OFSTED Inspection, November 2018


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Highest number of applications for places in Year 7 next year since 2005!

Friday Letter - Issue 36




Thank you God.  As we near the end of this school year, we have many memories:  Happy times with friends and families; many lessons learned in our school; games we have played and holidays enjoyed; the pleasure we get from our leisure time and hobbies; thank you for all our blessings.  Thank you God.  Amen.



Last Tuesday evening we gathered for our final Family Mass of the school year.  A big thank you, as always, to our chaplain, Fr Stefan and to Archbishop Bernard for releasing him from the Diocesan Clergy Retreat.  There was a lovely atmosphere throughout as we reflected on the many blessings and sadnesses of the past year.  We reflected on the tragedy of Aleena, the major scare about Edward and the continuing inspiration of Billie-Jayne.  We prayed for the students of Year 11 and Year 13 who are anxiously awaiting examination results this summer and we gave thanks for the work of those staff who are leaving us and beginning a new chapter in their lives.  It was also nice to be able to welcome our new Head of R.E. in September, Mr Richard Smith who has promised us plenty of songs when he arrives!  And it was good to end with our gratitude to Miss Mary Samuel who steps down from her role as Head of Year but will be with us part time from September.  Mary has made an immense contribution to our school over the past thirty years and it was fitting that she is the final Head of Year at St Thomas Aquinas.  Her contribution to the Catholic life of our school has been phenomenal - thank you Mary.



From one legend to another.  Anyone who has ever worked with Barbara Taylor, former Head of Year and PE teacher in our school, knows what a special person she is.  We ask for your prayers for Barbara and her family at this anxious time.  Thank you.



We were sorry to hear of the death of Thomas, father of Alan, one of our Site Team, who is universally known as Bev in school.  We pray for the repose of Thomas' soul and think of Bev and the whole family at this sad time.  May he rest in peace.



As always, we will be finishing our school year in the perfect way with a whole school Mass giving thanks for all our successes in 2010-2011.  After a break we will then gather for a celebration of the many achievements of individuals and teams in the House system.  If all goes well we expect to release the students at 12.30 p.m. 



Next Tuesday I will be writing to all parents with some important dates and reminders for the summer holiday in preparation for September.  Do look out for it on blue paper.



Thank you to the many parents who came to support your sons and daughters last Friday on Target Review Day.  There was a terrific turnout of 62% of parents which is remarkable for an ordinary working day.  The evaluations were fantastic.  Thank you, as ever, to our remarkable parents for your constant support.



Last week I was delighted to welcome a former student of St Thomas Aquinas who had never been back since the day he left in 1978.  Gerard Smith and his 3 brothers all attended the school and all of them are now Headteachers!  Ges (Gerard) is Headteacher of Jo Richardson School in Barking and Dagenham, London and he was fascinated by all the changes to the site since his time in the school.  By far the highlight, however, was meeting Mr Wyn Richards who started at Aquinas in 1971 and remembered Ges and all his brothers very well.  Ges emailed me to say how impressed he was with the whole school and he hopes to return for our Golden Jubilee in 2013!



As you will know from recent Friday Letters we have welcomed over 300 children from Year 5 to school recently.  They all had a great time and one of the challenges was to answer an online quiz question "When did St Thomas Aquinas die?"  Naturally, I need hardly ask you as parents because you already know that it was 7 March 1274!  Congratulations to the following children each of whom wins a £10 voucher.  Emily Carter from St Peter's; Orla Connaughton from St Edward's; Ciaran Flynn from St Brigid's; Jack Jordan from St Joseph's; Phoebe Kenny from Our Lay & St Rose; Erin Molloy-Brookes from St John Fisher; Arinze Okemuo from St Mary's and Rhianna Yeo from St Paul's. Well done to them all.


ROME 2011

In the early hours of Wednesday 6 July 40 students and 4 members of staff returned safely from Rome after enjoying 'La Dolce Vita'. Exhausted but happy they spent 6 days packing in the delights of the history, culture, religion, ice-creams and pizzas of Roma. They even had time to receive words of welcome from the Pope in St Peter's Square on the Sunday. As usual the students were a credit to the school and their families. Special thanks to Mr Miastowski, Miss Aktar and Mrs O'Connell for taking care of the students and also thanks to Mr Toal for leading the trip.  



Given the amount of activity at the end of the school year it is simply impossible to do justice to everything in the space available so here is a whistle stop tour.  Do check the website for the accompanying detail.


Well done to the Year 9 Debating Team I was delighted to hear of the great success of our Year 9 Debating Team at the Catholic Partnership Debate held recently at St John Wall School.  Two eminent judges (Mrs Barclay and Mrs Jones) awarded first prize to Bishop Walsh School with Aquinas second just a point behind.  Well done to Gemma Baker,  Haydn Cadogan, Kaylib Clements, Beatrice Dix and Charlotte Flynn And likewise a huge well done and thank you to Miss Lloyd who has worked wonders with our various debating teams in recent years.


Fantastic Dance Festival last Friday Thank you to Mrs Yates and her amazing team of dancers for their organisation of the Primary Dance Festival which was a fantastic success and greatly appreciated by all. 


Biscuits and Books Well done to the St Thomas Aquinas Reading Group that came together for the final time this year to celebrate the announcement of the Carnegie Book Award Winner.  After much discussion and consumption of biscuits Katie Donaghy, a Year 11 student who has "grown up" with the award declared the winner to be Monsters of Men by Patrick Ness.  Well done to Lucy, Callum, Chloe, Chloe, John, Emily, Hayden, Marcus, Nancy, Taylor, Constance, Florence and Eryn.  And last but not least a huge thank you to Mrs Merrick, our Librarian, for all her work.


Year 10 Enterprise and AIG Days 2011 Monday 4 July was Year 10 Enterprise Catwalk Challenge Day.  An amazing day eventually won by Newman House closely followed by Romero and Bosco.  Thank you to Mrs Bayliss, Mr Bond, Mr Rees and Alison Sadler from The People's Shop in Kings Heath.  And then on Thursday 7 July we had Practice Interviews for Year 10 prior to their work experience.  A big thank you to all our visitors who supported the exercise and to Miss Connolly for her tireless work in coordinating the work placements.  Above all, thank you to Mr Gay for masterminding the whole programme.


Taize and Guernsey Both trips are currently going extremely well. Full report next week.


Year 7 Touch Rugby I was delighted to hear that our Year 7 boys and one girl were Champions at a recent Touch Rugby tournament held at Kings Norton RFC.  Well done to Pablo Allan, Ryan Crozier, Joe Davies, Gus Dix,  Aidan Doherty,  Jack Evenden,  Thomas John Guerrero,  Patrick Hickey, Sam McGinley,  Emmanuel Okuwa,  Matthew Pakes,  Macauley Rochford,  Kieran Tierney,  Nathan Vidaurri,  Max Wykes and Danyal Zia and a special mention to the Player of the Tournament  who was the only girl taking part.  Well done to Naoibh McNamee on a fantastic achievement.



We will find out on Sunday.  Who is the 2011 British Open Golf Champion?


Yours sincerely



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