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17 DECEMBER 2023

A Review Of The Autumn Term
By the Head Girl

Just a little note from me about a few things St. Francis’ got up to this term.
In true St. Francis’ College fashion, this term was jam-packed with all kinds of events that enable our students to thrive and pursue a variety of passions.

We kick started this academic year off with the greatly anticipated opening of the Sixth Form and the new Nursery. Both have been enormous successes and a lot of hard work has evidently gone into the designs. On behalf of all of the Sixth Form, I would love to give a huge thanks to Mrs Scott, who gave up so much time for this project, always putting our needs first and considering how the space can be most useful to us. Whilst it is not fully finished, we all cannot wait for the Zen Garden to open later this academic year and I hope that this will be a valued space for Sixth Formers for many years to come.

We kicked off the year with our annual House Music, which is an event of laughter, music and fun. Putting a twist on the usual process this year, each house entered 3 songs into the competition. The first was a pre-nineteenth century piece, encouraging our students to delve into traditional pieces of music. From sea shanties to classical composers, such as Purcell, this category did not disappoint, and all the students did amazingly. The second category was a post-19 nineteenth century piece, which gave the pupils the opportunity to explore modern pop songs. We were presented with two versions of the very popular song ‘I’m Just Ken’, as well as an amazing performance of ‘Wings’, which one of the judges said to be ‘X-Factor worthy’. The final performance was the Whole House piece, where everyone got involved (even the teachers!) in some amazing singing and dance moves. After the competition was finished, we were fortunate enough to have a performance by one of our judges Sam Vaughan, which was incredible and a lot of fun for the whole school.

Of course, our Year 7s, 8s and 9s took part in the annual Recycled Fashion Show for our whole school charity Kanyike. This year, the theme was ‘television’ and all year groups made every effort to impress to create sustainable fashion for our judges. We were all blown away with the dedication to the costumes and every pupil did a fantastic job. A massive congratulations to Year 12, who ran the event with ease and professionalism. We were also privileged to hear from Alice Rochester-Tounkara, who spoke about the work that the money is put towards during fundraisers such as these.

We then had our Autumn Concert which always is a phenomenal display of musical talent. Pupils from across the year groups performed with confidence and pride and were able to astound the parents, once again. Jess and I were, hopefully, able to entertain everyone with our dreadful dad jokes as well. An enormous thank you to Mrs Bland for organising such a memorable event, along with her excellent team of Mr Bland and Mr Hulme giving all the performers the ability to perform with high-level sound and lighting equipment.

We also have Nine Lessons and Carols coming up right at the end of term, which will be the first official service since before Covid-19. This event was always a favourite of mine as I went through the school and it’s the perfect way to kick start that Christmassy feeling. On the last day, we have the slightly less angelic carol singing, where the whole school gather to scream Christmas carols in a spirit of joy and laughter.

This term was not all about the music, though. STEM students had the opportunity to hear from the School’s Aerospace Careers Programme. They were able to meet Boston Dynamic’s Spot the robotic dog, which is used in a range of different industries. Not only this, but they also were able to experiment with VR and AR, as well as speaking with representatives of the industries of Aerospace and engineering.

We also had the opportunity to listen to the former commander of the South African Azanian People’s liberation army during Apartheid times – Letlape Mphahlele. This was a fantastic opportunity for our students to listen and ask questions to someone with such an interesting background, promoting our understanding of the wider world and struggles that other people face.

The rehearsals for this year’s school play of ‘Shrek’ are well underway, with our students working hard after school and in lunchtimes to prepare for the wonderful event. The play will be performed in February and the students involved have been working hard since September. This is such a comment on the hard work and dedication it takes to be a part of the play, as demonstrated by so many of the pupils and it is amazing to see so many students from all across the year groups getting involved.

More exciting renovations are occurring as the previously known JCR becomes a fitness studio and the new Year 11 Common Room. The fitness studio will be filled with professional gym equipment, providing an opportunity for students and teachers alike to promote physical and mental wellbeing. A common room for Year 11 will be a crucial social space for them to relax and enjoy their free time as they prepare for their upcoming GCSE exams.

Alongside all these incredible things that are happening inside of school, St. Francis’ hosted a hugely successful Open Morning, where families were able look around and see the community that is fostered here. Thank you to all who came in to show off the school in its best possible light, representing the core values of what it means to be a St. Francis’ College student.

Finally, I would like to finish on the two values of ‘DREAMS’ that we have been focusing on this term: determination and resilience. These two values are ones that must be developed and nurtured in a supportive environment, which St. Francis’ allows. We have had many assemblies and speeches on the two values, helping us to understand how to cultivate the values and put them into practice in our academic and social lives. The next term will focus on empowerment and appreciation.

I hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas, spending time with family and friends. Stay safe everyone and I will see you all in the new year.

Ella
Head Girl