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Year 10 student Simeon Perry is celebrating after being selected to play for the England Under-15s basketball team.

The 15-year-old has been playing basketball since Year 7 and turns out regularly for Derbyshire Spartans and also trains with Team Derby’s Men’s team Division 3.

He attended several national training camps before turning out recently for the England Under-15s team against Wales and then travelled to Copenhagen for an international tournament. The team played six games and won four across four days.

Simeon said he was extremely proud to represent his country.

He said: “When I played for England for the first time against Wales it was a very proud moment for me.

“I was a bit nervous but once my first shot went in I felt ok and started scoring. In Copenhagen, the standard of play was a completely different level and now I’m working towards being part of the squad for the Euro Championships next summer. Ultimately I’d like to look at some kind of sports scholarship at a university in America.”

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Saint Benedict Catholic Voluntary Academy has been rated ‘good’ in every category and ‘good’ overall by Ofsted inspectors.

Mr Gritton and senior leaders were praised by Ofsted for their ‘determined leadership’ which has led to rapid improvement.

Inspectors carried out a full inspection over two days last month and they praised the ‘broad and balanced’ curriculum, the quality of teaching, the personal development of students and the professional development of staff.

Inspectors also said that safeguarding was effective and that students with special educational needs or disabilities were well supported.

The report noted that students behaved well and were polite, smart and courteous, progress was now good in most subjects and levels of attendance had improved overall.

The school’s Sixth Form was also praised by inspectors who said that the quality of teaching, learning and assessment was consistently good and that the leadership was ‘strong and ambitious for the future’.

Inspectors said that support provided by governors and the new Saint Ralph Sherwin Multi-Academy Trust – which Saint Benedict will join in September 2018 – had been instrumental in the school’s success.

Lead inspector Chris Stevens said in his report: “The determined leadership of the headteacher has brought about rapid improvements at the school. Together with the senior team, he has thoughtfully restructured leadership within the school to great effect, maintaining a positive staff morale with a clear sense of common purpose.

“Leaders have a strong vision for the school, underpinned by a comprehensive and meticulous development plan. Leaders have been successful in creating a culture of high expectations for all pupils and staff.”

Inspectors noted that pastoral care was a strength of the school, particularly in the care extended towards vulnerable pupils who may find themselves in difficulty, and they said that students were well prepared for life in modern Britain.

They said that the leadership of the school’s enhanced resource base, which is designed for students with special educational needs and disabilities, was highly specialised and effective.

The report said that students benefitted from consistently good teaching, which meant that they achieved well and that teachers’ expectations of what students could achieve was high.

Inspectors also highlighted students’ good behaviour and said: “Pupils are polite, courteous and helpful. They are punctual to lessons and follow instructions from staff promptly. They wear their uniform with pride. A distinctive feature of pupils’ behaviour in this school is their sense of community and the care that they extend towards one another.”

Students’ progress was also noted and the report said that in 2017, students made good progress by the end of Key Stage Four in a number of subjects, with outcomes in languages described as ‘particularly good’.

Inspectors said: “Current school information shows that pupils’ progress across the school continues to strengthen for all groups of pupils.”

Mr Gritton said he was pleased with the outcome of the recent inspection.

He said: “We are delighted that inspectors have recognised all of the hard work that has been done by senior leaders and staff across the school since the previous inspection.

“We are extremely proud of our wonderful school and the sense of community that exists here and we were pleased to see this mentioned in the report.

“Our students are thriving and will always continue to be at the centre of everything we do.

“We are determined to continue improving our school and the outcomes for our students and we believe that this judgement is just the next step to Saint Benedict CVA becoming ‘outstanding’.”

You can read the full report here:


Two sixth formers have spoken of an emotional trip to Auschwitz.

Ella Gritton and George McVeigh visited the former Nazi extermination camp in a trip organised by the Holocaust Educational Trust as part of its Lessons from Auschwitz project.

The project is a four-part course which explores universal lessons of the Holocaust and its relevance to today.

Students took part in a preparation day, during which they met a Holocaust survivor and learnt about what life was like for the Jewish community before the Holocaust.

A few weeks later Ella and George made the journey to Auschwitz where they started the trip by visiting a pre-war Jewish site in a Polish town, where they learnt more about the victims’ lives. They also visited several barracks at Auschwitz 1 before going to Birkenau, where the vast majority of victims were murdered.

George, 16, said he thought it was important that people learnt from what happened at Auschwitz.

He said: “I enjoy History and going to Auschwitz is something that I’ve always wanted to do. It went beyond what I expected and it was a lot to take in. I think it is important that we learn from history and how people have still not really learnt from what happened.”

Ella, 16, said the trip was a life-changing experience for her.

She said: “We learnt about what happened at Auschwitz when we did our GCSEs but this gave us the opportunity to see the humanity, and the inhumanity, behind it.

“We visited different blocks at Auschwitz 1 and we saw rooms where they’d kept hair, shoes and belongings from the prisoners. There were also lots of pictures of them. We saw the gas chambers and the place where prisoners had to remove their clothes and were shaved. We also saw the book of names which was just massive sheets of paper filled with millions of names of people who had died.

“We took part in a memorial service where we lit candles and that was about how there is so much hate in the world but there is light. I think that made me realise that we were there for a reason, to make sure that more people understand what happened. It was definitely a life-changing trip.”

Mr Gritton said: “This is such a valuable experience for our students which helps them to come to terms with the reality of what actually happened at Auschwitz and hopefully they will be able to share their experience with fellow students.”

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Year 10 Business Studies students attended a ‘Question Time’ event at The Quad in Derby.

They participated along with students from other local schools and the panellists were Adam Buss, CEO at The Quad, Adam Tamsett, General Manager at INTU Derby, Heidi Barlow, Head of Marketing for East Midlands Airport, David Carlin, Training and Compliance Manager and Head of CSR GI Group and BBC radio presenter Devon Daley.

This was an event designed to inspire and provide first hand examples of responsible business practice for Business Studies students.

It was a Question Time style panel discussion where students asked representatives of different businesses how their organisations endeavoured to behave responsibly. This was followed by a networking session for the students, teachers and business people in attendance.

During the networking students were encouraged to share their ideas for improving the way businesses work, making workplaces better and helping communities thrive.

The overarching theme this year was ‘every company can make a difference place by place’.

Other themes which were explored included:

*The importance of building resilience and social and emotional competencies both in school and the workplace

*The impact that the changing nature of work could have on resilience and wellbeing

*Impact and perceptions of the impact of social media on health and wellbeing and importantly employability

*The NHS is 70 years old this year – what does a modern health service look like and how can it respond to the rising demands of mental health? What role does the community – schools and businesses have to play in easing these demands?


Ex-students returned to Saint Benedict Catholic Voluntary Academy to inspire Year 9 as part of a World of Work Day.

Former pupils talked to current students about their careers at a series of workshops organised by Future First.

They included Philip Visha-Mlot, who attends Welbeck Military College,  Nica Casandra, who is studying children’s nursing,  Donna Fitzgerald, from Capita Travel and Events, Rebecca Muir, from Bex Star Dance company, Christina Wilford, a specialist worker in child psychology and Rachael Stevenson, an events and entertainment manager.

They talked to students about their daily working lives, the reality of work, the skills they need, tackled misconceptions and answered questions.

Emily Clifton, from Future First, said: “We wanted to give Year 9 an understanding of what the world of work is really like.

“We looked at common misconceptions about work, what a typical working day entails and the kind of skills they need to be learning that are relevant to the jobs that they want to do. It’s a good time to do it as this is the year they choose their options.”

Donna said she was pleased to return to support the event.

She said: “I think a workshop like this really helps students to understand what work is really like and how different it is to school.

“I think one of the important messages to get across is that if they have a job that they don’t enjoy they can always change it, it’s never too late to do that.”

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