Happy Christmas, friends and parents of Salesian School. With the glorious sounds of Monday's Carol Service still ringing in out ears, now is the perfect time to reflect on another bumper term of activities – our first as an Academy. Don't miss Mr Kibble's Christmas message either!
We welcomed another nine forms of Year 7 in September, and from day one they have blessed us with happy smiles and a tremendously positive attitude, under the close supervision of Head of Year Mr P Fullbrook. They joined a school still celebrating another year of outstanding GCSE and A Level results, and planning for wide-ranging changes in the curriculum in the year ahead.
Teachers have run the usual panoply of curriculum trips across the three key stages this autumn. Particular thanks must go to the Geography department, who gave up the last weekend before term ended - and attendance at the staff Christmas party - to give their A level students a field trip to the South Coast (right). Commitment indeed!
We were celebrating for a colleague too, when Father Andrew Ebrahim won the Eagle Radio Local Hero Award as Teacher of the Year. We said goodbye to Father Andrew in July after 15 years of selfless service, as he prepared to leave for Kolkata in India where he is now working with street children.
The Chertsey Maths Challenge in October is pretty good at keeping local schoolchildren on their toes, so we were delighted when our team of Year 7 Mathletes won first prize in their age-range, and the Year 8s who came in second place in theirs. The following month, a Sixth Form team acquitted themselves impressively in a senior Maths Challenge at the University of Surrey.
Key themes for this year include resilience and creativity, so when the power failed on us one afternoon a few weeks ago, it was great to see students staying after school finding a novel use for their phones to keep the studying going (right)!
This has been a full term for our many talented musicians. Our only auditioning choir, the Salesian Scholars, began the term with a trip to London to see the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory musical. The Drama department have also been out, including a recent round trip to Brighton to see their set text production Blood Brothers.
The Music Department always likes to bring an International flavour to their extra-curricular offerings, and the theme for this year's World Music workshop in October was Indian Dhol Drumming. The students loved it! Music is always a highlight at Salesian. Our only auditioning choir, the Salesian Scholars, performed in a concert at Denham Garden Village in November before wowing the judges at the Woking Music Festival and winning the Thompson Cup. The Junior Choir, Senior Choir and Staff Choir all won in their categories too: a clean sweep! And it wasn't just the choristers: our brand new Jazz band came away with a cup and our drummer and Sinfonia were commended too. No wonder the Christmas Carols were such a hit after such a lot of competition practice!
The term kicked off with our biggest ever Whole School Mass: it's a good job we've got a large area of tarmac to host it on... Activities this term have included a Year 9 trip to Bolton for a day of games and activities with students from Thornleigh Salesian College, in the interests of forging links with other UK Salesians. Slightly more formally, in October six of our students represented the school at the inaugural Secondary School Pilgrimage organised by the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton, which was held at Arundel Castle.
Salesian School is proud to have become a Fairtrade School this year, thanks to the dedicated work of our Chaplain Father Marco and the support of staff and students. We celebrated this news officially with a special assembly led by the Salesian Provincial, Father Gerry Briody.
It's been a year of untold generosity by students, parents and friends of the school. A Macmillan Coffee Afternoon in September run by the Teaching Assistants and some of their most regular students raised £232 for Cancer support. A similar amount was raised for The Ashalayam in Kolkata by the Euro-bake-sale at which students' creative interpretations of the European theme were fully on show! Just a few weeks ago, Year 7-9 students filled the Gym with rowing machines to raise money for education projects in the developing world.
And we don't stop at raising money: last summer, Sixth Form students flew to Thailand to work with disadvantaged and disabled children with the Father Ray Foundation. Meanwhile a group of Year 11, 12 and 13 students have been in training for their 3-week trip to Cambodia next year. As well as adventurous and cultural activities, they'll be doing community work. Their first training weekend involved camping in November and hiking in the pouring rain – and they're still coming back for more!
And just before Christmas, Year 7 students paid £1 to wear something orange to school, to raise money for the Bethlehem Project. This plus a cake sale in October has raised £250 towards sponsoring a young person to attend Salesian Bethlehem Technical College.
Thank you – for your kindness and for your cash!
A major highlight of the term was a trip to Twickenham Stoop, the home of Harlequins, where the Year 8 Rugby squad served as Guard of Honour for the touring New Zealand Maori team and Harlequins.
This term we've offered golf for beginners, coached by the Director of Golf from Sunbury golf club no less! This comprised five sessions at school and one at the golf course (right). Students improved in proficiency rapidly, and we may have the next Justin Rose among our ranks...
Water sports are growing in popularity at Salesian. That may have something to do with our annual summer PGL holiday to La Fosca, at which Year 7 students try a variety of different sports on the Mediterranean. Key Stage 4 and Sixth Form students now also have the opportunity to go rowing as part of the their timetabled Sports/Enrichment activities
You can keep up to date with all our Sporting events and fixtures news on the dedicated Salesian Sports website.
A new year brings new opportunities and new challenges. Our support for Chertsey High School - due to open its doors next September - continues. Our own expansion plans also continue, with approval for a new classroom block next to DT (right) in its final stages.
Year 11 will enter the closing straights on their GCSEs, including brand new courses in English and Maths, while the Year 9s start to consider their GCSE Options.
And we will all continue to try to be better than ever, for the sake of your children. With that in mind, a big thank you to all the Year 7 and 11 parents who recently responded to our parent survey. The feedback was overwhelmingly positive, but we'll start working on some of your recommendations for improvement in the New Year, while we roll out surveys to parents in other yeargroups too.