes, with a remarkable 99% of students achieving 3 A Level or equivalent passes.
There were many superb performances from students on the day. Aiden Ronson achieved 3 A’s and 1 A* and will attend King’s College, London to study Politics, Natasha Sieradzki achieved 2 A’s and 2 A*’s and will go on to study at Durham University. Jumael Zafar, who achieved 2 A’s and 1 A*, will now study Biomedical Science at Lancaster University. Toby Ashton achieved 3 A*s and 1 A and will go to Durham University to study Engineering. Students were quick to praise the Academy Sixth Form and staff:
Toby Ashton said “I am genuinely over the moon at the moment. My 7 years at St. Mary’s has been absolutely fantastic and I have loved every minute of it. I am now looking forward to attending Durham University to study Engineering”.
A delighted Jumael Zafar praised the support he received from the Academy: “I feel proud of the grades I received today. My time at St. Mary’s has been absolutely wonderful because of all the support I received from the amazing teachers. Without them I would not have been able to achieve this. I cannot wait to now get started on my Biomedical Science degree at Lancaster University”
Aiden Ronson was also keen to praise the teachers saying: “I am so pleased with my results. I could not have done this without the dedication and support from my brilliant teachers here at St. Mary’s. I will miss St. Mary’s so much, but I am now looking forward to attending King’s College, London to study Politics.
Natasha Sieradski added “I am so pleased with how I have done and could not have asked for better. My seven years at St Mary’s has been incredible and I could not have got the results that I have without the continuous support from my teachers. I am looking forward to studying Law at Durham University”.
Head teacher Mr Simon Eccles was incredibly proud of students at the Academy: “I am so pleased with our students and their achievements which are a result of hours of hard work and dedication by them. I would like to thank the team of staff at St Mary’s who supported and prepared the students so well, through providing innovative, high-quality lessons and in supporting students on their learning journey. I would also like to thank our parents who have worked with us over the years in supporting the students and the Academy. I wish our students every luck in their futures.”
Unusually for schools and colleges in the region St Mary’s Year 12 students were also celebrating today. St Mary’s is the only sixth form college in the area to continue allowing all students a wider choice of four AS subjects in Year 12. This helps students have a better perspective of how they are progressing in their chosen subjects and the results were very pleasing with a 92% pass rate and over 58% of all grades at higher A-C or Distinction or Distinction *grades, with 19 subjects guiding students to higher A/B or Distinction * / Distinction grades.
A delighted Head of Sixth Form, Mrs Jennifer Burrough explained that: “Part of our success is due to the close family feel of 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 at this link.
Any Sixth Form student who has not received their results today can collect them from the main reception on Monday 20th August from Miss Caton.
A Level results will be available from 8am on Thursday 16th August for Year 13 and 9am for Year 12 in the dining hall.