Issue 33 - April 2015 20 April 2015



Issue 33 - April 2015 20 April 2015
St Thomas Aquinas
Issue 33 | April 2015 | Founding editor - Mick Fitzgerald
What’s inside...
A member of Birmingham’s Catholic Partnership
Mass for
new Bishop
fun finish
We Are
The MAC Assembly: St Thomas Aquinas; St Brigid’s; St Columba’s; St James’; St Joseph’s and St Paul’s.
April ‘green light’ for the Lumen Christi Multi Academy
n this issue of the Aquinas People
we can officially announce the
formation of the Lumen Christi
Catholic Multi Academy. Latin for
the ‘Light of Christ’, the name was
suggested by the Catholic Life
Group-attended by all the schools:
St Thomas Aquinas, St Brigid’s; St
Columba’s; St James’; St Joseph’s
and St Paul’s. It was unanimously
supported by all Headteachers
and Foundation Directors of the
Shadow Board, who felt it best
captured the spirit of guidance
and enlightenment to which the
organisation aspires.
Amongst the board members is
David Holmes who was quoted as
saying, “Lumen Christi is a great
opportunity to secure the future
of Catholic education in the south
of the city and to provide a formal
structure and framework which
will encourage greater and more
efficient school to school support in
order to help raise standards in all
the schools.”
Furthermore, Aquinas
Headteacher Clare Madden added
that, “our mission is to work
together with mutual trust, respect
and love to provide the highest
quality of Catholic education for our
Joe Stevens (Editor)
Very Important Pupils!
The students
await the start
t was a pleasure to meet 81 students and to
congratulate them on always doing the right
thing and being fantastic role models at St
Thomas Aquinas Catholic School. They entered
through a special VIP entrance where Mr Perry
took on the ‘bouncer’ role to ensure only the
selected students could enter.
Upon entering the main hall they were
greeted with croissants, orange juice and
chocolate concrete. A video showing how
awesome people can be was also shown during
the assembly.
It was a very proud moment for me to speak in
front of such special students and I know I left
the main hall with a smile on my face ready to
tackle the day ahead. Again, well done to the 81!
Mr McInerney
Mr McInerney
& Mr Perry
House Masses: Four You
Fisher House
John-Paul House
t was a real privilege to lead Fisher
House in their House Mass and we
were really grateful to Fr Jan for finding
yet more time in his very busy schedule
to help Fisher House celebrate mass as
part of Lent.
The theme of the mass was courage
which typifies St John Fisher and
everyone sang, read and prayed
wonderfully well together. It really was
a lovely occasion. I must say that after
being involved in thirteen year group/
house masses over the years, this
was definitely the most reverent I have
seen any group of students - well done
Miss Madden thanked all the
students and tutors - Mrs Burls, Mrs
Wiggins, Miss Tierney, Mr Stevens,
Miss Moran and Mrs Statham as well
as support tutor Mr Flanders for all
their efforts in preparing for the mass.
Thank you too to everyone in Fisher
House from me - I am very proud of you.
Mr Gay
Head of Fisher House
Teresa House
efore Christmas, Teresa
House gathered to reflect
on the true meaning of this
religious festival. It was a very
spiritual and reverent Mass that
brought together all members
of the house, tutors, support
staff and parents.
All students had thoroughly
prepared for the Mass. All
forms were represented and
took an active part in the
Mass. We were reminded of
how Mary said “Yes” to God
in our communion refection
which Louisa, Nadya and
Olivia beautifully led in song.
A massive thank you must
go to Fr Andrzej (a visiting
priest currently working in St
Brigid’s), Anne-Marie Tibbits,
Mrs Bentley and the choir
for their contributions to the
Mass. The Mass would not
have happened if it had not
been for the hard work and the
efforts of the fabulous Teresa
House tutor team and all of our
As Head of Teresa House it
was an honour to participate in
such an amazing celebration.
Thank you all, as always I am
very proud of you.
n Thursday 12th February John Paul House
were lucky enough to be able to come and
celebrate house mass together.
The theme of the mass was ‘Hearts of Justice’
and Father Julius reminded us all that our hearts
are like an empty room and we can either choose
to fill the room with love and use it to help other
people or we can fill it with negativity which will
help neither ourselves or those around us.
Father Julius also reminded us all of our
wonderful house patron, Saint John Paul, and
how he, as Pope, tried to always have a heart full
of love and compassion.
A highlight of the mass was a presentation that
we all watched where we were shown pictures of
people from around the world who are in need
of our help. We all knew that our efforts to raise
money during Lent would go a long way
to showing that we are a house with generous
hearts for those less fortunate than ourselves.
Students from every tutor contributed to the
mass through the offertory procession, readings
or just respectfully joining in with the mass. It
was a very special start to our school day. Thank
you to all of the staff and students.
Mrs Ulmkalns, Teacher of English
Martin House
n Friday 20 March, Martin
House gathered together to
celebrate our annual House Mass.
Through the hard work of each of
our tutors and support staff and
willingness of our students to
participate, it was a spiritual and
reverent celebration.
The theme of the Mass was
God’s gifts and how we can use
them. Students were encouraged
to consider how they could be more
loving, joyful, kind, faithful, patient
and gentle; how they could ‘treat
others as they wish to be treated’.
Jude Devlin
Head of Teresa House
Our Opening Procession was
led by students from 5C and 4B
- each form had created some
beautiful display focussed on
one of the gifts of God. Our First
Reading was read by members of
1A and the Responsorial Psalm
and Acclamation were read by
members of 3B. Bidding prayers
from Martin 6C focussed on
the aforementioned gifts from
God as well as prayers for our
House community. We especially
remembered Billie Jayne Fulford
whose anniversary was Thursday
this week. Two tutors, Miss
Connolly and Mrs Doyle led the
offertory. Finally, our Communion
Reflection was led by students
from 2A. All of our readers and
processors did a fantastic job and
having so many students involved
made the Mass all the more
As ever on these occasions, hard
work, planning and rehearsing of
everyone involved preceded the
Martin House Mass. Special thanks
go to all those who volunteered to
take part in the Mass from every
form and to tutors for all their hard
work and support in preparing for
Mass. Well done to all members
of Martin House, form tutors, Mr
Smith and the choir members
along with our Lay Chaplain, AnneMarie Tibbits and Father Jan who,
as always, engaged the students
and made them reflect on their
own spirituality and how we can
live the Gospel message in our
daily lives.
Mrs McCabe
Head of Martin House
A Family Affair
In early March we held
our spring term Family
Mass in the Main Hall.
s we were in the middle of
Lent it was only fitting that we
celebrated the charity work
that we do as a school. Many form
tutors nominated students from their
form groups who are particularly
involved in helping to both raise money
Page 2 | April 2015
throughout the year and donating
food items for the B30 Foodbank and
Christmas hampers.
Over 50 students and their families
responded to the invitation to attend
the Mass and over 35 students took an
active role in Mass, taking part in the
processions, doing a reading or singing
in the choir.
The Mass was reflective of the
Lenten season and Fr Jan spoke in
his homily about how important it is to
forgive other people for things that they
do wrong; just as Jesus forgives us for
things we do wrong.
At the end of Mass Mr Martin thanked
everyone for attending; especially those
students who had taken part in some
way. For those students there was also
a surprise treat of an Easter egg to
them for all they continue to do for our
many charity appeals in school.
Lay Chaplain
Family Mass
Celebration of
the Passover
Bishop Marcus Mass
Mass for Bishop
Marcus Stock
rs Keyes and I accompanied
five Year 9 students to St
Chad’s Cathedral in January to
attend a Mass of Thanksgiving for
the ordination of The Right Reverend
Marcus Stock to Bishop of Leeds.
Bishop Marcus is originally from
the Birmingham Diocese and served
as Parish Priest to Our Lady and St
Brigid’s Parish in Northfield, from
1988 to 1991, during which time he
was also Chaplain to our school. He
served in several other parishes in
the Diocese before moving to London
to serve as Secretary General to the
Bishops’ Conference of England and
Wales for 10 years.
Bishop Marcus was ordained the
Bishop of Leeds on 13 November
last year and the Mass we attended
was the first occasion he had been
able to visit the Birmingham Diocese
since his ordination. The Mass took
place to enable former colleagues
and parishioners to celebrate Bishop
Marcus’ ordination with him. It was
an honour to be asked to send a
small group from our school to
attend the Mass.
The Cathedral was packed
with Archbishop Bernard, Bishop
Pargeter, Bishop Robert and many
Priests and Deacons from the
Diocese as well as parishioners from
all his previous parishes and several
schools sent representatives.
It was a lovely occasion, made
more special by Bishop Marcus’
words in his homily, when he said
that the Mass of Thanksgiving
was not for his consecration as a
bishop, but in thanksgiving for the
love, support and nurture of his
faith received from the parishioners
and religious during his 27 years
as a priest in the Archdiocese of
Anne-Marie, Lay Chaplain
A Feast For The Eyes and Ears:
Aquinas Day Mass & Assembly!
Instead of being in lessons as normal, every
member of our school was in the school sports
hall to celebrate the feast day of our school
patron, St Thomas Aquinas.
St Thomas Aquinas showed in his
reparations for the day
life: humility, his devotion to truth
started over a week before,
and to God, his charity and his thirst
when students were asked to
for knowledge. She went on to say
vote for the two students, one boy
that many of the same qualities are
and one girl, from their form group
that they considered were most ‘true shown by students in our school and
encouraged all students to continue
to our school values’, but the results
trying to emulate St Thomas
of the vote were kept a closely
Aquinas’ qualities in their lives.
guarded secret until the morning of
Following Mrs Madden’s
the Feast Day.
speech, Mr Smith became MC and
First thing in the morning of the
introduced each Head of
28th, students were in
House to the stage in turn,
their form rooms, with
where the names of the
tutors, writing prayers
“Well done
students who had won
for themselves, their
and thank you
the form group vote for
families, our school and
being ‘true to our school
the wider world. These
to everyone
values’ were read out.
prayers were placed
involved ”
All winning students were
into House boxes, with a
then invited onto the stage
special box for Year 13 and
to receive their certificates.
staff and processed to the foot
Following Bosco, Fisher and John
of the Altar at the beginning of Mass.
This procession set the scene for the Paul House award winners, we were
treated to our senior student vocal
rest of Mass, which was a lovely way
group singing ‘Rolling in the deep’
to start our morning of celebrations.
by Adele. It was a great performance
Following break time everyone
and all the audience joined in,
returned to the Sports Hall for
clapping along to the music.
the special Feast Day Assembly.
This performance was quickly
At the start of the assembly Miss
followed by the Heads of House
Madden spoke about the qualities
St Thomas Aquinas
n February, we gathered in
our RE class to celebrate the
Passover. Everyone sat down
at tables set with the items
commonly eaten during a
Sedar meal. There was even
a cup of wine (squash) for
the prophet Elijah and the
door was left open for him
to come in. During the meal
we took parsley dipped in salt
water and ate it. The parsley
represented new life and the
salt water reminded us of
the tears shed by the Jews
whilst in slavery in Egypt.
We continued our Passover
by eating Matzo which is
unleavened bread because,
when leaving Egypt, the Jews
had little time to wait for it to
rise. We dipped the Matzo into
the horse radish, representing
the bitterness of slavery. We
took Matzo again and made a
sandwich using the Charoset
– a paste/mixture with apples,
nuts and sugar. We drank the
last of the “wine” and to round
it all up we had sweets. All in
all we enjoyed experiencing
the Passover. A very special
thank you to Mrs O’Brien for a
lovely lesson.
Jani Padmanabh and Tabitha
Joy (Romero 5C)
Students enjoying the Passover repast
Mind Your
Miss Madden leads the mass
reading out the names of the
award winners for Martin, More
and Newman Houses. We then had
another song, this time performed
by the year 7 and 8 choir, singing
‘No Place I’d Rather Be’, by Clean
Bandit. This was accompanied by
a slide show of photos of studentsmuch to the enjoyment of everyone
in the Hall.
The last two Heads of House,
from Romero and Teresa and Head
of Year 13 announced the final
award winners. Finally the student
dance group performed a dance
to ‘Chandelier’ by Sia, which was a
wonderful way to end our assembly.
To complete our celebrations
students and staff left school at
lunchtime to enjoy the rest of the
feast day with family and friends.
Well done and thank you to
everyone involved in making both
the Mass and the Assembly so
his year I had the pleasure of
accompanying a group of 14 Year
We then split up into different
8 students when they visited
groups and participated in two
Hillcrest School for a day
workshops. During each,
of fun with languages,
our students had a taster
organised by SWAN
session in Russian,
“We all enjoyed
and attended by 12
Greek, Latin, Korean or
a performance
South Birmingham
Italian and everyone
of ‘Erreur
Schools. We
was able to learn
all enjoyed a
a few words of two
d’identité’, which
performance of
new languages before
made everyone
‘Erreur d’identité’,
returning to STACS.
which made everyone
Thank you to everyone
laugh. The actors spoke
who attended the Language
entirely in French throughout
Day for being such great
the play, which was certainly a
ambassadors for our school. A really
challenge. However it was surprising
lovely day was had by all.
Miss Jones
how much of the plot our students
Cover Supervisor
understood as they chatted excitedly
The Y8 language ladies!
Anne-Marie, Lay Chaplain
April 2015 | Page 3
A Word From Miss Madden
A reminder
from the past
Academy status
heralds new
ell the wait is over! All of the
planning and prayers have finally
led to our successful conversion to
academy status. The two years of
preparation have given us a good
foundation for the collaborative work
to begin in earnest. For many, there
will be no immediate changes. The
school names, the buildings and
the uniforms will remain the same.
Students will keep studying and
teachers in all of the schools will
continue to put in the hard work that
they do in order to help all of the
children succeed. However there are
many opportunities that we will be
able to approach as a Multi Academy
Company that will enable us the
benefit from our collective experience
and safeguard the provision for
Catholic Education in this community
for the future. The MAC will provide
a stronger framework for a smooth
transition from KS2 to KS3, ensuring
that teachers can share expectations
and have a better understanding of
pupils abilities and talents. There are
so many good things that can come
from this development in our history
and I believe that in this sometimes
uncertain climate we can certainly go
from strength to strength in unity.
It is hard to believe how quickly
the year passes. I am happy to say
that I continue to enjoy all of the
challenges and the joys that the role of
Headteacher brings and feel am able
to feel a great sense of pride in the
hard work of all of the individuals, both
students and staff that make up this
great school.
Clare Madden
Brolly good!
A visit to the
Clothes Show
Couture Club:
Sixth Form at the Clothes Show
efore Christmas a group
of Year 12 and 13 Textile
students had a trip to the
Clothes Show Live at the NEC in
Birmingham. The students had
the brilliant opportunity to gain
valuable insight into the Fashion
and Textile Industry. They were
also able to start thinking about
their future career by talking
to staff and students at the
numerous University stands
where they could also look at
and engage with the wonderful
array of students’ work. There
were also plenty of young
designers to talk to who were
showing and selling their work.
We were also able to see new
Page 4 | April 2015
technology in the form of a 3-D
The highlight of the day was
of course the catwalk show in
the Fashion Theatre: a fantastic
eye-popping performance of
well-choreographed dance
routines and fashion collections
including current and new
season designs from the High
Street, Designer, Couture and
Boutiques. And not forgetting
the fab compere Jamie Laing
from ‘Made in Chelsea’. Overall
an inspiring and informative day
out enjoyed by all with a little bit
of shopping thrown in!
Mrs Bayliss
Head of Newman House
Poland: a personal
reflection by Ethan Kiely
On the 3rd October 2014, St Thomas Aquinas history students began
a journey that would affect each and every one of us. I was lucky
enough to be a part of one of the most memorable school trip in
STACS history. You cannot understand, nor can you appreciate
history without coming face to face with it.
e set off on Friday evening,
One of the most interesting parts
with a cheerful band of
of the tour came through the story
staff members: ‘ring
of Maximillian Kolbe, who gave
leader’ Mrs Lavelle, Mr Gay, Mr
his life to save a prisoner selected
Keegan and the most enthusiastic
as part of ten to be exterminated;
of them all Mr Toal. After the
after another prisoner had escaped
rush onto the bus, parents waved
from the camp.
goodbye as we headed to Luton,
We entered the building in which
where we would spend the night at
the prisoners were kept and we
the Ibis Hotel.
passed the cell of Kolbe which was
To be honest, I don’t think I have
decorated from the previous visit
ever experienced waking up at
from Pope John Paul II. We then
Ryan Kulas
05.00 AM, I wasn’t sure that there
entered part of the prison where
was a 05:00 AM, well until that
inmates were forced to stand for
carried the innocent to Birkenau,
Saturday morning. After a quick
days on end in cramped brick cells
for days without food and water.
breakfast, (where Mrs Lavelle
with no food or water.
We also saw a memorial within the
proceeded to take humiliating
One student who felt the
camp which commemorated the
photos of tired teenagers) we made
experience more than the majority
one and a half million people that
our way to our flight.
was Year 12 student Ryan Kulas
lost their lives in Auschwitz.
After arriving in Poland
whose great grandfather
On the third day, we began our
at Katowice airport,
had actually died
tour around Krakow under the
we jumped on the
during the holocaust
guidance of our enthusiastic tour
“We were taken
coach and proceeded
at Auschwitz.
guide. After we walked in and
to one of the
to drive to our
Ryan emotionally
around the Jewish quarters we
first makeshift
hotel. After a little
described the feeling
were taken to the Oscar Schindler
confusion, Roxanna
as “something I
Factory; a museum portraying life
Kasprysk, (the only
can’t put into words”.
in Poland under the Nazi regime.
polish speaker on the
Before we left Auschwitz
Whilst touring the Jewish Quarters
tour), stepped in to tell our
I, we were taken to one
we were taken to where one of the
driver he had taken us to the wrong
of the first makeshift cremation
scenes from the film ‘Schindler’s
hotel! That evening, we took a trip
bunkers-a converted cottage.
List’ was filmed. Furthermore,
to the nearby Jewish Quarters
This was used, when the capacity
we also visited the Krakow Ghetto
where many of the Polish Jewish
of Auschwitz I was becoming too
Memorial which consisted of 33
community previous to the Second
much to handle for the SS forces
large steel chairs and then 37
World War lived. Then, a little later
and as we entered we could make
smaller steel chairs. All the chairs
on we continued to the main tourist
out the scratches on the wall,
represent an absence after the
square in Krakow, where everyone
from the innocent suffering
deportation of the Jewish
enjoyed a few hours of free time.
from the gas poisoning.
community throughout
After an early night, we woke
After a short
the early years of
“The idea behind
and prepared ourselves for the
journey on the
the Second World
this was to show
trip to Auschwitz. As our coach
coach, we entered
War. Some of the
pulled up, we noticed the train
the Auschwitz II or
smaller chairs even
that anyone could
tracks that would have been used
Birkenau. When
intrude into tram
have been a victim
to transport many of the innocent
the camp finished
and bus stops. The
of persecution”
Jewish, Polish, Gypsies and Soviet
construction in 1941,
idea behind this was
prisoners of war; all of which was
it became the largest of
to show that anyone
unknown to the allied forces. As we
all the concentration camps
could have been a victim of
entered Auschwitz I, we took notice
in Auschwitz. However, with the
of the tall black entrance, inscribed
train tracks leading straight into
On the final evening, the
‘Arbiet Macht Frei’, translated into
the camp, it quickly became more
teachers treated the students to
English, as ‘Work will set you free’.
of an extermination camp. Many
a late night in the Jewish quarter
This was a very daunting sight to
of the women and children, who
where we were allowed free time to
witness. Our tour guide showed
weren’t of use to the SS troops,
experience some of Krakow’s finest
us around many of the twenty-two
were immediately exterminated via
restaurants before we flew home
brick buildings, along with the main two cremation chambers 50 metres the morning after. Overall, the
courtyard; where many prisoners
away from the track. As we were
experience opened the eyes of the
were murdered by firing squad for
taken around this camp, we viewed
students that took part, in both an
unjustified reasoning.
a carriage which would have
emotional and educational way.
A Dazzling day for
the Brilliant Club
rs Clark and I had the pleasure of
accompanying 18 students from
Years 8 and 9 to the University of Warwick.
The students visited the university as an
introduction to their studies as members of
The Brilliant Club; an organisation which
helps students to aspire to study at a top
university. Firstly, we had an extensive
tour of the university where our students
had the opportunity to ask our student
ambassador many questions about what
life as a student is like. Students then took
part in an introductory session to meet
their mentor, who is a PhD student, who
they subsequently worked closely. This
was followed by a lecture to introduce
them to successful study skills. After
lunch our students attended the first of 5
tutorials, which culminated in a 1500 word
university style essay.
Thank you to all our students who were
a credit to themselves and the school. A
thoroughly enjoyable and fun-packed day
was had by all.
Miss Jones
Cover Supervisor
The Brilliant Boys & girls
Wheels in motion:
the cycle section!
Miss Ryan & Miss Liddle with the refreshed bikers!
Bowled over!
A Colourful Course Celebration
n the afternoon of Monday
9 February Mr Miastowski
and I accompanied a group
of Year 7 students to Hollywood
Bowl in Great Park, Rubery. The
event marked the successful
end of a course, called Rainbows
Spectrum, that the students
had been taking part in during
lunch times since October. The
course lasted for 12 weeks and
the trip was the final celebration.
The students had a lovely time,
playing bowls, having
Mrs Hickey, Miss Connolly
lunch and then spending
and Mr Miastowski for
their money trying to
“Well done to their support. Finally,
beat each other and
well done to the
the students
Mr Miastowski at air
students who attend
who attend the the celebration;
hockey and pool!
Other members of
for both giving up
staff involved in delivering
their lunchtimes to
the course were unable
participate in the course
to come to the celebration but
and for being so well behaved
played a major role in the success
during our afternoon celebration.
of the first of these courses and
Lay Chaplain
I would like to personally thank
Bike Pool Refreshed
his year we received twelve brand new bikes to replenish our stock of
bicycles that are available to borrow free of charge from school. As
part of the funding we received we also purchased a shipping container
that will be used to house bicycles that 6th Form students use to cycle to
school. Some of our 6th Form students have come up with initial designs
to transform the shipping container and give it a new lease of life. Our
students will be working closely with students at the nearby Newman
College who will be looking to jazz up our ideas with the aim to implement
these over the coming months.
Brilliant Bee-haviour!
n Tuesday 17th March, the English Faculty
hosted the final of the Year 7 Spelling Bee. It
was a fantastic event with 8 finalists showing off
their brilliant spelling skills, doing themselves
and their Houses proud. A group of Year 7
students, along with Mrs Ulmkalns and Miss
Madden came to support their peers and the
atmosphere was truly electric! It was a close call
between the top three spellers with Ellie from
Romero House in third place, Sam from John
Paul House in second and just pipping him to
the post by one, the overall winner was Myles
from Teresa House. I would like to thank all
those students in Year 7 who took part and all
those who helped them prepare and came along
to support on the day. Watch this space for next
year’s Spelling Bee!
Myles: the eggs-ellent winner!
St Thomas Aquinas
Mrs Siddall
Teacher of English
Mr Flood and the winners
Bikes for Africa
Thanks to the students, parents and
staff who supported this project.
We received nearly 30 bikes which
made their way to Africa this year.
Congratulations to the
following who won Halfords
Rachel McHendry (John Paul 1A)
Charlie McQuade (Teresa 6C)
Gabriel Hicks (Romero 4B)
Daniel Timms (Teresa 6C)
Molly Humphreys (Newman 5C)
Reece Knox (Martin 3B)
Liam Garvey (More 3B)
George Harris (John Paul 2A)
Mrs Tibbitts (Lay Chaplain)
Mrs Patrick (Teresa 6C Form Tutor)
Mr Flood, Assistant Headteacher
April 2015 | Page 5
Laying Down the Law in London
t the start of the spring term, the
RE and Citizenship faculty held
a ‘make your own law’ competition,
whereby students in Year 10 thought
about what they would like to change
in their communities. Students came
up with some great ideas, including
tightening legislation on smoking,
reducing the voting age and even
banning homework! The winners of
the competition were rewarded with
a trip to London and a visit to the
Houses of Parliament.
After a very early start, students
travelled by train and began the day
with a brief visit to Trafalgar Square,
Eye-eye: stacs
students visit
Horseman’s Guard Parade and
Big Ben struck noon and experienced
Downing Street. The group were then
spectacular views over London.
given an educational tour of
Well done to all of the students
the Palace of Westminster,
for being a real credit to the
visiting the House of Lords
school and a pleasure to
and House of Commons.
accompany to London.
“The winners
After a short break in
Thanks must also go
of the competition
the gift shop, students
to Mrs O’Brien for
were rewarded
began the 96m ascent
supporting the students
with a trip to
up 334 stairs for a
on the trip and to Mr
privileged tour of the
Richard Burden, MP for
London ”
Elizabeth Tower, which
Northfield, for arranging
houses Big Ben and included
the tour of the Houses of
a behind the scenes view of the
Parliament and Big Ben.
Mr Miastowski
four clock faces. Students were lucky
Head of Citizenship
enough to be at the top of the tower as
Fair Play: The
Fairtrade Fortnight
at Aquinas
I go Ape!
To mark Fairtrade Fortnight, students in Year
7 took part in a Fairtrade themed apprentice
activity within their RE and Citizenship
orking in groups, students
had to come up with a
new Fairtrade product,
create a sales pitch and marketing
campaign, and then present their
ideas in the boardroom!
Students examined what fairness
means, the impact that Fairtrade
has on farmers and producers
in poorer countries, as well as
how they, as consumers, are
connected to the wider world and
their responsibilities towards those
trapped in poverty and injustice.
There were a wide range of
Our task was to create a
Fairtrade product and to show
it to ‘Lord’ Miastowski. My
group’s product was a chocolate
bar under the name of ‘Nutty
Sensation’. We had two weeks
to prepare and then we had to
present it to ‘Lord’ Miastowski
and the class.
I loved doing it. This is because
not only did I learn new skills but
I also learnt about the wonderful
work of Fairtrade and about why
Fairtrade was formed in the first
place. I now fully understand and
support Fairtrade by looking for
Fairtrade products when going to
the shops.
Sam Haynes
John Paul House 4B
Page 6 | April 2015
creative ideas produced, with some
groups even going as far as making
the product itself! Well done to all
the students who took part in the
project for their efforts and positive
Mr Miastowski
Head of Citizenship
I enjoyed working as a team to
create an edible product that
we presented in front of the
whole class. I also enjoyed the
fact that we were left alone and
we have obviously developed
independence to help create our
I have learnt many things
about Fairtrade, including that
it helps the less fortunate to
rebuild their own lives and that
Fairtrade is a charity that gives
extra money to the farmers who
help create products sold in
I developed confidence during
this process, confidence that I
never had before now. I have also
learned how to be trustworthy
towards other people, giving
them a shot in the spotlight.
I have developed the skill of
working well with others and
coordination during this process.
Alex Byrne
Bosco House 1A
Media Flick Trip!
n Thursday November 20 it was my pleasure to accompany 34 Y11 Media Studies students
along with Miss Harrison and Miss Beasley to a viewing of ‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’.
The film was viewed in conjunction with the students’ study into Action Adventure: a key
component of their examination. Behaviour was exemplary throughout and there was certainly no
monkey business! Thank you Y11 you were a credit to yourselves, the subject and Aquinas.
Mr J Stevens, Head of Media Studies
Onwards and upwards:
Year 8 Forward Thinking!
n Wednesday March 4th, I had
the pleasure of taking some
of our students to Birmingham
University as part of the Forward
Thinking Programme. This is a
programme that six students from
Year 8 in our school will take part
in until they leave in Year 11. The
programme is designed to help
students think about their future
choices and encourages them to
think about going to university. The
students completed a series of
team-building activities so that they
could get to know students from
other schools in Birmingham who
are part of this programme. The
students’ first activity was to
make something out of
play-dough. They had
“They had to
to make something
make something
that reflected what
they wanted to do
that reflected what
in the future. They
they wanted to do
also completed a
in the future”
quiz which enabled
facilities on offer. In the
them to get an insight
evening, the students’
into university life. The
parents joined them for an
students then had a tour of the
inspirational talk from Fix-Up
university. They were overwhelmed
Seminars and a talk outlining the
by the size of Birmingham
programme. The students were
University and impressed by the
Headfirst into the task
a credit to our school and I am
confident they will be excellent
ambassadors for our school over
the next few years.
Miss Clark
School Librarian
It’s Good To
the 6th
Form Revue!
After coming joint first in the
November event, the 6th form
debating team returned to St
Paul’s School, Edgbaston on
Wednesday 25th March to claim
the title of overall winners!
he students were tasked to propose
the motion: ‘this house proposes that
modern technology is destroying the art of
conversation’. Gemma, Haydn, Charlotte and John
(Year 13) worked on the speech and the argument
over the course of two weeks…with a few ideas
from other 6th Form students. Haydn took the role
of proposing the excellently written and argued
motion while John seconded. Unfortunately,
our opposition were unable to attend but John
completed the difficult to task of responding with
The senior speakers
passion to what would have been their argument!
Both students performed brilliantly and
were pronounced overall winners of the event.
Congratulations to all involved!
Thanks go to Mr Nolan for driving us to and
from the debate.
Mrs E. Simpson
Key Stage 5 English Co-ordinator
It’s Good To Talk!
The Biologists
Biology at
Birmingham University
n Monday 26 January Mrs. Baker
and Mr. Robinson took a group
of Y13 Biologists to the University
of Birmingham to attend a lecture
entitled ‘Can we see Evolution in real
time using Bacterial models?’ by
Dr Pete Lund, Reader in Molecular
Microbiology. This was a fascinating
insight into not just the mechanisms
of Evolution but also the cutting
edge research that is being
carried out both at the University
of Birmingham and across the
world. From Darwin’s Galapagos
finches to Dr. Lund’s research into
inducible acid resistance in E. coli
(also via analogies of mobile phone
and computer ‘evolution’) Dr. Lund
took us on a trip through his team’s
challenge to create a viable Scientific
research model of a process that has
been hundreds of thousands of years
in the making. As well as fostering a
genuine interest in current research
the lecture will be an invaluable
source of information for our
longer answer exam questions! A
big thank you to the University of
Birmingham Outreach programme
for another fascinating lecture and
well done to the students who were
great ambassadors for our school;
Billy, Mary, Holly, Minuri, Alicia and
Mrs Baker
Teacher of Science
t Thomas Aquinas hosted
marks for the structure of their
this year’s Key Stage 4
argument, their research, the
Public Speaking Competition in
delivery of their speech and
March between our local
for sustaining the role
Catholic Secondary
of their character.
Schools. Students
Following a lengthy
“First place was
had spent a
awarded to St
number of weeks
between the
Thomas Aquinas
planning and
judges, the
practising the
winners were
and St Paul’s
delivery of a 3
announced and
Girls’ School ”
minute speech
joint first place
in which they had
was awarded to St
to argue the case of
Thomas Aquinas and
their ‘greatest fictional villain’.
St Paul’s Girls’ School. Many
On the day, we gathered in
congratulations to Hanna
the library where we heard
Jegina (Year 10) and her team
from characters including
who prepared and delivered a
The Joker, Miss Trunchbull
first class speech: well done!
Miss Walters
and Jack from Lord of the
Teacher of English
Flies. Students were awarded
The Senior Scientists
St Thomas Aquinas
Mr Harrison
Assistant Headteacher
Seniors on Stage
A Right Royal
Year 12
Drama Trip
Joint winners with Miss Walters
The Appliance of Science
ell done and thank you to
the Year 12 students who
put on a fun filled show for all of
our Year 7 students at the end of
2014! It takes some courage to
stand in front of a big audience,
including your peers, and perform
but the students even managed
to coerce a few members of staff
to join them. The variety show
included singing, dancing (both
Irish and Disco), football skills
and joke telling! Unfortunately for
him, Mr Martin was challenged
to eat a repulsive green gunge
as part of the Bush Tucker Trial!
Thank you to Katie Hurley, Amelia
Mulhern, Breanne Townsend,
Alaina Williams, Sian McGinn,
Kyle G Johnson, Dennis Abioye,
Chris Delacruz, Olivia Young, Ben
Tibbits, Megan Healey, Megan
Rowley, Farkhan Rashid, Aisha
Shaikh, Chantelle Swaine, Megan
Healy, Megan Rowley, Amelia
Cody, Molly Humphrey, Keisha
Green, Charlotte Flynn and
Krystal Burton and all of the other
n Tuesday 10th February, Mrs
Righton took a group of Year
13 Level 3 BTEC in Applied Science
students to John Henry Newman
Catholic College in Birmingham.
This was a brand new school that
had been built taking into account
modern scientific needs and modern
health and safety requirements.
Students had to draw the layout of the
enhanced Science Lab and compare
it to the old style Lab we used to
have in Science. Students found out
why certain materials are used for
their jobs, the different needs of a
Science Lab compared to other rooms
in a school as well as how to store
chemicals safely. This is an important
assignment in the course and the
students felt it was a real help to
compare a very new and up to date
lab with what Lab 7 was like last year.
Well done to the students who were
great ambassadors for our school:
Sam Pugh and Fady Ghobrial from St
Thomas Aquinas School and Shanielle
Phillips and Joe Coombes from
Bournville School.
Mrs Righton
Head of Science
n February, Miss Mortimer and her
fabulous group of four (including
myself) ventured into the depths of
The Birmingham REP to witness ‘The
King’s Speech’ for our Theatre Review!
After a well-deserved lunch at the
new library’s cafe, we walked straight
through to the box office to claim our
tickets and went to ‘F stage’ for the
performance! First impressions were
a little underwhelming, the rather
blank stage didn’t give much away;
but as the performance went on, we
saw just how versatile this stage was
and how talented the actors were! It
was funny, educational and heartwarming. But most of all, we left
that auditorium inspired! Not only
was it rather awe-inspiring to know
Jason Donovan was on the stage
playing Lionel Logue (though it’s
hard to tell unless you squinted at the
stage) but the show influenced our
critical thinking as actors, as well as
impressing us with the symbolism
behind the setting. From the lighting
to the shape of the spiralling oaken
floor, everything had a deeper
meaning which reinforced the entire
story! Overall, it was a fantastic
performance-and I may have even
shed a tear at the end!
Danielle Palmer
Fisher House 6C
April 2015 | Page 7
A word from the Editor
St Thomas Aquinas
Stephenson’s Rockets:
the Bosco Victors!
elcome to issue 33 of the
Aquinas People; an issue
that celebrates the launch and
‘creation’ of a new ‘family’:
Lumen Christi. A community
of schools that have come to
together in the spirit of ‘trust,
respect and love to provide
the highest quality Catholic
education’ for young people. We at the Aquinas
People extend our congratulations and wish you
every success in this exciting venture.
Apart from this momentous event, there are the
usual exciting episodes that make up daily life at
Tommys; including catwalks, spelling bees, trips
and a double triumph in public speaking! You can
never say life is dull at Aquinas!
Finally, here at the Aquinas People we would
also like to extend our congratulations to Miss
Madden on her first year as Headteacher at
Aquinas. Here’s to the next one…and many more!
Best Wishes,
Joe Stevens
It’s Snow Joke!
Snowdome Report 2015
Battle for the (volley)ball!
applied and conducted themselves
superbly over the week.
Mr Eburah
Head of Physical Education
Ski-sy does it!
techniques in such a short space
of time was incredible to watch.
The students were a credit to
our school, and we now look
forward to the trip to Italy itself
at the end of the month.
Mr Pickard
Teacher of Physical Education
Year 9 Boys Basketball
Match Report
Monday 12th January 2015
Congratulations to
the winners:
Year-7: Bosco
Year-8: Romero
Year-9: Romero
(joint winners)
St Thomas Aquinas Catholic School 36-16 Shenley Academy
The first game of the Basketball season began with a hard fought victory
over Shenley Academy. Despite the score line suggesting a comfortable
game, at times we were not the better team. Our first quarter and final
quarter were very strong, and these two periods of the game effectively
won the game for STACS. Despite it not being the strongest performance,
the team showed grit and determination to cross over the line. A better
performance needed for our next game.
MVP: Boris Pouatcha
Thursday 15th January 2015
Dame Elizabeth Cadbury 24-25 St Thomas Aquinas Catholic School
In what was an enthralling encounter, STACS just about came out on top.
With the first quarter finishing at 10-3, and the second finishing at 17-8
in our favour, the third and the fourth quarter were certainly more of a
challenge. Despite tiring legs, the minds did not tire, and the boys did not
give up, fighting for every single ball. With 30 seconds to play the score
was 24-23 in their favour. It seemed that we had blown our chances, when
a shooting foul was committed however luck was on our side, as the two
free throws were missed. STACS burst up to the other end and scored the
winning basket thanks to Boris Pouatcha. This was to be the last significant
event of the match. The boys should be very proud of this performance:
well done!
V-Factor Judges!
Produced for St Thomas Aquinas School by CW Content Works (
ouse volleyball competitions
in took place in the sports
hall for all year groups.
Participants were thrust into a
frenzied atmosphere created by
student spectators cheering on
their house and responded with
some fine technical and tactical
displays. For a lot of participants,
this was their first attempt at
playing a new sport and all teams
should be commended on their
ability to adapt to a new activity
so quickly! Highlights included a
tense Year 7 final between Bosco
and John Paul, an inspired Year
8 Martin team who were short on
numbers but still finished 2nd and
Mr Smyllie’s delight at a John Paul
victory in 11B! A massive well done
must go to all participants, who
0 students joined Mrs
Tierney, Miss Jones, Mr
McInerney, Mr Boyle and me
on Friday 27th February at the
Snowdome in Tamworth to
gain experience of skiing before
going to Italy. With most of the
students being beginners, it
was a valuable for them to get
to grips with the very basics
on skiing and having a go on
the slopes. The progression
of all students in the space
of an hour was incredible.
From not knowing how to put
the equipment on, to using
a number of performance
Year 11 Girls Netball
STACS v Bishop Challoner Won 9-5. Player of the match:
Charlotte Lane
Year 10 Girls Netball
STACS v Bishop Challoner Lost 6-14. Player of the match:
Page 8 | April 2015
Amy-Jade Powell
STACS v Shenley Won 4-3
Player of the match:
Nadya Rahmen
Year 7 Boys Football
STACS v Coleshill Won 4-2
(Birmingham Cup). We are now
through to the quarter finals.
Year 10 Boys Basketball
STACS v Kings Norton Boys
Won 56-29
Year 9 Boys Basketball
STACS v Dame Elizabeth
Cadbury Won 25-24
MVP: William Ebrey
Mr Pickard, Teacher of Physical Education
STACS v Shenley Academy
Won 36-16
Year 7 girls netball
STACS v Shenley Won 12-2
Player of the match:
Kelcie Fallon (MA-3B)
Year 8 girls netball
STACS v Shenley Drew 6-6
Player of the match:
Wing Kei Wong (BO-2A)
Year 8 Boys Basketball
STACS v Shenley Lost 24-12
Player of the match:
Bakaang Kentse (TE-1A)
In the next issue: Who will be crowned House Champions 2015?
A test of
character is
now on the
n what has been an incredible
start to the season for our year
8 boys, their character will now
be tested as they suffered their
first defeat away at Lighthall
in the Birmingham Cup. The
season has been full of goals
with Harrison Burley being our
top scorer with an incredible 19
The game against Lighthall
was by far the hardest game we
have had. However we should
have beaten them, based on the
chances that were created. We
had a poor start, and conceded
within the first ten minutes,
but fought back in the first
half to scramble an important
equaliser. The second half was a
much more of a challenge.
Unfortunately for us, we
missed a number of chances
and despite our domination
of the game, Lighthall scored
again. Hard Luck boys. You will
have to now commit to putting
together another unbeaten run!
Mr Pickard, Teacher of
Physical Education
U14 Girls
- English
Schools Cup
ur U14 team have been
very successful this
year getting to Round 4 (the
last round before quarterfinals). Being such a huge
nation-wide competition
we were very proud of the
standard of play by the team.
Unfortunately in Round 4
we came up against some
very tough opposition from
a school in South Notts.
Despite a valiant effort the
girls were beaten.
Well done girls on your
fantastic achievements so far
this year.
Mrs Tierney, Acting Head
of Physical Education
Year 10 Boys Basketball
STACS v Bartley Green
Won 79-9
Players of the match:
Nick Gibbs (RO-1A) 23 points
Kai Alexander (JP-5C) 20