The first week of this month was one in which countless of our former pupils set off for universities the length and breadth of the UK! We wish them all every success! With their permission, we were delighted to congratulate some of them personally via our social media accounts.
These successes and the dozens of other paths being pursued are the fruits of a great deal of very hard work. Despite the significant challenges of the past two and a half years, our Sixth Form pupils gained incredible results once more this year, with half of all grades being A or A* grades! Results day was an amazing experience when, quite literally, every other grade being collected was an A or an A*!
For all of us here at the school, those grades represent far more than a letter or a contribution to a percentage in a spreadsheet; they represent opportunities for exciting careers – the fulfilment of ambitions and each of our pupils flourishing to become the best version of themselves, contributing meaningfully to the world around them. Whether those grades are utilised to access university degrees or employment, or to lead to other paths of each individual’s choosing, every single grade is reflective of hard work, focus and determination, and these skills will inevitably prove valuable throughout life. We congratulate every former pupil, and we are proud to have shared their secondary school journey.
Whilst the secondary school years are packed with exciting opportunities and experiences, inevitably these years are ones in which young people experience uncertainty or worries. At Bishop Vaughan, we recognise the importance of supporting the learners in our care, and part of doing so involves supporting our parent and carer community in managing these years. We are pleased therefore to be able to offer weekly parental support sessions and we hope that these are proving valuable.
Our pupils have been developing their music skills this month! Pupils throughout the year groups are enjoying participation in the choir, which is busily preparing for the annual Carol Service in December. Our Year 7s also engaged enthusiastically in drumming workshops run by the fantastic Swansea Music Service: diolch yn fawr, Cerdd Abertawe!
The BVS Book Award Group – a reading club that meets on Wednesday lunchtimes – has also been working hard throughout October to put together reading lists for all pupils, as well as to survey the staff about the books that they are reading and which they recommend. The group have collaborated to write a ‘Reading Recommendations’ newsletter. They are working towards producing an edition of this each half-term (with an extra edition for the Christmas holiday!). This will be emailed to parents and carers, as well as being displayed in each classroom.
On the topic of reading, the book vending machines continue to be very popular! Pupils can purchase popular titles – chosen on the basis of a whole-school reading survey – for heavily-discounted prices, subsidised by the school. In addition, each week, tutors offer tokens as rewards for engagement in school life or embodiment of the school’s values.
Speaking of rewards, our Eco Team were certainly rewarded for their hard work when they received a glowing report for their application for the Green Flag Award. The evidence base they put together was most impressive and the flag will be flown with great pride, representing as it does a determination to put the values of Laudato Si, the Pope’s encyclical on care for our common home, into action.
The principles of re-use and sustainability were also evident in the fantastic event in this last week of the half-term: the ‘pre-loved swishing’ event organised by the Sixth Form, which also raised funds for Ukraine. This followed a week of energetic raising of both funds and awareness for Young Minds, once more demonstrating our pupils’ compassion for and generosity towards others.
During this week, we have also held our first ACE Day of the year. On these days, the timetable is collapsed so that whole year group events can take place. Typically, in Years 10 and 11, these may be exam skills workshops; in Sixth Form, they may include UCAS events. Years 7 to 9 enjoy a range of activities centred around the areas of learning experience set out in the Curriculum for Wales. Humanities ran a trip to Cardiff Castle and the pupils certainly enjoyed this a great deal. Their teachers and I were exceptionally proud of them for their engagement in the activities, their conduct throughout the trip and especially too for the wonderful feedback from the staff at Cardiff Castle, who were extremely complimentary about our pupils. They really are the most fantastic ambassadors for the school and the values that we strive to nurture, whether they are engaging – as they did earlier this month – with the First Minister, or assisting pupils from the primary schools in one of the many transition days that run throughout the year. We could not be prouder of our pupils, and we wish each of them and their families a very restful and relaxing half-term break.