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!

Wonderful Week 2019 Day Three

Wonderful Week Day Three Photos

Like Blackpool Pleasure Beach’s ‘Big One’, Wednesday marks the climax of our Wonderful Week here at St Mary’s.

In Barcelona, they have basked in the sunshine and enjoyed a tour of the famous Camp Nou. Last night in London, they continued to immerse themselves in the world of theatre as they watched a performance of Matilda. Today they have visited the Houses of Parliament and dined in Trafalgar Square. The Duke of Edinburgh group conquered their expedition in order to successfully achieve their Bronze Award.

Back at St Mary’s, football fever has hit the school as Fleetwood Football Club have been upskilling and inspiring the football group with their tackling, crossing and shooting skills. After yesterday’s T-shirt creations, the Make It Trend group have been making bags galore as they expand their creativity with innovative ideas. Meanwhile, it has been an Italian themed day in the Bake Off group as pizzas were perfected with an array of toppings. Over in the dance group, Kate at Ludus Company visited to deliver her expertise. The group were caught in a tangle as they refined their contemporary dance skills and Kate provided a careers talk to inspire future pathways in the creative industry!

Year 7s have been developing some mastermind strategy board games, including a Christmas ‘must have’ game featuring our very own Mr Eccles, Mr Brown and Mr Tierney. At lunchtime, the Year 7 campers returned after a really successful trip to Waddecar. Staff at camp need not worry, however, as they have been exchanged for the other half of the Year 7 happy campers who are full of energy and raring to go for the rest of the week!

It may be sunny in Blackpool but it has been a chilly day for the Sport and Leisure group as they mastered the slopes at Manchester’s Chill factor. Visits to Blackpool Tower Eye and The Blackpool Tower Dungeons were enjoyed by the Strictly Blackpool group who continue to explore the local area and attractions. Meanwhile, the Link group have had a fantastic day at Ascent after visiting the Blackpool Fire Station yesterday. Xtreme Action have been practising what they preach in a day of gorge walking and abseiling, certainly not for faint-hearted! Finally, the sixth form team were on tour today as they visited both Newcastle University and Northumbria University.

Year 10s have been dipping their toes into the world of work this week during work experience. So far there have been some real success stories, such as those working at Happy Tots Nursery, Bright Print, Sue’s Curiosities and Tea shop and The Gynn.

It has been another wonderful day for all involved. Thank you to all staff for your continued work. We can’t wait to see the adventures tomorrow will bring!

P.S. For more Wonderful Week photos, please take a look at the school gallery!

Wonderful Week 2019 Day Two

Photos of Wonderful Week 2019 Day Two

Another day, another whole host of activities, adventures and antics to report on for Wonderful Week day two.

In the morning, the Duke of Edinburgh group set off for their expedition to Rivington in order to successfully accomplish their Bronze Award. Meanwhile in London, a stunning performance of Les Misérable was enjoyed on Monday evening by a very excitable bunch. Today they have delved into the depths of history at the National History Museum and been wowed at the Science Museum. In Scotland, they have hit the ground running (or should I say walking) after enjoying a hike in the hills, followed by archery and the climbing wall. In Waddecar, the campers in Year 7 enjoyed their first night in the wild and have developed their survival and team building skills.

Over in Manchester, the Sports and Leisure group visited the red side of the city as they toured Manchester United’s stadium, Old Trafford. In Blackpool, there was some serious ‘monkey business’ and ‘clowning around’ as groups visited Blackpool Zoo and the Blackpool Tower Circus.

Back at St Mary’s, there has been a passion for fashion as budding designers crafted mood boards and sketched designs worthy of even the most fashion conscious critic. In the dance studio, contemporary dance has taken over as they perfected different routines and skills, including scissor kicks, floor rolls and head kicks. Lilly-May commented that, “I’m having so much fun and there’s so much to do. We are learning lots of different styles and I’m learning a lot!”

It’s been cupcakes galore in the Bake Off group as they made some culinary delights to tantalise the taste buds. Students have been experimenting with flavours, including strawberry, blueberry, toppings and buttercream. Over in Prop Making the realms of fantasy have been delved into with many creations, including the likes of Stormbreakers, Makonde daggers and Infinity Gauntlets. “We’re having a really exciting time. It’s really fun to meet new people and to do something so creative,” Ethan and Cyprian commented. Meanwhile, the Sixth Form team have enjoyed exploring apprentice workshops from the likes of BAE and the Civil Service.

Needless to say that today has been jam-packed full of adventures and we expect tomorrow to be even bigger and better!

Wonderful Week 2019 Day One

Wonderful Week Day One Photos of Army, The Challenge and others

Although the weather may not be wonderful today, it has truly been a wonderful start to Wonderful Week here at St Mary’s. With coaches galore, an abundance of residential trips waved goodbye to Blackpool as they safely set off to enjoy their residential trips. The Barcelona group were the first to say adiós in the early hours of the morning, followed by the city setters to London, the happy ‘glampers’ to Scotland and the first half of the Year 7 campers to Waddecar.

Meanwhile, back at St Mary’s the school bubbled with excitement as students enjoyed their first day of activities. The delicious scent of cookies tempted passers-by, the ballet group perfected their pirouettes, first aid classes were skilfully mastered, challenges and team building activities were accomplished and creations were designed, crafted and perfected. Outside of school, sixth formers were put through their paces and called to attention by the army as other Wonderful Week groups enjoyed wet and wild adventures at Blackpool Wake Park and Rock and River. Needless to say, it has been an eventful first day and we are so excited to see how the rest of the week unfolds!

Year 3 Open Air Mass and Procession

Year 3 Mass

On Thursday 20th June, St. Mary's hosted the annual Year 3 Celebration Mass outside in our amphitheater space. The sun was shining, the wind was blowing (and causing havoc with the candles and Altar cloths) and everyone was in fine voice for our celebration. Fr Jim, the Dean of Blackpool Deanery, celebrated the Mass alongside Fr Janusz, Fr Andrew and Fr Masaki, and the children were joined by teachers, governors and special guests.

This was a Mass with a difference: as it is the Year of the Eucharist, and in anticipation of the feast of Corpus Christi, we ended our Mass with a Blessed Sacrament procession through St. Mary's and Christ The King schools to Christ The King Church. It was wonderful to be part of such a fantastic celebration - a first for our community - and to see all the children from Christ The King school pause to watch us all walking by. We ended in Christ The King Church with Benediction surrounded by the wonderful flower carpets that children from all of our schools had worked hard to create. We were even given a prayer card to take home with a picture that matched the flower carpet design!

We had a fantastic time and a lovely celebration, and were very pleased to take part in such a special event to mark the Year of the Eucharist.