Dear Students, Parents, Carers and Friends of the School
A warm welcome back after the Summer holidays. I hope you had some time to enjoy the sunshine and each other’s company, whether at home or abroad. A particular welcome to our new Year 7 students and those students and families joining in other year groups. We are looking forward to hearing their news and continuing to grow and learn with them. The atmosphere around school has been calm and productive.
At our end of year Mass, we bade a very fond farewell to Fr Mark who has been with us for ten fantastic years and who has touched the hearts of every single member of our community. Our prayers go with him to his new parish of St Peter’s in Winchester. We welcome our new parish priest at St Joseph’s, Fr Chris Wheelan, from St Mary’s and St Joseph’s in Aldershot. Fr Chris celebrated our Year 7 Welcome Mass on the 14th, and I am certain will become a great friend of the school.
I would encourage you all to join us in the Holy father’s prayer intention for September, particularly at this time. Pope Francis prays, ‘That our parishes, animated by a missionary spirit, be places where faith is communicated and charity is seen.’
New members of staff joining us from September have been Mrs Heaney in Science, Mr Kahl and Mrs Appleton in English, Mrs Sidhu in Mathematics, Mr Newman-Farr in Drama, and Miss Surplice and Mrs Hamilton in Learning Support. They bring a wealth of experience and enthusiasm between them and I know they will make a valuable contribution to our continued success.
Year 11 GCSE Results
Following the release of this summer’s GCSE results, we are delighted to report another year of success for our young people, 80% of whom achieved grade 4-9 passes in the basic measures of English and Maths. The government’s new grading system recognising ‘strong passes’ at 5 and above saw 71% of our students securing a 5-9 in English and 66% in Maths, with 44% of the cohort achieving the EBACC measure. One in three students gained top grades of A*/A in RE. Seven of the twelve students who sat AS Additional Mathematics gained the highest grade possible.
As always, a number of students performed exceptionally well in spite of extreme and adverse circumstances and their courage and commitment is an inspiration to their peers and the school community.
The school is proud of every individual’s results and as always there will be some of particular note, including: Maebh Howell with 7 A*s and 3 grade 9s, Megan Pender with 6 A*s, 1 A, 2 9s and an 8, Jonathan Peters with 4 A*’s, 4 A’s, 2 9s, and an 8, Sinead Corbett with 6 A*s, 1 A, 2 9s and a grade A in AS Maths and many, many more.
These excellent outcomes are testament to the students’ hard work, determination and self-belief and are just rewards for all their efforts and hours dedicated to studying. Credit, of course, is due too, to the relentless pursuit of excellence and high standards shown by the teaching and non-teaching staff who will no doubt take great joy in sharing in the students’ terrific achievements. The school could not have achieved such high outcomes without the unfailing support of our parents, carers and governors whose loyalty and service provides the foundation for all that is achieved at Bishop Challoner Catholic School. We are grateful as always for the prayers of our local parish communities.
The school wishes all of our Year 11 Leavers the very best of luck as they pursue their chosen courses and careers in and around the local colleges.
Building and Environment
I am absolutely delighted to announce that our new eight classroom block – The Pope Francis Wing has been in action since our first day back. The classrooms are superb learning spaces and I’m quite jealous at not being timetabled in one this year! A huge thank you to all the families, organisations and individuals who donated so generously to our ‘buy a brick’ campaign. We could not have done it without you. The official opening will be at 4-5pm on the 13th of October. Letters will be sent home and all who would like to attend are warmly invited.
Our new building has enabled four departments to be suited together for the first time. History and Modern Foreign Languages departments are in the Pope Francis Wing. The English department has moved upstairs in the main building and Geography into the Warlock suite. The older classrooms have been completely refurbished and the moves will enable closer collaboration and a better sense of curriculum identity across the campus.
The environment has further been enhanced with our earth amphitheatre in the top playing field. This has finally taken shape and is due to be seeded soon. Next Summer the students will be able to fully enjoy this new performance and play space.
Special thanks and recognition must go to our Business Manager, Mrs O’Shea and our site team Mr Ferris and Mr Abley for their time and dedication in making this major project a wonderful success.
With best wishes for the new school year. I pray that together, we continue to form our young people in Christ, help them to find and rejoice in their many talents and fulfil their vocations.
J P Wright