Welcome to another review of everything that's happened at Salesian School. It's been another extremely busy year of creative events, trips and developments. Headteacher Mr Kibble has written his annual Summer news letter, and you can also enjoy our digest and follow the links below for news or photo galleries of events you may have missed.
The Maths department have been busy putting students through their paces. Four Year 10 students took part in the Maths Feast event in Guildford in February and Year 8s put in some startlingly promising performances in several national Maths Challenge competitions later in the Spring, including the Team Maths event hosted at Salesian. Even more adventurously, they took 80 Year 7s on a PGL Maths and Science adventure where much fun - and practical learning - was had by all.
Year 7 took a day out at Marwell Zoo in June to learn about species adaptation, while Year 8 Scientists also visited London's Science Museum in 3rd July. They explored the history of aviation alongside the space race and human robot interactions, undertook a treasure hunt over four floors of exhibitions and 20 different exhibits. Mr Batt was even able to channel his inner child with a fruitful trip into the robotics shop resulting in some rash decisions and a fully articulated robot arm! Years 10-12 have been on two separate trips to CERN in Switzerland, home of the Large Hadron Collider.
We've keenly embraced the computing revolution, with new Computer Science A level and Coding Club for the lower school. And 27 Year 10 students visited the famous Bletchley Park in April to learn all about the Enigma machine and the early days of modern computing.
Geographers have been on multiple field trips both at home and further afield this year. In the cold and chilly depths of January, Year 10 students were to be found beachcombing (see right) and exploring topical issues from a base near Dorking as part of their GCSE studies.
At Easter they went to Iceland to explore the unique geology of the island nation. In June, Year 8 students completed field studies in Cornwall as well as visiting the world famous Eden Project. They also marked Water Day with activities to raise awareness and funds of clean water and sanitation in developing countries.
We're a big believer in school trips – it's the memories of big extra-curricular activities that remain with us long after the day-to-day school life of lessons and assessments fade. We're especially humbled by our staff's readiness to give up their holiday time to give students these experiences.
For example, the annual Year 10 ski trip to Saalbach in Austria at February half term was the usual big hit. At Easter, the Languages department took students to Barcelona once again to practice their Spanish while touring the sites and nibbling on churros.
And sometimes the students make their own adventures. It's been the biggest year ever for the Duke of Edinburgh's Award at Salesian, with hundreds of students marching over hill and down dale in pursuit of Bronze, Silver and Gold awards.
Father Marco has continued his programme of retreats this year, and is always looking for new ways to explore faith with students. Year 7's theme was An Unexpected Journey by JRR Tolkien. A number of staff and students also attended the FLAME 2017 event, hosted by the Catholic Youth Ministry Federation, in March. In May, students crowned our statue of Mary to mark the Feast of Mary Help of Christians, and in June a selection represented Chertsey at the Diocesan Good Shepherd Celebration. He has also trained Year 7s as altar servers to officiate at school Masses.
Our staff and students are always looking for ways to better understand and help others. In February, students and staff were given a tour of the nearby White Lodge centre, our local House charity this year, to see the wonderful work they do for disabled people. Sixth formers also made their annual pilgrimage to the Don Bosco Ashalayam in Kolkata.
We're also doing our bit in other ways, for example by participating in Fairtrade Fortnight, and hosting a guest speaker from Koolskools to talk about fair trade cotton. Father Marco also took several students to deliver an assembly on Fair trade to our friends at St Alban's Primary School in East Molesey.
For the second year at Salesian we've been focusing on creativity, across the curriculum. Of course this is most obviously evident in our continuing commitment to the arts, at a time when this part of the curriculum is facing a squeeze in many schools.
Music continues to flourish. In January the Salesian Scholars, our only auditioning choir, were guest artists at a sold-out concert by the Weybridge Male Voice Choir. In February we hosted our latest Battle of the Bands competition, with a broader array of music than ever and this was followed in April by our Spring concert.
The department has also held trips for its students: to the West End musical Aladdin for example, and to Ronnie Scott's for a Jazz brunch with our fledgling Jazz band. We also marked the contribution of our Salesian Scholars to school music with a special dinner in their honour – at Pizza Express, of course!
And 30 of our musicians have just returned home from a short concert tour of Belgium. We'll have more to report on this when school returns in September, but thanks are especially due to Miss Jenkins, for whom this marked her last ever activity for the school.
Drama and Theatre also continue to thrive at Salesian. Attending professional performances is part of their curriculum, and trips this year have included Hedda Gabler and Woyzeck in the West End, and a visit to the Battersea Arts Centre by Year 12.
Year 11 impressed in April as they performed for their GCSE exams, closely followed by the Year 12 students. But their biggest hit was a joint production with the Music department: Joseph and his Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat. It was a complete joy (right).
We hit "peak creativity" with our Festival of Creativity just before the end of term which encompassed our students' Art and Photography exhibitions, and a lot more besides.
This year's biggest innovation in the Sixth Form was the introduction of a Work Experience week for Year 12, after their exams in June. From taking teeth out, to planning advertising campaigns, to working in retail outlets, hospitals, airlines, or setting up corporate away-days – the list of opportunities is almost endless. Some students experienced the joy of commuting to London during one of the hottest weeks on record, whilst others tested their skills and patience working with primary school children.
It was an opportunity to try out current career options and perhaps to consider others not yet thought of. It was a great success with students returning to school enthused by what they had seen or done. Some Sixth Form staff visited students in their work placements and were highly impressed with the meaningful and significant tasks and guidance given to students. The feedback from employers about our students, meanwhile, was nothing short of outstanding: students had shown themselves to be enthusiastic and highly capable workers.
Hearty congratulations to the 61 Teach SouthEast trainee teachers who graduated and are now qualified as secondary school teachers. They have all successfully completed one of the bespoke school-centred ITT programmes that we run in partnership with St John the Baptist School in Woking and a network of schools across the South East.
The graduation ceremony was held at The Double Tree Hilton Hotel in Woking on Friday 7 July where Trainees enjoyed a champagne cream tea. This was followed by the formal ceremony which was attended by representatives from our partner schools, where our teachers were each presented with their certificates. We'd like to say a huge thank you to the mentors, leads, Headteachers and everyone else from our partner schools who have been involved with supporting and training our 2016-17 cohort of trainees.
And as one group graduates, the next begins! 72 fantastic trainees have been recruited to join us for 2017-18, and on June 29th they met their mentors and the SCITT Lead from their placement schools and heard all about their course and how to prepare themselves for their new careers. We very much look forward to working with these trainees during the next academic year and helping them on their way to becoming fully qualified teachers.
Summer term is always a poignant time. We say a mostly temporary goodbye to our Year 11s, first with a Leavers' Mass and then with a Prom at Silvermere Golf club (right). And it's followed by a rather more long term 'farewell' for our Year 13s as they reach the end of their school days with their own Mass and a Leavers' Ball.
We're also saying goodbye to a number of staff this year although many of them are staying 'in the family', joining the staff of the brand new Chertsey High School. This exciting project, which we are supporting and staffing alongside the Bourne Education Trust, will finally open in September, following the successful recruitment of 120 Year 7 students, who were inducted in July. We wish Mrs Munnik, Ms Ridley and their team a very successful future.
For the third year running, following our own induction in July, we look forward to welcoming nine forms of entry to Year 7 in September. It's going to be a little bit cosy for a term, but we're excited to confirm that ground has now been broken on our new classroom block, which will open after Christmas. We're also doing some development work at our Sixth Form site to increase capacity there too.
At this warm and sunny time of year, we would politely remind all parents that this is the perfect time for holidays trips. We look forward to seeing all our students back in school on the first day of term in September, and every other school day until next July, barring serious illness or injury. Our policy on attendance is a quick and easy read, and we ask all parents to make sure they are familiar with it.