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SUMMER 2011 - ISSUE 5

More News Celebration! Achievement! Outstanding! As I write this introduction Andy Murray is still in Wimbledon and more amazing still he is not the only British player to have made it beyond the first round! He started the championships with a huge level of expectation on his shoulders that has been made greater still through his success at the warm-up tournament at Queen’s Club. What is certain is that should he fail to win the tournament he will be labelled a ‘loser’. Should he win then I dare say he will find a place in our sporting hearts forever more. It seems in the UK that we do not ‘do’ success or failure particularly well. There are rarely shades of grey between the two and no one it seems is prepared to celebrate the progress that may have seen an apparent ‘no hoper’ expected to go out in the first round, progress to the second or third round for the first time in their career. At St Thomas More we recognise that we need to celebrate all achievements and we work hard to seek out new ways to identify success and to champion progress. The sum of all of these efforts can be seen in the successes that the school has enjoyed throughout the course of this year. In addition to our outstanding OFSTED report and diocesan report we have also been recognised as a National Support School and have made it to the final assessment to become a Teaching School. Each of these achievements is recognition that St Thomas More is a school that has something to offer other schools as they too seek to make improvements. For students and parents it is reassurance once more that the school is indeed ‘a special place to learn and grow.’ I sincerely hope you enjoy this edition of More News.

   

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More News... A new assessment focus for Year 9 students From September students in Year 9 will be assessed against standards that give a strong indication of progress towards GCSE grades. This will see a shift away from the use of National Curriculum levels and a focus on scores that are linked to GCSE grades. Mr Richardson commented:“This is an important development for the school. Students make option choices during the course of Year 9 and it is vital that have a clear picture of where they are enjoying most success so that the choices they make are right for them.” The system of assessment will work in a way that small levels of progress can be identified and celebrated.

25 YEARS AND COUNTING!

Taiwanese visit St Thomas More School was proud to be selected as one of the partners to host a delegation of Taiwanese students and staff from Fu Jen Catholic University College. The timing of their visit was impeccable as it coincided with our annual St Thomas More Feast Day celebrations. The students joined students, staff and governors of the school for mass and were also joined by Richard Fuller MP and students and staff from Bedford Academy. Mr. Richardson reflected after the visit:“It was a pleasure to welcome the Taiwanese delegation and students from Bedford Academy.”

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Twenty Five years of service to the school community of St Thomas More School was publicly acknowledged by Head teacher Joe Richardson at the school celebration of St Thomas More Feast Day. He spoke with great warmth and humility about the OFSTED inspection in which the school gained “Outstanding”. He explained that this was achieved through the hard work and commitment of staff, some of whom had given 25 years of sustained service to the school. To recognise this service, a candle inscribed “From a single flame many candles are lit” was given to the following staff, Mike Betteridge, Bob Chapman, Christine Gillies, Martin McMonagle, Alison Wilshaw, Frances Topa and Eamonn Quinn. The Church reverberated with applause and gratitude from the students.

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More News... St Thomas More at The National Achievement Show Mrs Grimley and Mrs Gillinder represented the successes of our school at the National Achievement Show at the Barbican Centre in London. The seminar was held with Headteachers and Leaders in Education on “A transformational story of success with a focus on the achievement of vulnerable groups.” The unique charism of our school was well received from a wide audience. There was a special interest in the spirituality of the school and the beautiful photographs of our young people.

QISS AWARD Earlier in the term St Thomas More was awarded the QISS (Quality in Study Support) Award by Christ Church University in Canterbury, the only upper school in the town to achieve such distinction. This prestigious award recognises the breadth and quality of study support offered to all students in school. This has covered areas as diverse as sport, reading club, Lego Technics club, the racing car team, exam revision sessions and our very many school trips. It also validates the staff’s dedication to supporting our students in order that they achieve their potential in all areas of their school life.

Well done to all who lead or take part in these exciting and innovative opportunities

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More Racing Team MORE SUCCESS FOR THE MORE RACING TEAM Having spent nearly nine months building the 2011 car (as well as preparing the 2010 car and the team) race day on Sunday 22nd May started very early in the morning school. After loading the cars and team into the vans we headed for the Bedford Autodrome for what would prove to be a very busy and successful day.

When the team arrived at the race track over an hour was spent in setting up the teams pit area. Mrs Vehvilainen and the food team setting up the VIP catering area within the pit area with the food and drinks that they had prepared during the previous day. The two cars were then sent for inspection which involves a very detailed look at all of the important parts of the car. It was a rather nervous time for both the team & Mr Prudden, but both cars passed and were given permission to race. While the cars were being inspected the drivers attended a safety briefing during which they were told the rules of the race along with the meaning of the different coloured flags. Both cars then took part in the qualifying session which resulted in the 2011 car achieving the second fastest position and the 2010 car achieving the third fastest position. To make the race more interesting the qualifying positions were reversed, therefore both cars started towards the back of the grid. Despite the weather being very windy both cars started the race well but soon after the 2010 car left the pit areas after its first driver change, the wind badly affected the car on the first corner which resulted in one of the front wheels breaking off and the car being retired from the race.

The team put all of its efforts into the running of the 2011 car which, although using up the battery power quickly due to the high winds, continued to run at a steady pace. All the remaining driver changes went well as did the battery changes. But towards the end of the race it was looking very likely that due to the strong winds the car might not complete the race. The final three drivers were instructed not to run the car at full power and to save the remaining power as much as possible. The team brought the car back into the pit areas and fitted a used set of batteries into the car as well as changing the driver for the final time. Jamie drove an outstanding final 45 minutes and managed the remaining power in an excellent way. With only a few laps remaining the car was in fourth place and still running steadily. It then became clear the Mark Rutherford second car was running out of power and despite their best efforts their car stopped and the 2011 car took third place. At the chequered flag Biddenham came first, Mark Rutherford 1st car came second and More Racing 2011 car came third. How well the car was driven during the final stages of the race was again highlighted by the fact that all of the other cars failed to return to the pits because they had run out of power, yet our car continued, and made it back to the pit area under its own power. After the race there came the Award Ceremony. The team received the prize for third place. We won two further awards for the Best Looking Car and the Most Interesting Technology. After the awards had all been given out many of the team celebrated by soaking each other with fizzy water!

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More Racing Team Two other parts of the team are also worthy of a mention. The first was Connor Adkins & Matthew Scott who formed the commentating team and completed an excellent thirty minutes of interesting and detailed commentary.The second was Mrs Vehvilainen & her food team who produced a fantastic range of food and drinks for both the team & the VIPs all through the day. Despite everyone of the team being tired due to the day being very long and very busy, they all worked together well and all of the cars and equipment were safely returned to the school.

FUTURE EVENTS FOR THE RACING TEAM After our great success at the Bedford Grand Prix the team have decided to enter the 2011 in the regional Greenpower race which will be held at the Rockingham Race track on Thursday 7th July. This race will be very different to the Bedford Grand Prix as there will be at least 60 cars on the track during the race and many of the cars will be driven by adults.

THANKS TO MR REED As many of you will know Mr Reed officially retired at Christmas but he was very keen to continue supporting the team to ensure that both cars were completed ready for the Bedford Grand prix. The Team along with Mr Prudden would like to thank him for his efforts as well as for his continued support in the future.

SPONSORSHIP FOR THE 2012 RACING TEAM The racing team are very keen on continuing to build on their success over the last two years by further developing the cars for the 2012 season. But developing cars is not cheap and the team are looking at ways of raising money for the 2012 season. The team are currently raising money in a number of ways including a week of litter picking sponsored by the school staff as well as a cake sale and car washing.

St Thomas More DRIVING AMBITION! For the last two years, our Design & Technology Department along with students from yrs 9, 10 & 11 have designed & constructed two, electric powered racing cars and entered them into the Bedford Schools Greenpower Race, jointly run by Palmer Racing and Bedford Council. Our successes to date include third place in both annual races as well as winning awards for the ‘Best Looking Car’ and the ‘Most Interesting Technology’. The ‘More Car Racing Team’ has also entered the National Regional Race Event, which will be held at Rockingham on 7th July 2011. Capitalising upon the success of the last two years, the More Car Racing Team is hoping to further develop the car design and involve more youngsters and who knows, maybe even produce the next F1 champion! Our aim to raise £1,000 in sponsorship will enable the team to further improve their first two cars and construct a third car using brand new, innovative designs and technology. Sponsorship will also pay for further practice sessions on suitable race tracks as well as provide the team with all of the required safety equipment.

Some sponsorship opportunities are still available so if you are interested, please contact Simon Prudden Head of Design and Technology on 01234 400222.

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Religious Education Trip to St Mary’s University On Thursday 7th April the RE department took 40 Sixth Formers to St Mary’s University, Twickenham, for an opportunity to experience University Life and develop their knowledge in Theology and Religious Studies. The day began with a welcome in the lecture hall in the university’s new Education building. Some current third year students gave our Sixth Formers tours around the campus. There were plenty of chances for students to ask questions and find out more about the students experiences of St Mary’s. Lynne Schofield the Head of the Theology and Religious Studies Department then delivered a lecture on Multi-faith Britain. Lunch at the refectory and an opportunity to explore the grounds was followed by another lecture delivered by Stephen Bullivant on Jesus in the Media. Returning on the coach students remarked on their enjoyable day. Many of them read the university prospectus and started to plan possible courses they could study. Ultimately the purpose of the day was not to encourage them to attend St Mary’s University but to open their minds to what university can offer them and the opportunities it can bring.

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Henry Wansbrough Visits St Thomas More On 31st May Dom. Henry Wansbrough visited Thomas More to deliver a Theology Lecture on Morality in the Bible. For Miss Arnold and Mrs Grimley this lecture was eagerly anticipated because he is an expert in the Old and New Testament and they had used his books and texts throughout their career to develop the knowledge and learning of so many past pupils. The students were immediately touched by Fr. Henry’s humble approach to learning. He inspired them to explore the Bible in new ways. Discussing the Covenants between God and his people, of the Old Testament and Jesus’ teaching on the Sermon on the Mount in the New Testament, Fr. Henry challenged the Sixth Formers to think deeper and begin an exploration of the Bible which included learning from the values developed within the texts.

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English Headline News!!!! Year 9’s Library English lessons end on high! Since last September, all Year 9’s have participated in a range of different activities, all held in the Learning Resource Centre, covering topics such as Poetry, Internet Research and Newspapers and Magazines. Teams called The Crafty Copewriters, The Persistent Paparazzi, The Educated Editors, The Jet Setting Journalists and The Roving Reporters each produced their own unique newspaper, with the overall winner being selected by the Head Teacher, Joe Richardson. Of the winning newspaper, Mr Richardson said “A great range of articles that would interest all sorts of different readers. The layout, use of images and content of stories are all of the highest quality.” Photographed with English Teacher Mr Scanlan are the winning team – Sam Rawes, Amy Dunkley, Glen Williamson, Ryszard Januszkiewiez and Febilin Benny

Maths Maths Department holds a BP Trading Challenge Tuesday 28th June saw over 100 year 9 students take part in a BP Trading Challenge. During the fast paced session, students traded oil, reacted to market news and managed budgets, with the aim of making a profit and working well as a team.

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Modern Foreign Languages ITALIAN NATIONAL SUCCESS St Thomas More Catholic School has won the 2011 Good Schools Guide GCSE Award for the best point score at an English School, for girls taking Italian at GCSE. This is the second year that the Italian department has won this national award. Mrs Gillies head of department, pictured, said she was delighted and thanked her colleagues for their continued dedication to the students in their care. Mr Richardson, head teacher, said “Many congratulations to all in the MFL team. The achievement is surely a reflection of high quality teaching and learning in the department.”

Modern Foreign Languages Looking back Memories of Year 11 and Year 13 students on trips to Paris and Rome Good luck to all of our MFL students who are moving on. Here are a few memories of the excellent times we enjoyed in France and Italy. Mr. Aquino, Mrs. Wright and Mrs. Gillies wish you all the best of luck in the future.

Looking forward As we say goodbye and good luck to our Year 11 and Year 13 students, we are also looking forward to welcoming new students in September. Mrs. Gillies and Mr. Aquino were invited to visit St Gregory’ Middle School to meet with the students who will be transferring to us in September. The St Thomas More staff were very impressed with the attitude and work ethos of the students - and with the standard of their French. They readily involved themselves in a series of lively activities. They showed a real thirst for knowledge.

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More News... France and Italy Trips

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History

Music

Medical Mystery Trip

Year 10 Music students

History Department Trip to London 20 May 2011

The Year 10 Music students have been very busy recently performing in a fantastic concert on 11th May and leading two workshops at St. John’s Special School in Kempston at the beginning of June. Laura Buck, Lauren Doherty, Tegan Liburd, Marissa Whyte, Myrddin Hands and Aleks Skrzypacz taught songs to the youngsters, helped them to play their instruments and understand concepts like rhythm and playing together. Our thanks go to Aga Serugo-Lugo from In-tune Training who facilitated the visits.

By Elizabeth Howlett, Siobhan Cook, Ellie Castell

On the 20th May year 10 history students went on a tour of London’s medical history. Firstly, we went to the Old Operating Theatre and had a talk on how the surgery would have worked and its history. There was then a practical visual where one of the students was used as the patient. We then went to the Florence Nightingale Museum which had photos and information. There were headphones in the shape of a stethoscope so that we could hear the information. We then went off for a short lunch break in Hyde Park, before going round the London Science Museum where we looked at the “Medicine Through Time” section. It was a very interesting trip which gave us a fascinating insight into the history of medicine.

Aga said of our students,‘the teachers were very impressed with the leap every young leader made from the first workshop to the second; they also noted how relatively quickly you all adapted to what must be for many of you a new and challenging environment. Your explanations and conducting were clear and precise, but most importantly your enthusiasm lifted everyone’s spirits. May I say that it has been an unreserved pleasure to work with such talent and potential.’ Running Workshops is a highly specialist skill and Special Needs school workshop leaders are a very small fellowship to which our students now belong.

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More News... Crime and Deviance This year, sociology students have been busy learning about the Criminal Justice System, offending rates amongst different social groups and the structural and individual explanations for criminal behaviour. To broaden their understanding of the topic the students attended lectures on crime and deviance. Crime is always a hotly debated issue in the media, especially the effectiveness of prisons. GCSE and A level students were able to assess whether prisons work with help from Senior Officer Wilson from Bedford Prison who gave a stimulating talk on prison life. The students were given an insight into the daily life of a prisoner, looked at various weapons made and used in prison and even got to try out a riot shield and baton! Yr13 students attended a conference in London hosted by the eminent Dr Steve Taylor. The lectures covered classical and contemporary examples of folk devils and moral panics, masculinity and violence and ethnicity, crime and policing. A chief examiner was able to give helpful hints and tips on how they could get top marks in their exams. The students found the conference very useful indeed and hopefully this will be reflected in their results in August. Good luck Year 11 and Yr 13.

St Thomas More Bird Boxes at Green Borough Fair St Mark’s Church Community Centre was the venue for the first ever Green Borough Fair on 6th February. A wide variety of community groups took part and there was good support from the public. We were invited to go along and sell our bird boxes after the success of selling them at the Victorian Fair in December. The boxes have been made by the BTEC Construction group as part of their joinery coursework. The group had to research the design as well as sourcing the materials before setting up their own production line. So far they have sold over 70 but a few are still available and can be bought through the school office at the price of only £5. Photo caption: Anthony and Matthew from the BTEC group with Mayor of Bedford Borough Dave Hodgson and Cllr Mark Fitzpatrick, Chair of Brickhill Parish Council.

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More News... Fund raising news Over the last two half terms, the Emmaus team have worked hard alongside a number of students including the year 11 ASDAN group, to raise money for CAFOD. As a department renowned for their love of cakes and goodies, the fast approaching period of Lent posed quite a problem for what we would decide to give up. As a group, we decided it would be near impossible to give up cakes or biscuits, so we thought it would a better idea to give our time. Sticking with the trend, we organised - you guessed it - cake sales! The first sale saw TAs and students staying after school to bake some delicious treats and also bringing in some more ‘professionally’ made ones just in case. Mrs De Rosa then worked with her ASDAN group to do a second sale, and unsurprisingly they were both very popular. The support from students and staff across the school was fantastic and we managed to raise over £150 just from cakes (reasonably priced I might add)! This was a fantastic total and we were very grateful. The money raised was put forward to provide 4 goats, 3 pairs of piglets and 3 sets of chickens, to deprived countries, through CAFOD’s World Gifts scheme. On behalf of Emmaus and CAFOD we would like to say a huge thanks and congratulations to everyone at STM who showed their support.

EDUCAID As a result of a recent mufti day at School, the students raised sufficient funds to purchase 20 desks to seat 40 students for a school in Tanzania to make learning easier. We should be very proud of our youngsters for their concern and willingness to make a difference to the lives of those materially less fortunate than us. We thank you as parents for your contributions and support. The desks will mean 40 students will no longer have to sit on the floor. The money has gone directly to those in need and will make contribution to the local economy as the desks were made locally. Roshan Juma Business Studies teacher

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More News... Utopia Mas visit Wixams The Utopia Mas design team were commissioned to work with Lakeview school in Wixams as part of Bedfordshire Creative Partnership. We worked with Lakeview School from May, working with each year group, creating costumes around their theme “Taking flight”. The theme taking flight and the carnival celebration reflected the school’s new beginning. On Friday 17th June Utopia Mas Dancers from St Thomas More School were invited to perform a dance routine and to join in with the carnival parade / celebration around the village. The dancers were a great source of enthusiasm and encouragement for the younger children and they were a credit to Utopia Mas and St Thomas more. Many thanks to Mrs. Briggs for accompanying the girls and to Mr. Deverall for driving the minibus.

Having come to the end of its three year funding the St Thomas More Cluster Extended Services will conclude its activities at the end of August. The team has spent the time doing an excellent job supporting the needs of families within the cluster schools making a valuable difference to people’s lives. Some of the work that has been carried out includes: ✦ Setting up adult learning courses in ICT, Numeracy, Literacy, Healthy Lifestyles, Arts and Crafts and Employment Support;

✦ Organising after-school and lunchtime clubs at some of the schools including Drama, Music, Dance and Homework support ✦ Providing Holiday Clubs for children of various ages

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✦ Supporting families by delivering workshops including ‘Managing Behaviour’, ‘Raising Self-Esteem and Confidence’, ‘Tackling Bullying’, ‘Transitions’ and ‘Building Stable Friendships’; ✦ Signposting parents/carers, young people and children to relevant agencies and services including Connexions, Youth Service, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services, and local Sports and Arts Clubs. The schools are all very appreciative of the work done by the team and will be seeking ways to continue these activities.

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Sport COUNTY CHAMPIONS 2011 After producing outstanding performances in the District Athletics Championships in May, the following pupils were selected to represent North Bedfordshire in the County Athletics Championships and obtained some spectacular results. Congratulations!

Connor Rogers

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Junior Boys Shot Put 1st Place - COUNTY CHAMPION!

Ellie Richardson

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Inter Girls Triple Jump 1st Place - COUNTY CHAMPION!

Lynne Njoroge

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Junior Girls Discus 2nd Place

Ellie Richardson

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Inter Girls 200m 2nd Place

Alicia Downer

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Inter Girls Javelin 3rd Place

Marcin Dobrzynski -

Junior Boys Discus 4th Place

Akasha Corion

Inter Girls 300m 4th Place

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St. Thomas More School Athletics Records - Girls

Junior = Years 8 + 9 Inter = Years 10 + 11 Senior = Years 12 + 13

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Sport DISTRICT ATHLETICS 2011 On Wednesday 25th May, 30 pupils from years 9 and 10 represented St Thomas More at this year’s District Athletics Championships at Bedford International Athletics Stadium. With 20 Upper Schools from Bedford, including the private schools, it was a fantastic day where many of our young athletes shone in their events. Well done to all pupils who represented the school. Below are some of the best results we achieved as a school team. Yr 9 Boys Shot-Put: Yr 9 Boys 1500m: Yr9 Boys Discus:

2nd place Connor Rogers 2nd Place Daniel Hubbold 4th Place Marcin Dobrzynski

Yr 10 Girls Javelin: Yr 10 Girls 200m: Yr 10 Girls Triple Jump: Yr 10 Girls 300m:

2nd Place Alicia Downer 3rd Place Ellie Richardson 3rd Place Ellie Richardson 5th Place Akasha Corion

Gymnastics Success!

WIMBLEDON 2011

Shaan Hussain competed in her first Gymnastics competition on the 5th of June producing not one but four medals! Having a keen enthusiasm for gymnastics since the age of 7, Shaan has shown dedication to the discipline through weekly training. After a break from gymnastics Shaan returned to compete in the Goldington Challenge, achieving three Bronze medals in the beam, the bars and the vault and a Silver medal in the track event. Watch out 2016 Olympics we may have a star arising at St. Thomas More.

On Thursday 23rd June, 8 students, Miss Clark and Miss Biggins went to Wimbledon to watch this year’s Championships. With tickets for Court Number 1 we were guaranteed to see some of the big stars. Novak Djokovic, the number 2 seed, played Kevin Anderson. Here we got to see some great tennis and watched Djokovic win in a three set match. After a brief wait next on Court No.1 was Jo Winifried-Tsonga against Grigor Dimitrov. This was a very close game that finished with a tie-break in the final set. On the outside courts during the day we were able to watch the likes of Jamie Murray and James Ward play in their doubles games. A great day was had by all at the Championships and even the sprint from one end of St Pancras Station to the other, on the way home to catch the train, could not dampen spirits!

ST THOMAS MORE TENNIS CHAMPIONSHIPS 2011 On Thursday 1st July 2011 40 students from years 9 and 10 held their annual tennis championships at the Riverside Tennis Club in Bedford. The day was very successful and some excellent tennis was played. Thanks again to Riverside Tennis Club for the use of their wonderful facility.

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Poetry Mrs Smith’s Poetry Corner Sadly, this is my last ‘Poetry Corner’ contribution. After 18 busy months in the English department at St Thomas More, I am ceasing my ‘personal endurance test’ of the 100 mile daily commute and will be focusing on enthusing students with poetry, nearer to home. I would like to thank all students and colleagues who have enjoyed my ‘Poetry Corner’ and urged me to include my own poems too. I couldn’t end without creating a new poem especially for you, so I dedicate this poem to all the students I have taught here and I hope you practise finding the poetic devices! Thank you, all of you and all the best for the future.

Poetry of Life Live your life as a poem. Laugh like the luckiest of winners. Cry tears of liquid sorrow. Let grief clasp your heart in her clenched fist.

Stay true to yourself, trust your instinct. Bury all doubts in the back of your mind You are unique so carry yourself with pride. Live life like an avid explorer. Smile Cheshire cat smiles and enjoy. . . enjoy. . . enjoy! by Hazel Smith

I am happy to announce that I have persuaded another ‘poetry enthusiast’ who shares my love of poetry, to take over from me and to ‘carry the torch’ as it were, to promote future poems. I highly recommend Mr Whiteway and I leave knowing that I leave you in good hands.

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St. Thomas More School Magazine - Summer 2011  

Magazine of St. Thomas More School, Bedford published by Mags4Schools.com for the Summer 2011 end of term