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17 December 2015 – Focus on Secondary

Dear Parents and Carers

Another term over!  And as usual, the run up to Christmas has been hectic!  Throughout the nursery, primary and secondary we’ve been preparing for the coming of Christ (and his amazing helper Santa!) in a whole host of ways.  The primary school’s week has been dominated with all our Christmas parties, while in the secondary, S6 pupils and others have been organising a range of events for SCIAF including ‘Miss St John’s’, a Bake Sale, a ‘Wax and Shave’,  football, netball and basketball pupil v staff events, and (of course) our own Strictly Come Dancing, where I featured doing strictly dad dancing…  Over £300 has been raised so far, but we hope to increase that total significantly with the ‘Wear-what-you-like’ Day on 18 December.  Thank you for all your generosity.

The Christmas Show featuring our secondary pupils is always a highlight!  As in other years, the Show featured a whole range of talent and it was clear that the hard work by all the performers and the backstage crew paid off!  Presenters Sam and Jack kept us entertained with their own unique ‘banter’, and the musicians, singers, poets and dancers did themselves and their parents proud.  It is a privilege to witness our young people’s creativity being nurtured and grown.  Special thanks to Ms Hossick and the music department for all the support they give our pupils in organising this event.

Tonight (17 December), Fr Colin is once again allowing us to use his church as a concert venue.  Our talented S6 pupils will be putting on a concert for parishioners in Our Lady’s Church (and others!) to raise funds for our ‘Playing Successfully Together’ project.  We aim to improve our primary playground and the playground of the Recuperare Clinic in Budapest.  Funds from this concert will go exclusively to the Romania playground project.

Our newsletter will be out before the end of term, so please have a look.  I’d especially like to thank Mr Craig Smith who puts our excellent newsletters together – drawing stories from across the whole school is no mean feat!  While it takes a big effort, I’m sure you’ll agree it is worth it.

Looking ahead

We barely have time to catch our breath when we return to school on Tuesday the 5th of January (remember that we are still off on the Monday) before we have some very important events in Secondary as follows:

  • Course choice information evening and parents’ night on Wednesday 13th January for parents of current S2 pupils
  • Assessment opportunities (previously prelims) start on Monday 18th January and run through to Thursday 28th January for pupils in S4, S5 and S6 who are currently in N5, Higher or Advanced Higher courses
  • Our S2 skiers leave for the Pila resort in Italy on Saturday 23rd January
  • Course choice information evening and parents’ night on Tuesday 9th February for parents of current S4 pupils

We will write to you personally very soon to let you know more about timings, booking appointments, etc.

As Christmas is the season of giving, don’t forget the gift of new uniform trousers or a black winter jacket!  And please remember that we request no nose or facial piercings – the staff would prefer not to start the new year on the wrong foot with our pupils, so please encourage your child to follow the uniform policy.  Your support in this is really appreciated.  More information on our uniform is available here.

Due to some behaviours on buses and in the local community, we sometimes receive complaints by residents which we take seriously.  We also continue to receive very positive comments about our pupils by visitors to the school, and by residents in the local community. I received a letter recently from a gentleman who regularly uses public transport to come to the campus for meetings.  He wrote:

“I have to compliment the St John’s pupils on the bus on their behaviour. They are always polite, offer you a seat if the bus is busy, and let you out of your seat in order to get off at the school stop. Most say thanks to the driver as they get off the bus. They are a credit to the school.”

Every young person in the school is an ambassador of it.  It is great to see that so many are such outstanding ambassadors!

Tomorrow, the last day of term, I will be attending the Christmas Assemblies for both the primary and the secondary – these are always special occasions for the staff and pupils alike.  We have an opportunity to reflect on the Christmas Story and sing (aka belt out) some Christmas hymns and even some old classics!  The perfect way to send us off on our holiday!

I know Christmas can be a difficult time for many of our families for all sorts of reasons: bereavement and loss, financial concerns, separation from family.  I will – together with the community of St John’s – remember all of our families this Christmas.

On behalf of the community of St John’s, I wish you all a blessed Christmas and a prosperous and successful 2016,

Seán P Hagney

Headteacher and Campus Leader