Please note that due to the inclement weather Sports Day has been postponed until next Wednesday 27th June. Lessons as normal today.
St Mary's Blogging Platform
08 Jun 2018
St Mary’s is excited to announce the launch of its new blogging platform. Our platform will give a voice for a pupils which can be heard across the globe! Through the platform, our pupils will have the opportunity to share their individual thoughts, views and experiences on a wide range of educational (both academic and holistic) and current affairs matters.
The project is being funded as part of our very productive collaboration with Parbold Douglas CE Primary School in a Department for Education Strategic School Improvement Funded transition project. As such, the initial focus group for the project will be our year 7 pupils. Initially, a group of approximately 25 pupils from across the ability range will be trained how to blog effectively by David Mitchell. Your child has been selected to be part of this group and lead our school in taking the first steps on its blogging journey. To monitor and support the work of our Year 7 pupils, a group of approximately 30 more able, confident pupils from Years 8, 9 and 10 have been trained as ‘Digital Leaders’ who can coach our younger pupils in their writing, providing positive, constructive feedback and who will assume responsibility (with the assistance of teachers) for the publishing of pupils’ work on to the world wide web. Over time, more pupils will have the opportunity to become involved, blogging in class and for homework as well as for pleasure in their own time.
It is important to note that, whilst we hope that the blogging will appeal to and engage pupils and become an enjoyable part of school life, the project is primarily educational, with a sharp focus on improving pupils’ confidence and skill in writing. There has been much research, in recent times, into a growing ‘word gap’ for young people, many of whom are experiencing a diminishing vocabulary in comparison to previous generations. This ‘word gap’ has a proven detrimental impact on pupils’ ability to access the curriculum and answer examination questions, as well as their ability to interact socially and professionally in later life.
You may wish to explore the links below for further information about the Oxford University Press report on the ‘word gap’ and David Mitchell’s successful approach to blogging. David’s unprecedented success in Tower Hamlets, London, saw the percentage of Year 1 pupils achieving beyond expectations in writing rise from 11% to 64% (49% of whom were boys) in the space of a year, purely as a result of his use of blogging as a strategy for teaching.
Please be aware, in the light of the project aims, that blogs published on the school platform will genuinely be the pupils’ own work. This means that there will be errors in spelling, punctuation and grammar. Our blogging project is first and foremost a learning initiative, not a marketing tool! The intention is that pupils will blog, receive encouragement and feedback, and then blog again and so on. As such, we hope parents will understand that errors are a critical part of this learning process and will not be edited out. We hope that this approach will help our young people to recognise the importance of making and correcting mistakes in order to learn, and so to become more independent, resilient learners.
Clearly parents will have questions to ask about the project and the ways in which we will safeguard our pupils online. For this reason, St Mary’s will be offering a Parents’ Information Evening about the project, led by David Mitchell and myself on Thursday 14th May 2018, from 5.30 p.m. Please see the linked letter for a reply slip, which we would ask you to send in to school to notify us of your intention to attend. In the meantime, please contact me with any questions or comments you may have.
You can visit our blogging platform on
Please do pay us a visit and see what our fantastic pupils have to say and to share. Leave them a comment if you can to encourage them in their pioneering work for our school!
Anne-Marie Horrocks, Deputy Headteacher
Early Closure Thursday 7th June
06 Jun 2018
Reminder that school closes for Years 7 to 10 at 2:00 pm tomorrow to allow all staff and Year 11 pupils to celebrate the Leavers Mass.
Holiday Dates 2018-19
23 May 2018
Please note the change to October INSET dates.
Holiday Dates 2018-19
23 May 2018
St Mary’s Catholic High School, Leyland HOLIDAY LIST 2018/2019
Autumn Term 2018 Staff Inset Day : Monday 3 September 2018 Re-open on : Tuesday 4 September 2018 Staff Inset Day : Friday 19 October 2018 Mid Term Closure : Monday 22 – Friday 26 October 2018 (incl) Closure after school on : Friday 21 December 2018
No. of Openings: 73 + 3 INSET days
Spring Term 2019 Re-open on : Monday 7 January 2019 Mid Term Closure : Monday 18 – Friday 22 Feb 2019 (incl) Closure after school on : Thursday 4 April 2019 Staff Inset Day : Friday 5 April 2019
No. of Openings: 59
Summer Term 2019 Re-open on : Tuesday 23 April 2019 May Day Closure : Monday 6 May 2019 Mid Term Closure : Monday 27 May – Friday 31 May 2019 (incl) Closure after school on : Friday 19 July 2019 Staff Inset Day : Monday 22 July 2019 Staff Inset Day : Tuesday 23 July 2019
No. of Openings: 58 + 2 INSET days
Total No. of Openings: 190 + 3 INSET days + 4 “twilight” sessions
Early Closure Thursday 7th June
18 May 2018
Year 11 Leavers’ Mass
To allow all staff and Year 11 pupils to celebrate together at the end of their five years at St Mary’s Catholic High School, we will close for Years 7 to 10 at 2:00 pm on Thursday 7th June and we have arranged for the buses to come to school for that time.
The Leavers’ Mass is a long established tradition and is a wonderful occasion for staff and students to wish each other ‘good luck’ and bid farewell. This year, our Leavers’ Mass will be celebrated by one of our parish priests on Thursday 7th June 2018 at 2:05 pm here at school.
Please hold our Year 11 pupils in your prayers as they complete their very important GCSE examinations and make their next steps in what we hope will be an incredible life’s journey for each of them.
Parent Update April 2018
19 Apr 2018
Dear Parents / Carers,
I wish to bring to your attention several matters connected to school policies and advice regarding pupil conduct, attendance and uniform and appearance. In each case, if a policy is included, please click the link provided:
UNIFORM: By and large, standards exhibited by the pupils are very high and the envy of many schools. Thankfully, instances where pupils either forget or wilfully ignore the expectations laid out in the policy are rare. Nevertheless, I must remind everyone that these standards will be upheld. In particular I advise that care is taken with hairstyle (boys and girls), no fake tan & jewellery (most frequently girls), inappropriate footwear (most frequently boys) as well as other aspects of appearance. The rules are set to make life easy for everyone and are not designed to accommodate individual whims. Click here for policy.
SMART WATCHES: I have noticed that a few pupils have arrived at school wearing a “Smart Watch”. These watches are very expensive as well as allowing pupils access to the internet in a similar way to a mobile phone. In particular they represent a threat to the integrity of exams. Therefore, I ask your co-operation in ensuring that your son / daughter DOES NOT wear one to school. If a pupil is found to be wearing one of the watches, it will be treated in the same way as a mobile phone below.
MOBILE PHONES: We have recently updated our policy on mobile phones - specifically, the section explaining what happens if a phone is temporarily confiscated. Mobile phones may be brought to school but must be switched off and kept out of sight for the entire time for which a pupil remains on the school site. Mobile phones found to be switched on during the day, even when not in use, may be confiscated by members of staff. Mobile phones represent a significant distraction, for many pupils, from our core purpose of teaching and learning and it is for this reason that they MUST be switched off at all times. (The school reserves the right to carry out ‘spot checks’ to ensure that this rule is being adhered to). For emphasis I have included the section about what happens in the case of a confiscation in the body of the letter but you can also read it directly in our policy: Click here.
The phone (or smart watch) will be confiscated by the member of staff and sent down to the main office; this confiscation will be recorded on SIMS. Parents will be informed about the confiscation.
A member of the office staff will then securely store the confiscated phone (or smart watch). Such a confiscation is in line with Section 91 of the Education and Inspections Act 2006, which enables a member of staff to confiscate, retain or dispose of a pupil’s property as a disciplinary penalty, where reasonable to do so.
Depending on whether this is a first, second or third (etc.) offence, the following sanctions will be applied. IN EACH CASE, THE CONFISCATED PHONE HAS TO BE COLLECTED BY A PARENT / CARER:
First offence: Lost merit.
Second offence: Lost merit, 1-hour Senior Leadership Team detention (usually Thursday).
Third offence: Lost merit, 2-hour Senior Leadership Team detention (usually Friday).
Fourth offence: Lost merit, 2-day attendance in our Inclusion Facility.
Fifth offence: Fixed term exclusion (FTE). Length of exclusion determined by the overall record of the pupil and at the discretion of the Headteacher.
More than 5 offences: This is persistent disobedience and represents strong evidence that the pupil is not prepared to adjust their actions. At the various points in this escalation, the easy collective decision between pupil and their family could be that the phone is not taken to school. In these cases, whilst it may be appropriate to issue a longer FTE, the Headteacher reserves the right to permanently exclude.
CHEWING GUM: Just recently we have experienced greater numbers of pupils than usual chewing gum in school. Chewing gum is totally banned. Regardless of the fact we have carpets across most of the school, chewing gum has always been banned. We will be emphasising this point to the pupils again and SLT detentions will be given to pupils who do not comply. Occasionally, pupils will tell us “it’s only a sweet”. To be clear, such a response will not be accepted and we will still issue the detention.
CONSUMPTION OF FOOD OUTSIDE OF THE DINING HALL: In a similar way to chewing gum, food which is consumed outside of the dining hall after either being brought in to school or being purchased in school can cause staining and litter if dropped accidentally (or deliberately). We have litter control measures and, as in all spaces where people socialise, we do have some litter but overall this has not, hitherto, been to any serious extent. In order to maintain the cleanliness and good order of the school site we are issuing new advice to pupils about this and need pupils’ co-operation to ensure that food is only consumed in the designated spaces and at the appropriate times as follows:
Dining Hall (at all times when in use), Drama Theatre* (break and lunchtime): - food brought in or purchased in school.
*When the Drama Theatre is out of commission, the lecture theatre will be open for this purpose. Pupils will be advised when this is the case.
Courtyards outside LRC, main school yard areas (break and lunchtime): - food brought in only.
Nurture food brought in and purchased in school (the latter must be transported from the dining room in the sealed containers provided).
Chapel only during certain events, with express permission and under direct adult supervision
Food must not be consumed in the following areas: corridors, classrooms, AstroTurf pitch and sports halls.
Pupils are reminded to dispose of all litter and food waste in the bins provided. Failure to do so may result in sanctions being applied. We expect pupils to take collective responsibility for the cleanliness of their shared environment.
ATTENDANCE: Once again I feel I must draw attention to the importance of good attendance and punctuality. Last term we introduced a ‘Late gate’ routine which seeks to identify pupils who are persistently late to school and remind them of their responsibilities by issuing a same day detention after school. This is having a positive effect on punctuality for many pupils who have failed to arrive on time intermittently but there is still a very small hard core of pupils who are not yet responding fully. We will continue to prosecute these routines as they are connected very much to outcomes in terms of qualifications and life skills. Click here.
NEW HEADTEACHER UPDATE: I have recently met with St Mary’s new Headteacher from September Mr Thompson. We are both very keen to ensure a smooth transition and he will be visiting school on several occasions over the next term to meet staff and pupils as well as to help with staff appointments and ensure that planning for next year is secure. Parents / Carers should feel very reassured about the direction St Mary’s is moving in. I feel confident for the schools future.
Finally…St Mary’s is a successful and still rapidly improving school of which we are all very proud. Much of our success can be attributed to the vigilance of staff in ensuring that high standards are maintained and to the fantastic support we receive from parents. I thank you for this continued and highly valued support.
Did you know that by registering your child for Free School Meals our school will receive very significant amounts of money to support his or her education? The government has increased funding to schools to help children from lower income families do their very best. This additional funding, called a ‘Pupil Premium’, is only given to pupils registered to receive Free School Meals. For every child registered for a Free School Meal. St Mary’s gets £935 a year. With this money the school could purchase additional resources/equipment or buy in specialist support to benefit all our pupils. You can register your child for Free School Meals by completing this form or visiting the school’s website.