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A Year 9 student has been selected for a prestigious national role which will see him represent young Deaf people across the UK.

Reuben Litherland has been chosen to become a representative on the Youth Deaf Advisory Board for the National Deaf Children’s Society.

The 13-year-old, who has been Deaf since birth, was one of hundreds of young people across the country who applied for the role.

He made it onto a shortlist of 60 and attended an interview at the NDCS offices in London before being informed by email that he had been selected.

The teenager will work with 19 other Deaf youngsters from all over the country, attending seminars and residentials in cities across the UK and Ireland.

Reuben, who attends mainstream lessons with his communication support worker Rebecca Tuckwood, said he was thrilled to have landed the role.

He said: “My dad showed me the application and asked me if I wanted to do it so I filled it out, writing about myself and my hobbies. I got an email to say I had been shortlisted and I felt really happy. I went to London and had a face to face interview where I went into more detail about what I’d written on my application form.

“When I found out I’d been chosen I was excited and I couldn’t believe it. I was jumping around the house.

“The board is the voice of young deaf people across the UK and we will be asked to give our views about how things can be improved and made more accessible for young Deaf people.”

Reuben, who has also set up a British Sign Language lunchtime club at school, will attend his first meeting in London in February when the board will choose what its main focus will be.

He said: “I’m really looking forward to it as hopefully I’ll make new friends and I’ll be helping to make a difference too.”

Mr Gritton congratulated Reuben on his achievement.

He said: “To be selected to represent young Deaf people across the UK is such an incredible achievement and I’m sure that Reuben will do a fantastic job in his new role. We are extremely proud of him.”

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The achievements of students were celebrated at our Presentation Evening.

Students from last year’s Year 11, 12 and 13 cohort attended the event along with their families and staff members.

The Mayor of Derby, Councillor John Whitby, was the guest of honour and there were musical performances from the Saint Benedict Big Band and the Saint Benedict Academy Choir.

Subject prizes were awarded along with Duke of Edinburgh Bronze and Silver awards, Year 11 certificates and Post-16 certificates.

There was also a series of special prizes including the Governors’ Award for Outstanding Achievement at GCSE Level, the Claire Gaskin Prize for an Outstanding Piece of Creative Work and the Headteacher’s Award, which all went to Roisin Kirkpatrick.

Hugh Cafferky won the Malcolm Sircom Award for Musical Theatre along with the John Barnett Award for the Contribution to the Catholic Nature of the School.

George Lee and Joe Smith both won the Bernard Des Forges Award for Outstanding Performance Across All A-Level Subjects.

Joe scored three A*s and a B while George achieved three A*s. Both went on to Cambridge University, Joe is studying Natural Sciences while George is taking French and Russian. Joe also won the Roger Bounds Prize for Outstanding Performance Across Science Subjects at A-Level.

Charlotte Hall won the Brendan McGowan Prize for an Outstanding Contribution to Sport while Jessica Parry won the Maggie Gorman Prize for Independent Living Skills.

Chair of Governors, Sherri Medcalf, welcomed the audience to the evening along with Mr Gritton.

Mr Gritton said: “This is quite an emotional evening for us because we’ve known many of you for seven years so this is a special night for all of us and your parents. It’s great to have you back at such a special event which is about celebrating all of these young people who are going off to different places across the UK.

“We had some fantastic individual achievements at GCSE and A-level and collectively you all did brilliantly and we are so proud of all of you. We had the best ever A-level pass rate and at GCSE more students than ever achieved a higher pass in English and Maths.”

The final Vote of Thanks was given by Head Boy Ben Wright and Head Girl Taylor Fowlke.

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Christmas Jumper Day

If students have a Christmas jumper (or brightly coloured clothing) they can wear it on Friday in exchange for a £1 donation for the James Howland fund. No need to wear school uniform but the usual rules apply.

Sixth formers showcased their photography skills at a media exhibition.

Students studying A-level Media were split into groups and tasked with organising an exhibition of their work.

Each group chose a theme for their photos and assigned different roles to each student involved. Photos were then displayed for parents, staff and fellow students to see.

Larissa Farr and Gemma Woolley, both 17, said the roles ranged from legal and ethical to venue design.

Larissa said: “We had to think of everything that would be involved with organising and holding an event.

“Our theme was dark fairy tales and it was based on the Brothers Grimm novel. Some of our inspiration came from Alice in Wonderland and Little Red Riding Hood. We were really pleased with the way it all turned out.”

Vongai Monangatire, 17, and Benedicte Kiza, 18, and the rest of their group experimented with photo effects.

Benedicte said: “We were really pleased with the way the photos turned out. We looked at the contrast between night and day time and used effects to create orbs on the pictures.”

Jonathan Jarvis, Head of Sixth Form at Saint Benedict CVA, said: “I am always impressed by the level of creativity and professionalism that our Sixth Form students show and this exhibition was a wonderful example of this. The students have to work independently as this examination unit is also about using real-world skills in preparation for the next stage of their education.”

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Despite the weather conditions Saint Benedict Catholic Voluntary Academy will be open as normal tomorrow (Monday 11th December 2017).
If there is any change we will update the school website, contact parents by text and school App and notify the local radio stations.

A Year 7 student has qualified for the World Irish Dancing Championships.

Rory Hay won the Under-12 category at the Midlands Qualifiers in Coventry and will go on to compete at the World Championships in April 2018 in Glasgow.

This will be the second time that Rory will compete at the World Championships, which is set to attract more than 14,500 dancers and supporters, after finishing 20th in last year’s event.

Rory is currently dancing around six times a week at the Irish Centre in Derby and at Djanogly Academy in Nottingham.

He said: “I think it’s quite good that I won my category at the Midlands competition as the Under-12s has the most dancers.

“I am dancing six times a week and that can be for about two to three and a half hours at a time.

“I was at the World Championships last year and finished 20th out of about 90 dancers. I would really like to win the World Championships one day.”

Kevin Gritton, head teacher, congratulated Rory on making it to the World Championships.

He said: “A massive well done to Rory for making it to the World Championships, which is an incredible achievement. We are sure that one day he will go on to achieve his dream and win the competition. We will certainly be cheering him on and wish him the best of luck at the competition next year.”

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Students have handed over more than 70 Christmas shoeboxes to Derby Rotary Club.

The boxes will be passed on to the charity Samaritan’s Purse, which collects shoeboxes as part of Operation Christmas Child to distribute to poor children across the world.

Teacher Mr Hughes thanked everyone for their donations.

He said: “McAuley students are so pleased to have been involved again with the Shoebox Appeal. I am very proud of them, their efforts will make many children very happy at Christmas.”

Pictured with McAuley students is Keith Bullock from Derby Rotary Club.

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Awards for academic and extra-curricular achievements were handed out to hundreds of students at our Presentation Evening.

Students from Year 8 to 11 were praised in front of a packed audience of parents, family members, carers and staff.

House awards were also made, with the Athletics Day Trophy going to John Paul House and the Attendance Shield being won by Kolbe House.

In between the speeches and awards, the audience was entertained by the academy’s band while younger students performed several songs on stage

The academy’s new chair of governors, Sherri Medcalf, welcomed everyone to the event.

She said: “It’s lovely to participate in something like this and share the excitement and the sense of achievement that we as parents feel and our young people feel.”

Mr Gritton thanked parents for their support.

He said: “At the start of Year 7 a few weeks ago I did assemblies during which I talked about our expectations of students and I used a quote by Nelson Mandela who said that education is the most powerful tool you can use to change the world. It’s all about education and that’s what makes the difference.

“I go into classrooms and see young people who love their learning and are passionate about what they do and see what we talked about being acted out by young people who want to use education to make a better world.

“I would like to thank all of you as your children wouldn’t be here without you, we can’t do what we do without all the fantastic work that you do.”

The academy was also presented with its Champion School award from the National Citizen Service by Kara Foley, an ex-student who works for NCS. The award rewards schools for their commitment to the youth programme.

NCS gives children aged 15 to 17 the opportunity to take on volunteering challenges and build skills for work and life.

Kara said: “When I was a student here the staff were really supportive and encouraged me to be the best that I can be. Volunteering really helped me a lot and these experiences helped shape me into the person that I have become today. Volunteering is really important and gives you skills for life such as communication, time management, teamwork and leadership. I wouldn’t be where I am today without NCS.”

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A new Head Boy and Head Girl have been appointed at Saint Benedict Catholic Voluntary Academy.

Ben Wright, 17, and Taylor Fowlke, 18, were selected for the positions and they have already started fulfilling their new duties.

Sixth formers were encouraged to apply for the Head Boy and Head Girl roles and they had to submit an application in writing stating what they thought they could add to the school.

Those who were selected for the next stage were interviewed by members of staff and asked to deliver a presentation.

Taylor is studying A-levels in Maths, Chemistry and Biology and wants to study Medicine at university.

She said: “We had to talk about how we would make the school better and I talked about my experience as a healthcare assistant.

“I was so pleased when I was told that I was going to be Head Girl, I started crying. I would really like to help the disadvantaged students and make sure that they have someone to talk to.”

Ben is studying A-levels in Maths, Further Maths and Biology and has applied to Oxford University to study Maths.

He said: “I wanted to go for the role because I wanted to be an example for the younger students in school, to show them where you can get if you work hard.

“I felt very proud when I was told I was going to be given the role, it’s good to be able to represent the school. We’ve already done some public speaking and talked at an event to parents of prospective pupils in Year 6.”

Mr Gritton said he was sure that Ben and Taylor would be fantastic ambassadors for the school.

He said: “Ben and Taylor thoroughly deserve to be selected for their new positions. They are both extremely hard working and dedicated students and we are sure that they will be a shining example to the younger students in our school. I look forward to working with them and hearing all of their great ideas about how we can improve the school further.”

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