St John Plessington Catholic College

SJP Experience

Year 7   

At SJP we firmly believe that every child deserves the opportunity to develop and realise their true potential. We strive to ensure pupils leave SJP having experienced fullness of life, equipping our pupils with the skills needed to achieve, attain and follow their chosen career and life path. Life at SJP therefore extends far beyond the classroom as pupils embark upon the ‘SJP Experience’. In line with our ethos ‘Aspire not to have more but to be more’ the ‘SJP Experience’ provides our pupils with the opportunity to broaden their horizons through participation in new experiences and is designed to create an environment that not only identifies a child’s dreams and aspirations but encourages these ambitions through continuous achievement. We aim to develop the academic, professional, social and character skills needed to be successful in life, so that all pupils can make the most of their abilities and interests and achieve their full potential.  

As part of our catholic ethos, we also take very seriously our role as educators to ensure that pupils leave the college with a strong sense of their mission and calling. When they are ready for the outside world, we want our pupils to leave with a desire to serve and to become the next generation of leaders.  

As a ‘first steps’ experience away from home, every Year 7 pupil will attend a three day residential adventure at the Conway centre, North Wales in January. This is a crucial part of their first year in which pupils will have the opportunity to engage in outdoor activities, challenging themselves to overcome obstacles, developing crucial team work skills as well as reflecting upon their experiences and achievements.  

Your child will have regular opportunities to extend their learning outside of the classroom through curriculum linked projects during ‘SJP experience’ days held in the Summer Term, which will continue throughout their seven years at SJP. Working as a year group, pupils will be given additional opportunities to participate in workshops, trips and visits and as such pupils will complete activities which fall into one of 8 different ‘Experience’ areas; Spiritual, Volunteering, University, Career, Eco, Skill, Club and Residential. These areas are designed to allow our pupils to build relationships within our College Community as well as providing opportunities to impact upon our local community.  

We additionally aim to immerse our pupils in local and international culture; pupils will visit places of local interest and heritage and our international links are growing rapidly. Pupils are already involved in exchanges and visits to parts of Europe, China, USA, Africa and South America. World challenge expeditions have previously taken place in Peru and Swaziland and in Year 9 it is expected that all pupils will participate in the Duke of Edinburgh Award.  

Raising children’s aspirations is extremely important at SJP and we aim to develop the understanding that learning (and the experiences that take place within and around learning) can be the route to enhanced opportunities. We want to encourage as many of our pupils as possible to consider pursuing further studies after SJP. The experience of university is life changing and opens doors to numerous and exciting possibilities. Working in partnership, we will equip pupils with the experience, skills and qualifications necessary to achieve their goals.  

Year 7 pupils will reflect upon their hopes and dreams throughout the year. As they grow, they will be given opportunities to research where they want to be in life, the qualifications they need to get there and how they are going to experience it. Here at SJP we believe broadening one’s experience plays a crucial role in preparing pupils for a place at university, their career and for lifelong success. The ‘SJP Experience’ places leadership and service at the heart of everything we do and so it is vital that your child participates in all aspects of school life. We know that you will do everything to encourage them as we journey together.  

If you wish to discuss any matter pertaining to the Year 7 Experience, please do not hesitate to contact Mrs Bedke (Head of Learning).

Year 8 

As your child’s journey at SJP continues into Year 8, we offer a slightly different focus in their Year 8 Experience portfolio. Building upon their successful Year 7 experience at the Conway Centre, we offer pupils the chance to embark upon several days of spiritual reflection on site at SJP .This will allow for recreation, reflection and relaxation, allowing pupils to participate in exciting activities as well as reflecting upon their time and journey at SJP to date . They have time to consider what they have accomplished in Year 7, whilst looking forward to self- development in Year 8. Some of the activities will involve team building games, outdoor activities as well as small group sharing activities. They will also have valuable small group time to enable them to socialise and relax together. We believe that this year group experience will facilitate an enjoyable time together and enable them to develop both socially and spiritually. Students in Year 8 will also have the opportunity to participate in a residential activity at Castlerigg Manor in the Lake District. The activities there will again involve team building, problem solving and spiritual reflection time as well as social time with staff and peers to enhance relationships. This beautiful spot allows students to take time out from the curriculum and provides opportunities for focus on personal development and spiritual growth.  

Throughout this academic year, your child may also have the opportunity to participate in exciting and enriching subject-specific activities. For example, as part of the European Day of Languages, pupils will complete various activities designed to further develop their use of the French and Spanish languages. An extensive PE programme provides pupils with the opportunity to participate in numerous sporting activities, further developing the skills explored within lessons. Additionally pupils can use their talents in Performing Arts to contribute to the whole school, full scale theatrical productions. Pupils are encouraged to also support with technical and backstage help.  

Over the course of Year 8, pupils will again work on our hugely successful ‘SJP Experience’ initiative. During this time, pupils will work with staff undertaking a variety of activities continuing their experiences from Year 7. With activities ranging from residential trips to London, scaling the challenging walls of Aerial Extreme as well as various day trips in the surrounding area, pupils will be introduced to new experiences and are encouraged to consider the fact that ‘learning’ can take many forms. Time is dedicated to quality reflection, celebrating their achievements throughout these days as we believe that this helps to further shape and develop your child’s learning.

Year 9 

Year 9 is a crucial year in the build up to Key Stage 4 studies and is the start of their GCSE journey. We will be inviting you into the College for a KS4 Information Evening on 4th February 2016 when you and your child can meet with staff to discuss the important information surrounding GCSE courses. Following this, your son/daughter will be asked to choose option subjects to help shape their future. Some of the options include Art, Business Studies, Health and Social Care, D&T, ICT, Music, PE and Performing Arts.  

As you may be aware the Government have made significant changes to the curriculum measures for schools and we have spent much time ensuring that our pupils are given the best possible ‘options menu’ which will ensure their KS4 qualifications have the currency required to move onto the next stage of their study. The Progress 8 and Attainment 8 measures that each pupil will be judged on will be explained in more detail at the KS4 Information Evening.  

Pupils have already been involved in the hugely successful ‘SJP Experience’ during their time at the College. A fundamental element of the ‘SJP Experience’ which is unique to Year 9 is the introduction and enrolment onto the highly accredited Duke of Edinburgh Award which last year saw 191 Year 9 students achieve the Bronze Award, a record number for SJP. We are hoping for even more pupils to take up this challenge this year. The award gives participants the chance to develop skills, confidence and a view on life that can help with future applications for both universities and jobs. It is achieved by completing a personal programme compromising of four sections – Volunteering, Physical, Skill and Expedition. Pupils will have the opportunity to help people in the surrounding community, learn new skills, and follow a physical recreation programme before completing the award with an overnight expedition near Moel Famau situated in North Wales. We hope that you will encourage your son/daughter to accept this fantastic challenge and excellent opportunity to acquire and develop skills that will ensure they truly stand out from the crowd.  

Pupils will be able to build upon their experiences in lessons through a wide range of extra-curricular activities. The PE department continue to offer a wide variety of activities of a lunch time as well as providing after school clubs with games, dance, cross country and athletics activities all on offer. Drama and music clubs run throughout the year, allowing pupils to become involved in shows and performances in any capacity, organised by the Performing Arts team. Homework clubs are also available in the majority of subjects to support pupil progress. A variety of trips are available to pupils which are hosted by a range of departments. In MFL for example, pupils can visit Tapas restaurants to sample the rich cuisine of Spain. Pupils are also able to take part in an exciting Spanish Exchange Programme. The RE department will be working alongside the College Chaplain to host a variety of spiritual experiences and finally the PE department will be running water sports, multi-activity, dance and football trips throughout the year.

With all this on offer it is important that pupils dedicate time to their studies. If success is to follow, hard work in College must be matched by a regular and sustained effort at home. Parents can support this by monitoring the quality and quantity of homework set. Pupils should be completing a regular amount of homework each evening and at weekends, using their planner to help organise their time and produce work to target level.

Year 10 

This year your child will begin the courses he/she has chosen to study in Year 10 and 11. Following the government changes with respect to early entry in examinations your child will complete all GCSE courses at the end of Year 11. There will be no early GCSE examinations in Year 10, with the exception of Core Science which is a one year course examined at the end of Year 10. If your child has chosen to study a BTEC course he/she will sit an ‘on screen’ test which are set throughout the year. BTEC subjects are also assessed via coursework tasks and therefore a high standard of work needs to be maintained with deadlines met accordingly. You will have the opportunity to discuss your child’s progress on their new course at the Year 10 Review Day on 13th November 2015.  

All subjects offer extra support specifically aimed at assisting pupils in achieving their potential in their courses. In DT pupils will have the opportunity to attend both the Clothes Show Live and the Gadget Show Live, providing insight into the technological industry and the new innovative and exciting projects being created. Our Drama department, as well as working on our whole school productions, will offer the pupils the chance to visit West End Theatres, providing students with the opportunity to see first class productions. The humanities team will allow pupils to visit the battlefields of Belgium. In PE, pupils will partake in leadership courses in Dance and multi-sports with our primary feeder schools. We believe that these courses will offer pupils the opportunity to develop leadership and organisation skills, as well as encouraging their independence in future tasks.

The ‘SJP Experience’ events in July offer fantastic opportunities for pupils to explore different cultures and traditions through curriculum-linked projects. Pupils will have the opportunity to complete additional activities, trips and visits with the aim of developing knowledge and understanding of an international country. Pupils will link their activities to one of the 8 ‘Experience Strands’ and will complete a programme of reflection designed to identify all pupils have achieved and how they intend to progress as successful Year 11 students. Pupils are encouraged to think about what they have learnt and how this has impacted upon them. We are highly confident that such activities will engage all pupils and will be thoroughly enjoyable for all pupils.

Year 11 

Following the Government changes in respect to early entry in examinations, your child will complete all GCSE courses at the end of Year 11. There will be no examination, with the exception of BTEC ‘on screen’ tests which are set throughout the year. Success in the summer of 2016, will be dependent upon your child’s hard work both at school and at home so your support in their studies is of paramount importance. As the GCSE examinations approach, your child will be issued with an individual exam timetable. Please make note of these important dates and impress upon your child the need for thorough revision.  

Coursework or ‘controlled assessments’ still play a crucial part in some courses and it goes without saying that all coursework must be completed and handed in to meet deadlines and should naturally be of the highest standard possible. Your child’s teachers will discuss with you the specific subject requirements for all GCSE courses at the Year 11 Parents Evening on 1st October 2015 and your attendance is crucial at this evening. If your child is to be successful it is vital that they maintain a high level of effort in their homework studies. Year 11 pupils should be completing two to three hours homework each evening and the tasks should be planned as set up in the Learning Programmes (issued to pupils and available online).  
All pupils are now expected to remain in education or training Post 16 and we fully expect the vast majority of our pupils to continue with us in Sixth Form. The transition process begins with the Sixth Form Information Evening which takes place on 27th January 2016 and final enrolment and confirmation of subjects to be studied takes place on GCSE results day on 25th August 2016. Throughout the year all subjects will offer extra support via revision and intervention sessions within and beyond the school day which aim to help pupils achieve their aspirational targets in their courses. Further opportunities, that we encourage your child to take advantage of, include theatre trips to see plays studied in English or Performing Arts. The Geography department provides pupils with the chance to gain first-hand experience whilst completing an invaluable field-trip in the local area and additionally, pupils will be able to visit Universities to get a taste of the exciting opportunities available after SJP. All of this is in addition to the many regular opportunities to take part in sports and performing arts activities. A large proportion of pupils will also build upon their success in the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme with the continuation of their Silver Award, once again completing skill, volunteering and physical programmes, as well as their qualifying expedition in Wales. All pupils are encouraged to engage in Year 11 weekly assemblies, masses and spiritual liturgical services throughout the year. All of these extra curricula experiences are superb learning tools for your child and we know you will encourage them through their journey in Year 11.  

A highlight of the year will be when Year 11 pupils are invited to apply for the China Experience. It is truly a ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunity that will broaden horizons and shape and mould the lives of our young people forever.  

To make the hard work and effort made by Year 11 pupils throughout the year, a Celebration Party will take place in the Summer term. Discussions regarding this will take place throughout the year via our Form Representatives and Year Council.