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SPRING 2011 - ISSUE 4

More News Letter from the Head This term has been a truly remarkable one for the community of St Thomas More School. In addition to the fantastic work of teachers and students at the school day in day out we also had a visit from OFSTED. They found that the school is OUTSTANDING! As a the school’s new Head I am well aware that the credit for this outcome goes to the staff and governors who have worked over a period of many years to make the school what it is today. I was lucky enough to be part of the final stages of a process that saw the school reach its stated goal of many years and I am delighted for all colleagues at St Thomas More School. In this brief introduction to More News I would like to take this opportunity to pay a particular tribute to the work of Dr Lee, Mrs Wilshaw-Quinn and Mrs Topa. Each of these colleagues has invested years of care into the school and it is through their leadership, with the support and vision of the Federation of Bedford Catholic Schools, that we are now an Outstanding School. They would not wish to be singled out in this way and would be the first to highlight that nothing is possible without a strong team. The season of Lent is one that challenges us to look carefully at who we are and where we are going at a personal level. It is a time of refresh, taking stock and of seeking truth. For Catholic schools it is written into our DNA that we seek to do this at a personal and organisational level. I was at a conference recently where Dr David Emery (400m gold medallist) was speaking on the legacy of the London 2012 Olympics. In this he used a phrase that will surely resonate with us all; he said that those working to protect the legacy of the Olympics are “Guardians of the flame”. As we work to refresh and renew our work as an Outstanding School I can assure you that we too regard ourselves as ‘Guardians of the flame’. In our school that flame is the light of Christ that shines through the talents of each and every student. I pray that you all enjoy a Happy and Holy Easter and that you find much to enjoy in this edition of More News. God Bless

   

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More News... The Inaugural Mass of Joe Richardson as Headteacher of St Thomas More Catholic School Bedford Joe Richardson former Deputy Headteacher of Cardinal Newman School Luton was inaugurated formally by the Diocese as the new Headteacher of St Thomas More School. A huge number of former colleagues from St Paul’s School Milton Keynes and Cardinal Newman School Luton joined staff, parents, governors and students from St Thomas More School to welcome and pray for Mr Richardson in his new role. It was clear to all who gathered to celebrate that there was rich legacy of support for his leadership. The Mass was celebrated by Monsignor Kevin; he was joined by Fr Paul Hardy, Fr Malcolm Bull and Fr Tony Brennan. A powerful sense of the mission of the Headteacher in the Catholic School community was evident during the liturgy. During the Mass Mr Richardson was presented with a set of prayer books by our Lay Chaplain Cathy Gillinder to show that for this role prayer is essential and to nourish his spiritual life. The staff of St Thomas More School felt a sense of great privilege to be part of a Diocese that celebrates our schools and invests in their leadership.

The Environment: A Catholic Response St Thomas More 6th Form Theology group gathered with Geographers to research their collective response to environmental ethics. The focus was the responsibility of the Christian Community to our beautiful world around us, created and entrusted to us. Responsibility was acknowledged from the group to future generations. The Seminar developed along a “Servant Centred” dominion of the earth rather than a view of the earth created solely for the enjoyment of humans. Students explored a right relationship with the earth and acknowledged that “The gospel paints a vision of society that is relationally and environmentally sustainable” This is the challenge to our 6th Formers and to us as the wider Church. The research package put together on this by Head of Geography Alan Lovesey was both stimulating and challenging!

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More News... St Thomas More at the O2 Following our amazing trip last year singers from St Thomas More once again took part in the “Voice in a Million” concert at the O2 on February 1st. The concert was to raise money for the charity BAAF which helps those children and young people in the country who are fostered or adopted or those still waiting for a home. There were many moving stories from adoptees including the celebrity hairdresser Andrew Barton and the evening was hosted by Rick Wakeman.

Young Enterprise Trade Fair The St Thomas More Young Enterprise company Defy took their place at the trade fair in Middleton Hall at Milton Keynes shopping centre on Sunday 27th February. The fair was attended by around fifty groups from schools in Herts, Beds, Bucks and Cambridge. Defy representatives were selling their new improved memo boards which proved popular despite this being an event at which it is traditionally notoriously difficult to make sales.

The choir of no less than 7500 students sang a variety of numbers celebrating love of family and home including the incredibly moving “Tears in Heaven” written by Eric Clapton following he death of his son.

The choir was led by a group of Voice in a Million special choir members from all over the country who were terrific performance role models for our students especially young Boaz Dopemu who is working in the West End as the young “Lion King”. Our students were able to savour a live performance in a national major performance venue-maybe next year it will be our students leading the choir of thousands!

Although the group were not included in the judges final prize selections (the board was swept by St Helen’s School in Herts) they were commended on their customer service skills by the judging team as they toured the stalls. The wide range of schools present gave the team an excellent opportunity to see the other groups and their products as well as making some useful new contacts. This has led to a potential link up with Bedford School, watch this space for further details! Tony Hackett Teacher of Business Studies

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More News... Update on the 6th Form Following on from our Fun Run in November, tutor groups were dispatched to purchase items for specific families, and representatives from the St Vincent De Paul Society collected around 20 Christmas Boxes from the Leadership and Learning Centre. The gifts were greatly appreciated by the recipients! Below are photos of the collection day and the letter we received from St Vincent De Paul acknowledging their thanks.

Our Sixth Form Open Evening was held on Thursday 10th February 2011, and was very successful and well attended. Year 11 are now exploring the Key Stage 5 curriculum and the full range of subjects that we have on offer and are in the process of confirming choices. If you have any queries Mrs C Soraghan, Director of Sixth Form Studies will be happy to help.

Well done 6th Form

On St Patrick’s Day on 17th March 2011, Mrs Soroghan organised Irish Dancing for the 6th Form. Evelyn Doherty in Year 9 came to showcase her skills as an Irish Dancer. The 6th Form enjoyed the experience and had great ‘craic’ celebrating Saint Patricks Day. Mrs T Corcoran 6th Form Student Support & Centre Manager

January brought its pressure for both Year 12 and 13, as they embarked on their modular examinations. The three week period ran smoothly and we are all results were well received in March.

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More News... PERFORMING ARTS REPORT Year 12 Performing Arts students take their theatre on tour! The year 12 performing arts students directed and performed a series of plays for young people. The student’s used Roald Dhal’s Revolting Rhymes, and also devised a series of short plays based on ‘don’t talk to strangers, friendship and the real meaning of Christmas, to create lively and entertaining pieces of theatre. The students took their theatre on tour to primary schools in the community. We had a fantastic day touring the shows; it gave the students a taste of what it would be like to be a professional touring theatre company. Students held a question and answer session with the primary school children at the end of each performance. It was a great way to see the year 12s inspiring the younger generation. In the picture are students from the cast with the children at Ravensden Lower School.

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Reach for the Stars March 30th 2011 This is the first year that Music and Performing Arts are holding their very own awards evening on March 30th 2011. Music and Performing Arts have become highly accredited subjects within the school. We are extremely proud of the legacy that the students have created over the past few years and are hosting a performance evening that will celebrate the stunning work of students across all key stages. During the evening there will be awards presented to a selection of students for their hard work and commitment to the Arts. Read the next issue of More News to discover who won a trophy! Picture of Year 12 students Devised Unit. All students achieved A grade in this unit.

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More News... Pride of Bedford Awards Each year St Thomas More sponser the Young Achievers Award at the Bedford Pride Awards, and this year myself and Head Girl Anna Surrichio had the pleasure of presenting the Young Achiever’s Award. The prestigious event held at the Park Inn Hotel, and hosted by Derek Martin,the actor who plays Charlie Slater from Eastenders, was a truly inspiring evening. Listening to some of the success stories of young people in our community and what they give to our town made us feel proud to be part of Bedford and very proud to be representing St Thomas More. Not only that but we got to have pictures with Charlie Slater and find out the storylines of Eastenders!

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To the Pupils in Years 12 and 13 On behalf of the families you helped so generously with the Christmas hampers last term, I’d like to say a very big

THANK YOU Ursula Brooks

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Please mention this publication when contacting the Advertisers. It is through their generous and continued support that this Magazine is brought to you at no cost to St. Thomas More Upper School. We hope you will support these local businesses in appreciation of their commitment to the School. Andy Raybould BSc (Hons)

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Tel: 01480 455123 St. Thomas More Catholic School


More News... Media and Film Studies Trip to London The media and film studies department took 29 students to London at the end of half term to give them a chance to experience the media in a real working environment. On our first day in London we took our students to the British Board of Film Classification where the students took a seminar lead by a film classifier where they learned how and why films are classified in Britain and also what it like to work in the industry. Our next stop was the BBC where we had a tour of the television studios. We got to see the news deck, some television shows being filmed and Rosin Wren, Klaudia Karpeta and Stuart Gillies even got a chance to have a go at presenting the weather.

Our next day in London took us to the BFI Imax, the biggest cinema screen in England to see Tangled in 3D. Lastly our students had a workshop at the University of London’s Central School of Speech and Drama where they came up with their own ideas for a new television programme and pitched it to the rest of the group while acting out a trailer for their new ideas. Overall the trip was very enjoyable and left students with lots of ideas about careers in the media. Miss Spavins

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More News... St Thomas More Ski Trip The ski trip was really good and so much fun. It’s great fun learning a new sport and being able to do it with a load of great people. When you’re meeting new people and you know they are at the same ability as you it really helps you improve. The older kids on the trip helped the younger ones improve. The groups were based on ability and not on age, so you were with people who could do the same as you! That was really helpful. The hotel was really good and in a great location. The ski instructors were amazing and the food was just what we needed. But the best bit was probably on the third day when we went to this new resort and the sun was shining and the ski run was so much fun. One of the best memories was when we were doing our first jump and Miss Chico tried it and face planted into the snow. The best part was that it was the two beginner groups did it and we all landed it and only Miss Chico fell. Thanks guys! We got to experience new places and a new sport. All in all I think the resort was great, the skiing experience was amazing and we all had a really great time. Evelyn Doherty and Alex Duffill Year 9

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More News... MORE CAR 2 PROGRESSES The construction team of the schools electric racing car has continued successfully & is now really looking like a racing car. The construction team have during the last few months really worked hard & have become very skilled in the use of epoxy resin. Currently all of the major sections have been assembled and the main body section is now complete. The front steering unit & rear drive system which were made by Mr Reed before his retirement have all been fitted as well as all four wheels. The team are particularly happy with the very low weight of the body as well as its high level of stiffness. The major tasks that have yet to be completed include the construction of the nose section, the drivers safety roll bar as we as the covering of the car in its final colour scheme. During the next half term other working teams will be required to enable the schools team be successful on the race day which is to be held at the Bedford Autodrome on Sunday 22nd May. In particular a team that will produce the food & catering for the day will be formed. So if you are interested in being part of this team please see Mr Prudden. Since the last More news article about the racing team Mr Prudden attended a meeting at the Bedford Autodrome during which it was decided that the St Thomas More team will race both the 2011 car as well as the car from last years event. Therefore a larger number of both drivers as well as pit crew will be required. So again if your are interested intaking part please see Mr Prudden. To make it easier to keep up to date with the teams progress check out the St Thomas More Racing Facebook page where all of the latest news about the car & the team will be posted. Mr Prudden

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Science Gambling and the Mind, Dr Luke Clark On Monday 28th February, Café Sci was privileged to welcome Dr Luke Clark to the school, a lecturer at the University of Cambridge, for a lecture on:‘Gambling and the mind’. Dr Luke Clark studied at the University of Oxford and is part of the Department of Experimental Psychology in Cambridge. His main research focuses upon cognitive and neuropsychological mechanisms of risk-taking and impulse control, as well as the dysregulation of these processes in forms of psychopathology. The talk itself was an intriguing experience which gave a great insight into the psychology of gambling. Dr Clark began by introducing us to common terms associated with the science behind gambling and how it can be identified as an addiction and the affects on regular gamblers. He then spoke about how a gambling addiction shares many similarities with other addictions, such as alcohol abuse and drug addiction. This included his research on alcoholic’s decisions in probability games when compared to a gambler’s decisions.

Dr Clark then discussed how brain injury can affect the decision-making process of an individual, showing how everyday people had different decisions to what they normally would after sustaining a brain injury. Afterwards, he concluded his research and then went on to take questions from the many that had come to listen to him. The event was extremely successful with a great turnout of students from all year groups and other Bedford schools. We look forward to the next Café Sci event, so make sure you look out for when it is!

Afterwards, he went on to reveal his research on certain game features in relation to a gambler’s decisions, which has taken place amongst various types of gamblers as well as a control group. The research portrayed how particular game features in association with gambling caused these different groups to react and how brain scans revealed that a part of the brain becomes satisfied when playing these pure chance games.

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More News...

ACTIVITY HALL & THEATRE SPACE Large well equipped hall and new theatre are now available for community hire. Please contact school on:

Bedford 400222 St. Thomas More Catholic School

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English KS3 English During the Easter Term, Students in year 9 have been focussing on how to improve their writing skills through a creative writing scheme of work based on Robert Sheckley’s futuristic story ‘A Prize of Peril.’ The Students particularly enjoyed analysing Sheckley’s ideas and developed their own discussions on Reality TV shows, speculating how they could develop over the next twenty years. The year 9 long term plan reflects the KS4 route to obtaining GCSE English and English Literature, not only does this prepare students for what is to come but it helps students to adopt a mature approach to each assessment. Students are currently preparing for an end of term assessment which draws comparisons from a Shakespeare text and a English Literary Heritage text. As well as preparing for the KS4 course, Students are given the opportunity to visit the library as a class once every two weeks. Students are given a range of activities - from looking at how newspapers are constructed to silent reading. This is a fantastic opportunity for students to have a quiet time in what can be such a busy day.

English Department News KS4-GCSE: Year 10 students have embarked on the new syllabus, and have completed some of the new ‘Controlled Assessments’, including Reading and Creative Writing. Results for both are very promising. The English mock exam in May will consist of a full Language Paper, involving reading and writing sections.

Year 11 revision and exams: The English Department will be running a series of revision sessions aimed at a variety of abilities. Some will run over the Easter Holidays and the targeted students will be notified by post. There will also be sessions (open to everyone) running twice weekly after school in Room 21. All students are encouraged to attend special same day booster sessions timetabled on the mornings of each exam.

Revisions dates: March

May

Tuesday 22nd - Writing styles - Paper 2 Thursday 24th - Writing styles - Paper 1

Tuesday 3rd - Literature poetry Thursday 5th - Of Mice and Men

Tuesday 29th - Other cultures poetry Thursday 31st - Language skills - Paper 1

Tuesday 10th - Language skills - Paper 1 Thursday 12th Literature poetry

April

Same Day Booster Session: Monday 16th May-Paper 1 Wednesday 18th May-Paper 2 Tuesday 24th May-Literature Booster times to follow.

Wednesday 6th - Language skills - Paper 1 Thursday 7th - Of Mice and Men Wednesday 27th - Other cultures poetry Thursday 28th - Language skills - Paper 1

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English English Department News 6th Form On April 12th Mr Scanlan and Miss James will be holding a day of revision for all students sitting the Poetry and Drama exam in June. Students will revise Twelfth Night in the morning and split for revision of John Donne, Chaucer, Dr. Faustus and The Duchess of Malfi. The latter is a play by John Webster and students had the pleasure of attending a fine performance of the play last term at The Derngate Theatre, where they also took part in a workshop with the assistant director (see picture). Other revision sessions, including those for year 12 students, will be announced nearer the exam time. Mr Scanlan

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Maths Keen Mathematicians shine in UK Maths Challenge Back in February a group of year 10 and 11 students took part in the UK Intermediate Maths Challenge. This challenge is targeted at the top 20% of mathematicians in years 10 and 11 across the UK. The highest scoring 40% of candidates receive a certificate - Bronze 21%, Silver 13% and Gold 6%.

This year six of our Challengers achieved Bronze certificates: Roberto Marino Naylah Khan Lauren Hubbold Elliot Howard Spink Chris Aherne Michael Edgeworth Two of our Challengers managed to achieve Silver certificates: Connor Delaney Keiran Magill Keiran gained the highest mark and thus achieved the status of “Best in School” I hope you will join me in congratulating them on their achievement it really is something they should be proud of! Miss Jameison Maths Teacher

Sport SPORTS LEADERS FINAL ASSESSMENT On Wednesday 23rd March the 6th Form Sports leaders completed their final assessment helping to run the St Gregs Winter Sports Day. They were involved in refereeing and umpiring different activities for the Year 5’s right through to the Year 8’s. These included football, rugby, netball, basketball and cross country. It was a fantastic day at St Gregs and the sports leaders fulfilled their duties with great enthusiasm and professionalism and added to the enjoyment of the day. They were amazing ambassadors for the school. Well done to all of them who passed the Award!

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Sport MORE SPORTING SUCCESS U14 INDOOR ROWING COMPETITION Bedford Town Schools Year 9 indoor rowing competition took place at the end of January and our team had success in every race :Boys individual Girls individual Boys Doubles Girls Doubles Boys Relay

1st place DJ Alino-Wilcockson 2nd place Katrina Delaney 1st place DJ Alino-Wilcockson and Donatus Sidlauskus 2nd place Shannon Burke and Melissa Copeman 2nd place DJ Alino-Wilcockson, Donatus Sidlauskas, Sam Rawes & Daniel Hubbold

North Beds U16 Girls Basketball Tournament This was the teams first tournament and we were not sure what to expect. It was obvious from the start of the competition that we were a strong team that had the ability to do very well and so it proved to be. We beat Samuel Whitbread 18 - 8 in the semi-final. In the final we beat Stratton 20 - 13. Our captain Talisha Baugh and Violet Nhamo both deserve a special mention for their outstanding contributions to the success in this tournament. The other members of the team were Rupa Begum, Noella Charlotte, Althea Daniels, Ariela Mali, Sandra Mutonono, Lydia Rugg, Monica Verdura & Rebecca Wali.

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Poetry Mrs Smith’s Poetry Corner Seasonal Harbingers

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Optimistically nodding their yellow heads they sway gently in the caressing breeze. A carpet of dancing sunshine reassuring us that peeping just around the corner is Summer in all her gladness and glory.

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St. Thomas More School Magazine - Spring 2011