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Friday Letter - Issue 38

DEAR PARENTS

 

A PRAYER - AT THE END OF OUR SCHOOL YEAR

Almighty God, as we come to the end of our school year we thank you for all the blessings we have received and we ask for forgiveness for our faults and failings.  We give thanks to you all who are leaving our school.  Guard them and guide them in the future.  May we all enjoy a well earned rest safe in your loving care. Amen.

 

GEORGE GALEA RIP

As you know, I wrote to all parents on Monday to let you know the devastating news that one of our Year 8 students, George Galea had died.  We have been praying fervently for George's recovery over the past two weeks but, sadly, to no avail.  We pray now for the repose of George's soul and for his family at this dreadful time.  We think of his brother Liam in Year 13, his sister Katelyn in Year 12, his mum Michelle and his dad Christian, himself a former student of St Thomas Aquinas.  On Wednesday afternoon we gathered in our Sportshall for a special Mass for George celebrated by George's Parish Priest from St Brigid's, Father Jan supported by our Chaplain,Father Stefan.  It was wonderful that Katelyn was able to join us supported by Michael, her grandmother, her cousin and lots of friends as well as Miss Coogan, Headteacher of St Brigid's and Mrs Hunt, George‘s class teacher in Year 6.  Over the past few days we have heard many stories about the great qualities of George, his kindness, his generosity, his friendship and his great sense of fun.  I read his report and his teachers are full of praise for him as a student and as a person.  We do not know why this terrible thing has happened but we do know that we have lost somebody very special.  George will never, ever be forgotten in our school. May he rest in peace.

 

MRS PHIL CUMMINS RIP

We were greatly saddened to hear of the death of Phil, a lovely lady I used to speak to every week at St Joseph's church.  We pray for the repose of Phil's soul and remember the whole family in our prayers at this sad time, particularly her grandchildren, former student Sinead and Catherine Laverty (Year 11) and Orla Lenehan (Year 12) and Theresa Lenehan (Year 9).

 

THANK YOU AND GOOD LUCK TO FATHER STEFAN

It is with sadness that I have to tell you, if you haven't already heard, that our Chaplain, Fr Stefan is leaving us today.  Over the past 12 years Fr Stefan has been a tower of strength and I know "Tommy's" has been a huge part of his ministry.  He has been with us through the tragedies of Aleena, Billie Jayne and now George as well as in a thousand other ways.  I would like to thank him for his support of me personally as well as our school over the past 12 years.  As he takes up his new ministry in Warwick we wish him every happiness and success in the future.

 

THANK YOU AND GOOD LUCK TO DEPARTING STAFF

Today we say farewell to quite a number of staff some of whom have been with us a short time and others for considerably longer.  We thank them for their contribution to St Thomas Aquinas and wish them every success and happiness in the future. Good luck to Sarah Covington (my PA); Tom Shanks (Geography); Sarah Julius (Drama); Nicola Stimson (Music); Carla Murdock (Head of English); Jacqui Lowe (Business); and Tom Lowe (no relation, PE). The following staff have been at Aquinas for several years - Catherine Doust (former Head of English); Anna Stevens (Head of House); Maria Kafai (Head of Drama); Christine Hamilton (Head of Psychology); and Andrew Weekes (Music, aka Sir Elton John!). Two colleagues are retiring today after 28 and 25 years' service respectively.  We thank Helen Ginns for all her work in Technology and behind the scenes as a wonderful caterer and seamstress (see quiz question this week!) and thank you to Don Deneny, a fantastic servant of our school whose goodness and kindness to others extended far beyond the RE Faculty.  Don will be greatly missed by countless colleagues and literally thousands of students whose lives he enriched. We even got used to sharing the trials and tribulations of Coventry City FC.  We wish Helen and Don a long and happy retirement.

 

THANK YOU TO MRS WENDY TINSLEY

Today Wendy leaves us after 33 years' loyal and outstanding service to St Thomas Aquinas School.  Wendy has spent her entire teaching career with us having joined as Miss Dallaway in 1979.  She has been Head of Year, Head of Technology and Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO) and for the past 9 years has been Assistant Headteacher on the Senior Leadership Team.  For Wendy St Thomas Aquinas has not just been a job but a way of life in which her whole family has been involved.  Her husband Guy is Head of Technology and her daughters, Hannah and Sophie are both former students of our school. I know Wendy will remain closely in touch but we wish her a long and happy retirement.

 

AND THANK YOU TOO TO MRS MARINA KELLY

Today Marina leaves us after 3 fantastic years as Deputy Headteacher to take up a new post as Headteacher of Cardinal Newman School, Coventry in September.  Many of you will know that today completes Marina's second spell at Aquinas having originally joined us as Head of Maths in 1997 before becoming Assistant Headteacher in 2001 and departing to become Deputy Head of Henley High School in 2003.  Longstanding parents will know that we have had five OFSTED inspections over the years and the first four resulted in St Thomas Aquinas being judged a Good school.  Last September, as you know, we were judged to be Outstanding and, without a shadow of doubt, the reason for that was the inspirational leadership of Marina.  She has taken the quality of our teaching and learning to another level and I am delighted that her work has been recognised and she will get the chance to lead her own school.  Marina will be a great headteacher and we will follow her progress closely. We wish her every success and happiness at Cardinal Newman and I thank her for being a wonderful colleague and a great friend. 

 

WELCOME BACK COLLEAGUES

It was good to welcome back three colleagues this week, Mrs Baker, Mrs Siddall and Mrs Rodrigues following their maternity leaves.  I hope they felt the same!

 

WELCOME BACK FROM TAIZE AND GUERNSEY

It was good to welcome back Mrs Devlin and Mr Ridgeway this week who tell me that the Taize experience was just fantastic.  Full report in September. And later today we look forward to the return of the Guernsey Party 2012. I am sure  there will be lots of funny stories and happy memories.  Watch this space.

 

WELL DONE SOPHIE - REPORT FROM MISS MORAN

Congratulations to Sophie Field from Year 12 who after only six months of singing lessons has passed her Grade 6 musical theatre examination with distinction.  Although Sophie is a seasoned performer this was her first public singing examination.  Sophie impressed the examiner so much he spoke of a career on the West End stage.  We very much look forward to seeing Sophie there in the future!  Editor's Note - And well done to her teacher, Miss Moran, as well.

 

YESTERDAY WAS SPORTS DAY

We had a fantastic day yesterday at Tudor Grange and not a drop of rain until we arrived back in school. All the details on the website but congratulations to Teresa House, Sports Day Champions 2012.  What a great parting gift for Miss Stevens!

 

LAST QUIZ QUESTION OF THE YEAR

As it is the last day of term my generosity knows no bounds! This week we have three winners each of whom win £10 for correctly informing me that the last time the Olympics were held in Britain was 1948.  Well done to Eilish Hardy (Year 9, 6C Romero) and also to another enterprising young man from our primary schools.  Well done to Jack Jordan from St Joseph's who is joining us in September. And finally, a first, a member of staff, Miss Ginns who retires today is £10 richer for providing the correct answer.  Well done Helen!

 

SEE YOU AGAIN IN SEPTEMBER

I wish everyone a wonderful summer holiday.  Do check the website for examination results and start of term arrangements.  The next Friday Letter will be issued on Friday 7 September.

 

Yours sincerely

 

JIM FOLEY

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