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Headteacher's Blog Post - Wednesday 20th December 2023

The highlights of this month have included the beautiful and moving Advent assemblies, which opened with candlelight to bring a beautiful sense of peace and to encourage reflection in what can often be one of the very busiest times of year. The Liturgy Ambassadors were outstanding, having planned the services with real care and having delivered them with both confidence and reverence.

Our annual service of Benediction and Carols, which is held in the Sacred Heart Parish each year wither on, or very close to, the Feast of the immaculate Conception on December 8th, was similarly held by candlelight. The acoustics in the Sacred Heart Church always mean that the choir’s items utterly fill the space and really bathe the congregation in the beautiful harmonies on which they have worked in the preceding months. The candlelight also brings an extra sense of calm and reflection, and the pinnacle of the service is, naturally, the Benediction, with the Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. Canon Jason Jones, as always, provided a warm welcome to the choir, readers and the congregation, and his homily offered food for thought, focusing as it did on the Advent message of hope and expectation. This year, the choir also offered a Christmas concert to the residents of the nursing home adjacent to the church prior to the concert, and this was very well-received. We are proud of them for using their gifts and talents in this way, for the service of others.

The annual Cathedral Carol Service was, quite simply, an exceptional event this year – with the very special addition of a choir formed from three of our cluster primary schools, alongside our very own Schola Cantorum (the ‘School of Singers’, our choir for liturgical events) and our staff choir. The beautiful service of nine lessons and carols culminated in a spine-tingling performance of Vivaldi’s Gloria, which our very own Mr. Eynon-Davies, Head of Music and Performing Arts, had rehearsed with the primary pupils in visit to schools over the past few weeks. There was standing room only at the Cathedral, with so many parents and relatives of the pupils from all four schools, and of course many regular visitors who were former pupils or staff of Bishop Vaughan, and who often describe this annual Carol Service as “the start of Christmas” for them and their families! It was a pleasure to welcome them once more, and once more it was a lovely reminder of the strength and connectedness of the Bishop Vaughan ‘family.’ With pupils ranging from Year 4s to Year 13s singing such beautiful sacred music, in several parts, in such a lovely setting, it’s fair to say that there were more than a few tears shed by within the congregation.

This month has also been filled with some very energetic charity activities being undertaken by our pupils, these following the Christmas Fair mentioned in my last blog. It is always wonderful too to keep in touch with former pupils as they pursue their various paths following their years with us here at Bishop Vaughan, and it was therefore a pleasure, during the second week of December, to welcome two of the pupils that went on to study at Oxford and Cambridge last year. Sam and Ceiara kindly returned to us to support this year’s Oxbridge applicants by running a masterclass. This willingness to give of their time was appreciated by all who attended!

With so very many highlights to this very special month, it is certainly true to say that our pupils are very much in need of the forthcoming holiday! I wish each and every one of you a most blessed and joyful Christmas, a thoroughly restful break, and a happy and healthy New Year!

Mrs Pole


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