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Headteacher's Blog Post - Saturday 30th September 2023

The start of the academic year has been, as is customary, a true whirlwind of activity! From welcoming our new Year 7 pupils, to our Enrichment Fair, our Festival of Peace and much more, every moment has been filled with activity and every week has brought new reasons to be very proud indeed of our pupils.

We were delighted to welcome so many visitors to our third annual Festival of Peace held from 18th to 22nd September. The Festival was once more a wonderful celebration of who we are, both collectively and individually. At Bishop Vaughan, we are proud beyond words to have no fewer than sixty-seven languages spoken by our pupils and their families! We therefore endeavour to celebrate cultural diversity.

The very vibrant Festival included exhibits from every department with creative responses, within the subject disciplines, to the theme of peace. In addition, there were stalls and displays curated by our pupils, celebrating our pupils’ cultural heritages. Visitors to the exhibition were welcomed with music from two of our talented Ukrainian pupils and shown around by our Sixth Form pupil guides. They later enjoyed refreshments and a programme of music from our choir, who performed items reflecting the theme of diversity, including the beautiful Siyahamba, which is sung in both English and the Zulu language, and which our pupils also performed at the School of Sanctuary Awards in Swansea Arena back in June. You can listen to their recording from Swansea Arena by visiting the June blog page here. Some of the absolutely lovely feedback from visitors is shown here:

What a fabulous event. I was very impressed by the energy in the room and your very eloquent pupils who gave me true insights into their countries, including culture, political histories and of course foods. A thoroughly enjoyable session! (Welsh Government Visitor)

I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Bishop Vaughan with your students. They were so mature and passionate when talking about the cultures of their families. They are such a credit to you. The choir absolutely blew me away! (LA Visitor)

It [was] an honour and a huge pleasure to be invited to school to join in with your Festival of Peace celebrations, so thank you very much for inviting me … being around your pupils and witnessing their pride, knowledge and enthusiasm for their cultural heritages…goes a long way to my own personal feelings of rejuvenation, helping me to reflect on and to absorb the messages of peace and acceptance.(LA Visitor)

It was a privilege and a pleasure to be with you for this amazing experience. Your young people are such a credit to your school, their parents/carers and themselves. It was both fascinating and touching to listen to them share their exhibition work and their respective cultural heritages. I was really moved by the pride that they showed in doing so. … The choir was also superb, with every member of the audience inspired by their wonderful harmony. (LA Visitor)

It really was a fantastic afternoon. The pupils did the school community proud. They were amazing. So knowledgeable, so confident and most importantly so proud to speak and share their traditions, beliefs and culture. It was a huge success. I certainly learnt new things. Please pass on my congratulations to everyone involved.(Cluster Schools Visitor)

I thought the Peace Festival was truly remarkable: the passion and enthusiasm the students showed towards each country was amazing. I’ve attended numerous other open days but none of them touched my heart as much as the Bishop Vaughan Peace Festival succeeded in doing – ardderchog.

I think every teacher in Wales should get the opportunity to experience the Festival so maybe next year you might consider filming it! (Welsh Government Visitor)

The school’s work on celebrating diversity continues throughout the year, led by pupils and staff in the DARA (Diversity and Anti-Racist Action) group that was established last academic year.

The DARA group is, of course, just one of countless groups that we have here in Bishop Vaughan. On the 14th September, our Main Hall was filled with stalls for our annual Enrichment Fair. These allow our newer pupils to see all of the many clubs, teams and societies that they can participate in during lunchtimes and after school here at Bishop Vaughan. Older pupils were also invited into the Fair throughout the day to remind them of all that is on offer, with pupils already involved in those activities leading the stalls and promoting the activities. You can read more about these opportunities in our extra-curricular prospectus here. Please keep checking back too – the list is always being updated, and if there is an activity that any pupils are keen to see added to the offering, please just speak with one of the teachers, so that we can look into adding this to those already offered.

From the very vibrant festival, then, to the extra-curricular opportunities and all else that has happened during this very busy month (and which I will have to carry over into next month’s blog, as there is simply so much!) we are so proud to see the ways in which our pupils are living out our school’s mission statement, taken from John 10:10, by striving to make the best use of their God-given gifts and talents to lead “lives to the full.” We look forward to seeing them build on this further in the academic year ahead.

On behalf of the whole Bishop Vaughan community, I wish you and your families a fulfilling, enjoyable, healthy and successful new academic year.

Mrs Pole


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