Large numbers of pupils took the opportunity to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation today as part of the school’s Lenten programme of prayer and liturgy.  Many thanks to local priests who gave generously of their time to administer the sacrament: Reverend Fathers Josh Hilton (our Priest Chaplain), Canon Tim Wiley, Fr Marc Hornsey and Fr. Emmanuel Adindu.

Each week we include a book recommendation from a member of our school community. Pupils who would like to see a favourite book featured in this column should see Miss Burns, School Librarian, for an application form.
This week’s reader is Alfie Harkin, Year 9. Alfie is Captain of the Year 9 rugby team. His favourite book is Raven’s Gate by Anthony Horowitz. Alfie writes, “This is a fast-paced novel, packed with intrigue and suspense. It’s the first in The Power of Five series. Once you’ve tried Raven’s Gate, you won’t be able to resist the others.”

A copy of the letter that I have just received from Ofsted, following our recent Inspection, is now on the school website.

Inspectors state that your child continues to attend a good school. Ofsted describe the outcomes achieved by our pupils as very high. They note strong gains in the rates of progress that current pupils make across all year groups, particularly in English, mathematics, science, religious education and humanities.  Inspectors found that standards and challenge remain high.

The inspector’s letter states that our students enjoy school and are keen to attend.  They recognise the importance of high standards, particularly in dress and behaviour.  The great majority take pride in their work and reflect on their learning so that they understand key concepts well.  Pupils respond well to challenges offered by their teachers so that their learning improves even further.  Most enjoy school.

Teaching was identified as good.  Leadership at all levels, including governance, is strong. Safeguarding arrangements are secure.

Ofsted will visit again in three years’ time for the next cycle of inspection. The report is an excellent basis on which the school can build.

The lead inspector also drew attention to matters of which I was aware and had already started to address.  He indicates that some students do not feel listened to: I have heard similar opinions during my own student voice activities. This is why we have held elections for a Student Council, set up a new Student Chaplaincy Group and have begun to appoint nominated Student Ambassadors for subject areas.

The inspector found that the school deals very well with incidents of bullying of which we are aware and that students know such incidents to be rare.  We will, however, overhaul our reporting and identification procedures on bullying with all staff and make it a focus of our training.

It would be remiss of me not to acknowledge that this excellent Ofsted report results from the endeavours of pupils, present and former staff, parents, carers and governors. This strong partnership makes for effective education. Cardinal Heenan is a good school and is widely accepted as such.  This is why we receive three times as many applications to enter the school than we have places for. Thank you for your continuing support.

Steve Carey, our Chair of Governors, writes

On behalf of the Governing Body, I would like to say that we, too, are delighted that Cardinal Heenan has again been recognised as a good school.  The bedrock of such an outcome is the provision of quality teaching for every pupil, delivered by the dedicated, talented staff we have at the school.  I am also pleased that the leadership provided by Mr. Whelan and his Senior Leadership Team, and by my colleagues on the Governing Body, has been rated as strong.  Governors and the senior leaders work together very closely on all matters to help ensure that we provide the right curriculum and the right environment for all pupils to thrive.  I would like to assure parents and carers that we will continue to work closely in order to build on the strengths of the school and to address the issues identified in the report.

Congratulations to Year 7 pupils Amelie Wolstenholme and Lola Kennedy on winning a place at the national final of the English Speaking Union’s Performing Shakespeare competition.  Their performance of the duologue between Juliet and her nurse from Romeo and Juliet has won them a place on the West End stage!  They will travel to London on Tuesday 20 March for the final, to be staged at The Gielgud Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue.  The two were amongst 11 Cardinal Heenan pupils who won through to the regional final held at Teesside High School last Tuesday.  They were Year 7 pupils Chloe Beaumont, Lily Collier, Lola Kennedy and Amelia Wolstenholme and Year 9 pupils Patrick Crowe, Alice Hobson, Isabel Itoe, Liam McCartney, Caitlin Pigott, Wiktoria Szczygielska and Amelie Thompson.  The standard of work produced by our pupils was very high: all were praised by the judges.  Well done to Amelie and Lola.  Thanks to Miss Gallagher for coaching our pupils in this richly rewarding experience of celebrating Shakespeare’s genius

Congratulations to Year 7 pupil James Pears on reaching the last 16 of the English Under-14 Snooker Championship.  This national tournament was played in Leeds last weekend. To qualify for the last 16 at the age of 11 years of age is a huge achievement. 

James is not the first Cardinal Heenan pupil to win acclaim in this sport.  Paul Hunter, a three-time Masters Champion and winner of the British Open and the Welsh Open (twice), was a pupil here.  Paul was diagnosed with neuroendocrine tumours and died shortly before his 28th birthday in October 2006.  The Masters trophy was renamed in his honour in 2016.  May he rest in peace.

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