In STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths club) we ended the term doing activities that had a Christmas theme.

We produced what we call our Chemistree and students had great fun making it – it is currently on display in one of our science labs. In the previous week, our STEM ambassadors engaged in programming using ‘microbits’ (mini electrical engineering sets) and they are all looking forward to January for more exciting STEM activities.

Community hampers for elderly residents identified by the Church. Being given out tomorrow.

Our year 8 girls played their first netball match on Tuesday 13th against Chauncy School.

Understandably, the girls were very nervous to begin with and conceded 4 goals in the first quarter. However, after a quick pep talk and some movement around the court they found their rhythm. With some excellent shots from Shumaila and Sofia, the girls fought their way back to a narrow loss of 6-4 – only conceding 2 goals after the first quarter. Elisse, Isabella and Myleene were fantastic in defence and made it very hard for the Chauncy attack to get anything past them. Isabella was deservedly named player of the match, but all of the girls who took part deserve a big well done. Their next game is in February so watch this space!

On Wednesday 13th December the ‘Phoenix Singers’ performed at the annual “Festival of Carols” in Hoddesdon.

We performed all the traditional carols as well as ‘Carol of the Bells’ to the Wednesday market traders and shoppers. We are always delighted to perform out and about in our lovely local community. Thank you to all the parents, nans and grandads and others who came to see us.

As the holiday season unfolded, our school had the privilege of coming together for a truly enchanting Christmas Carol Service at St. Mary the Virgin Church.

On an unusually warm evening, the historic church provided the perfect backdrop for a night filled with festive cheer, community spirit, and music.

The ambiance of St. Mary the Virgin Church, with its stunning architecture and warm lighting, created a magical setting for our Christmas celebration. Families and friends gathered, forming a close-knit community within the church walls.

The heart and soul of the evening were the traditional carols that echoed through the hallowed halls. Led by our very own ‘Phoenix Singers’ choir, the community came together in song, harmonising beautifully to celebrate the spirit of Christmas. The shared experience of singing these timeless carols strengthened the bonds within our local community and created lasting memories for all who attended.

Adding a touch of tradition, Bible readings were eloquently delivered by Mrs. Bundock, Mrs. Andrews, and Mr. Simms. Their readings brought forth the essence of the Christmas story, adding a reflective dimension to the service.

These moments of scripture deepened the meaning of the celebration, reminding us all of the true spirit of Christmas. One of the highlights of the evening was the debut performance of Mrs. Andrews on the timpani.

Guiding us through the service was the charismatic Father Eugene, who led with warmth and grace. As we reflect on this special evening, it is evident that the Christmas Carol Service at St. Mary the Virgin Church was more than just a musical performance; it was a celebration of community, tradition, and the true meaning of Christmas.

The Year 13 students recently participated in a mock interview, a transformative experience that significantly enhanced their employability skills.

This invaluable opportunity allowed our pupils to gain first-hand interview experience, a crucial step in preparing them for the competitive world of work. During the day, students not only faced the challenging questions but also received constructive verbal feedback and in-depth written evaluations. This personalised feedback not only guided them on refining their interview techniques but also provided insights into improving their CVs. The mock interview served as a confidence booster, instilling in our students a sense of readiness for the professional world. This initiative highlights St Mary’s commitment to prioritising practical career preparation and ensuring that our students are well-equipped for the challenges of the workforce.

A group of Year 10 hospitality and catering students embarked on an exhilarating journey at the High Leigh Conference Centre, where they transformed into professional chefs for a day.

Amidst the aromatic sizzles and tantalizing aromas, they skilfully crafted a diverse array of culinary delights, including succulent burgers, crispy southern fried chicken, delectable onion rings, vibrant bruschetta, heavenly cheesecake, and refreshing mocktails. Not only did they enjoy their culinary creations during a satisfying lunch, but they also had the rewarding experience of serving their dishes to the centre’s staff and trustees. Beyond the delicious flavours, this hands-on opportunity provided a valuable platform for the students to cultivate essential employability skills and gain insights into the inner workings of a professional kitchen. The exposure to the hospitality aspect of the company broadened their perspective, fostering a deeper understanding of the industry. Such immersive career experiences prove instrumental in shaping the students’ future plans, empowering them with practical knowledge and a profound appreciation for the dynamic world of hospitality and catering.

The year 8 boys football team headed to John Warner for the first match in the district competition.

The team played well and represented St Mary’s fantastically, despite not winning the game. With no recognised goalkeeper in the squad, Samuel, Aren and Bobby showed strong team spirit by volunteering to take a stint in between ‘the sticks’. You would have been hard pressed to know that this wasn’t their normal position based on their performances! The team will be looking to build on their performance in the next game and are already keen to get back to training next Tuesday. Squad – Amir, Santiago, Kerem, Andrew, Matthew, Bobby, Mason, Ahmed, Ozan, Natan, Samuel, Aren, Luca, Max

Player of the match – Samuel

We received confirmation on 1 December that we have all eight of the Gatsby Benchmarks for “world class careers provision in education”.

We are proud of this achievement and the statement it makes about our high-quality careers and guidance programme. This is a result of the broad ranging programme of lessons in PSHE, events such as the careers fair and mock interviews, outside speakers, and superb work experience we organise for the students at St Mary’s. It is this evidence that led the recent Ofsted inspection team to say Personal Development and Curriculum are GOOD and that “The school prepares pupils well to make decisions about their next steps in employment, education and training… They receive careers guidance that helps them shape their career goals.”