Find out what’s been happening over the last term with the latest newsletters from our secondary schools for the Month of June 2022…
Lincoln & Ethan
Celebrated chef Paul O’Hara launched Healthy Eating Week on Monday by giving pupils at St Peter’s Catholic College in South Bank a glimpse of his vision for the healthy, nutritious and delicious school meals of the future.
Paul – who made his name working at Michelin-starred restaurants – has taken on the challenge of transforming dinners for 9,000 children in 27 Nicholas Postage Catholic Academy Trust (NPCAT) schools across Teesside and North Yorkshire.
In what’s believed to be a nationwide first, NPCAT has appointed the former executive chef at the five red-star Rockliffe Hall Hotel in Hurworth as its new trust development chef.
His duties will include supporting school cooks and kitchens, improving the quality of school meals on offer and the overall dining experience. He will also work to develop pupils’ cooking skills and interest in healthy eating.
Paul is already getting his teeth into the new role and was delighted to spend time with St Peter’s cook Mick Blane and pupils.
“I love catering for children,” he says. “I have a son and daughter and often ask them for suggestions of what they’d like to see on the menu.
“I’m delighted to take on this exciting opportunity to make a real difference to the health of our young people – after all, what could be more rewarding?”
“I don’t see what I do as a job. I don’t think of it as going to work. I am being paid to do something that I enjoy. I sometimes wonder what it would be like to be doing a job you don’t like – it must be awful!”
School meals are once again in the national spotlight after celebrity chef Jamie Oliver staged an “Eton mess” protest outside Number 10 Downing Street last month against what he said was a government U-turn over plans to implement a “world class” anti-obesity strategy.
Head of estates and facilities Matthew Laverick says appointing Paul puts NPCAT at the forefront of the drive to ensure it offers all pupils a healthy and tasty meal every day.
He said: “Bringing him here is a real coup. Paul’s already fitting in very well with the team. He’s very approachable, flexible and calm under pressure. He likes to get things done, but he’s also very process-driven.”
“His role will include making sure children are enjoying the food on offer and he’ll be looking at the numbers and uptake of school meals and raising quality and standards.
“He will visit schools on a rolling basis and look at areas such as presentation, menu choice and the skills of the staff.”
However, that’s only the start of it.
“He will also provide added value across the trust and within the wider community as well,” says Matthew.
“We plan to hold theme days across the trust, cooking development sessions and demonstrations, and he will also be working with the children.
“For example, he might work with Year 13 children who are leaving our sixth form to teach them how to cook for themselves at university, or show Year 6 children how to cook simple things like eggs.”
Paul has more than 27 years of experience in catering, mainly working with hotels and Michelin-star restaurants.
Born in Trimdon, County Durham, he started his career in catering as a pot washer in Devon and only started cooking because the agency chef didn’t turn up.
He moved on to the Selfridge Hotel on Oxford Street, before returning to the North-East.
As head chef at Bistro 21 in Durham, he then worked alongside world-renowned chefs Paul Rankin, Brian Turner, Nigel Haworth, Nick Nairn and Paul Heathcote.
In 2006 Paul opened his own restaurant and pub, the Bridge Inn in Whorlton Village. The pub was featured twice on the front cover of the AA Good Pub Guide as well as winning North-East Pub of the Year and AA Pub of the Year.
British Nutrition Foundation’s 10th Healthy Eating Week took place from June 13 to 17. This year’s message was “Eat well for you and the planet!” The foundation asked everyone from nurseries and schools to workplaces and community groups to get involved – watch out for more on healthy eating from Paul and NPCAT Catering in the coming months…
Local Media Coverage
BBC Radio Tees went along to St Peter’s Catholic College to meet Paul and the lead teacher for catering, Mrs Hart – listen to the feature here at around 1h 35m.
Schools North East also featured the story in the healthy Eating Week 2022 roundup here.
OUTSTANDING REPORT FOR ‘WARM, WELCOMING, INCLUSIVE’ SCHOOL
An NPCAT school described as “a haven where pupils flourish” is celebrating after being rated Outstanding in all areas in a glowing diocesan inspection report.
Inspectors said Corpus Christi Catholic Primary School, on Cargo Fleet Lane in Middlesbrough, lives out its mission to “Love one another as I have loved you”.
“Corpus Christi is a warm, welcoming, inclusive school where all are valued, well respected and very well cared for,” the report says.
“The welcome from pupils, staff, and governors is warm and friendly and is a true sign of the excellent relationships which are a key strength of the school.
“The behaviour of the pupils is very good. Pupils and staff, parents and governors are all rightly very proud of their vibrant and inclusive school. Pupils speak of a deep sense of belonging.
“Staff strive to lead by example and have very high expectations of the pupils’ behaviour. As a result, the pupils’ behaviour is very good; they are polite, happy and very keen to share their love of learning and school.”
Headteacher Carolyn Baker said everyone at the school is delighted with the report, which affirms the hard work and commitment of staff, parents and pupils.
“We couldn’t be more thrilled, it’s amazing,” she said. “The first line about us being a warm, welcoming, inclusive school is really important. We want to be a real strength in the community.”
Asked what makes the school so special, Mrs Baker said: “Every member of the team goes above and beyond what they’re asked to do and we’re a real community school.
“We have excellent behaviour and that’s all down to strong relationships, dedication, perseverance and wanting the very best for our children – we have the highest ambitions for every one of them.
“We’re very well supported by our families and that support is reciprocal. We look at what we can do for the whole family as well as for the children.
“We run parenting courses, an eco-shop and a credit union, and our parents are involved all the way through. We also help them with interviews, CVs and benefit advice.
“The parents help the children and also improve their own life chances in terms of qualifications and experiences and signposting them to further education, voluntary work and employment.
“The parish is also a massive part of our school. We’ve been so supported by Canon John Lumley, who really values our school and the part it plays in the community.”
Corpus Christi, which is located in one of the most deprived wards in England, currently has 280 pupils and also offers a nursery and facilities for two-year-olds.
Mrs Baker has been headteacher for 19 years and previously worked at fellow NPCAT schools St Edward’s, St Alphonsus’ and St Joseph’s, Middlesbrough.
The report says pupils enthusiastically live out their faith, taking a leading role in fundraising activities such as the CAUSE Christmas hamper campaign and a gardening club that grows food for isolated members of the community.
It says: “Staff are supported through continuing professional development on Catholic life and a staff retreat. A dedicated prayer room displays the school’s commitment to the further development and enrichment of its Catholic life.
“Leaders on all levels are passionately committed to the mission of the Church. The parents have a clear understanding of the school mission and are highly supportive of it.
“The parish priest is highly involved in school life and is proud of the strong links between the parish and the school.
“Trust and leaders are ambitious for the school. The school is proactive in its response to all diocesan matters and actively promotes the Bishop’s vision in all that they do.
“Religious Education is outstanding because it is given such high importance within the school and enables pupils to make outstanding progress. Pupils achieve very well, they enjoy their learning and they show understanding of deep religious thinking.”
The curriculum came to life for Year 9 and 10 pupils across the trust’s four secondary schools when two very special visitors talked about events that shaped the world we live in.
Our trust maths subject director invited Bletchley Park outreach officer Liz Mitchell, who told more than 1,000 pupils how Alan Turing and his team had saved thousands of lives by cracking the code used by Germany and its allies to direct its Second World War operations.
In an event organised by the history department, Anaïs Mutumba also visited to give her moving testimony of being a small child during the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda.
The two events illustrate the way the NPCAT secondary standards team are creating new and exciting learning opportunities for pupils across the trust, significantly enhancing their classroom learning experience.
In an event that combined maths with learning about history, Liz spent a day in each of our four secondaries, St Patrick’s Catholic College, St Peter’s Catholic College, Trinity Catholic College and Sacred Heart Catholic Secondary, bringing the actual wartime Enigma machine that was used in the film The Imitation Game.
She told pupils how the Bletchley Park code-breakers shortened the war by around two years, saving thousands or perhaps millions of lives.
“The government brought together mathematicians, linguists and people who were good at puzzles to crack the codes used by the German, Italian and Japanese forces to encrypt messages,” explained trust director for secondary mathematics Emma Brooksbank.
“Once they did this they could intercept thousands of messages without the enemy knowing. The pupils were able to look at the machine’s settings and see how it worked.
“The number of possible combinations was 103 followed by 21 zeros. It would take longer than the time since the universe has existed to check all of them for just one second! That shows just how difficult their work was.”
Small groups of pupils then had their own go at code-breaking, using the Caesar Cipher to work out the combination of a briefcase that contained Celebrations sweets.
“They were unsure what to expect, but they thoroughly enjoyed the event, especially having a go at the code-breaking,” said Emma. “They showed great enthusiasm and the battle to be first to break the code was very competitive.”
Liz added: “The pupils lived up to the high expectations of their schools and their behaviour was fantastic throughout the week.”
Anaïs Mutumba, from the Ishami Foundation, visited St Patrick’s Catholic College to give a talk that was live-streamed to the other three schools via Google Meet.
Pupils sat in silence as she told about her horrifying experiences of being a child of just five years old during the infamous events that led to the murder of more than a million people in Rwanda.
“She told us how her mother had to go to hospital under armed guard to give birth to her sibling because of the danger of violence,” said trust director of secondary history, Phill Scarr.
“Pupils from all four schools were stunned by what Anaïs had to say. “Genocide is part of their history curriculum and as well as learning about the Holocaust, they were also studying the events in Rwanda.
“They engaged fully with the presentation and asked some excellent and sensitive questions about forgiveness and life in Rwanda today. They were a credit to their schools.
“It’s so important to take pupils beyond the curriculum and have them actually see someone who’s lived through these experiences and bring them to life.
“We can talk about events in class and read books, but hearing from someone’s own experiences and how they affected them really brings the events to life.
“Anaïs spoke about how the country is healing today and how people no longer think in terms of Tusi and Hutu. She says it’s now a safe place.”
After the success of both talks, Emma and Phill are planning further events to help pupils across all four secondary schools understand their subjects in more depth.
Meanwhile, Rachel Heer, trust director of modern foreign languages, has been taking part in an international webinar, presenting a case study of how she used the state-of-the-art VR suite at St Peter’s Catholic College to engage pupils with languages.
She also took part in a panel discussion about the use of technology to support language learning and what the future of language teaching might look like.
St Gabriel’s Catholic Primary School, where “polite and respectful” pupils work hard and feel happy and safe has been rated Good in all areas by Ofsted.
Inspectors who visited the school in March 2022 praised staff for organising memorable experiences linked to the curriculum, including trips to Boro’s Riverside Stadium.
The report said: “Staff make sure that everyone is included on visits. They make special arrangements for pupils who might find the trips, including residentials, difficult.
“Staff expect pupils to behave well, and they do. Pupils work hard and are proud of their work. Relationships between adults and pupils are highly positive.
“Pupils are excited by the new library and the wide range of books they can borrow. The librarians relish their role in helping others choose books.”
The school offers a breakfast club for anybody who would like to attend and there are after-school clubs on offer, including a SATs club to help Year 6 pupils with their maths studies.
Parents and carers are encouraged to come into school for special events and the school makes good use of social media to keep them informed and let them see how their children are enjoying school life.
“The curriculum is ambitious for all pupils, including those with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND),” the report says.
“Activities are chosen carefully to match pupils’ needs. Teachers check to make sure that pupils understand new learning. Any pupil who is struggling is spotted quickly. They then receive support such as a daily reading session or additional teaching.”
Senior leaders are “effective” and have built a team of staff who are “determined to provide a high-quality education”.
Reading is prioritised and a new phonics programme has recently been introduced to help pupils learn to read.
The report also praises the school for the quality of online teaching and communication on offer during the lockdown.
“The school kept in touch with all the families,” the report adds. “Considerable thought was given to pupils returning to school. Leaders focused on pupils’ mental health needs and catch-up in basic skills.
The local governing body provides challenge and support to the school and strengthens links with the church and wider community.
NPCAT is also praised for providing high-quality challenge and support, especially for pupils with special educational needs and disabilities, while inspectors say the school has a strong culture of safeguarding.
Headteacher Lindsay Phelps said she was delighted with the report and how it reflects the inclusive environment she and her team had worked hard to create at St Gabriel’s.
“The inspectors talked about how we provide a rich, aspirational curriculum for our children, which is so important to us because we want them to achieve amazing things in their lives,” she said.
“I’m also pleased they recognised that children with special needs and disabilities are fully integrated into the school and how we work hard to ensure they also reach their potential.”
Lindsay said the leadership team, staff, governors and families have all played a role in St Gabriel’s success.
“We’ve always had a team ethos and we’re all in this together – I always say we are Team St Gabriel’s!” she said.
“The report reflects how everyone plays a really important role and without all those parts, the school wouldn’t run as effectively as it does.
“The children are also a huge part of that team. It’s their voice that really comes through in this report, and that’s very important for me.”
To view the full report, click here.
Members of Trinity Catholic College’s after-school netball club have fired themselves to a Guinness World Record after racking up more than 1,000 goals in just an hour.
The talented team rose to the challenge of cracking the previous record for Most Goals Scored by a Netball Team in an Hour, which stood at 740.
And after they managed to score 1,100 goals in the allotted time, Guinness World Records has confirmed that their attempt meets all their requirements and has been successful.
PE teacher Carol Rodgers came up with the idea of beating the record while the girls were unable to play because of the lockdown.
“I wondered if there was a record and decided to look it up,” says Carol. “When I read that the previous record was 740 I thought, ‘We can beat that!’, so we got it set up as soon as we got back to school.”
Members play twice a week as one of the Middlesbrough school’s regular extracurricular activities and the record attempt replaced their usual training session.
Two external umpires had to come in to ensure impartiality and two official timekeepers were appointed, with two more girls to keep the scores.
Only one player was allowed in the D at a time and they had to shoot before the next person could enter. The whole team’s total was then tallied together.
“Our girls went out and well and truly smashed the record,” says Carol.
“They knew they’d done it with about ten minutes to go and after that they wanted to get the score as high as they could,” says Carol.
“They were absolutely chuffed to bits and I’m so proud of them all.”
Trinity has a proud record of sporting success and the Year 11 girls’ team are unbeaten in the area throughout their five years at school.
Their only defeats in five years were when they came second to Trafford Netball Club in a tournament at EuroDisney in Paris and a loss in a national qualifier.
Year 11’s Emma Rodgers plays for Leeds Rhinos while her teammate Dani Walker represents the North-East. Year 7s Angelique Richardson also represents the region.
Children at St Bernadette’s Catholic Primary School in Nunthorpe got the chance to see one of sport’s most coveted prizes when Emma Raducanu’s US Open trophy came into their classrooms.
The LTA brought the stunning silverware as part of a UK tour to celebrate the teenager’s sensational success at Flushing Meadows last September.
Raducanu’s victory united the nation and now the LTA is tapping into the enthusiasm generated by a remarkable sporting moment to spread the message of the game around the country.
St Bernadette’s was chosen as one of the schools signed up to the LTA Youth Schools initiative, of which Emma is an ambassador.
A special video from Raducanu was played to the students, who were also given a tennis coaching session delivered by an LTA youth coach.
Sarah Smith, St Bernadette’s PE lead, said: “We’ve been having some wonderful tennis lessons for our Year 3 and Year 4 pupils from the LTA and they asked if we’d like to have the trophy come into school.
“Tennis fits perfectly into the school’s vision, ACE – Aspire, Courage and Excellence. When we looked at Emma and her vision and dreams, that’s what we want for our children here at St Bernadette’s as well.
“When the children saw the gentleman with the white gloves bringing in the trophy there were gasps. They thought it was amazing.”
Sam Foakes, the LTA’s interim head of region, north, said the organisation is trying to make tennis more accessible for children from all kinds of backgrounds.
“We’re looking to roll out the LTA’s Youth Schools programme in as many schools across the north as possible,” he said.
“It’s really important to bring on a new generation of players and we want as many people as possible to pick up a racket and be inspired by Emma’s amazing success.
“The Youth Schools offer is helping to reach into communities where there may not be the facilities or equipment. We want to open up the sport and make it more inclusive.”
Clare Harding, NPCAT’s head of sport and primary strategic lead for PE, said sport plays a central role in the trust’s mission.
“NPCAT Sport is dedicated to providing world-class physical education, sport and physical activities that cater for all regardless of background, ability or personal circumstances,” she said.
“Our mission is to positively impact the lives of all pupils and I can’t think of a better way than to be inspired by Emma Raducanu’s stunning victory at the US Open.
“As part of a tour around Britain, the children at St Bernadette’s are being given the chance to get close to this iconic trophy, as well as getting outside for a training session with an LTA youth coach.
“Emma is such a positive sporting role model and shows our children what can be achieved if you are determined and dedicated enough.”
The Youth Schools programme aims to help more children aged four-to-18 become more active by enjoying tennis, offering free teacher training and content.
“Emma’s achievement in New York last September inspired so many people from all parts of our community and we are delighted to take her trophy to young people around the country,” said LTA CEO, Scott Lloyd.
“Our vision is to open tennis up – and by sending the trophy to schools across Britain, we hope more children will pick up a racket and try our sport for the first time.”
The tour began in London on Monday and has also visited Cambridge, Bristol, Pontypridd, Birmingham, Nottingham, Leeds, Middlesbrough and Edinburgh.
Raducanu said: “I’m really excited to be teaming up with the LTA to take my US Open trophy on a tour of the country.”
“All the schools we are taking the trophy to have played tennis as part of the LTA Youth Schools programme and my hope is that the trophy will inspire them to continue their tennis journey both inside and outside of school.
(Radio interview at 39 minutes, available until Friday 10 June 2022)
Read what has been happening throughout the trust and our schools with the latest edition of the Postgate News…
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Find out what’s been happening over the last term with the latest newsletters from our secondary schools for the Month of April 2022…