Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Head's Blog: Tuesday 17 October 2016

I have just been out on the field watching Year 7 take part in their house rugby tournament. In spite of the shower that hit us (I wish I had brought my coat!) the boys were enjoying things and playing well. I will update you on the results in the next blog.

Responsibility and opportunity: Year 11 Mocks
On Wednesday 9 November Year 11 Mocks will begin. We are having mocks earlier this year to give students even more time to respond to what the mocks tell them. A few boys foolishly tell their parents that they do not need to revise as "these are only mocks". I am sure parents will not be fooled by such comments. Revision undertaken now will mean less work is needed and more will be remembered for the summer exams. More importantly boys need to know what they need to work on to improve from their current best. Students and their teachers will only know what their current best is if they revise properly.

Responsibility: Measles
I have received a letter from Public Health England warning me that there is currently a high rate of measles infection. In most cases measles is a mild infection but it can cause more severe complications. The first stage of measles includes a runny nose, conjunctivitis (red eyes), a cough and an increasing fever that comes and goes. A rash appears on day 3 or 4 while the individual is still feverish and miserable. Anyone with suspected measles should remain off school (or work) until five days after the rash first appears. We haven't had any cases of measles reported to us but I am passing this information on just in case.

Opportunity: Football Tournament

Mr Baum and Mr Coleman I had the delight (their words!) of taking 10 of our students to a Plymouth school tournament based at Goals. We entered two teams and have previously come in second and third place but this time they went to the event really trying to do one better and win. One of our teams played great football but kept being pipped to the win in the dying minutes and narrowly losing and eventually came 5th. Our second team were somewhat more successful winning all of their matches and completing the tournament as undefeated champions! Congratulations to Mr Coleman and Mr Baum and the boys: Rhys Edwards, Sam Smith, Joel Barlow, Callum Coot, Jesse Coombes, Liam Hamley, Daryl Read, Harry Cornish, Felix Powell, Brendan Morrison

Opportunity: Year 7 Rugby
On September 29 Year 7 extended their unbeaten record in another rugby Tournament. Mr Elliot-Smith says: "The games were much tougher affairs this time with all teams stepping up their games, it was just that our year 7's stepped it up even more. They played some fantastic rugby with all players leaving nothing on the pitch! A mention also for Frankie Rogers who volunteered to run the lines and did a fantastic job. The boys were a real credit to the school.

Compassion: Tour De Moor 
I am delighted to report that Josh Bailey completed the Tour De Moor on the 8/9 October. This annual event allows riders to choose three different distances to cover: 11km, 27km and 52km. Josh was raising money for St Luke's Hospice and in doing so completed the 52km course in 4hrs 35mins. 

Opportunity: Achievement by an "Old Boy"
I would like to offer my congratulations to a former pupil, Mr Paul May, was inaugurated as the next President of The Society of British Neurosurgeons (SBNS) on 22 September.

Opportunity, Responsibility and Compassion: Year 7 Retreat
Over the last two weeks each Year 7 form has had a three day retreat at Buckfast. This gave the boys time to pray, to see the Abbey, to have some fun and to think about what it means to be part of a community. I am very grateful to the staff who went with the boys, to the sixth form students who helped out through the retreat and to the small army of volunteers who helped with cooking meals and other things. They boys were particularly grateful to those who made homemade cakes which were enjoyed by everyone there.

Opportunity, Responsibility and Compassion: PTFA
I have just received the PTFA newsletter which gives details of the work of the PTFA. A key date for your diaries is their next meeting: Monday, November 14th at 7pm in the Staff Room. All are welcome, refreshments provided. The newsletter can be accessed here:  http://www.stbonifaces.com/sites/default/files/user-43/PTFA%20Autumn%20News%202.pdf

Compassion: Harvest Food Collection and Harvest Liturgy
We managed to collect over 600 items for this year's Harvest Appeal! A huge thank you for your kind contributions. The items were presented to Devon and Cornwall Refugee Support at the Harvest Liturgy yesterday.

Compassion: Mufti days
We will be holding three MUFTI days in November and December on the following days to raise money for local and international charities:
Wednesday 9 November
Thursday 24 November
Wednesday 7 December
I will share more details about exactly who we are raising money for soon.

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Head's Blog: Tuesday 27 September 2016

Upcoming events

On Thursday 20 October we have our Post-16 information evening. Year 11 students and parents are encouraged to attend to see what is on offer for their Sixth Form studies. As well as giving students a clear idea about the possibilities for next year, it also helps motivate students as they come away knowing what they need to achieve to make the next steps in their education. The evening will start at 6 pm in the College Hall. Afterwards there will a chance to meet subject teachers and other providers.

Over the next fortnight each Year 7 Tutor Group will be away on residential retreat at Buckfast. This will really help them get to gel as a form  and to understand better what we are about as a College.

Showing Compassion

We will soon be starting our Harvest Collection. This is a chance for members of the College Community to show compassion for less fortunate people in Plymouth and the surrounding. This year our harvest donations will be for the charity Devon and Cornwall Refugee Support (DCRSC) This is a list of the things we are looking for:

  • Long Life Milk (UHT or powered) Tinned fruit
  • Sugar 
  • Rice
  • Long Life Carton of Fruit Juice Pasta Sauces
  • Pasta Sauces 
  • Tea
  • Tinned Vegetables 
  • Coffee
  • Tinned Tomatoes 
  • Tinned meat/ fish
  • Pasta Baked beans
  • Tinned Rice Pudding 
  • Hot Chocolate
  • Salt 
  • Squash
  • Pepper 
  • Tomato Puree 
  • Jam 
  • Salad Cream
  • Biscuits or Snack Bars 
  • Tomato Sauce
The collection begins on Monday 3rd October

Opportunities to learn well

Please do keep looking at your son's books and discussing his work with him. Remind him we are looking for every student to show pride in their work this year so he needs to be doing his best with presentation. Also remember that you can check on what homework he has been set and when it needs to be done by checking the Show My Homework website which can be accessed by following this link.
Show My Homework

There is also an app for Android and for Iphones. Please contact your son's form tutor if you have not received login details for the SMH page.

Opportunities for sporting success
Our Year 7 Rugby team had their first taste of competitive play last week. They took part in a tournament and won three from three matches beating Stoke Damerel, Eggbuckland and Devonport High School for Boys. Mr Elliot-Smith reports that the boys were a real credit to St Boniface's winning with passion and style whilst maintaining the highest levels of sportsmanship. Well done to the whole squad!

Asher Mathews
Cameron Harvey
Tom Keers
Billy Smith
Thomas Dawson
Max Ringrose
Ethan Millard
Michael Kelly
Fred Jones
Noah Carlisle
George Hawkins
Thomas Jiju
Sonny Brown
George Edson
Isoa Tuimanu

Opportunity for prayer
Boys will be using this prayer during Tutor Time

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Head's Blog: Tuesday 13 September 2016

This week I want to talk to parents about Show My Homework.

Show my Homework is a web-based system for recording homework. Teachers enter the homework online and students (and parents) can check what homework has been set.

You should have received from your son a letter with log in details which enable you to access the system and find out what your son's (or sons') homework is and when it is due in. There are Apps available for Android and Apple phones so as well as using a web browser you can also use your smart phone to keep up to date. The system went live on Monday. 

If you did not receive the log in letter please ask your son about it - it may be in the bottom of his bag. If he does not have it, please contact his form tutor in the first instance for a copy. If you are having difficulty accessing the system please contact Mr Davies at the College so that he can arrange assistance.

Next week I will say more about other ways we will be improving contact with parents this academic year.

It is always good to hear of old boys succeeding and some of you may have picked up from the press that Josh Bance has been very successful at the World Call of Duty Video Game Championship. His team did well and he was voted Most Valuable Player in the tournament. You can read about it here:


It also seems he won some prize money. We regularly tell boys in school that playing Call of Duty is not helping them prepare for later life and that their time would be better spent on something more worthwhile (homework for example!) Josh is clearly an exception to this rule! Nevertheless remind your son, for the rest of us the rule still holds.

This week in assemblies I will be talking to students about what we can learn from the dedication of Olympic Athletes. I will be suggesting that they should:

  • Take the long view (like Mo Farah will - if he wants to compete in Tokyo in 4 years he will start training now)
  • To remember that anyone no matter how good (or bad) they are can always get better (like Adam Peaty who won a swimming gold and broke a world record)
  • To be prepared to risk failure in order to achieve success (Who bounced back from a diving injury that nearly killed him to win diving gold with Jack Laugher)
  • Do their homework (Like Maddie Hinch, the GB women's hockey goal keeper who kept details notes on all her opponents and was able to prevent Holland scoring any goals in the final penalty shoot out)
Boys will be using this prayer in Tutor time this week:

O Lord,
Grant me your strength, so I will have courage in every situation;
Grant me your love, so I may love others as you love me;
Grant me your knowledge, so I will show others the path to wisdom;
Grant me your mercy, so I will forgive those who have hurt me;
Grant me your peace, so I will find the best in everybody;
Grant me your hope, so I will never give up;
Grant me your joy, so I will be thankful for all my blessings;
Grant me your kindness, so I will treat others as they want to be treated;
And Grant me your grace, so you will always be at my side.

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Head's blog: Tuesday 6th September

It was wonderful to meet students after the summer break yesterday and to welcome new Year 7 boys to the college. I am glad to say they have all - young and old - arrived ready to learn!

I would like to take the opportunity to remind you of the changes in responsibility that I shared with you at the end of last term.

The Leadership Team is now as follows:

Headteacher: Mr F Ashcroft
Deputy Headteacher: Mr A Davies
Assistant Headteacher (Teaching and Learning): Dr A Summers
Assistant Headteacher (Pastoral Care): Mr R Ramage

In terms of subject leadership there will be 5 Curriculum Directors and the SENDCO:

SENDCO: Mr D Ousey
Director of Maths and Computing: Mr P Scott
Director of English and Languages: Mr P Trimmer
Director of Science and Technology: Mrs F Walton
Director of Humanities (RE, Geography, History and Social Sciences): Miss R Blackshaw
Director of Performance (PE, Music, Art, Drama): Mr P Greenway

Each curriculum Director will be assisted by a second in each area.

Second in Maths and Computing: Ms V Taylor
Second in English and Languages: Ms V Phillips
Second in Science and Technology: Mrs S Lee
Second in Humanities: Ms C Redfern
Second in Performance: (PE, Music, Art, Drama): Mrs J Wills

Year Leaders will are as follows:

Sixth Form: Mr S Tew
Year 10 and 11: Mrs L McLoughlin
Year 8 and 9: Mr R James
Year 7: Mrs J Lavers (formerly Miss McFarland)

Mrs Swann will be going on maternity leave in October so Mrs Lavers will take on responsibility for Year 7 and transition until Mrs Swann returns.

Monday, 18 July 2016

Head's Blog Monday 18 July 2016

As I write it's a lovely sunny day so I hope that the boys and staff at Alton Towers are having the same weather and making the most of it. I also hope we get the same for the next seven weeks! Good weather means it's easier to encourage students to get outside and enjoy the fresh air. One thing they might be doing outside is Pokemon Go. Just in case parents are feeling as baffled as I am about this new craze here is a link to some information about the app and some advice about how to keep your sons safe:


It's also worth my while re-iterating the College policy on mobile phones: when a student brings a phone into the College the phone must be switched off and out of site. I am afraid this means no Pokemon hunting at school even at break time and lunch time.

Councillor Ian Bowyer Leader, Plymouth City Council  and Judith Harwood Assistant Director (Learning and Communities) have asked me to pass on a letter about penalty notices and term time holidays. I have placed it on the College website here:


The letter explains the impact of the recent Isle of Wight court judgement and Plymouth CC's response. Parents will see that the letter makes reference to an OFSTED expectation that attendance is 95%. I don't think schools or parents should be making decisions to make OFSTED happy but rather to ensure a good education for students. My own view on attendance is that students should aim for 100% attendance, not 95%, and only be absent when it is absolutely necessary. (I am not talking here about approved sporting activities which obviously have an educational benefit which I am happy to authorise). That is why I only approve absence from school for holidays during term time for exceptional circumstances and even then not if attendance is already a cause for concern.

I would also like to bring you up to date with some changes in responsibility in the College for September. Next year we will be operating with a smaller leadership team as follows:

Deputy Headteacher: Mr A Davies
Assistant Headteacher (Teaching and Learning): Dr A Summers
Assistant Headteacher (Pastoral Care): Mr R Ramage

In terms of subject leadership there will be 5 Curriculum Directors:

Director of Maths and Computing: Mr P Scott
Director of English and Languages: Mr P Trimmer
Director of Science and Technology: Mrs F Walton
Director of Humanities (RE, Geography, History and Social Sciences): Miss R Blackshaw
Director of Performance (PE, Music, Art, Drama): Mr P Greenway

Each curriculum Director will be assisted by a second in each area.

Second in Maths and Computing: Ms V Taylor
Second in English and Languages: Ms V Phillips
Second in Science and Technology: Mrs S Lee
Second in Humanities (RE, Geography, History and Social Sciences): Ms C Redfern
Second in Performance (PE, Music, Art, Drama): Mrs J Wills

Parents will know that Mr D Ousey has already taken over as SENCO.

In terms of pastoral care, Year Leaders will be as follows:

Sixth Form: Mr S Tew
Year 10 and 11: Mrs L McLoughlin
Year 8 and 9: Mr R James
Year 7: Mrs K Swann

Joining subjects together in wider "Directorates" will give the 5 leaders bigger teams of teachers to work with which will enable us to continue to improve the College. The arrangements for pastoral care make permanent the joining together of year groups we have tried this year.

The prayer theme for this week is "Praise" and boys will be using this prayer with their Tutors.

Happy moments,
Praise God
Difficult moments,
Seek God.
Quiet moments,
Worship God
Painful moments,
Trust God.
Every moment,
Thank God.


Friday, 8 July 2016

Head's Blog: Friday 8th July

As I write this entry, we are just coming to the end of Curriculum Enrichment Week. I will write more about the activities in my next post but if you want to get a flavour of everything that was on offer, have a look at the College's Facebook page: 

and scroll down. You will have to do a lot of scrolling to get to the end of the activities on offer.

I would like to bring you up to date with some things that happened last week. On Friday a group of our students were involved with 

The students were all invited to lay flowers and all behaved impeccably throughout the service which was very poignant. Callum Coot was interviewed by Spotlight and the Evening Herald reporter Alex Wood who is a past student. For those remaining in College, Mr Edwards produced a powerpoint presentation for Tutors to use during Tutor time

This week I want to say something about members of staff who are leaving St Boniface's and those who will be joining us this year. Mr Fenwick and Mr Stevens will both be moving on next academic year. Both Mr Fenwick and Mr Stevens have made a real contribution to the PE team as well as helping out in other subjects such as English and geography

Mr Lord is taking up a new post at King Edward Community College in Totnes and we wish him well for the future. As well as being a really important member of the science team, Mr Lord has always made a big contribution to the extra-curricular life of the College. As I type the blog his is driving back from surfing as part of curriculum enrichment week.

Mr Chambers is moving to Colyton Grammar School. Parents whose sons have been taught by Mr Chambers especially for GCSE and A level will know how much time and care Mr Chambers has taken in providing as stimulating learning environment and detailed feedback to students.

Mr Claricoates is also leaving us. Everyone will know of the hard work he has done guiding and enthusing students with their Duke of Edinburgh awards.

Mr Cahill's time with us has come to an end and he is returning to Ivybridge Community College. Mr Cahill has made a big difference to the College while leading on teaching and learning. He has also become well-liked both by staff and students. We have all been impressed with Mr Cahill's passion for good teaching, his endless energy and enthusiasm and willingness to turn his hand to anything that needs to be done whether it is planning a programme of staff development, driving a minibus to Portsmouth at 4 am, fixing noticeboards to walls, simply fixing go karts or anything in between. I am very grateful to the Principal of Ivybridge CC, Mr Haring for "lending" Mr Cahill to us and we all wish Mr Cahill well in the future.

Mr MacCormick is moving on to become Vice-Principal at Holyrood Academy in Chard. During Mr MacCormick's time here he has demonstrated great knowledge and understanding but, much more importantly, a great ability to get the best out of any boy in the College he has been working with. It is really good to see Mr MacCormick taking this next step in his career and I look forward to hearing news of his next promotion in the near future to headteacher.

Mr Baines is leaving to start a new career. Working with Mr Baines I have always been struck by his broad range of knowledge around also sorts of different areas whether it be mathematics, engineering, health and safety regulations or computer networking to name but a few. This has certainly been useful to me personally and the College in general. Someone who knows so much about so much will certainly be successful in his new venture.

Finally Mr Edwards is retiring after 35 years' service to the College. Simply for being with us for so long Mr Edwards has earned an immense amount of gratitude but everyone who has come across him will know that he is an exceptional teacher, combining a burning passion for history with immense respect for and dedication to every student in every class he teaches. I wish him a long and happy retirement. It is certainly what he deserves.

Saying goodbye to members of staff is the sad part of this blog. The happy part is letting you know about who is joining us in September. We have Ms Walton who will become Director of Science and Technology. Ms Walton is currently 2nd in the Science Department at the Ursuline Convent in Kent. Miss Stockmans will be teaching Drama and Music, Miss Archer will be teaching English, Mr Rocca and Mr Elliot-Smith will be teaching PE and Mr Savage will be teaching Technology. We are very much looking forward to them joining us.

Next year there will also be a number of role changes within the staff but I will explain about those in my next blog.

Year 7 News

Miss McFarland, Mrs Kendall and I had the amazing opportunity to attend Holy Cross Primary School’s Summer Fair on Friday 24 th June. The fair ran from 3pm to 6pm, and we were very grateful of the 3 students who we took with us from St Boniface’s; Benedict Cresswell, Oscar Dawson and George Bond (Year 9)...there aren’t many students who would have given up their own time on a Friday evening!

The boys were a huge asset to the College, not only were they helpful towards St Boniface staff, they were polite, friendly and welcoming to the parents, staff and students who attended the fair. As a reward they were given some money to go and spend on the other
stalls at the fair…I think most of this went on sweets and hot dogs!

I’d like to say a huge thank you to all 3 students and the staff who joined me on this evening, for their support throughout this evening.

Curriculum Enrichment Week has crept up incredibly quickly this year, I am sure everybody a fantastic, enjoyable and of course safe week on the activity they have chosen. Miss Redfern, Mrs Printy, Mrs Bishop, Mr McKenna and I have been delving into Devon next week, enjoying activities such as going to the zoo, ice skating, bowling, boat trips, a tour around the Heritage Centre, a treasure hunt etc. Thank goodness the weather has not been too bad. 

Kind Regards,

Mrs Swann

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Head's Blog 22nd June 2016

I want to start by thanking parents for their attendance at yesterday's Year 10 Parents' evening. It was good to see so many mothers and fathers supporting their sons as they prepare for the Year 10 mocks which begin next week.

Lots of students have been involved in extra-curricular activities recently. For example Mrs Evans and Mrs Phillips took a group of boys to the Carnegie Book Event. They boys reviewed fiction for young adults nominated for the Carnegie Prize. Their contribution was assessed by judges and they were awarded 3rd place (out of 12 schools). Well done!
In May a group of our students really did the College and themselves proud when they entered the Devon Schools Triatholon.  The results of the Devon School Cup have not yet been calculated and reported but we are definitely in with a chance!

Here's the team photo.  Beth Ward in the 6th Form was a standout performer as she won the Junior Category, beating all the boys and girls who entered.  A fantastic achievement! James Anderson came along and coached the younger students which again was great. It has taken a while to calculate the overall result but I can now reveal we came third. Well done to all.

Also in May  we took 32 students from year 7, 8 and 9 to Brickfields for the annual Level 2 Super 8 Athletics competition. Unfortunately our 'B' teams could only manage 4th, just missing out on a medal, however our 'A' teams BOTH FINISHED 1st!

Our year 7 team made up from James Quintrell, Ben Cresswell, Jack Meertens, Isaiah Akinrowo, Ethan Carlisle, Michael Byrne, Sam Wisdom and Alfie Horswell - teamed up with 8 girls from PHSG - beat DHS by 3 points in the start (year 7) event.

Our year 8/9 team made up from Josh Jarvis, Taylor Kastiz, Freddie Davies, Lewis Johnson, Alfie Tasker, Joel Barlow, Luke Rosevear and Shaun Hillier - again teamed up with 8 girls from PHSG - won by over 100 points in the junior (year 8/9) event.

There were some absolutely outstanding individual and team performances listed below and for the third year in a row we will represent Plymouth at the Level 3 athletics tournament competing against the very best secondary schools around the county!

Thank you to all teachers who allowed students to leave lessons and a big thank you to Mr Coleman and Mr James who went with the boys.

Individual Performances:



Year 7 News
Jack Meertens and Ethan Carlisle are volunteering at this year’s 15 th Primary Hockey Festival with the Plymouth Schools Hockey Association, on the 9 th and 10 th June 2016. Without volunteers the event would be unable to take place, so these students’ dedication and support to the sport is incredibly valued.

Morgan McClean has recently been commended for his efforts towards the Armed Forces Day competition 2016. Mr Ousey and Mrs Coot kindly presented his certificate to him earlier on this week during Tutor time.

Well done Morgan! 
Jacob Jones’ Dad has recently participated in a Sky Dive to raise money for charity. The charity was for the Gold Dust Appeal at Derriford Hospital’s, kid’s cancer service in Plymouth. The Sky Dive took place at Dunkerswell Airfield in Honiton, and the total cash raised was £800.

Jacob showed the video to his tutor group which stunned them into silence; the intrigue (and slight panic at times!) on their faces was fantastic. Mr Ousey and I were also fortunate to watch the video with them, and I would personally like to say huge congratulations to Mr Jones and a thank you to all the Year 7 students who contributed towards the charity.

Please take a look at Mr Jones’ video using the link below;


Kind Regards,

Mrs Swann

Staffing News
Mrs Venn has taken the decision to leave her post of Assistant Headteacher at St Boniface's Catholic College. Viv has worked at the College for five and a half years and during this time she has provided a valued contribution as AHT and Faculty Leader of RE, English, SEN in addition to Child Protection  at various times. Her commitment has been uppermost to the boys to achieve their best both academically and in the wider community. The Governors and I would like to thank Mrs Venn for her commitment and dedication to this role during her time at the College and would like to wish her well for the future.

Mrs Venn has enjoyed her time at the College and would like to pass on her best wishes to the staff and students and wish them every success for the future.

Prayer Theme
This week the prayer theme has been "Talents" and the boys have been using this prayer in Tutor Time:

Almighty God, you have blessed each of us with unique gifts, and have called us into
specific occupations, relationships, and activities using those gifts. Enable us to use our
talents to witness to our faith in you and to communicate your love to the people we meeteach day. Empower us to be ministers of reconciliation, love, hope, and justice. Keep us steadfast in our commitment to serve actively in your name; through Jesus Christ our Lord,