Monday, 21 March 2016

Head's Blog Monday 21st March 2016

Last week I had the immense privilege of interviewing Year 12 students for positions in the Sixth Form Leadership Team including Head Boy/Girl and Deputy Head Boy/Girl. As always, I was tremendously impressed by the articulate way each student explained what each of them had to offer the College. Also evident was their commitment to help others and to follow our College Motto and "Do Good".

Year 11 are about to begin "Walking Talking Mocks" in English, Maths, Science and RE. A Walking, Talking Mock involves students sitting in exam conditions while an experienced teacher takes them through a past exam paper question by question pointing out how to achieve the best possible marks. Once each question has been explained by the teacher, the students themselves get a chance to answer it. This will really help them with exam technique.

Year 11 are well in to their revision. They (and Sixth Form students) must use the upcoming Easter break as a chance to revise. Please encourage your son (or daughter) to spend some hours each day preparing for their exams. Reading through notes and highlighting key words only works for a very small number of students. The following revision techniques work much better so please make sure your son takes note!

  • Testing yourself or testing each other in pairs - family can help with this if they have time
  • Revision cards
  • Mind maps and concept maps
  • Drawing your own annotated diagrams
  • Making notes as you read - use colour but don't take ages making them neat
  • Use GCSE bitesize and SAM Learning
It is best to start revision early and to work in 30 minute blocks with 5 or 10 minute breaks in between. Don't do any more than 6 hours on a non-school day. Your son should make sure he gets plenty of exercise and a chance to relax.

Finally whatever your son tells you (or even genuinely believes) if is FAR more effective to revise in silence so make sure he switches off music during revision time.

You will remember that Owen Bush won the Catenians Public Speaking contest and was awarded William Flint trophy for Public Speaking. On Friday he was presented with his trophy.

Year 7 News
Mrs Evans was running an exciting literacy challenge for all KS3 students on World Book Day, which was on Thursday 10th March.

The students were asked to create a mini novel during their scheduled half an hour of reading session on this particular day. Mrs Evans has informed me that she has awarded prizes to the students shown below for working hard and producing good quality work.

 Oliver McLean                

 Adam Richards               

 Riley Piper-Bayza           

 Jack Ryan                                                            

 Ethan Carlisle                                                        

 Benedikt Cresswell                                                

Well done boys you should be very proud of yourselves!

Mr MacCormick and the PTFA did a fantastic job at running a disco on Friday 11th March for Year 7 and 8 students for Notre Dame and St Boniface students.  I attended for part of the evening and was very impressed with the outcome, as there was a good variety of Notre Dame and St Boniface students, and all looked to be having a lot of fun dancing the night away while stocking up on sweets and fizzy drinks!

A coffee morning for the parents of Year 4 and 5 students was mentioned as being held at St Boniface’s on Thursday 24th March between 9.30am to 11.00am in our Learning for Life Centre. This event has now been postponed til later on in the year to ensure that timings are at a more convenient time for parents. 

Further details on this will be mentioned next term.

Kind Regards,

Mrs Swann

Friday, 11 March 2016

Head's Blog 11th March 2016

During Lent each Tutor Group has been set the challenge of raising money for CAFOD's Lenten Appeal. You can find more details about this on the CAFOD website:

Straight after the Easter Holiday on Tuesday 12th April we have Year 8 Parents' Evening. Students are already making appointments with teachers to make sure they are ready for the event.

Sport News
Mr Greenway reports that the year 10 football team played All Saints Academy this evening. The team put in a great performance and won the game 9-2. Standout players included Kieran Bothma (scored 4), Jay Hamley (scored 3), Ewan Crawford, Ali Ramazani & John Ballo.

Year 7 News
Mr Greenway has announced that the Parkour club will run on a Monday after school in the PE department.  Parkour is a physical discipline of training to move freely over and through any terrain using only the abilities of the body, principally through running, jumping and climbing movement.

A Year 7 and 8 Disco is taking place on Friday 11th March in the school hall.  Tickets are on sale in the canteen by Jordan Parker during break times and lunch times up to and including 11th March. Details are also on the posters up around school for students to view.

A coffee morning for the parents of Year 4 and 5 students was mentioned as being held at St Boniface’s on Thursday 24th March between 9.30am to 11.00am in our Learning for Life Centre.This event has now been postponed until later on in the year to ensure that timings are at a more convenient time for parents.

Further details on this will be mentioned next term.

Mrs Swann

The prayer theme this week is "Science" and boys will be using this prayer in Tutor Time.

Father, preserve in us a sense of wonder at the marvels of life. May all that we see around us lead us to you. Amen.

Friday, 4 March 2016

Head's Blog 4th March 2016

Last week we held Lent Reconcilliation Liturgies. Miss Hutchings encouraged students to turn the negatives in their lives into positives. There was also the opportunity for the sacrament of Reconciliation for students.

I have been visiting Year 11 lessons and talking to Year 11 boys. They are working hard at the moment but it is obvious that some of them did not revise properly for their mocks. I am sure they will not repeat the same mistakes when it comes to the real exams.

Yesterday there were a number of activities for World Book Day which I will write about more next week.

Year 7 News

A Parkour club was opened up to a selective amount of students across all age groups on Tuesday 29th February during lesson 5. This is a really exciting opportunity for our pupils and was run by a local Parkour company who have an excellent reputation. Parkour is a physical discipline of training to move freely over and through any terrain using only the abilities of the body, principally through running, jumping and climbing movement.The students involved on Tuesday of this week were selected for the taster session, but those who were not involved can attend an after school club which will be announced in due course.

Mrs Swann

Sixth Form News
As part of our ongoing Sixth Form links with the Edmund Rice network. Two students went with a group of Sixth Formers from Liverpool, Manchester to see the workings of the United nations, in particular the role of the Edmund Rice International NGO. They stayed in Geneva and met the NGO and saw the inner workings of the UN. The day at the UN was chosen particularly because it was the day of Sierra Leone answering questions.

Tino and Munashe were our representatives, with Tom Turner having gone last year. Here is Tinos account:

As the youth ambassadors for St Boniface’s Catholic College, we were a part of the Edmund Rice set-up which allowed us, along with various schools around the UK,  to take part in the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Sierra Leone. This event took place in the United Nations (UN) building in Geneva, Switzerland whereby Sierra Leone was due a review from the other countries whom are also a part of the UN. Each country goes under review once every 5 years and during the time we were there, it was the turn of Sierra Leone. The review followed a strict structure where the country under review, Sierra Leone, would give their opening statement which would then be followed up by each country giving their recommendations on actions Sierra Leone should take to address issues within their country. From these recommendations, Sierra Leone would then take time away in the form of a break to discuss which recommendations they would accept or decline and then they would return in front of the delegates to announce their final decisions.

From listening to the UPR, it was very clear that there were consistent issues each country could draw a consensus on. The repeatedly brought up recommendations relating to female based rights showed how far Sierra Leone had yet to go before they were able to improve as a country to a standard fitting of the UN. Issues such as the practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in all forms were raised by every country as being the key issue that needed to be addressed through various ways ranging from prison sentences for practising to complete eradication of the practice. Other recommendations took the form of economical improvement through revamping their health care infrastructure and the social economic situation. Other more extreme recommendations brought up the issue of the need to abolish the death penalty as this was seen to be a form of punishment that had no place in modern day society. This was purely raised as an issue as people were being executed for petty crimes that could simply have been sorted through a jail term.

It was taken into consideration that Sierra Leone was in the process of recovery following the Ebola pandemic that affected us all around the world. This was also noted as a factor as to why they were struggling to meet the recommendations brought up so eased to the pressure that Sierra Leone was under to improve. It was said however, that despite the Ebola outbreak, improvements still have to be made as the issues raised were almost identical to those that had been brought up in their last UPR 5 years ago. This was revealed to be a major issue, so from this UPR, Sierra Leone has been urged to address the outlined issues and use them as a way of bettering the country for its people and as a whole.

Sport News
Mr James reports he Devon Schools Individual Table Tennis Championships were held on 10th February with Bonnies entering two age groups. In the U13's Ben Cresswell (year 7) reached the quarter final in his first tournament, and in the U16's Dan Kerr (year 11) made it all the way to the final but unfortunately couldn't get the better of a student who is just above him in the national rankings.

On the same day, the year 8 football team travelled to Torbridge for their first league fixture and came away with an impressive draw. Considering our opponents had already played 3 times this season we dominated the game and played fantastically.

For both events the boys were brilliant and represented the school in a great manner.

Mr Greenway reports that the Year 9 Basketball team have won the City League and will be presented with their trophy tonight during the Raider's match.

Mr Fenwick reports that both Toby Marks (year 10) and Billy Heath (year 11) competed in the regional indoor rowing championships yesterday at Marjons. Both boys competed in their respected age groups and both managed to qualify for the national finals this coming weekend at the Olympic park in London. Congratulations to both boys.