Welcome to our termly review of everything that's been happening at Salesian School. Between Year 7's arrival in September and Mr Kibble's Christmas message, we've packed a lot in! You'll find this page full of information - click on the links to follow up on news you missed or view photo galleries from events like our Christmas Carol service.
The RE department has been busy with trips this term. Year 7 went to St Dunstan's in Woking in September, in preparation for their first RE project. Then in November, Year 8 went to St Michael's Abbey in Farnborough (right) to better understand the monastic life. The Abbot very kindly gave up an afternoon to talk to our pupils and to answer their many questions. The trip was designed to supplement pupil's study of the development of monasteries.
In September our 31 A2 Biologists visited Juniper Hall Field Centre as part of their Ecology curriculum. They enjoyed a morning's excitement sampling Freshwater Invertebrates in a nearby river, followed by an afternoon studying Succession (changes in ecology over time) on the Mickelham Downs.
Meanwhile GCSE linguists were given a taste of how learning a language can lead to exciting career opportunities when British Airways came to visit. In December, Year 12 French, Spanish and Italian students gained an insight in university language study with a taster lecture at the University of Surrey in Guildford (pictured), and a chance to sample more 'exotic' languages such as Portuguese or Russian.
In November, A Level Social Scientists were given an up-close-and-personal insight into the criminal justice system at the 'Behind Bars' conference, at which the leading speakers were convicts. And after last year's Year 7 trip to the Globe Theatre, this year the theatre came to us when a production of Dickens' A Christmas Carol took over the school hall. But perhaps the most unusual trip was an A Level Maths and Physics trip designed to study G force, momentum, acceleration etc. Well, where else would you go than Thorpe Park?!
We began the year as always with our whole school Mass, celebrated by 1600 staff and students outdoors in the Yard at Guildford Road. Then in November, Year 7 took time out of lessons in November for an afternoon's Retreat led by our chaplain, Father Marco. For the Feast of the Immaculate Conception (December 8th) a selection of students visited St Augustine's Nursing Home in Addlestone (pictured) to present the residents with a selection of carols and readings for Advent. We also welcomed our very first Young Salesian Cooperators who have made a commitment to support the lay work of the Salesians for one year.
We had our cakes and ate them too in September, with a double-whammy of fundraisers. In the staffroom, staff brought in cakes to raise money for Macmillan's World's Biggest Coffee Morning, while outside students celebrated European Languages Day with their own themed confections and raised money for the Ashalayam.
In November, students from across the school rowed their hearts out to raise £800 for local charity Baraka. And we must also offer so much thanks to all the students, parents and staff who kindly donated to this year's Food Bank collection. An incredible 24 full boxes were collected and taken to the Chertsey Food Bank in December (right).
Our Bollywood Evening in October and the Christmas Fair were both fund raisers for our Don Bosco Ashalayam Project that support the work of the Salesians in India with vulnerable and street children.
It's been a creative term. In September Sixth form artists took a day-trip to Brighton in search of inspiration – and found it! On October 20th, Father Marco accompanied four A-level music students to 'Maestros' workshop in Berkshire, where A level students from a number of schools gained instruction in a range of percussion instruments and had the opportunity to perform in a Beethoven chamber orchestra. Later they worked on vocal arrangements, contemporary music and composition. Students' feedback was very positive, with all eager to apply what they had learned back at school.
In November, the department achieved tremendous success at the Woking Music Festival, walking away with several shields and cups (including for the staff choir!) and in December over 140 students led us all in song at the outstanding Carol service at a packed Christ The Prince of Peace church in Weybridge.
Students from Years 7 and 8 have joined forces this year for Drama Club, leading to an evening of 'Story Telling' on 25th November. Combining the year 7s' creativity with the experience of 8s proved a success as they put together a fantastic display of their natural talents in a devised performance. The generosity of the audience raised over £100 which will be used for future performances and drama equipment. Theatre trips also look students to see Les Miserables and Electra in London
The first trip of the year was over before the term had even begun – the Sixth Form trip to Thailand to support the Thai Children's Trust. You can read more about this in Miss Haworth's blog.
At the other end of the school, some green-fingered Year 7s' plans came to fruition in August when they won three prizes at the Chertsey Agricultural Show for growing plants and garden design.
In November PE and Drama students from Year 10 visited the amazing new Sky TV studios to take part in the Skills Academy initiative. After a studio tour and a Q&A session, they spent the afternoon of writing, filming and editing a sports documentary. The creative juices were flowing and the group produced an amusing take on the Olympic legacy. The Sky team were very impressed with the Salesian students and told us: "They read the news better than our presenters do!" (see picture...)
The Business department's annual entry to Young Enterprise has seen some vigorous campaigning from the Collapsacup team – follow them on twitter.
Year 10 students benefited from a visit to Surrey University in October to learn about studying Law. Meanwhile, a group of Year 13 students were attending 'The Skills Show' at NEC Birmingham to acquire hands-on experiences that might inspire them to explore further education, skills and apprenticeships. The Skills Show is part of Find a Future, the organisation which brings together the nation's flagship skills and careers experiences for students considering alternatives to University.
It was also a term for parties! Halloween brought out the Year 7s' more gruesome sensibilities for the Monsters Ball, then their more impish sides came to the fore dressed as Santa's elves (or their finest Christmas jumpers) for the Winter Wonderland Christmas Ball on December 5th. Well done Zatti House for the best overall score in the dance-off and outfit contests.
As the summer holidays came to an end, Year 7, 8 and 9 students attended Mr Browne's summer Rugby Camp where they were put through their paces by expert coaches. Later, at half term, the Year 10 Rugby team returned from a tour of Spain with a clean slate of victories.
Yr8 basketball team have made improvements, with the A and B teams facing off for fifth and sixth place in the latest district tournament (the A team won 8-2). Yr7 basketball has been progressing well with many new players having a go. With so much enthusiasm and dedication, improving results are bound to follow!
Yr 8 footballers have been proving themselves in a highly competitive year group – the boys are now through to the second round of the county cup after beating Thamesmead 6 - 3 in a thrilling game! They face Hinchley wood in round 3...
Our Year 8 and 9 girl footballers played superbly in the latest tournament at Winston Churchill, narrowly missing out on a place in the semi finals after a penalty shootout (pictured), finishing fifth in a play-off with Sir William Perkins.
Our Sixth Form footballers have had a mostly good start to the season and are through to the third round of the county cup after dispatching Glenthorne 4-3 in a thrilling encounter: they came back from 3-0 down with only 20 mins to go! It was honours even in our annual local derby against Salesian Farnborough: the A team narrowly lost 1-0 while the B team secured a 3-0 win.
As we wish all our students, parents and friends a very happy 2015, we also have plenty to look forwards to ourselves.
Our best wishes to Lana O'Donaghue (Yr 12), who is through to the county finals of the Poetry by Heart competition in January, in which students learn poems off by heart and recite them word-perfectly. Lana will compete against students from schools across the county at Woking library on 26th January where she will also be reciting an additional third poem, with a place in the national finals at Cambridge University on offer. Commiserations to Caroline McCormick (Yr 10), who came a very close second in the school heats – both girls really impressed.
Best wishes too to our linguistic spellers! For the Foreign languages Spelling Bee (right), Year 7 students had one minute to try to spell out loud as many words as they could from a list of 50 using the alphabet in either French or Spanish – all in front of their class and teacher! Stage 2 will commence in the New Year with the best four students entering Regional Finals from February onwards. We'll keep you posted on how they get on.
Also in the Spring we look forward to the opening of our new building, the Cullum Centre, which will soon host facilities to support the education of up to 20 children with autism.
And having been confirmed as a SCITT in the Autumn (and therefore able to run and accredit our teacher training), we are busy recruiting trainees for Teach SouthEast, the training programme we are running jointly with St John the Baptist in Woking. Places are still available but filling up fast, and we look forward to welcoming out first crop of trainees in September. This new venture will bring in vital new blood both to Salesian and our partner schools in the area, ensuring the continuity of first-class education we strive to provide for our students, and many more beyond our own school gates.
As well as regular news updates on our websites, several departments regularly tweet about what they've been up to in their lessons. For more on what they've been up to this term, check out: