What a year! As a school community, we have continued to thrive in 2017, but as a city we experienced the trauma of the Manchester arena attack. If there’s one thing such atrocities show us it’s the compassion, strength and love that comes together to overpower the forces that try to tear us apart. We are so proud of our students; not only in how they dealt with the terror attack, but for all they have achieved this year.
January: With Christmas still fresh in our minds our local primary schools visited us to design Christmas cards for Royal Mail stamp competition! We were impressed with the artistic talents on display and the behaviour of the pupils.
February: What a busy month! Ofsted announced they were on their way as our expressive arts students were preparing to take to the stage with their production of Les Miserables. Fortunately, both went extremely well, with Ofsted awarding us a ‘Good’ judgement and the play receiving rave reviews.
March: A month of sporting success saw our year 9 and year 10 football teams become Greater Manchester Catholic Cup Champions. Our year 7 basketball team qualified for the NBA (National Basketball Association) finals and record marathon running and BBC Sports Awards winner, Ben 401 paid us a visit to give a motivational talk about beating the bullies and using running to overcome adversity. Away from the sporting arena, our entrepreneurs pitched their business ideas to our very own Dragons in the Den.
April: Once again the annual football trip to Malta for the famous Malta Rally was a rewarding and enjoyable experience. Accompanied by Mr Burke and Mr Jones the students stayed at the 4 star Qawra Palace Hotel. Despite narrowly missing out on the tournament final, it was a life-changing week of competition, independence and enjoyment for the year 8 and 9 boys and a trip they won’t forget.
May: Our three Our Lady’s dance teams – Lil Bombs, Dynamite and Stars – attended their first competition of and did amazingly well! Despite the dance success this was a very sad month for us following the terror attack on the arena, but our students literally stood together in a show of solidarity to tell the world that love will always triumph over evil.
June: Our ‘We are the World’ event was a fantastic opportunity to celebrate the many cultures within the Our Lady’s school community. Our local primary schools joined is to learn more about the different traditions and beliefs across the globe and to showcase some traditions from these cultures in a colourful display of song and dance. We also opened the doors to Our Lady’s to welcome potential future students and parents to our Open Evening which was an extremely successful evening.
July: As we headed towards the end of the academic year there were several exciting events including the Blackpool trip, the Year 11 Leaver’s Prom, the affirmation assembly and summer concert and a summer fair to raise funds for the British Heart Foundation.
August: It was time to celebrate as our year 11 leavers returned to Our Lady’s to collect their GCSE results. How rewarding to see all their hard work come to fruition with some outstanding results. This was also the month that we welcomed some of our soon-to-be year 7s to school for summer school – a brilliant opportunity for them to transition from primary to secondary school life in a relaxed and welcoming environment.
September: The start of a new academic year is always an exciting time full of new hope. It was fantastic to meet our new year 7s and watch them settling happily into the Our Lady’s family, meeting their form teachers, making friends and experiencing new lessons. A week of Open Days gave us another opportunity to show prospective parents around school on a ‘typical’ school day. We also held our Macmillan coffee morning, opening the doors to the local community and raising £300 for Macmillan by catching up over coffee and cake!
October: Our annual year 7 residential trip to Langdale in the Lake District was a chance for our new students to get to know each other better, participate in team-building activities and enjoy exploring the great outdoors. All the students embraced the challenges and returned to school with plenty of stories!
November: Yet another busy month at Our Lady’s with the primary schools joining us for a range of activities as part of their transition week, our mock interviews for year 11, a careers fair providing food-for-thought on future academic and employment opportunities and certificate evening being a wonderful chance to celebrate the successes of last year’s year 11s who are already following their chosen career paths.
December: Last, but not least, it’s December. This has been a month to think about others and we have been truly overwhelmed by the support for all our charity appeals. With toys for Key 103’s Mission Christmas, hats and gloves for the homeless and grocery hampers delivered to The Lalley Centre, our students have certainly reflected on the true meaning of Christmas. And with our Winter Dance festival, Christmas dinner and the Battle of the Bands, there has been time to celebrate too.
Thank you to all our staff, students, parents/carers, partners and the local community for your hard work and support during 2017. We wish you all a peaceful and enjoyable Christmas and are very much looking forward to another successful year in 2018…