M.A. Griffin – 4/10/18

Year 9 pupils were involved in an author talk from M.A. (Martin) Griffin.  He read extracts from his new novel, Payback, and spoke to pupils about the best place to start a story to have maximum impact on the reader.  He shared his ‘What? So what?  Then what?’ technique for starting a story and keeping the reader interested.  Pupils then had the chance to ask Martin any questions about the life of a writer.  They were also able to buy copies of Payback and have them signed. 

Jewell Parker Rhodes – 5/10/18

Year 7 pupils were involved in an author talk by American author Jewell Parker Rhodes as part of this year’s Ilkley Literature Festival.  She talked about her experiences as a person of colour in America and about the legacy of the Civil Rights Movement in the USA and beyond.  She read extracts from her novel, Ghost Boys, which tells the story of a young boy who is shot by the police in a case of mistaken identity.  She explained that she had initially been reluctant to tell such a harrowing story; but felt that it was important to address the issue of institutional racism in America.  She then worked with 7CHN in a small workshop about the writing process.  She spoke to students about different techniques for building tension throughout a novel.  Pupils discussed ways of adding tension to mundane, seemingly everyday situations. 

Robin Stevens – 10/10/18

We were joined by 150 visitors from St Urban’s, Holy Name and Sacred Heart primary schools.  Robin Stevens is currently the 16th highest selling children’s author in the UK and she visited Cardinal Heenan as part of the tour to promote her most recent novel, Death in the Spotlight.  Robin talked about her own fascination with murder mysteries as a child.  She talked about taking inspiration from authors such as Enid Blyton and Agatha Christie to create murder mysteries with high school pupils as the main protagonists. She then worked with the group to plan their own murder mystery novel, using ideas from the pupils as the basis of the story.  Pupils then had the chance to buy signed copies of Robin’s novels and have their photograph taken with her. 

Taking pupils out of school during term time for holidays is not allowed. Requests for leave can only be granted by schools if there are exceptional circumstances, and holidays are not considered exceptional. Requests for leave must also be made to the school in advance, as the Department for Education has told schools that they cannot authorise any absences after they have been taken. 

A penalty notice is a fine to parents or carers if they fail to ensure that their child/ren attend school regularly. Leeds City Council is responsible for issuing penalty notices on behalf of schools in the city. 

If parents wish to seek any further clarification on this then please don't hesitate to contact school

In the run up to Black History Month, pupils at Cardinal Heenan Catholic High School have taken part in the Leeds Black History Walk, run by local actor and writer, Joe Williams.

Joe Williams is a Leeds born actor/writer and visiting fellow at the University of Leeds. Over four decades, with a strong foundation in theatre in education, Joe has co-founded several theatre, community arts and history projects.

In 2014, Joe received a Leeds Black Award for services to Arts and previously won a Stephen Lawrence Award for services to education.

He founded Heritage Corner to develop the Leeds Black History Walk and to disseminate information through arts, education and public discourse.

Joe recently appeared on TV as Pablo Fanque, Britain's first circus owner of African descent, who is buried in Leeds, a role he has also taken to New York. Other pieces he has written have been performed at the British Library, various universities, the Harrogate International Festival's Royal Hall as well as many venues in Leeds, such as Kirkstall Abbey and Leeds Libraries.

He has performed different roles, readings and talks nationally and also recently narrated for the Sacred Sounds tour, about Sikh soldiers in WW1.


Year 9 student Alasdair Kerr has recently been signed by Hull city football club. Alasdair was spotted playing for Leeds Schools F.A towards the end of last season and during the football season break was invited by Hull City for a six week trial. In that time he played against teams like Barnsley, Derby, Watford and New Jersey scoring several goals and assisting in more goals. Alasdair was offered a contract by Hull City at the end of August. He can play either Right wing/Left wing/Central midfield so is a versatile player.

Well done Alasdair on this amazing achievement.

Your child may be entitled to free school meals no matter what year they are in which could save you £420 per year per child.

You are entitled to free school meals if you receive any of the following benefits:

  • Income Support
  • income-based Job Seeker's Allowance
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Child Tax Credit with an annual income of less than £16,190, provided they are not receiving Working Tax Credit
  • the ‘Guaranteed’ element of the State Pension Credit
  • support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • Universal Credit, if you apply on or after 1 April 2018 your household income must be less than £7,400 a year (after tax and not including any benefits you get)
  • if your child is eligible for free school meals, they’ll continue to receive them until they move to a new stage of school, such as from primary into secondary school

Please note: People receiving Working Tax Credit, regardless of their income level, do not qualify.

Further information can be found on the How to claim free school meals page.

Download the Free School Meals Application Form

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