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Bishop Challoner Christmas Newsletter 2019

Updates from a busy and successful Autumn Term 

Angelina Jolie Explores Global Issues With Our Students for new BBC Programme

On the last Sunday of term a group of students visited BBC Broadcasting House to film with actor, humanitarian and international celebrity Angelina Jolie. The segment we were filming will form part of an episode of 'My World', a new current affairs programme for teenagers produced by the World Service. We have been working on the programme with BBC producers throughout the term, with an earlier segment filmed in the school library with Newsround presenter Razi Chinyanganya.

The BBC cameras followed Angelina and the nine students as they walked around Broadcasting House talking about the global issues that young people were most interested in and concerned about. She asked them about the news that they consume and how current affairs programmes could be more relevant to them. During the filming we were also joined by broadcaster and newsreader Reeta Chakrabarty who spoke about her career and her experiences.

This was an unforgettable experience for our students and one we will remember for years to come. Keep an eye on our website and social media channels for details of the programme when it is broadcast.

Our Annual Celebration of Sporting Excellence

On Friday, 14th November the school came together for its annual celebration of sporting excellence, the Bishop Challoner Sports Awards. The event was hosted by the PE department and Year 13 PE students and there were performances from our talented musicians and dancers throughout the evening. It was particularly touching to listen to the Year 13 students publicly express their gratitude to the PE department that they had been a part of since Year 7 (although it also helped them get away with the customary jokes they made about the PE staff). Congratulations to all involved and to those who received awards. A gallery of images from the evening is available on our website.

Mitzvah Day

In October, 10 of our students from Year 9 joined students from other Catholic and Jewish schools from across London to prepare packs for the St Vincent de Paul Society to distribute to the homeless throughout the Diocese of Westminster.  This joint venture saw our students showing great leadership in assisting the younger pupils from primary schools. There are links here to articles about the day in the Jewish Chronicle and Independent Catholic News.

A Bishop Challoner Girls' School photograph from the archives. More photos and a school timeline are available on the history page of the Bishop Challoner Website

Another Year of Fantastic Exam Results

We were happy to report another year of excellent GCSE results that significantly exceed national averages and are proud that the outstanding teaching and support in both schools continues to ensure every student to achieves their potential.

GCSE Results that are particularly outstanding in the Boys’ School include Nirban Azim and Bryan Sarmiento, both achieving 6 9s and 2 8s. GCSE Results that are particularly outstanding in the Girls’ School include Emily Semahegne who achieved 6 9s, 2 8s and a 7, Sharwa Molla who achieved 7 9s an 8 and a 7 and Katerina Semetilo who achieved 3 9s and 6 8s.

Bishop Challoner Sixth form has maintained its excellent results for another year, with a record number of students starting at some of the world’s top universities after the Summer. Students from this year’s A Level and BTEC cohort look forward to continuing their studies at Cambridge, Warwick, Imperial, Queen Mary’s, Kings College London, Manchester and many more world renowned universities.

Particular congratulations go to Hakimul Islam (above, centre) who received 4 A* grades at A Level and is going on to read Law at St Johns College Cambridge. He's overjoyed with his results, saying: “I’m exhilarated to be starting at Cambridge in October. I couldn’t have done this without all the support I received from my teachers and the Sixth Form staff.”
Memories from last year's Year 10 Pilgrimage to Lourdes. Those wishing to find out more about the Year 10 pilgrimage this summer should contact Deacon Tony. 

Students and Staff Volunteer at Local Night Shelter

On the first Monday of every month a small group of students and staff co-ordinated by the Justice and Peace group volunteer at the night shelter at a local church. The shelter has approximately 20-25 guests on a Sunday night and is run by GrowTH, a fantastic organisation working with Tower Hamlets churches to provide shelter for the homeless during the winter months. This is open to staff and older students, who are enjoying the chance to give back to the local community and live out the Gospel message.

‘Everyone is making so much progress’ – Head Prefect Panashe Reviews the Term

Over this term the students have been working extremely hard and everyone is making so much progress. We can see that Year 7 has settled down nicely and have come out of their shell, and many other year groups have progressed in their learning and have shown a better side of themselves. Year 11 have worked hard for their mocks at the end of November and have done well.
Being part of the school community and seeing how determined the students are makes not only themselves happy but teachers too. I hope that everyone has a nice Christmas and rest so that they can come back with the same energy they have had in this term. – Panashe Mukada, Head Prefect (Girls School)

Sixth Form Christmas Appeal Helps Those in Need 

by Shaw Chifamba and Christiana Chinedu-Eke, Head Boy and Head Girl

As members of the Justice and Peace Committee, we strive to include as many Sixth Formers as possible in our events. This term a large number of charity events were organised by Year 12 and Year 13 students, and the money we raised will be donated to Sylhet Aid and St Francis Family Centre.

Starting the year on a "pie" note, our first fundraiser led by our Year 12s was the 'pie in the face' charity event. Students and teachers alike participated, with individuals paying 1 to 10 pounds for the opportunity to smother their friends in whipped cream. On the same day our Year 13s led their £20 Amazon voucher raffle.

In the middle of term, the Year 12 members of our Justice and Peace group organised a Christmas bake sale selling items ranging from cakes to gingerbread men. We also had more Year 12s organise tutor pledges across the whole school - monetary promises that each form group in the school makes, which they then aim to achieve. Considering the younger years have had no prior practice in organising charity events, they did an excellent job with their fundraising efforts and organisation.

To end a term of impressive fundraising the Year 13's organised two events; A Christmas movie night and Christmas jumper day. During our movie night we watched Home Alone in the theatre and enjoyed an evening of relaxation with our peers. For our jumper day, students and teachers dressed up in their most creative jumpers (with one of our students dressing up as the Grinch).

All of our events were extremely successful, raising over 500 pounds in total for Sylhet Aid and funding Christmas hampers which we donated to the St Francis Family Centre.

The St Francis Family Centre supports some of the most vulnerable families in Tower Hamlets -

Slyhet Aid is a small charity supporting the most needy in the Sylhet region of northern Bangladesh -

‘Christ at the Centre’ – A Great Term for Bishop Challoner Chaplaincy

Well where do we start! The Chaplaincy has been very busy over the past term.

In October we started volunteering with local charity GrowTH, a rough sleeper support charity based locally.  On the first Monday of every month we arrive at the night shelter at 7am where we tidy up bedding and cook breakfast, and we are back in school just after 9am. Students and staff have been helping with this and it has been organised by our Justice and Peace Group.

Masses also took place for the rest of the school to celebrate the start of the academic year, for Bishop Challoner’s Birthday on 30 September and All Saints’ Day.  The other four Bishop Challoner schools around the country are joining us in praying regularly for Bishop Challoner’s beatification.

Six students last year prepared for their Confirmation in school and joined the rest of the candidates for Tower Hamlets on the weekend of 30 June to be Confirmed by Bishop Hudson, in the coming January we intend running a First Holy Communion programme as well.

Six of our students represented the school at the Adoremus Mass at Westminster Cathedral, all eight joined the offertory procession, taking gifts of bread, wine and water to the sanctuary.

When we returned after half term, Form Masses resumed in the chapel, each form will have their own Mass on a Wednesday during registration. We must say a particular thanks to Fr Michael, fr Keith and Fr James for their help.

Joining together on 17 December there were carol services to help us look forward to a well-earned rest and a peaceful Christmas.

Deacon Tony, Chaplain
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Getting Ahead Conferences Prepare our Year 10 Students for the World of Work

From the 10th-13th November, the whole Year 10 cohort took part in Getting Ahead conferences. The conferences, jointly organised with the Tower Hamlets Education Business Partnership focused on key employability skills, covering applications, CVs and interview preparation. The events were staffed by volunteers from a range of different businesses who gave their time to coach and support our young people.  


Year 13 Students Look Forward to University Success

by Shaw Chifamba and Christiana Chinedu-Eke, Head Boy and Head Girl
Academically, this term has been important and nerve-wracking, with Year 13 students applying to universities all across the UK. In October we were encouraged to complete and send our UCAS applications and lots of support was provided for those applying to university.

Our Oxbridge applicants have shown determination and perseverance in applying to Oxford and Cambridge, going through intensive preparation and workshops. Numerous students have received offers from universities ranging from Warwick to Edinburgh, with many Oxbridge applicants having been invited to interviews. Additionally, those who are thinking of apprenticeships have also been supported. In the near future we look forward to workshops with Dell to provide interview and CV practice.

The Autumn Term has been a tiring but productive half term, and as Year 13s prepare for their summer exams, Year 12s prepare for their progression exams.

Nine of our Year 13 students attended interviews at Oxford and Cambridge Universities this term. Please keep them in your prayers as they look forward to the results of them in mid-January.

Globe Players Bring Shakespeare to life for our Year 11 Students  

On Thursday, 14th November our Year 11 students were treated to a performance of Macbeth by theatre company the Globe Players. This took place in the round in the school Theatre, and the fantastic performance and discussion afterwards really illuminated the text that they have all been studying in their English lessons.

International Call ups for our Star Footballers

Huge congratulations to Year 11 footballer Lily Walsh and Year 9 footballer Ruby Doe who have both recently received international call ups. Lily (left) has been training with the Ireland U17 squad and Ruby (right) has been training with the England U15 squad this term. We expect great things from them both and are very proud of all they have achieved so far. 
National Youth Jazz Orchestra Inspire our Young Musicians

On Tuesday 5th November a lucky group of students were treated to a performance in the Drama Pod from the National Youth Jazz orchestra. The band played a mix of old and new material – including some composed by the visiting musicians themselves. During breaks between songs the musicians talked about their instruments, their interests and their journey into music. Our students left feeling incredibly inspired.

Online Art Gallery

A selection of outstanding work from our young artists
from top to bottom

Samiha Hassan, Year 13 - Oil Painting on A1 Board
Andile Malinga, Year 11 - Acrylic on A2 Paper
Alfie Griffin, Year 11 - Pencil and Biro on A3 Paper
Steven Le, Year 11 - Pen and Colour Pencils on A2 Paper
Taniesha Laima, Year 11 - Pencil on A3 Paper

A God who Speaks

Advent saw us starting the Year of God’s Word, quotes have been left all over the school and students are asked which ones they notice in the daily prayer PowerPoint.  There will also be competitions running for certain year groups.

The Year of God’s word will run until this time next year and celebrate ‘The God Who Speaks’ through a variety of events and activities in school and across the UK. Find out more at
Students singing at St Josephs Hospice during the last week of term. The choir brought homemade mince pies with them as gifts for the patients and the hard working staff. Our choir also helped bring some Christmas cheer to the Royal London Hospital, where they also sang earlier that week. 
#girlswithgoals Christmas Afternoon Tea Celebrates Mothers and Daughters in the Girls' School

On Thursday, 14th December our annual #girlswithgoals Christmas Afternoon Tea took place in the Theatre. The theme of this year’s event was ‘Wonder: Celebrating the Glory of God at Christmas’. The evening was attended by mothers and daughters from across the Bishop Challoner student and staff body, and gave each pair the chance to reflect on and cherish the bond between mother and daughter over hot chocolate and mince pies.
Over two Minibus Loads of Donations Raised for Bow Foodbank
Our Advent foodbank drive was overwhelming, having loaded up the minibus twice, we still had donations left over to take after Christmas, the amount of contributions was outstanding and showed Bishop Challoner students to be embracing our patron’s belief in doing ordinary things extraordinarily well.

- Deacon Tony, Chaplain
Parents and students are reminded that as of the start of this academic year mobile phones are completely banned. For more information please see our website.

Dates for your Diary

7th January – Term Begins
20-24th January – Work Experience (Year 10 Girls)
21st January – Year 11 Progress Evening
27th – 31st January – Work Experience (Year 10 Boys)
28th January - Year 7 Progress Evening
4th February – Year 9 Progress Evening
12th – 14th February – School Production of High School Musical
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