Heads Christmas Letter
As the autumn term draws to a close with a period of mild but wet weather, it makes me think back to the first months of the school year when we were basking in warm sunshine and the new term felt a little unreal.
The Year 11’s are working hard and, as we speak, are receiving their mock exam results and further advice concerning their next steps. We recently received provisional results data from the DfE that, once again, places our achievement and progress in the top 5% of schools in the country. Naturally this pleases us as we recognise the importance of giving children the best possible academic platform: however, it is more important that they have a full understanding of what it means to be a Catholic/Christian. All of the qualifications in the world count for nothing unless our children have a strong sense of justice and solid values as described in the Gospels.
The Advent season has seen us reflect on what it means to show mercy as we have now entered the ‘Year of Mercy,’ as declared by Pope Francis. Mercy means forgiveness, thought and action to help our fellow human beings no matter what their circumstance. This was exemplified by the excellent response we had to both the Christmas shoebox and Hereford food bank appeals.
Those of you who have visited the school in recent weeks will have noticed fencing being erected by the main entrance. The school is coming into line with the majority of other schools in the country by increasing our security. When complete there will be an electronic gate situated a little down the main drive and CCTV cameras will monitor all movements around the site. The entrance by Lugwardine Court will be closed off, except for emergency vehicles. Closer to the time we will provide more details of revised end of school arrangements; however, pupils will definitely not be able to enter or leave the school via Lugwardine Court anymore. Ofsted raised the vital issue of site security with us on both of their most recent visits - in 2007 and 2013 respectively. Although we have resisted obtrusive measures, the governors and the school management are determined that we must do all we can to ensure the site and its occupants are even better protected.
Finally, the term will end with the traditional Carol Service on Thursday evening at 7.00pm in the school hall. Children will finish at 1.30pm on Friday and return on Tuesday 5th January at the usual starting time of 8.55 am.
On behalf of the governors, staff and students of St Mary’s, I wish you all a very happy Christmas and a rewarding New Year.
Clive LambertHead Teacher