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this week in our school . . .

Volume 2 Issue 13 February 17th, 2017



Head’s start .

Mr. Davis, Headteacher, reflects on the Mr. Davis, Headteacher, reflects on the week. week. On most I spend a large amount timewith It isdays about this time of year that I of meet walking around the school. When I remember each Head of Department to review the to wear my FitBitexam (otherresults. wearable activity summer’s This involves trackers are available) the data tells me that one plenty of useful and thought-provoking tour ofdiscussion, the school but racks about talking 3,000 steps. it isupusually about Of course what and the device not this capture numbers letters. does Behind data is are stories: how pupils did, howand theytalking felt, what the experience of visiting classes to what they achieved. We pupils they and liked staff. and I find it fascinating and uplifting always focus on how things can be to patrol the school several times each day. improved as well as celebrating what went Inevitably there is an element of supervision in well.(addressing As a Catholic school, exam or results are my walks misdemeanours justthat onepupils way ofare expressing the unique, Godensuring not in out-of-bounds given talents and skills of each pupil. It is areas at lunch time), but most of the time my important to look beyond the data so I am perambulations afford me vital opportunities to delighted that much more of my job involves see what is going on, evaluate workthe and being in classes, walking our around school watch and teaching and learning take place. talking to pupils, students and staff. It’s theIflittle I loveatmost. This weekor everinteractions you are feeling all despondent one brief chat secured a portion of the excellent fatigued I reckon me a quick tour of school chicken curryquickly made raise by Dylan Year 10. share would yourinspirits. LetIme show you what I mean. Today (Thursday, this not just to inform you of my in-school diet, September 29th) for instance, I dropped into but because it illustrates the way in which Year 10 GCSE Music. There, I was learning (in this case in Food Technology) delighted to listen to performances of that produces tangible outcomes (a dish of food) Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, Hold can be appreciated as more than just task Back the River and When the Saints Go Marching undertaken to achieve a grade. In. I also got to sit with Daniel and Chester as they demonstrated their prodigious DJing Dylan’s food was a matter prideI for him and itthe talents. Next, duringoflunch, supervised was right that he (and his ateacher) histhe canteen and made point of judged watching work as good enough share with someone interactions that to take place daily. Pupils and else. A vitalholding currency of any school is the work staff doors open for one another, produced by its pupils; more so than the grades offering thanks, little moments of personal this work achieves.and If we can get every young appreciation gratitude. Of course, don’t always go well school, but it personthings to value deeply each pieceinofa work they lovely to witness a voluntary from do as is something inherently important,apology creative, a Year 9 to onewe of are the ensuring lunch time staff, or beautiful even, then that school see oneand pupillife-changing. help another Iwho is want unsure is meaningful don’t our where to go for class. pupils to write an essay, produce a diagram or design a chair simply because an exam syllabus In Sixth Form, I enjoyed a lengthy chat with demands that they do. Aidan who explained both the theory of differentiation and its potential commercial My wish is that pupils and students generate application. In English they were studying impressive, valuable work because they want the play Blood Brothers and talking with to develop their skills and knowledge, because humour and excitement about superstitions; they care about demonstrating their learning in Year 7 RE they were dissecting our new and growth. mission statement and exploring the personal meanings within it. School is a busy, bustling, humming place.

I get to Maths to find all of Year 9 embroiled Also anyiswalk around the and school (and in akey tasktothat so challenging exciting parents or carers are very welcome to join that I want to stay and have a go myself. me for these, it’s: just “Sir, let me know) the opportunity to Outside have youisseen my tie? deepen relationships with young people and Can you open my bottle? What did you staff. really few minutes thinkI of last enjoy night’sagame? Whatspent time istalking it, toSir?” student young and,orattime leasttaken oncewatching a day, “Oh my people days!” Itwith canabe noisy at and times and in a it. struggle challenge overcome community this size we can’t expect everyone to this get on withI witnessed each otherSixth all the One morning week fForm time. But it is our community, and a students leading reading activities withlively, pupils in lovely, positive one at that. Years 7 and 8. Here was the heart-warming sight of young people leading and learning from Perhaps the single highlight of my week, if I one another. Literacy is so vital to what we do had to pick, would be the conversation I had (and barrier it is absent from a withsuch Mrs.aFay whowhen is leading the young person’s skill-set) that we are trying development of our new library. I am a a variety new approaches to been improve across libraryofenthusiast and have everit since the school. I was little.Peer Thereading furthestprogrammes reach of my are a way ofmemory doing this that not only havespent a demonstrable is back to moments in our impact on reading ages, by they local library entranced its strengthen colour and bright possibilities. Onconfidence. Twitter relationships and build After all, for #RememberingMyLibrary reveals the successful learning to take place, as myhold daily that such an school institution has:me, ‘A library walks around remind youngcard people was to a free pass to to feel wonderment, and need feel well, part of thewords school: the ability to roam the world’ observes one confident enough to cope with setbacks and user, whilst another quotes the wrought iron failure. gates of Stalybridge library, ‘Read, Mark, Learn and Inwardly Digest.’ Others talk of It is a privilege to experience the school in this the escape that a library represented or of way day, but parents andunkind carersworld. do not theeach refuge it offered from an have this access. That’s part of the reason for these newsletters and ispeacefully also behind the Mrs. weekly Fay spent last Saturday commitment establish a we Parent stacking thetoshelves and are Council, inching which a leap forward week. For our closertook to opening. What this thrilled me was her school to bethat theseveral best version itselfofit whom can be comment boys, of some affect a dislike of reading, were electrified the full involvement and understanding of by presence of a library in and theirthe school: ‘You is parents, carers, families community mean I can borrow this and, like, read it, vital. Miss?’ was the breathless utterance of one pupil. Our libraryforishalf at the heart of the With best wishes term, school: a space for being open to and sharing ideas and experiences. It is openplan and its shelves serve as a reminder God thatBless. there should be no barrier to anyone using its volumes or seeking knowledge, Ben Davisentertainment or information. I can’t solace, Headteacher wait to see it come to life in the weeks ahead thanks to Mrs. Fay and her band of Twitter: @BenDavis1972 helpers.

Ben Davis, Headteacher


Twitter: @BenDavis1972 2

around the school this week On Tuesday we celebrated Valentine’s Day. Many pupils, students and staff raised money for charity by wearing something red or pink to school and some chose to visit the Valentine’s Photo Booth set-up and run by sixth formers. It was great to see a splash of colour round the school as spring began to arrive. Wednesday saw Year 10 and Year 12 pupils fly out to New York for five days of sightseeing and cultural activities focusing on art and photography. We’ve included a picture in this week’s edition, but there’s more to follow in future publications. Wednesday also saw the first meeting regarding establishing the Parent Council. We haven’t ever had one of these at St. Ambrose Barlow, but the parents and carers who attended are committed to ensuring that we make progress in this area for the benefit of all in out community. Having sat their mocks earlier this year our Year 11s received their statement of results on Wednesday. All of them left the hall determined to achieve the best in the summer exams. Throughout this week assemblies were led by our Pro-Life group, which continues to go from strength-to-strength. Using materials from CAFOD this week also marked the start of a piece of exciting and innovative cross-curricular work by the RE and Geography departments. Our Year 12 Business students undertook a major presentation this week, having developed their oracy skills in workshops last week. It was also exciting to see plans for some of our Y12 and Y13 students to model at the Teenage Cancer Trust develop further with a rehearsal for the catwalk show that will take place at the end of March. In a similar vein our Year 8 boys took place in a Stride street dance workshop. We also celebrated seeing our senior girls team through to the Greater Manchester Futsal final. We a fortunate to work and learn in a state-of-the-art building, but it has had to grow with us and we celebrated that this week. Our Sixth form growth has been one of the success stories of the year. The additional numbers mean that this week we opened a new Science Lab in 6th form - you can read more on the following pages. We are also proud to be a Centre of Excellence for Design Engineer Construct! and this week our Year 9 pupils demonstrated what this means by teaching architecture to pupils from St. Mary’s primary school. We finished the week with an informal visit from Jan Rowney who has been working with us on school improvement since the inspection in October. She went into lessons, met with staff and looked at progress data. There were many positives that she identified and these will be added to our school website, recording the success we have had in developing the school over the past three months.


calendar what’s on  

Curriculum Information Evening for Year 8 and Year 9

TUE 28



World Book Day


School re-opens at 8.40 am for all pupils and students

MON 27


ATTENDANCE We aim for 100% attendance for all of our students and have set 96% as satisfactory attendance for this year. Attendance is monitored period-by-period and statistics are published each week. Excellent attendance guarantees excellent learning. Best Attendance by form (w/b February 6th):

Year 7 Year 8 year 9 year 10 year 11 overall

7J 8L 9C 10A 11c

96.0% 95.2% 94.3% 94.5% 94.5% 94.9%

Attendance and its impact on learning 10 days absence means 95% attendance 19 days absence means 90% attendance 29 days absence means 85% attendance 38 days absence means 80% attendance 47 days absence means 75% attendance Please note: If your child is off school you need to contact student services the same day on 0161 921 1589/1551. If the school has not been contacted within five days, the absences will automatically be unauthorised. Ten unauthorised marks may lead to a fixed penalty notice being served. 4

Building future architects at St. Ambrose Barlow RC High School

Year 9 pupils at St Ambrose Barlow High School have been teaching Year 4 pupils from local primary schools how to use industry standard Architecture software – possibly a world first! As part of the BIM4Education agenda the school has hosted three BIM (Building Information Modelling) workshops with St Mark’s, St Charles, St Mary’s and St Edmunds Primary Schools in Salford. The first was a training session for ten Year 4 teachers, followed up by workshops for the pupils themselves. Over 180 local children attended the workshops, which were led by Year 9 pupils from St Ambrose Barlow. The students presented to the children and guided them through the design process using the software. By the end of the workshops each child was able to design a building! DEC tutor Dan McDonagh said: “I believe it is a world-first that 8 and 9 year old students are learning to use Revit. What makes it even more exciting is that the pupils are being taught by our Year 9 students - who are Revit experts! Every single Year 4 student managed to design a building in two hours with no prior training.” Headteacher of St Mark's Primary, Trish Garner, said: “Our Year 4 returned to school today having had a great time! They loved the visit. Our staff said the pupils who were teaching them were absolutely brilliant!” Autodesk Revit is industry standard building information modelling software for architects, structural engineers, MEP engineers, designers and contractors. It is taught to students at St Ambrose Barlow High School as part of the DEC (Design, Engineer, Construct) programme, created by Class Of Your Own Ltd. The school has a record of success relating to the Built Environment - three students from the Sixth Form were the first to be offered prestigious paid work experience placements at construction company Laing O’Rourke, and a group of Year 11 pupils were named Champions of a National competition to design a hotel.  

it is a world-first that 8 and 9 year old students are learning to use Revit. What makes it even more exciting is that the pupils are being taught by our Year 9 students - who are Revit experts! 5

New Science Lab for St. Ambrose Sixth Form

St Ambrose Barlow Sixth Form has officially unveiled a new state-of-the-art Science laboratory, in response to the growing number of pupils choosing to study Sciences (see front cover picture).   The new £70,000 lab is a dedicated space for the teaching of Biology, Chemistry and Physics Alevels. It was specifically designed for the study of practical A Level Science and is well equipped to deal with the demanding practical aspects of the courses.   The lab contains specialist equipment including a colorimeter, a laser, light gates and grade A standard glassware. It is fitted with a fume cupboard for chemical experiments, and has an attached prep room. The design is light and airy, and reflects standards in industry ensuring students gain the best possible experience.   The new resource is a significant investment in the learning environment for Science students at the Sixth Form. Head of Science at St Ambrose Barlow, Dr Helen Norton said: “We are delighted with our new facility. It is a modern, bright laboratory which will hugely enhance the current students’ learning and enable more young people in Salford to study Science at A Level.”      St Ambrose Barlow is now the only school-based sixth form in Salford and the decision, from September 2016, to add A Levels to the existing programme of BTEC courses marked the start of new local provision for the young people of Salford.  The school has worked closely with facilities managers SPIE FM on the new lab and representatives from the company were present at the opening. In this first year of offering A Levels the Science courses have proved some of the most popular. With increasing numbers of applications for the coming year and so many choosing to study Science, investment in a new lab will allow the college to cater for this growing demand. The new facility will enable more students to study Science, which is both a local and national priority. Headteacher, Ben Davis, said: "The opening of this exceptional new facility serves as a reminder of the high demand for a local school-based 6th form in Salford.  We are delighted that our 6th form, recently rated 'Good' by Ofsted, is thriving and serving the needs of our local community by offering ambitious and challenging courses.  I am very excited that many of the students who will learn in this lab will go on to top universities using their skills in the service of others."  

a modern, bright laboratory which will hugely enhance the current students’ learning and enable more young people in Salford to study Science at A Level 6


From top left: Pupils on the Highline in New York; Year 12 students presenting in their Business Studies class.



From top left: celebrating the opening of the Science lab with a cake; St. Mary’s pupils with Year 8 and 9 DEC students 8


From top left: the Senior Girls Futsal team; rehearsing for the Teenage Cancer Trust fashion show.



From top left: Year 11 visiting Manchester with photographer Simon Webbe


TWEET OF THE WEEK Beth Renshaw @beth_renshaw2 Feb 12

no one understands how I would do anything to go back to school best years of my life at @SABSalford





ST AMBROSE BARLOW RC HIGH SCHOOL & SIXTH FORM www.stambrosebarlowswinton.org 37 Ash Drive Swinton Salford M27 9QP 0161 921 1570 @SABSalford Headteacher: Ben Davis 12

Profile for St. Ambrose Barlow RC High School

St. Ambrose Barlow Weekly Newsletter Vol.2 Issue 13  

All the news from St. Ambrose Barlow RC High School and Sixth Form, Swinton, Salford, UK.

St. Ambrose Barlow Weekly Newsletter Vol.2 Issue 13  

All the news from St. Ambrose Barlow RC High School and Sixth Form, Swinton, Salford, UK.