- 21/21 Years top of the league tables
- Highest A level grades of any Manchester College
- Top of the league tables for A Level Grades
- Over two decades of outstanding results
Blackpool College was the venue for the latest Group 2 fixture for our Pathways football team. We arrived with a full squad that included our first female player this season. Stephanie Gallon has only been training with us since January and has already shown great promise as a goalkeeper. She shows no fear and has an excellent attitude; along with Daniel Smith, we now have two GKs for future tournaments.
Gigantic glaciers, gushing hot geysers, volcanoes, whales and the awe-inspiring Northern Lights have left fifty Loreto students with memories to last a lifetime after a trip to Iceland. They have just returned from an amazing five days to the Reykjavík area, where not only did they witness huge tectonic forces at work, but enjoyed climbing a glacier and watching dolphins and a humpback whale at sea.
Loreto is proud of the success of last year’s toilet twinning initiative, which saw over £2,000 raised to help sanitation projects in some of the world’s poorest countries. Our efforts, in conjunction with development agencies Cord and Tearfund, were recognised by International Catholic News.
Recently upper sixth Classical Civilisation students have taken up the study of ancient Greek vases as part of a study of the ancient Greek and Roman world. Students recently had the opportunity to design and decorate a pot of their choice with a Greek myth of their choosing. See some of the examples here. Students enjoyed interpreting a Greek myth or illustrating a character upon a piece of pottery and discovering it was more difficult than originally thought, but lots of fun. Next subject: Greek free-standing sculpture ………oh dear!
Local artist Rob Wilson recently visited Loreto Art Department to demonstrate his working processes and to give students the opportunity to try out some of his techniques. Rob is an award winning artist from Whaley Bridge, whose many high profile commissions include The Ashes Series at Old Trafford and a display at Manchester United Football Club.
We were recently delighted to welcome back ex-Loreto student and distinguished conductor Dr John Andrews. Dr Andrews gave a lecture as part of the Cambridge Music hub programme, Loreto’s link with the prestigious university’s music department. The session involved an extended heated debate about the place and relevance of classical music in contemporary society. Dr Andrews also had time to offer words of encouragement and advice to those of our students who are keen to follow in his footsteps and study music at Cambridge.
As the long dark days of winter begin to brighten, and spring approaches, one of Loreto’s most popular societies continues to attract attendances of over a hundred students for each weekly session.
Observing the etiquette of formal debate, but not forgetting that a healthy exchange of views can be entertaining as well, our students have argued across a wide range of controversial topics. We started the year, as ever, with our alumni debate. Past debaters, now attending Durham, Oxford and Nottingham universities, returned to take part in a spirited debate on the motion ‘Britain should have a maximum wage’.
Coach Danny Crennand and his dedicated squad of players have worked extremely hard to establish women’s football as an integral part of the Loreto sporting scene. Whilst initially competing in the 7 a side form of the game the team is now operating in an 11 a side league as well. The players have had to learn to adapt their game to the different demands of 11 a side, working on new tactics and formations, whilst at the same time maintaining a high level of performance in the 7 a side set-up. So successful have they been in this that they have already won three cup competitions and are in the running for several more. This is all the more remarkable considering the lack of success with women’s football in the past. The girls are looking forward to the remainder of the season with great confidence.
As part of their coursework A2 Media students have the option to work on a music video. Four of our students, Lucy Fegan, Chloe Williams, Connor Moore and Niall Cullen, sent their finished product to Radio 1, and were delighted when it featured in the Sunday night ‘Dan and Phil’ show. The show’s producers said they ‘loved it’ and the video, accompanying the song ‘Forever’, by Haim, was displayed on the show’s website whilst the track was playing.
AS and A2 theology students were recently invited to take part in an essay writing competition focusing on key aspects of their studies. The two questions, ‘An action is only good if it benefits another person’ (A2) and ‘Examine ways in which Utilitarianism is compatible with the traditional ethical teachings of one other major world religion’ (AS) challenged students to think beyond the notes in their files.
The group convened to discuss the latest selection, The Shipping News, by Annie Proulx, an American writer who set her novel in Newfoundland, Canada, although she now resides in Wyoming, USA, the setting for perhaps her most famous story, Brokeback Mountain.
The novel’s central character is Quoyle: one of life’s losers he staggers from an unhappy childhood in a dysfunctional family into a catastrophic marriage, which somehow manages to produce two beautiful children. Retreating from this relationship Quoyle finds himself drawn back to his ancestral home in Newfoundland, where the drama of the story is played out.
Coach Steve Jackson reports on the latest tournament:
“This was the best performance we have produced since we started Pathways football. The fact that we only conceded two goals in the whole tournament, and finished third, shows how close it was. We have definitely closed the massive gap in standard over the last few years, and now we are beating teams that have beaten us previously, and teams are struggling to break through our tough defence. I am so proud of the way our team worked tirelessly to defend their goal and the great football played throughout the team; as a coach it makes it all worthwhile to see how much they all enjoyed the moment. Hopefully we can build on this and really push for a tournament win this season.”
Three students from Loreto College recently had the opportunity to meet a really inspirational Priest, Fr Nacho SJ, who works on international development projects in Guatemala. Joel Pearce, Harriet Cooper-Hockey and Rowan Gourlay, travelled to St Pauls Catholic High School for the afternoon to hear Fr Nacho speak about his life and work, and were able to ask him directly about the projects in which he is involved. Joel Pearce, an Upper 6th student studying Government and Politics, History and Economics, said: “It was great to meet such a wonderful man who is doing really great things for the people of Guatemala.”
On a clear and cold winter’s evening Loreto physics students ventured into Cheshire to attend the Jodrell Bank Lecture. Held within the redeveloped visitors’ centre, next to the imposing Lovell Telescope, students were taken on an audio tour of the universe. In a change to the scheduled lecture Professor Tim O’Brien, one of the UKs leading astronomers, presented ‘Sounds from Space’.
One of the prisoners of conscience, profiled by religious education teachers as part of a unit on human rights, has been released. Yorm Bopha, from Cambodia, was arrested after campaigning for her community at Boeung Kak Lake near Phnom Penh. She has been imprisoned since September 2012, after an unfair trial. Loreto students were very moved after they watched a short film about her campaign to prevent global industry confiscating local land and housing. Her plight was further highlighted by a passionate appeal by her 10-year-old son for his mother to be released from her three year sentence.
Students of Spanish at Loreto have their own successful reading group, where they can engage with a variety of texts, and they recently had the opportunity to further extend their studies by visiting the Spanish and Latin American Department at Manchester University. During the day students were shown around the department and university by SLAS students, who gave them an insightful introduction to university life and expectations. The A2 students also attended a very informative lecture about García Lorca, presented by Natalio Ormeño of the Cosejería Laboral. It covered the life and death of Lorca, discussing a little of the history of the era, including the beginning of the Spanish Civil War: Lorca was executed by the nationalists (Fascists) in 1936 for being a republican and homosexual.
Dylan Fuller is 18 and from Stockport in Greater Manchester. His parents did not go to university: his dad is a taxi driver, and his mum is a school bursar. His GCSEs, he tells me, were "good, but not great": one A* and five As. But at the end of his first year studying for A-levels, his AS grades – four As, in French, politics, English and history – sparked a realisation that with university applications looming, he could aim high.
Just before Christmas, he went for an interview for a place reading French at St Hugh's College, Oxford. "When I got there, I was talking to people from Eton and Harrow, and places like that – and they're not that different," he tells me, as if it came as a slight surprise. He says he began his first formal interview feeling "surprisingly relaxed", and managed to start a debate with the dons in charge about the functions of language. A few weeks later, he got an offer conditional on three As at A-level, which his teachers are confident he'll get.
Fuller is a student at Loreto Sixth Form College, a Catholic institution located in the inner-city neighbourhood of Hulme, nudging the once-notorious district of Moss Side. This year, 21 of its students received offers from either Oxford or Cambridge, up from 16 in 2013 – which represented a success rate of 50%, as against a national average of around 20%. Just under a third of the successful students have parents who did not go to university, something that reflects the college's student body: though Loreto's high standards pull in students from all over Manchester and beyond, 57% of its students live in council wards officially classed as having high poverty levels, and more than a quarter receive government bursaries.
Congratulations to twenty-one of our A2 students who have received offers of places from the Universities of Oxford or Cambridge. Covering a remarkably diverse range of subject areas, from Medicine to Mathematics, English to Engineering and Economics, Fine Art to French, they will now be working hard to obtain the required grades and then to join over thirty ex-Loreto students currently studying at the two prestigious universities.
All the Loreto students have benefited from involvement in a designated Oxbridge preparation programme, coordinated by Dr Tony Lyons, which seeks to guide students through the whole process of preparation, application and interview. Dr Lyons comments:
“It is gratifying to see that some of our most academically able students are given the chance to pursue their interests in the Oxbridge environment. The students we support are invariably capable of flourishing at Oxford or Cambridge, and that 50% of our supported applicants gained an offer – nationally the rate is approximately 20% - is a credit to the students’ ability and hard work, and to the dedication and support given by my colleagues. My heart goes out to those who failed to secure an offer: we ensure that they do have robust ‘other’ choices, so thankfully, they should go on to thrive at other top Universities.”
Principal, Ann Clynch said: “I am delighted that twenty-one Loreto students have been offered places at Oxford and Cambridge this year. I am very pleased that such obvious talent and potential, backed up by hard work from students, tutors and teachers, has been recognised. We know these students will flourish even further in the rigorous academic atmosphere of these ancient learning communities. We wish them all the very best.”
Twenty four bright and keen lower sixth students recently spent three fun-filled and highly informative hours with medical students from the Fastbleep organisation after College one evening. This was the fifth visit of Fastbleep to Loreto and it was good to renew friendships and make new ones.
Loreto students go head to head in poetry showdown
Under the guidance of Ms Warburg and Mr Simpson, the English department decided to enter candidates for a national poetry recital competition. Each student was given the task of learning by heart two poems, one pre-1914 and one more modern, chosen from a prescribed list, which they then had to recite before a panel of judges. Five brave students, Grace Mo, Abi Newton, Mielad Niekzad, Andreea Ciurea and Naa Quaye submitted themselves to the ordeal, choosing a disparate range of poems, from ‘standards’ like Shelley’s Ozymandias and Tichborne’s Elegy, to the more esoteric, such as Poetry by Marianne Moore.