Year 9 at the Pan-London Youth & Public Services Day

AliPali Pic3Year 9 students, along with thousands from across other London schools, visited Alexandra Palace on 15th June to take part in the annual Pan-London Youth & Public Services Day. Shannen Venethethan describes the visit, including meeting London's Deputy Mayor for Policing, Sophie Linden:

The trip to the Pan London Youth Event at Alexandra Palace on Thursday 15 June for twenty-nine Year 9 students was enlightening. We were shown several careers that are open to us, the younger generation, the future of our country.

The welcome speeches given by the host and other service providers were really inspiring and delivered in such an inspiring manner that as soon as they were finished we students from St Mary’s couldn’t wait to explore what was there.  We also met London’s Deputy Mayor for policing, Sophie Linden, who has visited St Mary’s recently, she happily had her photo taken with some of us.

AliPali Pic2We went around to the different stands showing us the different activities which we could be involved in, and were told of the work of our essential services such as the police, firefighters, paramedics, marines, air cadets, and many others which enlightened and inspired us.  Alexandra Palace was engulfed with students from all over London and we had the opportunity for chats with them throughout the visit.

The most popular stands were from the military, where we got to hold deactivated firearms and have a go on a virtual reality demonstration of what life looks in military service. The bomb disposal team showed us a radio controlled robot disarming an old ‘rpg-7’ (or rocket propelled grenade) which had been deactivated already, for obvious reasons.  Another stand allowed us to virtually fly a plane.  In the centre of the event was a boxing arena and next to it four large punch bags; I’m certain every student who attended the event had a go.

Near the entrance was the police and firefighters, they allowed us in each of the two vehicles they bought with them and allowed us to sound the fire engine siren.  In conclusion, this was one of the most inspiring trips that Year 9 have been part of, both socially and educationally and we must thank Mr Irvine for organising it.

United Nations Arts Ambassador, Ibiyinka Alao, Visits St Mary's

On Wednesday 7th June, the United Nations Arts Ambassador, Ibiyinka Alao, visited our School to work with Year 7 pupils on a project called ‘The Bag of Hope’.

This is a global project which raises awareness of the rights of children.  The project raises funds for UNICEF and other organisations working with and supporting children & young adults, and is completed by children from all countries, creating the largest decorated canvas bag in the world. This year, the project will attempt to beat the current Guinness World record for such a bag.  (more information here   We are privileged to be part of this initiative.

In an assembly with Mr Alao, the children were made aware of their rights to free education; to feel safe; to be fed; to receive healthcare; and the right to help when you have been mistreated or abused. Mr Alao shared much of his work with the students, telling us the stories that inspired them.

work Pic2After meeting Mr Alao all of Year 7 moved to the Art classrooms to work on their own pictures to symbolise ‘Hope’.  The students were most excited, and somewhat inspired, when they were told that these will be displayed on the United Nations building in New York.

'Faiths Together in Croydon' at St Mary's

On Wednesday 24 May, St Mary’s hosted a meeting of Faiths Together in Croydon’.  Fourteen of our students joined ten young people from South Norwood Islamic Centre, along with other faith leaders and community workers in order to explore the concept of ‘Respect’.

The primary guiding principles adopted by ‘Faiths Together in Croydon’ are: Respect, Education, Safety, Perspective, Empathy, Celebration, and Tolerance.In our ever-changing world, we find that relationships are under strain amongst our peers, our families and across communities. Activities organised by ‘Faith Together in Croydon’ are aimed at exploring these core principles, and seeking to resolve any challenges we face together.

Everyone present was first asked to write on a post-it note who they respected.  They then met in a circle and played an icebreaker activity.  Two of the girls present, one Muslim and one Christian, then stood up and spoke of their understanding of respect.

Breaking into small groups the notion of respect was explored more fully, with each group choosing a representative to address the meeting with their group’s response to why respect is so vital for community cohesion.

The workshop included a number of role-plays.  Various scenarios of disrespect were acted out, including: a confrontation on a bus, and an argument in a classroom. With the Manchester attack being less than 48 hours earlier, this activity was very topical.

The next event to be held by ‘Faiths Together in Croydon’ will be a Sunday ‘bike ride’ on 9 July; we will be encouraging our students to take part.

Election Fever at St Mary's

Year 10 pupils standing in the annual elections to the various Student Leadership roles at St Mary's, including Head Girl & Head Boy, have been presenting their manifestos to pupils across the school in assemblies this week.

Rebecca Samuels, Year 10  writes:

During the month of May, pupils in Year 10 are applying for leadership roles – Head Girl, Head Boy, Prefects and Mentors. As the Year 11s are soon leaving and are doing their exams at the moment, our school needs new leaders. Being a leader isn’t just about having that title, you have to take into consideration all the responsibility and hard work that goes into it. As a journalist, I find it extremely ironic that none of the Year 10 pupils have gone for Deputy Head Boy or Girl – this means that they are all courageous enough to go for the main roles and want to all make a difference to the futures of not just themselves, but others too.

Hustings SMHS Pic1On Wednesday 16th May – Friday 19th May, the Year 10 students presented their speeches to Years 7 – 10 to convince those years to vote for them. Their speeches were all very insightful and well thought out. On Friday 26th May, those years will vote for a Head Boy and Head Girl. The girl and boy with the highest vote will become Head Girl and Head Boy and the second highest votes will become Deputy Head Boy and Deputy Head Girl. Mr Shields’ aim of this election is to make it as similar as possible to the one taking place here in our country right now. The General Election will take place on 8 June, 3 years earlier than expected. Theresa May wants to strengthen her hand on Brexit negotiations. There is a  comparison between the St Mary’s Election and The General Election which I think is an amazing idea because it prepares us for the future, for example in job interviews where we have to persuade or public speaking in which we have to express our feelings on a topic.

Election SMHS Pic3The pupils have all worked extremely hard – putting up posters around the school, campaigning to promote themselves and spending time with the younger years to answer their questions. In my opinion, they are ALL winners!


St Mary's students' first ever Retreat at Kintbury

On 8 May six students and two staff went on the school’s first ever retreat to St Cassian’s Centre, Kintbury in the heart of the Berkshire countryside.

The six girls who went could not believe the beauty of their surroundings.  Eleven students from another school joined us for a very spiritual and prayerful experience. 

On the first morning we explored who we are, where we see ourselves in the world and what God might have planned for us.  This was done in small groups with new friends.  The second day we looked at the meaning of reconciliation.  Reconciling ourselves to God’s plan and reconciling with others when we get into a tangled mess.

It’s fair to say that after three nights the girls still did not want to come home and are planning an early return in Year 11.


Click on the image below to open a gallery of photos from the Retreat.

Lent Charities 2017

During Lent Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4 raised money for two different types of charity.

Key Stage 3 concentrated on ‘Breast Cancer Care’; and ‘Orchid’, the male cancer charity. ‘Breast Cancer Care’ was chosen by the students because many have loved ones who are, or were, helped by this charity. However, as some students pointed out, male cancers do not have such a high profile, so it was agreed to support ‘Orchid’ as well.

Key Stage 4 opted to support the work of ‘For Jimmy’(The Mizen Foundation) after Barry & Margaret Mizen’s inspiring sessions with both year groups.  Particular congratulations go to 11P for their amazing effort of raising £60, and to Klaudia in 9M who donated £22 in copper coins.

Some forms chose to bring in donations of non-perishable food and toiletries; these were donated to ‘Croydon Nightwatch’, with whom we aim to have an ongoing relationship.

For more information on our school's charity work CLICK HERE

The Good Samaritan Mass 2017

Pupils and staff from St Mary's attended the annual schools' Good Samaritan Mass at St George's Cathedral, Southwark on Tuesday 25th April. The Good Samaritan Mass is organised as a joint effort of the Education Commission and the Westminster Catholic Children’s Society to celebrate all the charitable endeavours which occur in Diocesan Secondary Schools, with particular emphasis on fundraising and awareness of the Southwark Crisis Fund. The fund was launched November 2015 by the Westminster Catholic Children’s Society and Archbishop Peter Smith and provides one-off grants to support families living in Southwark where a relatively small amount of funding can make a big difference.

Good Samaritan Mass Apr17 Pic9aThe story the Good Samaritan is one of the parables of Jesus. He tells it in response to a question  ‘who is my neighbour?’ The story concerns a traveller on the way from Jerusalem to Jericho, who is attacked, robbed and left half-dead by the roadside. It is an outsider - a man from Samaria, which was a country that the Jews despised - who decides to stop and show compassion towards the man, who had been attacked. He takes him to a safe place and provides for his recovery. Jesus' listeners must have been very shocked by this story, which showed that this outsider better understood and fulfilled God's command to love than those who were meant to be God's chosen people.

The key issues to be addressed in this parable are:

  • the challenge to help and care for those who are different from ourselves
  • the challenge to face up to and look beyond our prejudices
  • the challenge to reach out and welcome the stranger and outsider
  • the challenge to treat all people with fairness and compassion
  • the challenge to 'love our neighbour as ourselves'
  • the challenge to treat others with respect, tolerance and justice.

Tee Bello performs at St Mary's

On Friday 21st April, Years 7 & 8 had the opportunity to meet the upcoming solo singer, “Tee Bello,” on his Cyber Bullying, Discrimination & British Values themed school tour. Tee didn’t only perform for our pupils at St Mary’s, he also delivered an important Cyber Bullying, Discrimination & British Values message.


Tee Bello has been tipped by BBC's Radio 1 as the UK's next "Usher or Chris Brown." Tee has been singing and dancing since he was a child, studied musical theatre at University, and now Tee is set to take the UK's music industry by storm. Now signed to Universal Records, Tee Bello is an incredible live performer and boasts appearances at the O2 arena as well as supporting Jason Derulo in London amongst his list of achievements to date.


This program has toured to more than 3,600 schools around the UK and Ireland, with a mix of different artists who've had outstanding reviews. The pupils watched a unique and entertaining performance from Tee Bello, which was followed by the PSHE educational message.


The main message of the presentation is to empower students to make the right choices in regards to Online Safety & Cyber Bullying, as well as to inform students not to discriminate and to treat everyone fairly, whether they have a different sexual preference or are of a different race, sex, or nationality. They also discussed why diversity should be celebrated and the fundamental British Values.

Success at '#Girls4STEM' workshop day at London South Bank University

On Monday 27th March, twelve Year 10 girls from St Mary’s visited London South Bank University to take part in a #Girls4STEM Workshop Day event as part of International Women's Week celebrations.

Year 10 student Rebecca writes: Our first impression of the university was ‘wow!’ - it was so versatile with so many different levels depending on what you want to do. We were introduced to speakers with STEM-based careers. ‘STEM’ stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths. STEM careers are predicted to grow to more than 9 million between 2012 and 2022. The speakers all gave us a brief overview of their jobs and how they got there. We then played bingo – we had to move around and find people with all the things described on our lists such as ‘find someone who dyes their hair’.

Girls4STEMPic3Later on, we were introduced to two members of the University along with a few members of other schools. We went to another room and our task was to create an app for the well-being of the elderly by giving them ways to stay fit, eat healthily and make their lives easier. The winners were then announced in the room we started in and my group ‘My P.A.’ had won! We went to the front to collect our prizes.

I loved all the things they did for us, they ordered pizza for us, gave us prizes for our hard work, organised speakers with busy schedules to talk to us and even gave us beautiful, intricate cupcakes with the name of the university on them!

I found this day incredibly productive and inspiring; #Girls4STEM taught me that you shouldn’t let stereotypes of gender define you and what you want to be. I am so grateful I had this experience to socialise and meet new people because it taught me that you don’t need to know someone for a long period of time just to get on with them and create a successful project. I had so much fun working with girls from other schools to create the app and won a prize that I didn’t even expect!

Girls4STEMPic4At the beginning of the day, we were asked “Who would like to have a STEM-based career in the future?” and there were about two hands raised. By the end of the day, we were asked the same question again and almost the whole room had raised their hands, including me. STEM completely changed my perspective on STEM-based careers and showed me that you can do anything you want to, the only person restricting yourself is you!

For the girls of SMCH, all our aims are the same: to be successful and happy.

St Mary's pupils remember the victims of the Westminster attack

On Thursday morning, pupils from St Mary's joined the Mayor of Croydon and other dignitaries as the Croydon Borough flag was lowered to half-mast in remembrance of the victims of this week's Westminster attack. The pupil representatives joined the Mayor in the Town Hall to sign the Book of Condolence.

Senior Citizens' St Patrick's Night Party

On Friday 17 March, St Patrick’s Night, St Mary's held our annual party to say thank you to our local senior citizens for all they have done in serving the Croydon area.  The hall was decorated appropriately for the feast day and green was the dominant colour worn by many of our guests.

Drinks and nibbles were served as they arrived with staff and pupils from years 8 - 11 were on hand to assist with the evening.  The menu was fish and chips followed by a selection of gateaux.  Two games of Bingo and a free raffle were followed by some dancing to 60s music, enjoyed by all ages.

Ofsted Inspection Report

Ofsted have just rated St Mary’s as a ‘Good’ School in each of its four categories. The inspection took place on 1st & 2nd February and follows on from the school being awarded ‘Croydon School of the Year’. Well done to everyone in our school community.

To read the report: CLICK HERE

Margaret & Barry Mizen visit St Mary's

Thursday 9 March: Margaret & Barry Mizen spoke movingly to Years 10 & 11 students of the story of their son Jimmy, his tragic death and their continued quest for peace.  They spoke at length about forgiveness and the self-harming futility of revenge. 

Margaret told the students how her faith has seen her through the dark times of losing Jimmy and being diagnosed with cancer last summer.

After the talk Margaret & Barry were presented with a Lenten donation to For Jimmy (Mizen Foundation) by the Head Girl and Head Boy.

Croydon Commitment says 'Thank You'

Melinda Ashford of Croydon Commitment and Simon Kirby of Allianz Global Assistance paid a visit to St Mary's to say thank you for the magnificent donation of £914 we made to Croydon Commitment from our 'mufti-day' in Advent.

London's Deputy Mayor visits St Mary's

St Mary's was delighted to welcome Sophie Linden, London's Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime, along with Croydon Councillor Hamida Ali, who met staff and pupils on Friday 27th January. They were particularly interested in investigating gender equality amongst young people and raising girls' aspirations.

Croydon Secondary School of the Year 2016

At a special presentation ceremony on 11th January Mr David Butler, Croydon's Head of School Standards, presented our Headteacher, along with Jordanne and Reuben (Head Girl and Boy), with the Croydon Secondary School of the Year Award 2016. This is the first time our school has received this award since its foundation.

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