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  Term 1 Newsletter - October 2019  
  Message from Mr Humphreys, Headteacher  

Term 1 is drawing to a close which will give us all an opportunity to recharge during a well deserved half term break. The term has been very successful with students returning after the holidays with a positive approach to their learning. 

In our whole school assembly at the start of term, I shared our great summer results at both GCSE and A Level. Students continue to enjoy much success as a result of hard work over a number of years and it was a delight on results day to watch so many young people celebrating their individual achievements with their teachers. Each year there are so many tremendous individual success stories which reflect dedication, commitment along with plenty of resilience. I am very proud of all our hard working young people and committed staff who share these results.  We continue to climb.

I talked to the students about climbing at the start of the year after I was inspired by the documentary ‘Free Solo’ at the end of the summer term.  We watched and discussed the incredible achievement of Alex Honnold who scaled 3000 feet of sheer granite (El Capitan, Yosemite National Park), without rope.  We explored the idea of how you accomplish such achievements and the bravery, determination, practice (mini climbs) required to be successful. I challenged the students on their mini climbs as they progress through school to take on the bigger climbs at the end of Year 11 and Year 13.

Black History Month is being celebrated in October with a full menu of activities and events to help us all educate ourselves about the significant contributions British African and Carribean communities have contributed to our society.  We were privileged to host a second visit from Paul Stephenson who discussed with his aid, the current challenges students were facing - a passionate and engaging discussion summed up by a teacher who was present - “To sit in that room today and listen to our students discuss race, identity, power, history, colonialism and education with one of the most significant figures in the history of the British civil rights movement was incredible”. It was an inspirational afternoon for everyone involved and we will continue to help shape the minds of young people to ensure we challenge and remove racism from our community.

Wishing everyone a safe and restful half term and we look forward to welcoming everyone back on Tuesday 5 November

Justin Humphreys, Headteacher

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  St Katherine's celebrates Black History Month  

St Katherine’s is a very diverse school community and we have been proud to celebrate Black History Month again this year. We have organised a wide range of events and activities to develop students’ knowledge and understanding about the achievements and contributions of the black community to life and society in the UK.  

The month showcases and celebrates the diverse histories of citizens from African and Caribbean descent which, historically, were often ignored because people of colour were not treated as equal members of British society.

Mrs Maringo led a varied series of events including weekly film screenings of The Pursuit of Happyness and Malcom X, debates to encourage students to reflect on the contributions made by black people and diversity in our school, Arabic and Somali clubs to broaden knowledge about different cultures and workshops on African-Caribbean music and African culture and fashion. 

We’ve also had some fantastic, inspiring visits. Christelle Pellecuer (creative director and founder of the African Queen concept) met with all teachers to discuss the importance of diversity and how we can inspire and motivate students from all communities.  We were honoured to welcome Paul Stephenson (community worker, activist and lifelong civil rights campaigner) again this year with Aisha Thomas and Lynn Mareno for an incredible session. They met with over forty students for a group discussion. Our students were able to share their thoughts and ideas about diversity, race, identity, our school, curriculum and the world we inhabit. They were extremely proud and will remember and cherish this moment forever.

Black History Month culminated in a visit by a multi-award winning writer and performer based in Bristol (Bristol City Poet 2018-2020) Vanessa Kisuule. She has performed at an array of renowned poetry events and venues including The Royal Albert Hall, The British Library and the Bristol Old Vic as well as many festivals including Shambala, WOMAD and Glastonbury. She met with our Year 9,12 and 13 English and media students as well as the BAME committee for a brilliant session. 

Mrs Maringo, Associate Headteacher, who co-ordinated  Black History Month, commented Black History Month has been a real success again this year and I strongly believe that our students are proud to be part of such a diverse school. A school where everyone feels free to talk about their faith, religion and culture. A place where all communities are welcome, a place where we love and welcome diversity. A special thank you to Mrs Robinson, our Engage Centre Leader, for arranging Dr Stephenson’s visit and Mrs Jefferson, Associate Headteacher and Head of English, for arranging Vanessa Kisuule’s visit. Your help has been invaluable again this year. As we continue our journey to develop our Cultural Competence, a wide range of events will be organised throughout the year to celebrate and promote diversity at St Katherine’s School.”

  Year 7 - A great start to life at St Katherine's!  

Praise points

Year 7 students have made a very successful start to both academic and co-curricular activities and have amassed a huge number of praise pints. 

Almost 10000 praise points have been issued to year 7 so far this term with an average of 55 points per student.

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Some of the things Year 7 have said about joining St Katherine's

“I’m loving it”
“It is awesome”
“Absolutely, fabulously, amazing!”
“Second to none”

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Roald Dahl Day

Year 7 students celebrated our annual Roald Dahl Day on Thursday 26th September with a quiz in the LRC. Teams of students battled it out in two hotly contested rounds with some very impressive scoring, ending up with a two way tie! After a tense tie-break question the winning team represented Yousafsai – Elodie, Chloe, Lola and Dulcie. The winning students each won loads of Roald Dahl bits and pieces, including their choice of a Roald Dahl book.


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Year 7 sports

Year 7 have already got involved with sporting life at St Katherine's and have represented the school in recent fixtures.

Sports captains and vice captains have been selected:

Pankhurst: Lexie Parsons (Captain)
Stephenson: Chloe Elliott and Daniel Young (Captains) Daniel Hawkes, Eva Hayes and Warren Hooper (Vice Captains)
Turing: Riley Bristol, Eve Osborn, Portia Nash and George Wilkinson (Captains)
Yousafzai: River Clarke and Zachary Furniss (Captains)

  Sixth Form Update  

The students have made a fantastic start to life in the sixth form and eight weeks in, the Year 12 students are well and truly settled in to their studies. 

We have established the sixth form work room as a silent study space which provides all students with the opportunity to use their time in school in an efficient way. In response to the positive start students have made in their use of the work room, we have also agreed that students can take ‘home study’ Period 5, providing they do not have a lesson or other commitment in the afternoon. 

Access to Bristol Success

St Katherine’s Sixth Form has once again been successful in securing places for this year’s Access to Bristol programme, run by the University of Bristol. 15 students successfully applied to the programme, which involves eight Wednesday afternoon sessions at the university in order to give students an idea of what it is like to study at the University of Bristol. These afternoons are spent working with academics and current students who can offer advice and guidance about higher education and their subject area.

The successful applicants were:

  • Rohit Bangera (Biological Sciences)
  • Charlie Bulmer (Applied Maths, Computing and Electronics)
  • Jessica Butcher (Chemistry)
  • Ethan Eggleston (Applied Maths, Computing and Electronics)
  • Titus Keate (Film and Theatre)
  • Paige Leakey (Childhood Studies, Education Studies and Psychology in Education)
  • Patryk Lietzau (Applied Maths, Computing and Electronics)
  • Josefine Maskell (Social Policy and Criminology)
  • Eleanor Mccarthy (English Literature)
  • Finnegan O'Rourke (Engineering)
  • Dan Powell (Engineering)
  • Samuel Sedlen (Chemistry)
  • April Steadman (Geography)
  • Wren Talbot-Ponsonby (Mathematics)
  • Stephanie Thomasset (Historical Studies)

Students who successfully complete the programme will receive a guaranteed offer (or interview) from the University of Bristol that will be up to two grades below their typical offer. In addition, students from a low-income background will be eligible for the Access to Bristol bursary of £3,855 a year, and a fee waiver in the first year.


Our Sixth Form Open Evening for 2020 intake is on Thursday 21 November. It’s a great opportunity for Year 11 to find out more about St Katherine’s Sixth Form from teachers and students.

  World Mental Health Day  

Thursday 10th October was World Mental Health Awareness Day. Students at St Katherine's listened to powerful messages in assembly about the importance of talking about our own mental health and being a listening ear to our friends. We marked the day by encouraging staff and students to donate £1 and wear something yellow in support of Young Minds and their #HelloYellow campaign. We are aware that the teenage years can be challenging and when coupled with the demands of academic study, young people need, just as adults do, some extra support from time to time. At St Katherine's we are fortunate to be supported by Wellspring who provide our school counselling service. This academic year we have been able to increase our counselling provision and students can now access CBT too. If you are worried about a young person's mental health, please encourage them to talk to a trusted person in school who will be able to make a referral to our counsellors and signpost some excellent sources of help outside of school.

  Performing Arts at St Katherine's  

SKAMPS (St  Katherine's Parents Music Supporters)

SKAMPS is a registered charity which supports Music at St Katherine's.  Over the years they have raised thousands of pounds for musical instruments, equipment and workshops. 

Their latest purchase has been another new Yamaha piano which has been a great success with students who love having a new piano to play. 

They have two upcoming events:  

The AGM : Thursday 7 November at 7pm in Room 26 in the Music Department.

Their next fundraiser is carol singing around the pubs of Clifton: Friday 6 December, meeting at 6.45 at the Mall pub, Clifton. This is always good fun and last year they raised £203 in just a couple of hours!

All parents and teachers are warmly invited to come to these events.

For more information please contact Abi Adams, Head of Music.

Read more

School production - Miss Saigon

Students have been working hard rehearsing for the upcoming school production, please support them by coming to watch the performances in December:

Miss Saigon, the musical... 'A tragic, worn-torn love story' * 

Tuesday 17th, Wednesday 18th and Thursday 19th December at 7:00 pm 

Lecture Theatre

Tickets £10 adults / £7.50 concessions

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  Attendance - why it matters  

The link between attendance and academic achievement is an obvious one. Therefore, we place high importance on excellent punctuality and attendance. 

In school we use the Attendance Diamond to illustrate this connection. Our school attendance target for all students is 97% but as you can see, even missing just a small number of days each year can have an impact on the risk of underachievement.

Any child with attendance below 90%, regardless of the reason for the absence, is considered to be a persistent absentee. This equates to just two days each month. IS YOUR CHILD A PERSISTENT ABSENTEE? Statistics show that persistent absentees are less likely to achieve their full potential, and can affect GCSE grades, and a child’s future prospects. At Key Stage 4, pupils with no absence are 2.8 times more likely to achieve 5+ good passes at GCSE including English and Maths, than pupils missing 15-20% of KS4 sessions.

Our Attendance Guide for parents/carers provides helpful advice on supporting your child’s attendance, including:

  • Please let us know about your child’s absence by 7.30am on each day of absence. Call the designated absence line  01275 376882 or call the main school number 01275 373737 and select the attendance option
  • Please try to avoid routine medical/dental appointments in school hours – your child MUST return to school after appointments
  • If you are unsure whether to send your child into school if they are ill please speak to one of us for advice
  • If your child is upset about an incident please bring them to school the next morning to meet with a member of staff
  • We can only agree absence for holidays in term time for ‘Exceptional Circumstances’
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Headteacher Commendations for Excellence in Art

We have many talented artists among the students at St Katherine's and we regularly share photos of their work on our Facebook and Twitter accounts. Several Year 10 students have recently received recognition for their work with Headteacher Commendations for Excellence in Art:

  • Kornelia Borgosz
  • Eve Griffin
  • Cameron Iles
  • Lucy Leighton
  • Deya Reynolds
  • Asha Storer
  • Sophie Weaden
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Macmillan's Biggest Coffee Morning

On Friday 27th September staff and students at St Katherine's came together for our own Biggest Coffee Morning to raise money for Macmillan. Staff donated cakes in their hundreds which students bought up at an incredible speed! The weather was against us and our plan to join together outside was changed at the last minute as we ran for cover to avoid the storm.

A huge thank you to all involved, including Miss Sutton who baked and decorated cakes and the 6th form students who set up and ran the event on the day - we raised £387.84! 

European Day of Languages

On Thursday 26th of September staff and students at St Katherine’s celebrated the 18th annual European Day of Languages. It was a fantastic opportunity to learn about a selection of the seven thousand languages spoken across the world today and, perhaps more importantly, to celebrate the linguistic diversity of our school community.

We kicked things off with a quiz in the staff room, focusing on the importance of language learning and the benefits it can have for students across the curriculum and culminating in a series of questions on languages as unusual as ‘Gobblefunk’, Roald Dahl’s invented language of over eight thousand words.

Teachers completed a survey detailing the languages that they can speak and we had some impressive responses. Special thanks to Reprographics for making the badges. Students really enjoyed the chance to discuss how language learning had enriched the lives of their teachers and they loved trying to say hello in languages such as Russian and Japanese.

The big quiz of the week questioned tutor groups on a variety of languages, old and new: from Cymraeg to Glagolitic and, I am delighted to announce, was won by 10S. Well done! 

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  House Championship  

The House Championship is in its second year and there are great plans in place to make this year's competition even bigger and better.

We want to put the things we value most at the heart of the House Championship and therefore we are introducing termly ethos competitions that bring with them a large number of house points.

At the end of term 1 therefore, we will judge the attendance competition. Quite simply the house with the best attendance will win. During the remainder of the academic year these ethos competitions will reward excellent punctuality and number of positives on Class Charts.

We will of course continue to use the House Championship to have fun together and Fun Fix Friday will continue to provide fun and games throughout the year.

  Pankhurst House Update  

After our fourth place finish in the House Championship last year Pankhurst House have started this academic year keen to improve on that and win the cup this year. We have emphasised three key messages as a House: 'Be Here' as we know the importance of good attendance at school for academic success; 'Being Our Best Selves' as we know that if we all achieve our full potential we can be satisfied (by winning the cup!); and 'Gaining Status Positively' as it's important to have recognition for the right reasons. 

We have started well and as a House have gained an impressive 23,325 praise points, meaning we have a praise to negative ratio of 87% which (at the time of writing) is the highest of all of the Houses! We finished joint top with Turing House in the closely fought Fun Fix Friday Conker competition. Our attendance across the House is good and an improvement on where we were this time last year. Hopefully Pankhurst Students will continue to be resilient as we enter the dark winter months. 

Winter brings some good opportunities for Pankhurst Students to compete in some 'in House' competitions. I'm looking forward to judging the first best carved pumpkin competition at the end of this term and tutor groups are already getting excited by the Pankhurst 'best dressed Christmas classroom' competition. Last year this was a close run thing and I'm anticipating some serious competition this year as 9P1 try to hold onto their crown.

Mr Murdoch, Head of Pankhurst House

  Stephenson House Update  

It has been a very busy term for the students of Stephenson House and I have been incredibly pleased with how they have returned to school and focused on their studies. It has been a pleasure to formally welcome 7S into the house and I have been impressed with the way in which they have not only settled into the house, but the wider school community.

The main focus for the students of Stephenson House has been around being a role model for other students in the house. This is linked to the house values of determination, equality and respect. Another big emphasis has also been put on attendance and the importance of being in school and this will be a continued focus throughout the year. It is a well established fact that students that have excellent attendance make good progress in lessons.

We have also had the pleasure of welcoming Paul Stephenson into school and a number of the students were once again able to meet with him and debate a number of important educational issues.

The celebration assembly held on Monday was a lovely way to recognise students for their achievements in term 1. The following students have all been awarded “Stephenson Stars (of the week)” for significant contributions to both Stephenson House and the wider school community. Special mention must go to Charlie Topp who is top of the leader board of praise and has excelled this term.

Year 7: Yasmine Oukrine, Oliver Hecker, Jack Palmer-Givan, Lauren Weeks, Milo Smith-Clark and Zayna Al-Sakkaf

Year 8: Francine Allford, Sam Peacock, Joe Crawford, Cruz Mead, Ellie Baker, Josie Rafferty, Vanessa Gerebenes, Harvey Niewczyk, Buster Barnes, Charlie Topp, Zoltan Szekely and Victoria Karczewska

Year 9: Mitzi Hines-Ewens, Jake Ralph, Danielle Cameron, Pearl Westerberg, Jonathan Puati-Kambu and George Skeates

Year 10: Phoebe Palmer-Givan, Joseph Williams, Jack Rossiter, Katie Hill, Jordan Hatherall and Ben Bohin

Stephenson Leaderboard of Praise

  1. Charlie Topp - 209
  2. Danielle Cameron - 192
  3. George Garland - 188
  4. Ben Bohin - 184
  5. Yasmine Oukrine - 182
  6. Arthur Cleaver - 180
  7. Victoria Karczewska - 176
  8. Dilan Faulkner - 174
  9. Buster Barnes - 172

100% Behaviour ratio

Francine Allford, Noah Bulmer, Danielle Cameron, Joseph Crawford, Chloe Elliott, Eugene Furniss, Daniel Grace, Oliver Hecker, Victoria Karczewska, Mattijs Korswagen, Ella Leakey, Harvey Niemczyk, Yasmine Oukrine, Phoebe Palmer-Givan, Josie Rafferty, Evie Sherwood, Lauren Weeks, Taylor White, Archie Woolnough 

Outside the classroom it has been nice to see students involve themselves in the wider school community. Sports clubs, practices, matches, drama, science clubs being just a pick of them. Notable achievements outside of school are Cosmo Browne's selection to the Great Britain Futsal team for the upcoming World Cup in Barcelona and Lucy Turner's recent participation in the European Baton Twirling Championships in Italy. Lucy and her England team mates competed against many other European countries and were awarded one silver and four bronze medals. A fantastic achievement for these two students.

Finally I would like to wish you all a relaxing half term and I hope that students enjoy their break and come back ready and raring to go for term 2!

Mr Thomas, Head of Stephenson House

  Turing House Update  

It has been a truly inspiring start to the new academic year with Turing House students immersing themselves in the new challenges that have been presented to them. After the success of last year, it is natural for the Turing tutor groups to feel the pressure of that success.  It is important that all students and house staff work together with the aim of retaining the House Cup and Sports Cup!  For this to happen, each and every member of Turing House should demonstrate our house values and motto:

  • Turing Values: Determination, Acceptance, Unity
  • Turing Motto: “The strength of the team is each individual member, the strength of each member is the team”
  • Turing Spiritual Animal: The Wolf for loyalty, pathfinding, never ending journey and sense of family.

Due to the current Year 11 following a different exam focus tutorial programme, the school made a decision to reassign the House Leaders role to students in Year 10. The four excellent candidates who applied for two Turing House Leaders roles have shown a real passion and desire to be the voice of Turing students. The interviews took place in the last week of term, and each student must be credited for how they articulated themselves throughout the process. 

Following the rigorous interviews, I am pleased to announce  Isobel Taylor (10T1) and Jess Stanley (10T2) were appointed Turing House Leaders. Congratulations to both, who I am sure will live up to the high expectations placed upon them.

Achievement is rewarded in many ways within the House System and of particular importance is: “Tremendous Turing (of the week)”. Students are nominated by their tutors over a wide range of criteria. For overcoming personal challenges, being an unsung hero, representing Turing values, most praises, improved attendance. 

The following students have all been awarded “Tremendous Turing (of the week)” during term 1:

Year 7: Khianna Palmer, Bess Stevens, Roary Gallagher and Oscar Caton

Year 8: Will Young, Isaac Bowers, Emily Earle, Jena Walker, Patrik Miles, Jake Pakham, Hope Roberts, Hannah Lange, Lucy Holloway, Ruby Magnum, Billy Stringer and Jack Jansen

Year 9: Kanye Christie, Trysten Nmai, Matthew Parsons, Ruwuda Dahir and Balint Fekete

Year 10: Jess Stanley, Jolie Breakwell, Cameron Iles, Deya Reynolds, Ruby Stephens, Leo West, Ben Cook, Natalie Stringer, Paris Saunders, Farida Awil, William Parsons, Hugh Lewis and Millie McLoughlin  

With Term 2 approaching, there are several things to look forward to including:

  • Student selection of charity for fundraising
  • Inter-House Basketball/Dodgeball, Netball and Rugby competitions
  • Charity Christmas Card Competition - designs to submitted by 22 November
  • “Fun Fix Fridays”
  • House Council meeting

I would like to finish by thanking every single Turing House member for the energy and enthusiasm injected into the new academic year, and to wish the best of luck to all Year 11 students who are preparing for their mock examination.

Mrs Price, Head of Turing House

  Yousafzai House Update  

This first term has flown by and I can’t quite believe it’s week 8 already!

Yousafzai House have had a steady return back from the summer holidays. Many of our students have made a superb start and have worked really hard. Our targets for this year are to have the best behaviour ratio and best house attendance. At the start of the year, we were in third place but the students have worked hard and have made lots of good choices and we are now 1st for attendance - long may this continue! As a house, we will always emphasise the importance of our education and how we must treasure it like it is a diamond (to quote Malala Yousafzai). 

We are currently in a really exciting time of selecting our new house council for the year, I am very grateful for those individuals who have already nominated themselves to represent their tutor group. We are also appointing new house leaders from our year 10s and I look forward to announcing who they are following interviews!

A huge number of Yousafzai students have achieved excellence already. Forty eight of our students have won our weekly Marvellous Malala award for having a very good week. Special mentions go to Kenny Newbury (9Y2) who has the most praise points in the whole school! Also to Bruno Thomasset, Edie Church, Amani Islam and Poppy Baldwin-Brooks who are in the top 10. A real example to their peers, well done!

Our first house competitions have started and we had enormous fun playing conkers with the other houses. Definitely not our forte but a good time none the less! Those that took part showed excellent determination and spirit and we were very proud of them. 

Thank you to all the students of Yousafzai House who have made an excellent start to the academic year and to all the parents and carers for your continued support.

Enjoy a well earned break and we’ll see you in November!

Miss Andrews, Head of Yousafzai House

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  Sport and PE - Term 1 highlights  
  • Students have hit the ground running at the start of the year in PE - quite literally! We are just about to finish the term with our first house competition of the academic year - the cross country. We'll update you with the first house to top the standings in the sport competition after the last race finishes. 
  • We are ending the term out on the cross country course but we started it with a primary festival - our Year 9 and 10 students have already shown their fantastic leadership skills on two occasions this school year with well over 30 students already getting involved.
  • Girls and boys have been in cup football action with our U13 boys still in the National Cup and Somerset Cup fixtures still to come
  • Girls and boys have been involved in hockey, football, netball, basketball and rugby at the start of the year with fixtures coming thick and fast
  • All of the news and much more to follow in the end of term PE newsletter
  Term 2 dates for your diary  
  • 04 November: INSET DAY 4 - School closed to students 
  • 04-06 November: A Level Biology trip to Osmington Bay
  • 05 November: Students in school for Term 2 
  • 05 November: Year 11 Preparing to Perform Evening
  • 07 November: Tea with a scientist
  • 09 November: Girls PE trip to Wembley Stadium
  • 19 November: Years 10, 12 and 13 Art trip to RWA and Bristol Museum
  • 21 November: Sixth Form Open Evening
  • 05 December: Years 12 and 13 Art trip to Tate Modern and National Portrait Gallery
  • 12 December: Year 10 Parent/Carer Evening
  • 17-19 December: School Production - 'Miss Saigon'
  • 20 December: END OF TERM 2 Early finish – buses leave at 1.30pm
  Keep in touch  

There isn’t enough space here to showcase the huge variety of student experiences and achievements this term. Keep up to date by visiting the ‘News and Events’ section on the school website, check the school Facebook page or follow us on Twitter (@stkathsschool)