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St Francis of Assisi Newsletter July 2012 J

St Francis of Assisi Catholic Technology College Headteacher: Mrs P. Mullins, B.A. (Hons), M.A.


Dear Parents, While we are still waiting for summer to arrive, plenty has been happening here at school. We have extended our outdoor seating facility and are looking to extend our covered areas so that our students can enjoy their breaks outdoors, despite the rain. We are relieved that we have had no school closures due to severe weather during this academic year, despite the wind and rain! During our recent half term week, we had three trips abroad and our students were, as always, great ambassadors for the Church as well as for their school. One group went to Germany to extend their language skills, another group enjoyed an outdoor activity week in France whilst our sixth formers gave up their holiday to look after sick pilgrims in Lourdes. None of these trips are possible without the support of parents and, of course, dedicated staff who forfeit their own holiday to support our students. Our Consultation Evenings with parents have been enhanced with video footage of our various year groups in action and I hope that the majority of parents are now accessing our VLE through our website where we post a lot of information for you. This is an important source of communication and we welcome your ideas for any improvements. We continue to be concerned at the number of students who are accessing inappropriate material and chat rooms via the internet. Their safety is often compromised and we have had to involve the police on several occasions this year. Too much of our time in school has been given over to deal with the consequences of this and our policy on mobile telephones must be fully respected and adhered to. Only those with specific permission may bring a telephone to school where it is kept in the school office until home time each day. We also expect parents to regulate what their children may access either on their telephones or computers to avoid the very real dangers which inappropriate use of the internet can lead to.

Letter from Mrs Mullins Continued ‌ Many of our leavers have kindly donated blazers and ties to our uniform box. If you are interested, please contact the relevant Head of Achievement and Learning for your child. Please also check our list of uniform requirements (in our Behaviour Policy and Prospectus) as we will not accept modifications and it is expensive to have to replace garments or shoes that your child has assured you are allowed but are actually not acceptable. We do NOT allow unnatural hair colours, the current earrings designed to make a piercing abnormally large, false nails – these have become ridiculously long - nor do we allow skin tight trousers and short skirts. Sensible school shoes MUST be worn at all times. We do not expect to have to waste our time telling secondary age students how to properly wear our uniform. Our dress code is non-negotiable. As the school year draws to a close, we are saying goodbye at the end of this term to Dr Berry, (Science), Miss Pateman (Modern Foreign Languages) and Miss Nolan (English). They are all moving on to other roles and we are very grateful to each of them for all they have given to St Francis. Please

continue to

pray for


students, especially those


examinations. I wish you a very happy summer holiday and sincerely hope we all get to see a little bit of sun. Yours sincerely,

P. Mullins.

Year 7 News Year 7 News As we all know the Olympics are coming to London this year so in honour of this an Olympic themed week has been organised to inspire us to get in the spirit of this once in a life time experience. The Olympic themed week will involve Year 7, 8 and 9. We will be split up into completely random groups to do






A surprise guest has

been organised who created one of the mythical beasts for Harry Potter.... who is this person? We‟ll just have to wait and see! The PE department have come up with a brilliant way to raise money









Year 7 tutor groups have been set a challenge to organise some dazzling entertainment for our celebration day and new parents evening. Year 7s are show casing their talent for




children. At St Francis you won‟t just grow academically but in confidence too.

named as a Bounce-athon. It will








family and then during their PE lessons,





costume of their choice, they will




costume can be anything from fairies to pyjamas, which really does save you a lot of trouble in the morning. So get jumping!

Word from Mrs Beaumont Mrs Beaumont has been delighted with Year 7 because so many have progressed throughout the year. She said, ‟‟It is so upsetting to lose the Year 7‟s to Year 8 but I hope they do very well.‟‟

Year 8 News This has been an eventful year containing many competitions, trips and excitement; we hope you look on your previous year with good comments and some improvements. For example what can you do to improve your work? What can you do to socialise more? Our minds are going to be quizzed soon enough as we get ready to select our GSCE DT options. Now you‟ve chosen your main options there is just one decision left to make, the best advice I can give you is to choose something that you are good at and that you enjoy. Until Christmas you will be requested to take two DT options which will be taken for 10 weeks each and then you will be once again asked to choose your final DT option. To conclude on our final year 8 newsletter I would like to wish good luck to the people who have been chosen to participate in the Black Country games and I would like to congratulate you all on such a successful year.

Year 9 News Recently in CC lessons, each form in Year 9 were set the challenge to present a class debate to the rest of the year, stating their views on... ‘Should 24 hour drinking in the UK be legalised?’ This task proved to be a successful one as all the presentations were fantastic and very well organised, a big well done to every form for participating. However, 9N won from the F side and 9S won from the C side. Their presentations stood out to Mr Howes as being the most formal and informative. They will go head to head after half term to win votes from the rest of the year group, therefore it will be Year 9‟s decision as to who are the overall winners. Good luck both teams!

Year 10 News It is a very exciting time full for our Year ten students as they are all preparing for their work experience, which begins on Monday 16th July 2012. All students have chosen a placement, ranging from media centres and music studios to Birmingham City council.





forward to their „dress for workâ€&#x; day on Thursday 12th July where they will receive a briefing period 1 to period 4 from an external visitor from Walsall Education and Business Partnership and from our school work experience co-ordinator, Miss Clensy. Students will





sessions by their Head of Year, Mr Brown, and their form tutors. We wish all of our students every success and we know that they will represent our school wonderfully during their first week in the world of work!

In addition to this, four very lucky Saint Francis students have been selected to work for Walsall Council for four weeks during their summer holiday. They have the responsibility of preparing Year 6 students for the important transition between primary and secondary school. These students are Liam, Kieron, Morgan and Liam. The students are looking forward to their challenge and will be using many of their wonderful experiences at Saint Francis to help them to inspire current Year 6 students to look forward to the wonderful experience that is secondary school!

Year 11 News After weeks of exams and hard work we were finally allowed to let our hair down at the prom! Although a lot of us are coming back next year... this was a time we were able to say a sad good bye to all those who are leaving sixth form next year.

Sixth form News After all our exams we were straight into our year 13 courses! The main things we have been focusing on are our university applications...





statements have been on the forefront of our minds. Itâ€&#x;s not all hard work though! As you have seen in our trip section... some of our sixth formers went to Lourdes. We must also say goodbye to our year 13â€&#x;s this year and wish them luck for the future. After working hard for all their exams they were able to bid fair well to all their class mates, who they have know for at least 6 year!

MFL News MFL Trip Strasbourg / Black Forest June 2012 The MFL department would like to congratulate all of the students who attended the MFL trip in half term. Despite a couple of accidents (and visits to hospitals in France and Germany) students had a fantastic time. The hotel was beautiful, overlooking a wine-growing valley. The first evening was rather rushed, after a hospital visit on the journey, but we arrived just in time for Mass in Oberkirch, Germany, where we were welcomed by the priest and the locals. On day one we visited the Hasenhorn Mountain Coaster – the biggest mountain rollercoaster in Germany – a 15 minute ski lift to the top followed by a rollercoaster ride down! We also visited Badeparadies, an indoor waterslide park. For the French students on day two we visited Strasbourg, taking in the beautiful sights such as the Notre Dame cathedral, plus the cute half-timbered buildings along the river trip. We also saw the European Courts of Human Rights. Finally we visited Europa Park – Germany‟s largest theme park, and rode Silver Star, Blue Fire and a variety of other hair-raising rollercoasters, before travelling back that evening (not before another hospital trip – this time in Germany). The students were fantastic and a credit to the school. They fully embraced the different cultures, were keen to try local delicacies (though not as brave as us staff who tried snails…thanks to Mr Gould‟s persuasion!) and actively practised their language skills. They have gained an enormous amount of valuable experience from this trip and many seemed inspired to return to Germany and France in the future. As trip leader I would like to offer my sincere thanks to the staff who willingly gave up their half term to provide this fantastic opportunity for our students :- Mrs Cooper, Miss Pateman, Mr Dawson and Mr Gould. Miss Clarke, Head of MFL.

MFL News Linguists of the month... March Kieran Year 7 Kieran is producing fantastic work in French. He is on target to reach a top level 5 in all four skills this year, which is a very high target for a year seven pupil. He is showing a very good talent for language learning and the MFL department is delighted with his achievements and attitude. Katie Year 11 Katie has consistently worked hard in French and always works to her full potential. She is motivated and is always looking to improve her performance. We wish her well in her GCSEs and feel sure she will succeed. We look forward to her joining our Aâ€&#x; level French class next year. It has been a pleasure to teach Katie and she






resilience. She is never put off, even when an aspect of learning is difficult. Rebecca Year 7 Rebecca produces consistently good work in all four skills and makes exceptional effort







enthusiastic and makes use of on line resources to enhance her progress.

Sports News

By Mr Connell

What a summer of sport we have to look forward to!. We have the battle between the number one and two ranked test teams in cricket (England V South Africa), the Tour de France with genuine British title hopes in the form of Bradley Wiggins, and of particular interest for anyone associated with St Francis of Assisi CTC is the fact that past pupil Daniel Martin will be hoping to showcase his talents as one of the best cyclists in the world. We also have the biggest sporting event in the world to look forward to, of course, the once in a lifetime opportunity to see the world‟s best athletes competing on British soil in the London 2012 Olympics. If this doesn‟t inspire us all to get active, nothing will! Our students have certainly been very active in recent months and I am very pleased to be able to report some more team and individual success stories. In the Walsall schools Trampolining Championships, we managed to win a total of 23 medals. Our U13‟s novice and elite teams won bronze medals, our U15‟s elite team won silver and our U15‟s novice, U18‟s novice and U18‟s elite teams all came away with Gold medals. In the individual competitions Lauren came away with a bronze medal, Lucy and Bethany silver medals and Mary, Shannon and Aiden all came away victorious with Gold medals. Our gymnasts also managed to return home from the Walsall Schools Championships as overall team winners. The team consisted of girls in year 7, 8 and 9. The students involved were Alice, Shannon, Katie, Marni, Harriet, Victoria and Anna. They now go on to represent Walsall in the 2012 Black Country School Games. So too, will our year 8 boys and girls volleyball teams and I hope to be able to report back with some more positive news in the near future. Finally, I have some excellent news in terms of individual achievements in athletics. Conal, Phoebe and Chris in year 9 were all selected to represent Walsall in the West Midlands Schools Athletics Championships. Chris was overall winner in the junior boys high jump and was 2nd in the 200m and Phoebe was a close 2nd in the junior girls 200m. They both now go on to represent the West Midlands in the English Schools Athletics Championships. Phoebe had an excellent winter season and earlier in the year became National Champion in the Aviva Sports Hall Athletics Championships. An honour previously held by Olympic Gold medallist Denise Lewis, so Phoebe is definitely one to look out for in the future. A huge congratulation goes to all of the students involved in these success stories and to all students who have represented St Francis in this academic year. We are always very proud of their achievements and hope for more of the same in the future.

Trip News During half-term, Year 8 and 9 students visited Club Correz in France. Pupils enjoyed an action-packed week of water sports, high ropes, and lots of outdoor activities. It was great fun! Have a look at the pictures to see for yourself ‌

Trip News By Laura, Year 7 This term has been jam packed with trips, what with the year 7‟s trips to Stratford, the Lourdes trip for 6th form, the black forest/Strasbourg MFL trip and the water sports trip to France for 9‟s and some 8‟s. This page gives you the updates on these trips and the views upon them.

Stratford Every year, Yr 7 gets the chance to visit








there and get a tour around his childhood home and get to have some free time shopping on the little street next








was very interesting as we got to look around each room and have someone to talk to us all about it.”

Laura Yr 7

Trip News By Bethany, Year 12

Lourdes Trip Every year, 6 th form gets the chance to go to Lourdes in France. It‟s not only as a spiritual experience, but also so that they can put their faith into action by helping others.

„I would advise anyone of thinking of going to go and make their own memories as I assure you that it will be the best time ever and you will find it hard to put into words, how incredible of place it truly is‟ Shanna Yr 12

Extra-Curricular News By Sharday, Helen, Alisha and Bronwen, Year 7

In the ecology room... In June the Ecology Area was officially opened by Mrs Mullis and Mrs Carol Hannan, ex head of science at St. Francis. The story of the Ecology area all started when Mrs Hannon met up with Mr. Hughes by chance in a garden centre and he told her about schoolâ€&#x;s project. She suggested that he approach the Lichfield Science engineering society for more funding to help develop the project. The Art club and Stem club joined forces to create an honourable piece of art work to mark the area. The concept of the ecology area was Mr Hughes idea; he wanted a place students could learn about the environment and habitats actively. Why learn in classroom when you could observe the natural habitats in the space of your school ground? In the ecology room there is a pond and so far it has been visited by water striders, tadpoles, fish and ducks. The Ecology team are looking for further funding so they can make it a better place. Watch this space!

Wanted! WHAT? We need Gardeners to help with the Schoolâ€&#x;s organic garden. No experience necessary, just enthusiastic volunteers! WHEN? Friday lunch time and after school on a Tuesday (weather permitting) PAYMENT? You get a share of the vegetables and fruit that we grow. We are currently growing potatoes, peas, old fashioned leeks, broad beans carrots, strawberries, blueberries raspberries and rhubarb. Contact Mrs Brook if you are interested in volunteering.

Extra-Curricular News Fair Trade... The Queen‟s Diamond Jubilee seemed a perfect opportunity to do something to celebrate the 60 years of our monarch‟s reign with a fair trade twist. Pupils were given the challenge of baking a Fairtrade cake that would be good enough to serve to the queen. Twenty three pupils entered the competition from years 7 to 11. Some pupils took their inspiration from the Commonwealth; many Fairtrade producing countries such as Ghana, Malawi, India and South Africa were former



Commonwealth of Nations.




Union Jacks and

crowns were also popular forms of decoration not to mention the red London bus driven by the Queen. Judging took place on Monday 28 th May. The cakes were split into two categories large and small, with first and second prizes been given in each category. The judges had the hardship of trying all the cakes comparing the taste, texture, decoration and presentation.


number of Fairtrade ingredients used in the cake also contributed towards the final mark. The winning large cake was a Spiced Jamaican Banana



Commonwealth countries



with a

decorated crown being awarded 2


beautifully nd



the small cake category the winning cakes were coffee flavoured with piped crowns and in 2 nd place were cakes iced in red, white and blue with jelly diamonds. The cakes were sold at break and lunch time and we made £65 which is going to be sent to the Fairtrade Foundation.

Extra-Curricular News Extended project Year 12 took part in a n introduction to the Extended Project this term. All Year 12 students were briefed on the project and how it could help develop their academic studies and even gain them an advantage when applying for Universities. The day was a great success with Year 12s thinking of some very interesting projects to pursue. What is the Extended Project? This is a qualification that can help make students stand out in terms of University, Apprenticeship and Job applications. It also gives students extra UCAS points and has helped many students in the past gain University entry. Some students were told that it was because of the way they talked about their projects at interview and were able in instances show interviewers the finished product that they were offered places on competitive courses. This includes courses like: Creative costume theatre design.  Nursing.  Architecture and design. The project can be focused on any subject. This means you can study ANY area of interest and we have had projects that have been; Art based, library based, Law focused, History inspired, Science focused, Sociology review, Music creation, DT designed, Media created and Psychological Experimentation, amongst many others.

Good to luck to all Year 12s in their Extended Project next year.

Needed for Science Science is in need of a dishwasher and a freezer that will fit under a work surface. If anyone has one that they would like to donate to the Science department, please contact the School office. The Science department would be very grateful. JUBILEE PICTURES! Do you have any Jubilee Celebration photographs that you would like to share with St Francis? Mrs Hill would like to make a display to mark the special occasion. Please email pictures to:

Extra-Curricular News Dance... The dance group received two workshops funded through „Dancing for the Games‟ to celebrate the forthcoming Olympic Games. The first street dance piece had the theme „Playground‟; students had to create a performance for this theme. The students performed at Willenhall Memorial Park on 17th May. The dance group then performed at the Walsall






Alexander Stadium and will also be performing on Thursday 28th June at the Walsall Town Hall at the Catholic Schools Dance Festival. During




they learnt


performance piece that will be performed as part of a mass finale of the Lawk Naach Project on Saturday 30th June as the Olympic Torch relay travels through Smethwick. The pupils have been very dedicated and have thoroughly enjoyed the projects! Charity Walk for St. Giles... On Tuesday 24th April the year 11 Foundation Learning group took part in a sponsored walk along 6.75 miles of the Tissington Trail in the Peak District. The pupils had taken part in the planning process, deciding which part of the 13 mile trail they should walk, the date for it, how we would get there and back and the charity they would raise the money for.

St Giles Hospice was chosen as Jo

Walker from St Giles had been into school to talk to the group as part of their Beliefs and Values short course. The group of 11 pupils raised just over £200 for St Giles Hospice which was given to Jo Walker when the pupils invited her back into school to present her with a cheque.

Extra-Curricular News Carnegie Book Award 2012 Students from the school reading group have recently enjoyed taking part in Carnegie Award Shadowing. The Carnegie is a prestigious book award, given each year to the best novel written for young people the books for themselves. Over the past two months, we have met every week in the Learning Resource Centre to talk about what we‟ve read. There were 8 books on this year‟s shortlist with a wide range of different styles and settings from a Siberian labour camp to a Latin American shanty town. Along the way we enjoyed discovering new authors and talking about what we‟d read. We found we were challenged, moved, sometimes surprised, but always entertained. For our final meeting, we visited Aldridge School to join up with their reading group. We talked about the books, and the students acted out key scenes from the novels. Finally it was time for the moment of truth and the winner of the Carnegie Award was announced as A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness Everyone who took part found shadowing the Carnegie a very enjoyable experience and we can‟t wait to do it again next year!

Cooking... The year 10s took on the challenge of cooking a three course meal of their choice,






festival. They had to produce a plan, prepare it and serve it to 11 members of





obviously took a lot of team work and determination. I think it is safe to call this event a success partly down to the future 5 star chiefs! May we also thank Mrs Majster for all her hard work.

Extra-Curricular News Army Cadets by Aaron... The first time I went to Cadets, I was scared because I was nervous. I didn't know anyone there then but after a few weeks I got to know lots of people. I soon made some friends. I felt so much better when I had made friends. When I got there on my first night they showed me around the detachment. Then when they had showed me around there was a group of cadets doing drill outside. I loved marching in the Remembrance Day Parade and felt very smart in my uniform, especially when our troop marched past all my family. There were lots of people watching and marching. We marched behind the Air Cadet's band and the music made it easier to keep in step. There were other people marching too. At the side were veterans who had placed the wreaths in front of the Memorial Cross in Aldridge. Two of the Air Cadets and two of my Army Cadets put wreaths there to. It was sad to think of people who had been killed but we felt proud of their sacrifice. I had made a lot of friends at cadets and look forward to seeing them each week. When we broke up for Christmas we had a fun night when we played on x box, had snacks and listened to music. Cadets are not just about having fun I have learnt how to do some first aid. Bleeds, recovery position, CPR, breaks and how to treat people for shock. This is lifesaving which could help me in everyday life and in school. I have already passed my, „Two Star First Aidâ€&#x;. I have learnt how to use a map to find my way around so I don't get lost. Sometimes I also need to use a compass as well as map. The compass helps me to find the right direction. I know how to read grid lines and can do a route card too.

I have enjoyed learning how to shoot at targets and I feel I my accuracy is now beginning to improve. I want to pass my 2 star shooting test soon.

Reviews Girls book... Summer‟s Dream by Cathy Cassidy A summer read you won‟t want to put down! The 3 rd book in the Chocolate

Boys book...

Box Girls series is for those who have ever dreamed big, want to dance and

Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer

push themselves to the limit. Or just

The first book in the series, Artemis Fowl is about a 12-yearold




kidnaps a fairy for ransom of gold. Little does he know that this fairy is like no other and is the Captain of the LEPrecorn Unit.

What has he taken on a

twisted tale you won‟t want to

anyone who wants to achieve something no matter how small that thing is. The story is about the confident Summer, who grabs an opportunity with both hands to go to the ballet school of her dreams. She pushes herself to the limit every single day but what if her dream turns into a nightmare or an obsession?

miss? World Book Day: Thursday 1st March 2012 St Francis staff and students really got into the spirit of celebrating World Book Day this year, with a programme of reading-related activities. During morning registration, staff shared extracts from their favourite books with their forms. They also wore badges championing their favourite authors. Students were encouraged to spot these throughout the day and to talk to their teachers about their choices. At lunchtime the LRC was a hive of activity as students took part in a „Guess who‟s coming to dinner‟ competition, using a series of clues to work out which fictional guests were expected. Congratulations to Rebecca in Year 7 who scored the most correct answers. Alongside this was the opportunity show off artistic talents by designing a bookmark. To encourage reading for pleasure, each student also claimed a £1 book token which could be used in bookshops or for orders from our Scholastic book catalogue.

Reviews By Sophie, Year 9 Album Review

Stereotypical by Rizzle Kicks. This album is one of my favourites from the year so far. It offers plenty of catchy songs and funny lyrics which will please lots of listeners. Although the genre of this album is mainly rap, this British group have a very distinctive sound and don‟t follow your typical expectations of rappers. This is what makes the group so memorable and popular with younger people.




„Stereotypical‟ for everyone.

Gig review On Sunday 11th February Wolverhampton‟s Wulfrun Hall hosted the one-day festival Chazzstock. The line-up featured up-and-coming bands including The Horrors and The Vaccines. Despite the lack of grass, sun, wellies and fast food stalls, Chazzstock had the same, if not better, atmosphere of a real summer festival. The doors opening at 3.30pm and bands played to the growing crowd until 9.00pm, when the excitement increased as the anticipation for the night‟s headliners rose. The Horrors played an unforgettable set, amazed the crowd as they performed their songs in silhouettes and ended their set on a high as the crowd fell into a trance as they danced to the sounds of „ Still Life.‟ The end of the day could not have been finished any other way as The Vaccines played all of their hit songs to the excited crowd. The energy and atmosphere was electric as they played their catchy songs and even played some songs from their new album which is being released in September. All in all, an energetic day with some incredible bands.

School Noticeboard The next date for the newsletter is December 2012. Can‟t wait until then for the next issue? Then, log onto the VLE and School website for up-to-date news before the next school newsletter. Thank you to all students who contributed to the newsletter. Special thanks to the St Francis newsletter team: Year 7 - Helen, Sharday, Bronwen, Alisha; Year 8 – Sophie, Bethany; Year 9 – Charlotte, Sophie; Year 10 – Jess, Katie; Year 12 – Bethany. Contact Miss Nolan at


Inset Day 1

21st September:

Inset Day 2

19th October:

School closes for half-term

29th October:

School reopens.

21st December:

School closes for Christmas holidays.

(Please see for details of the dates for returning Year groups in September.)

MUSCIANS WANTED! New date for St Francis has got Talent – Thursday 18th October Spaces available for guitar, keyboard, violin, trumpet, flute and clarinet lessons in September. Please sign up before summer though. The very successful SFA choir will be looking to recruit new members in September – see Miss Clensy if interested.

Newsletter July 2012  

Newsletter July 2012