Today we were treated to a performance of 'Olivia' based on the Oliver story.
All of the young actors were word perfect with excellent timing and stage presence . The children clearly enjoyed performing on the stage, and the audience, teachers and pupils from Key Stage were impressed by the level of acting skills on display by all of the children. A big thank you and well done is deserved by Miss Gotham who runs the Drama Club each week. She is always on the look out for new members. We may have the next Emma Watson or Daniel Radcliffe treading the boards at St Mary's.
On Thursday 8th June, the children of St Mary's took part in their own General Election. In the run up to the election all classes in KS2 learnt about what an election actually is and who in the country can vote. They studied the political party manifestos and debated on which party they wanted to vote for.
On Tuesday the school was visited by the MP for Newcastle, Paul Farrelly. He explained how governments are formed and what parties do to campaign for public votes. The assembly ended with a 'Question Time'. The children asked insightful questions such as:
"If you were elected, what would you do for our school in particular?"
"Do you disagree with anything Jeremy Corbyn believes?"
"What emotions will you have if you win your seat?"
On the actual voting day, all children were giving the opportunity to cast their vote in our St Mary's polling station. The children thoroughly enjoyed the week learning more about how our country is run.
Eco Morning, Keele University
Four members of our Gardening Club enjoyed a fantastic morning at the Sustainability Hub, Keele University. They enjoyed a range of activities, and learnt a great deal about how we can be good 'caretakers' of our world. We are hoping to be invited again next year, and we are grateful to Newcastle Borough Council for including a school in this important and enjoyable event.
Thank you to all staff, parents and children who made the after school Ride and Read Session such a success. It was a lovely social occasion for all. A special mention to all the readers and actors, Mrs Peacock, Mr Bridgewater, Miss Sims, Mrs Kemball, Mrs Ball, Miss Jones, Mrs Walton and Mr Wyse, who gave up their time to entertain us all. Well done to all the children on their car designs, they certainly had lots of fun creating them in school for the competition. There were also some very impressive cars made at home by some very talented parents. Please take a look at the class pages to see what else the children experienced during World Book Day.
This week the Upper School Choir participated in a "Midwinter Musical Evening" featuring songs from a variety of musicals at the Repertory Theatre Stoke.
They had been invited to take part by the M.Y. Inter-Theatre Company's directors Steve Mitchell and Jill Young. The Upper School first worked with this group, for adults who have physical and/or learning difficulties, in the summer term for a show at the Victoria Hall Hanley which was based on the soundtrack of the BAFTA award winning BBC film "Marvellous"-a portrayal of the life of local celebrity Neil Baldwin.
Steve and Jill had been into St. Mary’s twice to rehearse with our choir. There were ten songs, a dance and some acting for them to learn! They performed alongside the Inter-Theatre group who had rehearsed the same material as we had. On the day they had the whole afternoon to practise on the stage together. The children had three costume changes during the show and moved to and from the theatre seats several times. They had to adopt different positions for the various song sets, including holding various frozen poses for one song.
The children were given the opportunity to talk to members of the other group and ate their packed tea with them in the cafe area of the foyer. Our back-stage room was up two flights of metal stairs and the choir learned how to be professional and move about the theatre and stage quietly. The choir were rehearsing and performing from 1:30 until 9:00pm and had an extremely educating and enriching experience. A huge thank you to Mrs. Walton and the M.Y Inter –Theatre Company for providing this opportunity for our children.
The KS2 Christmas Carol Concert at Holy Trinity continues to be a tradition we are extremely proud of at St. Mary's. Each year it brings a smile to many faces and a calm awareness of the real meaning of Christmas.
Year 5 children and their teachers did a very professional tableau of the Christmas story. This, combined with the wonderful singing from our children and their relatives, made for a very memorable service.
A special thank you to our dedicated music teacher, Mrs Walton, as well as upper school choir and our ever growing orchestra.
A chance meeting at a Poppy Stall led to a very memorable Remembrance Assembly on Friday 11th November. When buying poppies for our school prayer tables Mrs Oxley found out some interesting facts from the couple who were selling the poppies. It turned out that Paul went to St. Mary’s; as did his step brother Joe and they had a very special link to the memorial cross at Holy Trinity, the subject of the assembly. Joe’s brother was Thomas Riley and he died serving his country in World War 2. His name is on the memorial cross outside Holy Trinity as he was part of our congregation. As there was this close link to our Catholic Community Paul, Sue and Joe were invited into school for the Remembrance assembly. The children were very touched by the fact that relatives of one of our fallen heroes attended the school’s assembly. It made it very real for them and hopefully meant that they understood a little more about the reason why we hold a two minute silence. Please have a look at our PowerPoint assembly, maybe the name of someone you remember appears on there.
You may be aware that every year Holy Trinity Church holds a Blessed Sacrament Festival during the first weekend of October. It is a time when the Blessed Sacrament (The Body of Christ present in the form of Bread) is placed on the altar for a time of prayer and blessing. This is known as Adoration. It is a time of great stillness and beauty. During Adoration, we "watch and wait". It has been described as, "God and Man reaching out for each other, at the same time."
Thank-you so much to all families and friends who contributed flowers to decorate the altar. As you can see, the result of your generosity was stunning. They made a very fitting display of our love for the Lord, present in His sacrament. We hope that the "Oohs" an "Ahhs" of the children will grow into treasured memories.
Many thanks too to the many parents who joined us at Mass on Thursday morning.
Each Year group had their own special time of reflection and worship with the Blessed Sacrament then, at the end of the day Years 5 and 6 shared a special service of blessing during which they sang the ancient prayer "Tantum ergo" which they had learned in Latin for that occasion. Well done to them!
On Friday, the flowers were taken in their beautifully decorated buckets to the Sisters at Coolock and St Bernard's Convent, to the elderly Care Homes: Rowan Court , St Quentin's , Hempstall's Hall , Lyme Valley House and Church Terrace and also some were taken to St Teresa's for their Blessed Sacrament Festival.
On Sunday afternoon we joined in Blessed Thomas’s witness to the faith in a small way by holding a procession of the Most Blessed Sacrament. Children in Year Six, as part of their preparation for Confirmation had made “Containers of the Holy Spirit” in the form of tea light holders. Just as the Holy Spirit cannot be contained but spills out for all to share in, so the lights which lead the procession spilled out for the people along the procession route to see. The children in Year Three who received Holy Communion (for the first of many times) expressed their love for the Blessed Sacrament by strewing the path with flower petals.
We ended with a short time of Adoration and a Blessing on the bowling green.
Reception Family Fitness Club
Our families are having great fun as well as getting fit with their children in our school hall on Mondays after school. The Family Fitness club is proving to be a real hit with both parents and children alike . As well as enjoying the sessions it's lovely to talk to parents and listen to how they are using some of the activities at home to encourage them to be more physically active with their children.
School Library Refurbishment
Over the past few months, a major refurbishment has gone on in the school library. We have spent thousands of pounds on new books chosen by the children themselves. New furniture has also been bought for the library to make it more child friendly and cosy. We have new librarians who come into school during lunchtimes to help the KS2 children to choose and change books. The children lower down the school visit the library in groups with their TA's. Please encourage your children to look after their library books and to change them on a regular basis. The children have had an assembly to celebrate the reopening of the library and have taken part in book based competitions throughout the week. Feel free to come in and have a look if you wish.
Schoolastic books will be visiting school again in June. A text will go out soon to confirm dates.
Children in years 3 and 4 enjoyed a session of archery this week. We were keen to discovered any talented archers in our school. Plans are in place to set up an after school club for all those who showed promise in this area. Eventually six children will be chosen to enter an archery competition. From what I observed, there will be stiff competition for places as there was some great archery going on. I wonder if you were inspired by our theatre trip to see Robin Hood?
We now have a year 6 table tennis club that runs on Friday from 3:15 until 4:15. After just one session we selected a team to play in their first competition. They played well and were great sportsmen, fighting for every point in some thrilling matches. We made links with two of the primary schools in the competition, who also have table tennis clubs, and hope to invite both schools to compete against us this year.
The Catholic Pupil Profile shows the virtues we will be focussing on in the coming year. The tree is symbolic of the growth of the virtues. Within its branches comfortably resting is the goldfinch which has been used in art since medieval times to symbolise Christ and the Passion. In the profile are eight sets of words which have been paired together because of their complementary and harmonising relationship to one another: from the development of one virtue springs another. Last half term the children focused on the virtues of generous and grateful.