Friday, 20 December 2013

St. Boniface's Catholic College Headteachers Christmas Blog 2013

The last Headteachers Blog of 2013!

That’s a bit scary. Well what a year – certainly had ups and downs as does every year. My overriding thoughts will be the power and determination of our community to ensure that St. Boniface’s College becomes the College we all want it to be – and I thank each and every one of you for that, particularly pupils, parents and staff.

You should by now have received an envelope home containing much information from the College – a Christmas Newsletter, a new Spring Diary, a letter from the diocese regarding academisation in 2014 and information regarding a parenting course. Year 11 parents should have also received a recent Pupil Progress report.

Thanks to all involved in the Christmas Concert and Panto – lovely evenings even if somewhat nerve racking for a Headteacher!

It has been a great year of challenge and I am confident that, whilst challenges still undoubtedly remain, next year will be even better.

I wish you all a peaceful and joyous Christmas,

Mr Davies

For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

(Isaiah 9:6, NIV)

Year 7

Well we have finally made it to our Christmas break and what a busy term it has been in Year 7!

Our final assembly was the much anticipated “Celebration Assembly” with many students receiving awards and certificates for their hard work and effort this term. There were 28 students who received the “Academic Achievement Award” and “Star Student” pen, for at least 5 or more merits and a further 46 students were awarded for their efforts with a certificate and bookmark! I was so incredibly proud of the achievements and hope to repeat this experience at the end of every term!  I gave some special “Good Samaritan and Kindness Awards” to four students who publically congratulated Daryl R for his literacy award last week. What a kind thing to do boys, well done. Those students were Lance K, Lebusa M, Liam H and Thomas W. The Tutor Group Awards this term were, for 7B – Joseph J, 7E – Lorenzo S, 7G – Felix P, 7K – Jack S and 7V – Declan T. Finally, the Head of Year award was given to Taylor K in 7E. He has gone above and beyond for students and teachers this term and I have been so impressed with his attitude to his learning. Well done Taylor. To finish the assembly, students were treated to a “music video” of “All I Want for Christmas” sung by the tutors (much to the amusement of year 7) and a karaoke sing along of “Merry Christmas Everyone”, a lovely way to end the year.
I hope you have all had a chance to see this year’s pantomime, a big well done to all Year 7’s who either performed or helped backstage, I had a great time and I’m sure you all did too!

On a final note, please see below the picture of our “HMS Heroes” students who were awarded their certificates this week by Mr McKenna, who organises the HMS Heroes Club.

I hope you all have a lovely weekend and if I don’t get the opportunity to speak to you all before, I wish you all a very peaceful and happy Christmas.

Miss Beales – Head of Year 7


Year 8

Congratulations to the Year group on a fantastic effort over the last two terms since September. All of us involved with the boys have been really impressed with the attitude and approach displayed throughout terms two and three. The vast majority of the cohort have established an excellent platform upon which to build further. With this sensible and mature approach, 2014 should be a very exciting one for all of us!

Congratulations to the large number of boys who have gained success across a wide range of fields, whether it be sporting, academic, social, personal or spiritual. Long may this success continue!
Well done to Jonathan for achieving his grade 5 clarinet success and to all the Year 8s who have this week taken part in a very successful school pantomime.

Thanks to Mr Ramage for presenting a very thought-provoking assembly last week on ‘Making Links’. We look forward to hearing what Mrs Davidson has to say when she presents our final assembly of 2013 on Friday.

To you as parents and carers, I thank you for your support this year and I wish you all a very peaceful and refreshing Christmas period.

Mr Tucker

Year 9

As this is the final blog this year can I take this opportunity of wishing all the lads, and their families, a very merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. If you are travelling further field have a safe journey.
We return on Monday 6th January, and two key dates for your new diaries are Tuesday 14th January Year 9 Options evening (6:00) and Tuesday 21st January Year 9 parents evening (3:40 – 6:30), where I look forward to meeting you all again as these are important dates which will impact on your sons future GCSE courses.

Once again, have a peaceful Christmas and may you get all you wish for!!

Mrs L. Mcloughlin

Year 11

Blue card reports for the end of term will be sent home with your son this week.  The report should be very interesting reading as the data has been taken from the mock examination assessments and will be an excellent indication of your son’s current progress in all his subjects.  As usual, if you have any concerns over your son’s progress please contact either his mentor, his tutor, his individual teacher or me.   

Year 11 was very well represented in the concert and pantomime in all the areas of the production.  Congratulations, from everyone at the College, to the following boys for an amazing effort and performance.   Well done to Jordan, the Technical Director and his assistant Ciaran, the two back room boys for helping out with the lighting, music and set production:  Josh; Andrew; Charlie; Joel; Alexander; and James as the actors in the pantomime and Dominick; Hagen; Sam and Joel for their role as part of the comedy sketch show.  Finally, a big thank you goes to our musicians Ben; James; Matthew and Max for providing the music for the show. 

Again, the year 11’s have been celebrating great achievements outside of school as part of their extra- curricular activities which we always like to acknowledge and applaud.  Sam, Rhys and Lewis have demonstrated great commitment, resilience and perseverance as part of the Duke of Edinburgh award, by recently achieving the silver award. Ben, James and Christopher have been selected to represent West Devon in the cross country event and Max won the Lamb Trophy, water polo tournament playing for Devonport and competing against the Royal Navy, Barnstaple and Paignton.  Recognising  the above achievements and endeavours is a great way to round off 2013 and to wish all the boys every success next year,  their most significant and important year to date.
Happy Christmas and New Year from the year 11 team.  

Mr Redfern

Post 16

To Parents/Students of Year 12/13

A few points to note please:
Mock Examinations start on 6 Jan at SBC and Notre Dame. Your son has been given a timetable for both schools. If they have lost them then please contact myself at the College. The mock examinations are a very important stage in the achievement process. Examination technique and the application of knowledge are essential and we need to know where you can improve to be successful. I expect formal examinations and a grade given at the end which should reflect where your son is now.

Punctuality and lateness is becoming an issue. Students MUST be on time for your lessons and use your card to register.
UCAS applications should now be complete. If you have not seen me and submitted then you have a week left after we return. A lot of courses are filling up and you may not get your best choices.

A lot of positives this term. Plans have been submitted for the sixth form refurbishment. The OAPs party was a roaring success, Mufti days, University trips, Learn2live, Parent/Teachers evening.
I would like to thank all students and parents for the continued effort. It is the partnership between teachers, students and parents that enables success.

Mr Tew

St. Boniface’s Catholic College

Christmas Newsletter

December 2013


Welcome to this newsletter and thank you for taking a few moments to read it.

As I am sure you would expect me to say this has been quite some year! Rather than looking back at the year I would like to look forward to highlight some of the forthcoming opportunities that lie ahead for St. Boniface’s and students. I do hope that you have noticed the return to a more traditional St. Boniface’s College, there will have been a St. Boniface’s College in Plymouth for 150 years this academic year and we are very proud of our history and heritage. We will of course soon be losing Bishop Christopher from the diocese and whilst very sorry to see him finally retire, we are all looking forward to Bishop elect Mark arriving. We all wish Bishop Christopher a long and peaceful retirement and more thanks than mere words can express.

All at the College continue to work very hard to ensure that when we are next visited by Ofsted we are able to clearly demonstrate significant improvements. I would like to thank you for your continued patience and do hope that you are seeing a difference at home. Pupils and students are commenting in a positive way, which is always nice, but we do understand that we are not yet operating at the high levels we have set for ourselves. The community of St Boniface’s is rebuilding itself and, like a phoenix from the ashes, we are confident that we shall soon once again be soaring.

After Christmas we will be saying goodbye to Mr Smart in Maths who has gained promotion to another local school. Although obviously sorry to see him go we are delighted that we could help him along his career path. I am sure he will remain in touch. Of course as one door closes another opens and I am very pleased to be able to introduce you to three new staff members – Mr Chambers joins us in Design and Technology, Mr Polson comes into Science and Miss Masuzzo also comes into Design. I am confident that staff of such quality will greatly help the pupils and students at the College.

Without wishing to dwell on the past I would like to point out a few changes that you as parents highlighted you would like to see occur at St. Boniface’s when we met in October:

  1. A rigorous and challenging look at the various methods employed by teachers in ensuring quality teaching and learning takes place,
  2. A return to parent teacher evenings – now actioned and in place for all years
  3. Improved communications –

My weekly Blogs can be found on the College website,,

the College texting service is now up and operational, ParentMail, please contact S. Purdy at the College if you wish to avail yourself of this service and have yet to do so,

The Sims Learning Gateway, SLG, allows you direct and live access into the College management system for up to date information regarding your son,

A termly pocket Diary so that you can keep track of what is going on in the College,

A Parental Leadership Group and a Parental Inclusion Group for parental viewpoints on aspects of the College,

Direct e-mail contact details for all staff.

  1. A return to the use of the Pupil Planner for recording all homework, (please note that we are finding that boys are not recording homework they have been set, whilst we are addressing this issue in school could you please check at home)
  2. Improved discipline, unfortunately some of our students have not been able to respond in a positive manner and have had to leave the College. Our new discipline policy is to be rolled out in January, much hard work has taken place consulting all interested parties – particularly students - in the formation of the policy.

Teachers have been asked to give a far greater emphasis upon new learning expected for each and every lesson. Lesson dips by senior leaders and visits by local authority consultants indicate an improvement and we are all eager to maintain the momentum created.

A pleasing innovation at the College this last term has been the emergence under Mr McKenna, of our Help the Heroes pupil group. Supporting each other through troubled times when a parent is away on duty with our Armed Forces has been a real strength in the group and I would like to formally thank Mr McKenna for all that he has done in leading the way on this – I believe others in the City are looking at his best practice! On another great note St Boniface’s College is now a licensed centre for the delivery of the Duke of Edinburgh Awards at all levels. This is a fantastic step in the right direction for students at the College and I am very pleased.

As I have said earlier, this year sees the 150th anniversary of St Boniface’s College – I am in the process of trying to arrange a celebration dinner for past pupils and at the moment am looking at Friday March 28th. If you are a past pupil, or know of one who would be interested then please do ask them to keep the evening free. It would be great to meet up with some of the living history at the College.

I fully expect that St Boniface’s College will be part of a larger Catholic Academy by this time next year. These are obviously very exciting times for all involved with us all coming “into the fold” as it were as a large family of primary and secondary schools. Working in closer harmony can only be of benefit for our pupils and staff. There will of course be more information closer to the time of academisation and Mr Mannix, the director of Education for Catholic schools in the diocese, has a letter enclosed with this newsletter. We have been some time in ensuring that this route is the best way forward for all and Mr Mannix and the diocesan team have done some excellent work on our behalf and for the other Catholic schools in the diocese. I am confident that this is now a very good opportunity for St. Boniface’s. The only changes that we will notice will be of benefit to the College – an ability to bid for grants from the DfE available only to academies, greater financial stability, I say more news to follow in 2014. Below is an extract from a letter from the diocese:

“Dear Parents,

We have put together the following list to show what, if anything, will change as a result of the conversion from Voluntary Aided to Academy Status

(Please note, this doesn’t mean that, for example, the school tie could never change because schools are free to do things like that whether they become academies or not.)

Name of the school.
School uniform.
School start, finish and break times.
Term dates and holidays coordinated with other Plymouth schools.
All arrangements for school buses.
Before- and after-school clubs
Parents evenings
School following the national curriculum.
Raising concerns about children’s progress or pastoral issues.
Raising concerns about any aspects of the school’s provision.
Ofsted Inspections.
Pay, terms & conditions of staff.
Governing Body structure, responsibilities and decision-making.
Determining own admission arrangements.


We know that some parents will have more detailed questions but, as you can see from the examples in the table, in most cases the answer will be that there will be no change or very small procedural changes. However, the school is anxious to make sure that any questions or concerns are raised and addressed, so please do watch out for an Academy meeting in the New Year at St. Boniface’s.”


 I would also like to bring to your attention a free course running at St. Boniface’s College in January aimed at helping parents with teenage children, please see the enclosed.

Finally, may I once again thank you for your support of the College and wish you a peaceful and joyous Christmas. I am very proud of all our students, each day brings new tales of success. I do hope that you will have an opportunity to use the prayer below.

    Mr Davies


Lord, in this holy season of prayer and song and laughter, we praise you for the great wonders you have sent us: for shining star and angel's song, for infant's cry in lowly manger. We praise you for the Word made flesh in a little Child. We behold his glory, and are bathed in its radiance.

Be with us as we sing the ironies of Christmas, the incomprehensible comprehended, the poetry made hard fact, the helpless Babe who cracks the world asunder. We kneel before you shepherds, innkeepers, wisemen. Help us to rise bigger than we are. Amen.

 "We consider Christmas as the encounter, the great encounter, the historical encounter, the decisive encounter, between God and mankind. He who has faith knows this truly; let him rejoice. "

Pope Paul VI, 1963-1978



9th  December 2013

Dear Parents and Carers,

Conversion to Academy Status


You may well be aware that the Government is encouraging all schools to consider converting to academy status and the Diocese of Plymouth, guided by Bishop Christopher, has decided that this will be the best option for our Catholic schools.


As Director of Schools, I have been working with school representatives (head teachers, governors and other key staff) from across the Diocese to explore the route to academy status and develop a model which is well suited to our network. The government has applauded our proposal and says that it is the largest and most exciting academy project in the whole country. We had to submit very detailed plans to the DFE for their consideration. In response, their senior officers have judged that it will have a significant impact on standards across all our schools. The new Academy company is called ‘Plymouth CAST’ (Catholic & Anglican Schools Trust) and it is anticipated that all our Catholic schools from Cornwall, Devon, and Dorset will move into the Trust towards April next year.


The fundamental purpose of converting to academy status is to further develop our schools’ ethos and values and our effectiveness in all aspects of school provision. Among other advantages, it will help protect our smaller schools and give parents more security about future provision. At present, all the Catholic schools within Cornwall and Plymouth already collaborate on a wide range of activities; the move to a Multi-Academy Trust will secure more opportunities and better funding for all our staff and pupils.  At the same time, all the schools will remain an active part of collaborations with other local schools in their area. These give additional curriculum opportunities for the children and development opportunities for the staff. The new Academy is committed to supporting local initiatives with schools of all types, as well as benefitting from the closer networking that already exists with other Catholic schools.


You will see on the reverse of this letter a few frequently asked questions about academy conversion. If you have other questions or views do not hesitate to speak to the head teacher of your school.


Yours sincerely, 

John Mannix

Director of Education, Diocese of Plymouth


What is an Academy?

Academies are publicly funded state schools that are independent of the Local Authority and receive funding directly from Central Government.

Why is this being considered?

As a successful Voluntary Aided School gaining Academy status would give us the autonomy to continue to develop our School and to continue to achieve high standards.

Why consider conversion?

The Government is clear that the greater freedoms enjoyed by Academies are designed to allow schools to develop and to build on individual strengths in response to the needs of the community. We feel that the additional freedoms and flexibilities would enable the Governors to secure the long term future of our School. In the model being proposed, we would be working in partnership with our fellow Catholic schools to enhance our corporate mission and to raise academic standards.

Will any changes to the School be made as a result of conversion?

We would no longer be directly responsible to the Local Authority for standards but to the Trust sponsored by the Diocese of Plymouth. However, we can still ‘buy in’ many of the services offered by the Local Authority. Terms and conditions for staff would continue. The Governing Body would remain, but the composition may change slightly. The Governing Body would be responsible for all staff appointments. The daily operational running of the school by the Headteacher and Senior Management Team would be unchanged, as would the uniform and the school name. Please be assured that the character, ethos and values of the School would remain unchanged.



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