Year 9 Explore The Natural History Museum

On Thursday, 18th October the Humanities Department took all of Year 9 to the world famous Natural History Museum at South Kensington, London. The visit was linked to their humanities curriculum and allowed the students to experience education outside of the classroom environment.

Milenah & Ragshidaa in Year 9 described their experience: ‘Although we were told what to expected we were blown away by all the exhibitions. We revisited topics we have studied in class in a more practical manner. There was one display were you could experience the actual effect of an earthquake, along with another display showing two victims in Pompeii after the Mount Vesuvius explosion. We even had the opportunity to touch a meteorite that is millions of years old. We had a great day out and learned so much.’

St Mary's Rugby - History Makers

St Mary’s students were invited to take part in their very first Harlequins Rugby Development Day just before half-term. Our students played in several matches against other schools - showing amazing team work, spirit and determination. Having checked through the school archives dating back to 1955, we are confident that this team were the very first to represent St Mary’s in a full-contact rugby competition in our school’s history.

We are delighted that our relationship with Harlequins is going from strength to strength. While it will be some time before our school is able to compete fully against other local schools who have successfully played rugby over many years - this has been a wonderful start in this new sport for our school.

UCL Centre for Holocaust Education’s Beacon School

St Mary’s has been selected as one of the UCL Centre for Holocaust Education’s Beacon Schools, one of only three schools in the Greater London region to be selected this year.

The University College London Centre for Holocaust Education recruits up to twenty secondary schools each year in England, committed to enhancing teaching and learning about the Holocaust. The selected schools will become dynamic hubs serving a network of local schools and will work with the Centre in order to improve teaching standards, raise pupil achievement, and strengthen our Social, Moral, Spiritual & Cultural (SMSC) provision.

Humanities teacher, Miss Clancy is our school’s Lead Teacher for Beacon School status, receiving additional support and training as a key element of the Beacon School training process.

St Mary’s is committed to the view that the study and understanding of the Holocaust is a critically important part of all students’ education, especially at a time of growing intolerance in our society.

Harlequins' rugby coaches put St Mary’s students through their paces.

We were delighted to welcome rugby coaches, Andy Campbell and James Collins-Clark, from Harlequins FC to St Mary’s on Thursday, 27 September, running workshops and training sessions for Year 9 & 10 students throughout the morning. It was impressive to see how well the students engaged with the activities, as for a number of the girls and boys it was their first real taste of this sport.

Throughout the sessions skill, agility and quick thinking were in evidence, especially as the students competed in mixed teams in touch-rugby games, in a sport so often solely associated with physical strength.

We are pleased that our links with Harlequins continue to develop, following on from a number of training sessions last year, culminating in a party of students visiting The Stoop for one of Harlequins home games in spring term.

Year 7 experience The Riot Act in their first week!

Our new Year 7s were treated to a wonderful multi-media performance from theatre group The Riot Act on the key theme of road safety. While the drama focused on the important issue of being safe on the roads there was much in the performance to engage the audience on issues such as peer pressure, being responsible, the consequences of dangerous behaviour, and much more.

Particular thanks is due to the three members of The Riot Act cast who presented this important topic in such an engaging and entertaining manner. Following the performance, they organized a workshop with the year group in order to reinforce the key messages of the production.

The issue of road safety is important for our new students as many are traveling to school unaccompanied for the very first time from across the local area. At St Mary’s staff are always present outside of school at the end of each school day in order to ensure an orderly exit from our site and also to remind students to use the official crossings available to cross the busy main roads and tramways around Croydon.

The theatre group are taking their production to schools around the capital over the next few weeks.

Year 7 students teach Spanish at St Mary's Catholic Primary School

On Tuesday 24th April, six Year 7 students visited St Mary's Catholic Junior School to teach a group of thirty primary students their first ever Spanish lesson, as well as giving them a taste of modern foreign languages at our secondary school.

Our students were prepared to teach the lesson by Mr Harper who explained: “They taught students two verbs in Spanish and how to conjugate them. The students from both schools really enjoyed the experience and the feedback from the primary school pupils was highly positive”.

The students from St Mary's were: Mariana M, Rexsiya R, Zara M, Joel M-A, D'Ior S and Hania S. Well done to all of them.


El martes 24 de abril, seis estudiantes de Year 7 visitaron St Mary's Catholic Junior School para enseñar a un grupo de treinta estudiantes de primaria su primera clase de español, así como para darles una muestra de los idiomas extranjeros modernos en nuestra escuela secundaria.

Nuestros alumnos estaban preparados para enseñar la lección por el Sr. Harper quien explicó: "Les enseñaron a los estudiantes dos verbos en español y cómo conjugarlos. Los estudiantes de ambas escuelas realmente disfrutaron de la experiencia y los comentarios de los alumnos de la escuela primaria fueron muy positivos”.

Los estudiantes de St Mary's fueron: Mariana M, Rexsiya R, Zara M, Joel M-A, D'Ior S y Hania S. Bien hecho a todos ellos.

New Student Leadership Team announced

St Mary's is delighted to present the new Student Leadership Team following the recent school-wide elections. Warmest congratulations to Sonia Obiokafor and Errikos Biniakou who were announced as our school’s new Head Girl and Head Boy, with Dragisa D'Souza and Tyron Santana-Almeida as their respective deputies.

The election process included each of the twelve candidates presenting their reasons for wanting to be elected and outlining their plans for the year ahead at special assemblies in front of Years 7 –10. In last week of the spring term all students and staff cast their vote in secret ballots for their chosen candidates.

While the Student Leadership team will be presented with their special badges of office later this term, they take over their responsibilities straight away and will remain in post until they begin their GCSEs in May next year. We wish them well in their new positions of responsibility and are certain that all students at the school will give them their full support in the year ahead.

In addition to Sonia, Errikos, Dragisa and Tyron, a special thank-you and well done to Christyana, Desislava, Hazanat, Kayla, Natali, Nathaneal, Shannen and Tracy, who also stood for election.

Year 7 take on the Spaghetti Tower challenge in National Science Week

To celebrate National Science Week, our Head of Science, Mr Taylor, set our Year 7 Science classes the task of building the tallest possible spaghetti tower.

The rules only allowed 20 sticks of spaghetti, along with 7 marshmallows to use as glue. One of these marshmallows must remain 'whole' and end up at the top of the tower, the other 6 could be pulled apart in order to stick the spaghetti together.

Students were asked to design their towers on paper before making them and had to think about how best to make the most of the limited materials. The aim of this challenge was to explore structures and investigate what methods of building can make the tallest and strongest structure. It gave our students a valuable insight into the real-life processes of testing, redevelopment and prototyping that engineers and scientists use.

The prize to the winners...a bag of marshmallows!

Students take part in the Croydon Young Mayor election

Tuesday, 13th March will be remembered as the day when the very first Croydon Young Mayor elections were held across the borough. With a choice of 28 candidates to choose from, St Mary’s students entered into the spirit of the occasion by casting their votes following the same procedure used in national and local elections, even down to using the same voting booths and ballot boxes.

For several weeks the 28 candidates have been presenting their manifestos at events right across the borough, including the active use of social media and modern technology. The campaign has been taken very seriously, and we congratulate these fine young people for their commitment to making Croydon a better place for young people.

At St Mary’s, all students were prepared for the election throughout the previous week during form periods, and on the day of the election special assemblies were held, outlining the process of casting votes. We are delighted that the overwhelming majority of our students took the opportunity to use their democratic right to vote for their chosen candidate, and in most year groups there was 100% turnout. Students were asked to vote for their first and second choice from the long list of candidates.

While there were no St Mary’s candidates standing for election we do hope that in the years to come one of our students will become a future Croydon Young Mayor.

The election results will be declared on Thursday, 15th March. CLICK HERE to visit the Croydon Young Mayor website for more information.

Year 7’s Tudor Day at Hampton Court Palace

On Monday, 12th March, despite the seasonal drizzle, all Year 7 students, along with some Year 8s, enjoyed a Tudor-style day at Hampton Court Palace, in preparation for their new history curriculum topic. Built for Cardinal Wolsey on the banks of the River Thames, the palace was an ideal location for our students to learn more about the lifestyles of the Tudors – from the high and mighty to the lowly kitchen servants. They even had a chance to meet up with King Henry VIII for a question and answer session in one of the royal apartments.

Year 7 students, Simon and Rexsiya described their experience at the palace as being: “Fantastic!” “We both learnt lots of new information about the Tudors and were amazed at how different their lives were to ours.” The students were given a tour of Hampton Court’s kitchens and saw how much more labour intensive they were as well as what types of food were popular at the time of Henry VIII. Rexsiya was particular interested in how expensive sugar was, but how they were very skilful in making decorations with it. Simon was surprised that grilling food on a rotary spit over an open fire was common practice back then, as he imagined that that technique was more modern.

HamptonCourtPic2qqqSpecial thanks to Hampton Court Palace Education Department for hosting our visit and for providing such expert guides who made our students and staff so welcome. As well as guided tours, Year 7s also had the opportunity to find out about the constant upkeep of this important site and learn so much about the life of the Tudors, especially how the wealthy entertained themselves, and how the poor were worked so hard to keep the palace running.

Thank you to Mr Harvey for organising the visit, and to all the members of staff who accompanied the students on the day. 

World Book Day 2018 at St Mary's is a hit with Year 7

Despite the snow and freezing winds, St Mary’s Year 7 students marked World Book Day with workshops on the theme of Shakespeare’s Macbeth - with their teachers, Miss Rekhi and Mr Hardman, in costume as the central characters in this tragic play.

Year 7 students also wrote reviews of their favourite books, and needless to say J K Rowling’s Harry Potter series featured highly amongst the most popular. To add to the excitement of the day, Miss Delaney, Miss Clancy and Mr Harvey managed to bring a touch of Hogwarts to our corner of wintery Croydon.

WBD010318 Pic1All students across the school were issued with their special World Book Day book tokens by our librarian, Mrs Peart. Thanks to National Book Tokens and lots of publishers and booksellers, World Book Day, in partnership with schools all over the country, will be distributing more than 15 million £1 World Book Day book tokens to children and young people - that’s almost one for every child/young person under 18 in the UK and Ireland.

Well done to Mr Panaitescu who volunteered in Rwanda over half-term

Well done to Mr Panaitescu, our Head of IT, who over the half-term break worked as a volunteer for ADRA-UK in Rwanda, delivering gift-aid boxes containing toys, school equipment, basic toiletries and books.

Travelling in UNHCR lorries, around 2000 boxes were distributed to children in the Kiziba refugee camp, located on the hillsides of a remote region of the Western Provence of Rwanda. The camp, home to over 17,000 people, was established in 1996 when a Kinyarwanda speaking ethnic group was forced from their homes in the Congo because of violence. The conflict has still not been resolved and the people have now been living in the camp for over 20 years. Most of the children in the camp were born there and know of nothing else except life in the camp.

CP Rwanda Pic11XIn addition to delivering boxes to the refugee camp, the volunteers also delivered hundreds of boxes to children in four schools in the region, including: GS Kibuye Catholic School; Ecole Adventiste de Kibuye; EP Gatwaro Pentecostal School; and GS Bisessero Catholic School.

The work of charities, including ADRA-UK and CAFOD, is providing much needed support to our poorest brothers and sisters across the world who are in desparate need of help. Mr Panaitescu and the other volunteers are a shining example of what we should all aspire to do, especially during this season of Lent.


To see a gallery of images of Mr Panaitescu’s time in Rwanda click on the image below.


St Mary's students experience the Brit School drama 'You Choose'.

St Mary’s was delighted to welcome drama students from the Brit School, Croydon who performed their hard-hitting drama ‘You Choose’ to an audience of our Year 9 pupils on Thursday 22nd February.

The drama, written by Brit School students, was commissioned by the Metropolitan Police with the support of Croydon Council’s ‘Choose Your Future’ campaign.

The drama explores issues surrounding knife crime, child sexual exploitation, drug dealing, violence and bullying. It contains extracts of real stories, from people whose lives have been affected by these issues. The drama, which premiered at The Brit School earlier this month, will be performed to other schools across the borough in the coming months.

SMHSBritDrama Pic3aIn one particularly powerful scene, a girl lures a boy to his death, similar to the real-life case of a schoolboy, who was murdered in Thornton Heath. It is followed by two mothers meeting – one who had lost her son to knife crime and the other whose son committed the attack.

Following the performance, The Croydon Advertiser interviewed students from both schools on the impact of the drama. The special report can be found here: Croydon Advertiser

GCSE Art Students visit the Tate Modern

On Monday, 26th February our Year 11 art students visited the world-famous Tate Modern in order to prepare for their forthcoming GCSE examination. The aim was to provide the students with ideas and inspiration from the exciting world of modern art.



Mrs Goodwin (Head of Art) reports:

“The GCSE Year 11 Art trip had been arranged in order for pupils to experience a gallery setting and to collect supporting studies for their externally set examination.  The day was a huge success and both students and staff enjoyed all the experiences, though at the beginning of the day, with the falling snow, I was worried we would not be able make it.

The group travelled by train to the Southbank and walked to the gallery; the size and overpowering structure of the building was a shock for a number of the students.  They had never been in a gallery like the Tate Modern and even though the rooms were packed with other visitors the space was very peaceful and quiet.  This enabled our students to make drawings of their chosen artworks and take some lovely photos.

Tate Modern spreads across many floors, with several free displays of modern and contemporary art.  Students explored all the rooms and even took part in the interactive art installation in the main entrance - huge, three-seated swings.  The experience of such an informative and creative environment will be one our students will remember – they all had a great time.”

What the students said:

SMHSTate Pic4a“We went to the gallery to find artworks that relate to our subject for our final exam. We took pictures of the artworks - as an example I have chosen ‘Light & dark’, so I took pictures and made drawings related to my theme. Going to the Tate Modern was a very good experience, I found the gallery very large and very quiet. Also, I thought the actual building was very creative.”    Brian U.

“During the trip to the gallery I looked for work about human figures, since this is my chosen theme. The gallery was full of artworks; we were able to find out about the artists and research themes.  The trip gave me experience of being in a gallery, the fact that it was very big and there was loads of students I still felt comfortable and enjoyed it.” Prince A.

“We travelled by train to Tate Modern to find artworks related to our themes, i.e. Human figure, Dark & light, personal histories.  We did this in order to prepare for our exam and work in our sketchbooks.” Nicol & Cameron

“During our time at Tate Modern, admiring and observing the vast variety of inspiring art pieces, we acquired the time to assess, reflect and interact with the art.  The trip inspired and gave us ideas of what we are capable of creating for our chosen theme.”  Angelo A.

Year 10 Science Students at St Mary's University

Fifteen Year 10 students were invited to attend a science practical skills day at St Mary's University, Twickenham on the 31st January 2018. The targeted group were higher learners who are studying three separate sciences as GCSE core and option subjects. The aim was to take students through some of the key practical activities that they have to study to complete their GCSE course.

The day was organised by the School of Education, with our pupils taught by university students studying on the science PGCE course. This gave the PGCE students a chance to engage with secondary school pupils and allowed our pupils to use the excellent laboratory facilities at the university.

Our students completed a range of experiments, including: using ticker-tape-timers and an air-track in Physics; completing a rate of reaction experiment in Chemistry; investigating osmosis in potatoes and how drugs affect heart rate (on a water-flea!) in Biology - this involved adding caffeine and then alcohol to the water surrounding the fleas and observing their heart rate change under a microscope.

SIMMS Sci8xAll students had an excellent time completing the experiments, and especially as they then had the chance to use the university cafeteria for lunch afterwards!

Thank you to St Mary’s University staff and students for their hospitality and expertise in ensuring our science students had an excellent experience.

To view a gallery of pictures from the visit, click on the image below:



St Mary's remembers victims of the Holocaust

To mark Holocaust Memorial Day 2018 students from St Mary’s, along with students from three other Croydon Schools, took part in Croydon Council’s commemorative service in the presence of the Mayor, council officials and special guest, Wlodka Robertson, a survivor of the Warsaw Ghetto.


The event began with the lighting of a memorial candle at the Town Hall was followed by a special service in the Council Chamber where students from the four schools gave presentations on various aspects of the Holocaust. St Mary’s students presented their work on a special ‘Postcard Project' where they read out messages to victims of the Holocaust using information from this year’s Holocaust Memorial Day Trust theme of The Power of Words.

HMDPic3bHolocaust survivor, Wlodka Robertson, spoke movingly of her memories of life in the Warsaw Ghetto, recalling her experience of the Holocaust and how we must help combat hate in the modern world.

During the week leading up to Holocaust Memorial Day special assemblies were held for each year group at our school using resources from the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust. Not only were victims of the Nazi Holocaust remembered, but also those who suffered in more recent genocides.

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