Some 60 Year 8 pupils enjoyed two-day periods of residential religious retreat at the Catholic Youth Retreat Centre for our diocese, Myddleton Grange, Ilkley, earlier this month. It was a time for prayer, reflection and country walks. Many thanks to all pupils staff and parents who contributed to these special days.

Religious Retreat

Staff at CAFOD, the official Catholic aid agency for England and Wales, have been praising our pupils this week after they raised over £3,000 to support CAFOD’s work with some of the poorest communities across the world, including those affected by the Ebola outbreak. Pupils in the school’s CAFOD group raised money by events including a frozen sing-a-long during Advent (costing participants 50p) and a tombola with Fairtrade prizes donated by pupils from the group. Ben Oldham, the manager of CAFOD Leeds said, “It is overwhelming to accept a cheque for this amount. Not only have the pupils worked hard to fundraise, they have also been wonderfully generous with their own time and money by organising the events and donating the prizes themselves. They are an inspiration to others.” Our CAFOD group is not stopping there. They are currently planning activities for this year’s Fairtrade Fortnight which runs from Monday 23 February to Sunday 8 March. The 2015 focus is on the core commodities cocoa, sugar and tea. Keep an eye out in North Leeds parishes and please support the pupils by purchasing products from their stalls. Pupils are also preparing for CAFOD Lent Fast Day on Friday 27 February.

The month-long period of choosing options for Year 8 pupils comes to an end after the half-term break. Parents please ensure that completed choices forms, signed by parents are returned to your child’s tutor no later than the first day back after half-term, 24 February. Forms should be handed to tutors who will pass them onto Miss Stott. For pupils who missed the taster in GCSE Business Studies, the session will be repeated on Tuesday 24 February (period 5). Allocation of options will take place in March. Pupils and parents will be informed of the outcomes.

Ash Wednesday occurs during the half term this year. Our pupils have been reminded to mark the start of Lent by receiving ashes at Masses and services in their parish communities on Ash Wednesday. There will be many opportunities in school during the coming weeks for pupils to practise the three main components of Lent: prayer, fasting and Christian love, including giving to charity.

Later this month our school will once again be highlighted by the Yorkshire Post as one of the top performing schools in the county. This follows the publication of leagues tables last week and the school’s high percentage of pupils achieving 5 or more good GCSEs (at grades A*-C) including English and Maths in 2014. Cardinal Heenan is one of the highest attaining schools in the region. Congratulations to pupils and staff on this continued success.

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