There was a vibrant and busy start to the new term with the now well-established Induction Days! These centred on our shared ethos and ensured that all pupils began the academic year with the appropriate focus on this, on academic resilience and on developing their skills. What a great deal of activity was packed into these two days! Our School Chaplain led a Mass for each year group and pupils also participated in tutorial-based activities focused on our faith. We were delighted to welcome the St. John Ambulance Brigade for the second year running, with all pupils developing their first aid skills, learning about CPR and defibrillator use following the kind donation of a defibrillator by the 'Cariad' charity in the summer term. They also refreshed the skills learned in September last year and we are proud to say that all pupils in the school have now had the opportunity to participate in this training! Further activities during these days included challenges on SAM Learning, our online homework portal and charity tasks.
These Induction Days were closely followed by attendance of an Enrichment Fair, in the style of a University Freshers' Fair, at which the very many clubs, teams and after-school activities were advertised to all pupils with opportunities to sign up for these. If the enthusiasm and energy evident in the first few days of the term are any indication, then the academic year ahead should be a promising one indeed, and we look forward to seeing how the pupils will flourish in this time!
Pupils' achievements across the year groups were recognised at our Annual Awards Evening in the second week back in school. On Tuesday 10th September, we were delighted to welcome Lord Mayor Councillor Peter Black, our Diocesan Director of Education, Paul White, our Assembly Member, Mike Hedges, the President of the Catenian Association and numerous further guests, in addition to our keynote speaker, Mr. Jonathan Roberts, Editor of the South Wales Evening Post. You can see pictures of this event in our gallery, and it will also be covered in our end-of-term newsletter. It was certainly lovely to see so very many pupils being commended, with the awards presented recognising both the pupils’ effort and their achievements in a diverse range of areas, including academic studies, sports, music, charity work and very many more! The very many awards presented this year included, for example, those made to our Sixth Form pupils who achieved record-breaking results in the summer, more than doubling the percentage of A and A* grades and achieving the highest proportions of A*-C grades in the school’s history. These results have enabled them to pursue a wide and impressive range of degree studies and courses across the UK and we know that they will make a great contribution in their chosen careers. Well done to each and every one of our pupils! These awards are, of course, just one of the ways in which our pupils’ achievements are celebrated in school life, and we look forward to further celebrations of these throughout the school year.
One of the most special highlights of this first month of the school year, and indeed of the past few years, was undoubtedly the exhibition held on September 21st, 'Catholic Swansea: The Faith That Binds Us.' This celebration of our faith drew together representatives from the parishes across the city, with our Boys' Gymnasium given over to parish stalls with exhibitions on their history, and to a popular refreshments area offering home-made cakes donated by staff. The Girls' Gymnasium housed a Children's Festival of Faith with story-telling, art activities, a 'Letters to God' activity and a corner dedicated to 'God's Creatures, Great and Small', the star of this being the giant tortoise! The Main Hall was filled with artwork from pupils not only of Bishop Vaughan, but of the four Catholic primary schools across the city, this work all being based on the theme of faith.
Particular highlights of the exhibition created by Bishop Vaughan pupils included a colourful stained-glass window depicting the virtues embodied in the Catholic Pupil Profile, such as those of generosity, compassion, hope, faith and love, and bunting between the pillars of the room to which every pupil in the school had contributed a pennant depicting what it means to be a pupil in a faith school; there was also a large model of a DNA helix suspended from the ceiling of the hall, this showing the characteristics of those created in Imago Dei, striving to fulfil God's will.
It was wonderful to see so many familiar faces visiting this exhibition, from those currently associated with the five schools – as pupils, parents, clergy, teachers, support staff and Governors – and also to see former teachers, parents of former pupils and those with a longstanding association with our community. Our visitors also included Mr. Mike Hedges, our Assembly Member, Mr. Paul White, our Diocesan Director, and the school’s Challenge Adviser, Miss Jan Waldron. It was truly a special day filled with friends re-acquainting, visitors marvelling over the talents of the children and young people from all five schools, and with all of this being centred on what unites us as communities: our faith, and the rich history of Catholicism in Swansea’s schools and parishes.
Our pupils should be very proud of the excellent start that they have made to the school year, and we look forward to seeing the ways in which, over its course, they continue to move from strength to strength!