I trust you and your family had a blessed Easter. Our pupils and staff returned looking refreshed and we have had even better pupil attendance at the start of this term. Staff attendance has been 98% and pupils’ attendance is not far behind that.

We have already welcomed Baroness Harris back to school to speak to students and staff about her life in politics and in the House of Lords. She was hugely complimentary about our students and staff.

Our Year 12 post 18 options evening was well attended and gave students and parents clear information about the pathways available. Mr Foulger’s advice to research university or apprenticeship opportunities in the summer break so you can apply early in September and “be the early bird catching the worm” was spot on.

In the last week, we have appointed excellent new teachers for next year. In all cases, we have had a very good field of applicants and all candidates have been hugely impressed by our pupils and staff. A typical comment is “I knew of Canon Slade’s outstanding reputation but my experience here today has far exceeded that reputation.” Candidates have been impressed by welcoming, friendly and committed staff as well as delightful pupils.

As from 1st May, Bolton St Catherine’s Academy will be joining The Bishop Fraser Trust along with ourselves and St James’s. You probably won’t notice changes day-to-day as the Trust enables us to find efficiencies in costs and purchasing. The name of the school, uniform and teachers do not change as we have moved to the Trust using the ‘as is’ model.

In addition to all of our GCSE and A level students preparing for exams with their teachers our football teams are battling in Cup Finals. Early in May our Sixth Form team travel to compete in the final of the Under 18 County Cup and later that week Year 11 have their final.

One of our Governors and staff will soon be interviewing Sixth Form students to be our new Head Boy, Head Girl and Senior Prefects and, of course, we will soon be celebrating our Founder’s Day. Our Christian value this half term has been dignity and worship has focussed on celebrating our uniqueness as individuals as well as treating others with respect and dignity, irrespective of how they differ from us.

Our Duke of Edinburgh students are continuing with preparations towards their Gold expedition later this summer. Canon Maurice Smith CB, Diocesan Director of Education, and Pam Sleigh, Operations Officer for The Duke of Edinburgh Award, presented over sixty students with their Bronze Award in assembly during the week of St George’s Day.

Thank you for supporting all of our young people to be in school every day on time and to keep on challenging themselves to be the best they can be in every area of life. I have always liked the encouragement: Do the essential, try the possible and before you know it, you’ll be doing the impossible.

With my very warmest regards,

Mr D Burton