As part of our preparations for the intense pressures of GCSE exams, year 11 spent Wednesday 29 March on a retreat day called “More than a grade” which encouraged our young people to understand that while grades are important, they are just a part of the wonderful person that each and every year 11 student is.

Following an opening liturgy, students wrote affirmations for classmates to bring encouragement when facing stress. These were shared later, after Mass when the year group enjoyed drinks and ice creams with their friends.

We all heard Margaret and Barry Mizen speak about their son Jimmy who was murdered in 2008, the weekend before his GCSE exams began. Margaret and Barry reminded the young people that faith, hope and forgiveness bring us all great blessings and security in life. Every time we hear Margaret and Barry speak, we are humbled by their sincere words. I have no doubt that year 11 students will remember them, and Jimmy for the rest of their lives.

Students also spent time in reflection, using the words of Psalm139 to find the meaning for them of being wonderfully made by God and writing words of encouragement to themselves based on 1 Timothy 4: 12 “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.”

We are indebted to Margaret and Barry Mizen for being with us on the day, and to Alex, Kieran, Tom and Fr Jonathan Cotton for leading our workshops and for our beautiful celebration of Mass.

Mrs R Jinks

Assistant Headteacher / Head of RE