As you know the school had an Ofsted inspection on Wednesday 7 February. I am grateful for the many message of support received from parents. Although I am forbidden by Ofsted from sharing the inspection findings until the report has been quality assured and published, I can tell you that inspectors believed that they were able to find enough evidence during one (very busy) day to make a judgement. Overall, I was pleased with how the day went.  The report will appear on our school website on the day of publication by Ofsted in approximately three weeks’ time.  I will also provide a commentary in my weekly letter.

Lenten begins next week on Ash Wednesday, 14 February. The school’s Lenten programme will get underway as soon as pupils return after the half-term break.  Pupils will lead weekly Stations of The Cross and prayer services at morning break in our school chapel. We hope and pray that our School Chaplain, Fr Josh Hilton, will soon be well enough to celebrate Mass with us again, following his recent car accident.  We have missed him.

A ‘Good Shepherd’, one of the titles given to Jesus in the Gospels, cares for all of his sheep, especially those who are most vulnerable. This Lent our pupils will be supporting the diocesan Good Shepherd appeal, a fundraising initiative to raise money for the work of Catholic Care, and other charities that the school chooses to support.  Plans are underway for the various fundraising activities.  Catholic Care supports many needy families in our own communities with food, clothing and the basic necessities of life.  It runs a residential children’s home for young people who can no longer live with their own families.  The charity supports children with learning disabilities, particularly those with autism spectrum disorder, and provides homes with care and support for adults with a learning disability.  Here at Cardinal Heenan, a qualified member of Catholic Care’s social work service comes into school each week to provide advice, support and counselling for pupils and their families. 

Our pupils are being encouraged to pray, fast and give this Lent. They are very imaginative in their ideas on fundraising for Catholic Care.  Thank you for the support that you offer.


Year 11 students will begin a residential religious retreat at Ampleforth College, North Yorkshire, during half-term, returning to school on Tuesday 20 February. This retreat gives students an opportunity to grow in their understanding and appreciation faith and spirituality.  They will be encouraged to share their experiences and gifts with others and to build relationships.  Our students usually find retreats a meaningful experience and they often manage to pray and feel close to God.  We believe that it is an ideal time for Year 11 students to reflect on their time as students at Cardinal Heenan and to take stock of their lives, hopes, ambitions, successes and failures so that they can take their next steps in life with confidence as they move towards their GCSE examinations. The programme will be led by our Chaplaincy Coordinator, Mrs Holder, assisted by Mr Milner.

GCSE mock examinations in English Language and Mathematics for Year 11 pupils will take place in school on Thursday 15 March and Friday 16 March. Please note the change of dates. Our pupils have been advised to make good use of the weeks beforehand by beginning revision during half term break.

Following the marking of these papers, pupils will be provided with information about the recommended areas for improvement suggested by their answers. In order to have maximum impact on GCSE examination performance, subsequent lessons in English and Maths will focus on these identified areas.  Teaching will be targeted at the relevant knowledge and skills to be improved.  Resources to revise gaps in knowledge and skills will be provided.

All our Year 11 pupils now have free access to two PiXL apps for smartphone and tablet (GCSE mathematics and GCSE English Literature) to help them identify their strengths and area to develop in these subjects. Users of the apps report improved examination skills.  Details have been given to pupils by their teachers.  Please encourage your child to make use of these excellent resources.

A group of 30 pupils are enjoying a half-term ski trip to Sestriere, Italy. They are currently enjoying perfect conditions, deep snow and sunny skies.  We wish them a safe and enjoyable visit. Our pupils are accompanied by Mr Edney, Miss Bishop, Mr Easter and Miss McGinley.

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