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Gaelic football, afternoon tea and a Ceilidh were just some of the activities enjoyed by Spanish students visiting Saint Benedict Catholic Voluntary Academy.

Twenty-one Year 8 students and two teachers from our partner school, Colexio Guillelme Brown in Spain, came to Derby as part of an exchange trip.

They partnered up with Year 8 students and took part in a fun-filled week of activities and lessons.

The group enjoyed afternoon tea, a Gaelic football session, a Ceilidh and trips to the University of Derby, Pride Park Stadium, Matlock Bath and Alton Towers.

They also toured Saint Benedict and took part in lessons before rounding off the week by working with our students on an idea for a new app. They created posters detailing their designs and these were displayed as part of an exhibition.

Mr Orme, languages teacher, organised the week.

He said: “Everyone really enjoyed the week and we’ve had some fantastic feedback from the Spanish students and their teachers. It’s great for our students too because they make friends with people from other countries and they learn to speak Spanish. I think they tend to think that everyone in Spain speaks English but this helps them to realise that’s not the case and to understand the value of learning languages. An exchange like this also helps them to work on other skills like teamwork, communication and problem solving. They also stay in touch with each other for years.”

Spanish student, Karla Loreley, 12, said: “The week has been amazing, not only because I have known a new city and I have learned a lot of English, but because I have met a lot of new and wonderful people and I would love to see them again in the future.”

Our students will visit Colexio Guillelme Brown in 2021.

Mr Gritton said: “This is the fifth time we have run this exchange programme together and it is always a brilliant experience for our students who learn lots, find a new appreciation for language learning and make long-lasting friendships. Everyone made our Spanish visitors very welcome and we hope that they enjoyed their stay.”

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The Jamaican High Commissioner paid a visit to Saint Benedict Catholic Voluntary Academy as part of an official visit to Derby.

His Excellency Mr Seth George Ramocan is Jamaican High Commisioner to the UK and Jamaican ambassador to several other nations around the world.

Mr Ramocan met a group of pupils and staff and was given an extensive tour of the school.

He spoke to the pupils about developments in Jamaica and encouraged them all to be ambassadors for Jamaica themselves in the way that they live their lives at school and at home.

Following the tour of the school Mr Ramocan spoke of the great atmosphere.

He said: “You can just feel the aspiration about the whole school and the ambition of the staff ad pupils. All of the children took great pride in their uniform and appearance and their behaviour in every lesson was impeccable’.

The pupils enjoyed the chance to meet the Jamaican Ambassador and to talk about their experiences in the UK.

Mr Gritton said: “This was a great honour, to have such a distinguished visitor to our school. It was wonderful to hear such positive things said about our school and the atmosphere here. We were very proud of our diverse community with pupils here from all over the world.

“It makes Saint Benedict such a special place to be educated and to work and it helps to give the school such a vibrant and aspirational feel. We are delighted that Mr Ramocan also felt this so strongly.”

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School Tours

Tours of the School will take place on Wednesday 2 October and Friday 11 October at 9.15 am.  Please contact Ruth Darby on rsdarby@saintben.derby.sch.uk or phone 01332 554295 to book your place.

Saint Benedict Catholic Voluntary Academy Alumni returned to give Years 11, 12 and 13 advice about their futures.

Ex-students who are now at university, completing apprenticeships or in employment came back for our annual Meet the Former Student event.

Students were given a booklet containing questions they might like to ask along with a list of the ex-students attending and the courses they were studying or details of their apprenticeships.

Areas covered included Apprenticeships, Archaeology, Architecture, Criminology, Dance and Creative Writing, Education and Languages, Engineering, English Literature and Languages, Geography, Healthcare, History, Journalism, Photography, Psychology and Science.

Mrs Vause, Director of Learning for Science and Sixth Form tutor, organised the event.

She said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for our current students to find out more about the possible pathways they could pursue after finishing school.

“We encourage students to think about the questions they would like to ask, particularly regarding a student’s reason for choosing an apprenticeship or what the UCAS application process was like, their initial impressions of university and the course that they have chosen.

“Hopefully the event leaves them feeling inspired and informed and goes some way to helping them decide if they want to go to university or pursue an apprenticeship, what course they want to study and the kind of preparation that they need to be doing.”

Ex-student Callum Phelan is at the University of Birmingham studying a Masters in Electronic and Electrical Engineering.

He said: “I’m currently on a 12 month placement with Rolls-Royce and I’m really enjoying it. I would love to stay at Rolls-Royce. I think it’s important for students to know that employers are also looking for those soft skills.”

Stephanie Andrews has just completed a course in Drama and Creative Writing at university in Bristol.

She said: “When I started my course acting was my passion but now I would love to become a producer in the theatre. University was a life-changing experience for me.”

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Due to a current problem with the telephone system please could you call or text a pupil’s absence (including your name and the pupils name) to the following number – 07107230442