Update and Special Events at St Catherine of Siena Primary School!
Since the start of the new academic year, the children have taken part in a whole host of special events within the school.
Community Week is a wonderful opportunity for us to put our faith into action and live out our Mission Statement, ‘Be who God created you to be and you will set the world on fire.’ Every class contributed towards making our school, local, national and global community a better place.
Below is a list of all classes, with the contributions they made during Community Week.
6 Lupita – Collecting, sorting, weighing and packaging food at Watford Food Bank and carrying out work on our Farm.
5 Alphonsa – Working with younger children within the school, helping in their learning and playing.
5 Bosco – Litter picking, cleaning and tiding our outdoor school environment.
4 Bakhita – Learning about recycling and auditing our current eco-practice within the school.
4 Orione – Entertaining and performing for the elderly at Lancaster Court Care Home.
3 Drexel – Fundraising for charity by making and serving soup to our local, school community.
2 Teresa – Working with 5 Alphonsa.
1 Faustyna – Planting, weeding and watering our flower beds, boxes and vegetable patches.
EYFS John Paul II – Creating a free community library.
Remembrance Day Assembly
To commemorate 100 years since the end of WW1, Year 6 led us in a beautiful, deeply moving Remembrance Day Assembly. Thank you to those parents, family members and Governors who were able to join us to remember and honour those who sacrificed themselves to secure and protect our freedom.
Prophet Muhammad's Birthday
We were delighted to have Mrs Janmohammed, one of our Governors, help us celebrate Mawlid al-Nabi al-Sharif, The Prophet Muhammad’s birthday. It was wonderful to have some of our children explain why this is such an important day for them as Muslims. We all learnt a great deal from the assembly and gained an even greater appreciation of the similarities and shared values in the Islamic and Catholic faiths.
Catholic Life of The School
This year the rich prayer-life within St Catherine’s has been enhanced by even more opportunities for us to come together as a faith community. The children have loved sharing the fruit of the Religious Education class topics in end of unit acts of worship. The new, weekly whole school worship rota has given every class the chance to lead worships and for families to come and pray with the children.
We are deeply indebted to St Michael’s and Father Terkura for offering to celebrate Mass on a weekly basis at St Catherine’s – we are very appreciative of the time and energy he has devloted to our children. The addition of class masses has brought a new dimension to the Catholic life of the school – enabling children to experience an encounter with Christ in a very personal, intimate setting. The feedback from the pupils has been overwhelmingly positive - their beaming smiles following Mass are testament to the way in which Father Terkura manages to bring the joy of the Gospel to life!
Year 6 Reconciliation Service
As a school, we have welcomed Fr Fortunato, the new parish Priest of Our lady and St Michael’s, into our community. We are grateful to him for organising a Reconciliation Service for our Year 6 pupils and arranging for the opportunity for them to experience the Sacrament of Reconciliation within the school. Thanks to him, Father Pat and Father Terkura for allowing our children to encounter God’s mercy and compassion as we prepare to enter the liturgical season of Advent. We look forward to working with Father Fortunato and strengthening the links between home, school and parish.
Diocese of Westminster - Adviser Visit
This week we were visited by our Religious Education Adviser, Grace Anderson. It was lovely to have the opportunity to show off the depth of our pupils’ religious literacy and all their wonderful work for the Common Good.
Throughout the coming year, there will be a focus on the Sacrament of the Eucharist in Religious Education teaching. This is to emphasise the centrality of the Eucharist in the life of the Catholic Church. Pope Francis has called for a rejuvenation of Eucharistic Adoration in Parishes as the source of strength for our lives and for our mission, that of making present the love and compassion of Jesus in our society. At St Catherine’s, pupils and staff will engage in various acts of worship and activities during the liturgical and school year, to make it memorable and meaningful. A Eucharistic piece of artwork, produced by all Year 6 chidlren is on the right.
It has long been an aim of the Governors and Leadership Team to have a dedicated prayer room within the school. Since losing our Sacred Space in order to meet the safeguarding requirements of a secure lobby, this has become even more of a priority. As such, we are delighted to say that work is well underway to turn our former meeting room into a Chapel. In keeping with our school belief in reducing, reusing, recycling, the seating areas have all been created from free, donated recycled pallets.
In such challenging financial times, a project such as this wouldn't’t be possible without the funds raised by the PTA. When finished, we hope that the Chapel will be a fitting legacy of the work done by our wonderful PTA last year. We are also very grateful to a parishioner and member of our school community (who wishes to remain anonymous) for an extremely generous personal donation towards the Chapel. Deacon Paul Quinn’s years of dedicated service to the school as Chair of Governors were recognised recently at Hertfordshire’s Outstanding Governors’ Awards – Paul was a runner up for Governor of the Year. He has asked that the prize money be spent on the Chapel. Lastly, every single aspect of the refurbishment/development from meeting room to Chapel has been carried out by members of staff, the majority during half-term, at weekends and in the evenings. Thank you to all those who have given their time and energy to make our Vision a reality, especially Keith Dommett.
Teaching, Learning & Curriculum
Home-learning is back with a bang! I have been thrilled by the variety of tasks undertaken by the children and the creativity they have demonstrated. Much of the work is so spectacular that it demands to be displayed! To enable it to be adequately showcased, we have a new (recycled) display area in the hall. When attending events at school, please do take the opportunity to look at the amazing work produced by our children.
The whole of KS2 benefited from expert French tuition from a visiting French student, Madam Fisher. It was lovely to find some natural linguists and amazing to see how much they picked up in such a short time. Year 6 are looking forward to putting their skills into action on our residential trip at the end of the year!
International Children's Day
Thank you to Mrs Griffin for organising our first UNICEF International Children’s Day. Our school was turned blue for a day in support of this vital cause. We were proud to contribute towards building a world where every child is in school and learning, safe from harm and able to fulfil their potential.
Mrs McCarthy and Mrs Metcalf have long led the drive in St Catherine’s to make us become a more ecologically friendly school and respond to our call to be Stewards of Creation. Mrs McCarthy has been working with the newly formed ‘Sustainability Society’ to raise ecological awareness and challenge us all to think about our impact on the environment. We look forward to seeing the myriad ways in which they will champion this cause in the future.
Thank you all for responding so positively to our drive to improve attendance and punctuality at St Catherine’s. As a result of your support, our overall attendance is currently 97.9%, above our ambitious target of 97.5%. We know that this is the season of illness and that many children will be suffering from coughs and cold, but we would encourage you to promote resilience in them and try to ensure that they are in school whenever they are physically able to be!
Physical & Mental Health & Wellbeing
Encouraging our children to ‘get on their bikes’ in a safe way, seemed like a perfect use of the Sports Premium, so we were delighted that the Year 6 Bike ability week proved to be such a resounding success! The tuition was excellent and the children’s skills improved exponentially throughout the course. By the end of the week, the children who took part all demonstrated excellent proficiency. Yet again, those running the course commented on our pupils’ exceptional behaviour, manners and learning behaviours.
Year 4 Dance
The annual Dance Festival at Rickmansworth School is always a great event. This year, pupils from Orione and Bakhita performed an exciting dance to a rapturous reception! Obviously we are slightly biased, but we think that theirs was the performance of the evening! Further details and pictures to follow.
As part of our drive to increase the levels of competitive sports at St. Catherine's and within our local area, we have invested a significant amount of time in creating a pilot league structure with other local schools. This has so far involved a mixed year 5 and 6 netball and football teams, who are currently competing against other schools. There have been many positive results so far, with our teams growing in in confidence and skill during this half term. The finals day for both leagues is on Wednesday 5th December at St. Catherine's. It would be lovely to have as much support as possible from 3-4.30pm, to hopefully cheer on our teams to success!
We believe that this is an exciting time for sports at our school, with plans already in place to expand the Veritas leagues to other sports and through a range of year groups across the school.
Thank you once again to our hard-working PTA Committee, PTA class-reps, PTA members and to those of you who have supported PTA events over the last year. As well as a jam-packed calendar of fundraising events, they have added after-school playground sales and even corporate-social bids to their activities! Thanks to a persuasive submission to the Aviva Community Fund by Stephanie Currie, we are down to the final two projects. If successful, we stand to gain £1,00-£5,000 for our Farm!
Again, the PTA have kindly paid for our Year 6 children's Leavers' Hoodies. With a newly, revamped design, the children are proudly wearing these around our school as they continue to serve our school community with their jobs.
Finally, we would like to welcome the new children and families who have joined St. Catherine's. You are already valued members of our school community and we look forward to many years of fruitful partnership.
The remainder of the term is an exciting one. Forthcoming events include Christmas Craft Fayre, Nativity and lots of festive fun! Please visit our Calendar to view forthcoming events. Please remember that (P) means that parents are invited to attend.
With love from the family of St. Catherine's,