Eight young men and one young woman from the Catholic High School chose to test their career aspirations by taking up the offer of a residential course in Halton Barracks, the army training camp for the Lancashire Regiment.
The barracks which clearly saw service in the WW2, is located on a hill between the River Lune and the less romantic M6, permitting keen east winds to cut a swathe.
Accommodation was basic but clean, regulation sheets with two scratchy blankets on a steel- framed bunk bed, with shared washing facilities outside the dormitory.
They were up at 6.30am with breakfast at 7.30, room inspection at 8.15 and training at 9.
During the week the students were shown how to cope in certain specific situations such as, survival skills, heart start, survival under enemy fire, how to stake out the enemy, operation night owl – where students under cover of darkness had to rescue some nuclear materials from under the nose of the enemy – and working in a team to get over an assault course. The course was topped and tailed by a 1½ mile run by which the students could determine an improvement in fitness levels.
All the trainers had seen service on the battlefield whether in Bosnia, Afghanistan or Iraq and yet showed such humility.
Will Carter when challenged by the PT trainer to race over a course of one and a half miles, beat him by eight seconds. In contrast when staking out the enemy under camouflage, Marley put his hand up to ask if he could go to the toilet, which in effect meant that the team were all blown up!
None of the students who went wanted to be a soldier prior to this and apart from Rhys and Callum who would like to join the SAS, they still don’t. But what a learning experience it has proved to be.
Queen’s Park High School has just completed two major sports facility refurbishments aided by funding from Sport England and Awards for All.
Sport England has provided a £25,000 grant to put towards the provision of a new high specification Sports Hall floor. The top quality “linolastic” floor which was completed in time for the new Summer Term has put the bounce back into sporting activities and made a real difference to pupils, staff and community users.
Head of the PE department Charlie Clubb said: “The generous funding from Sport England has provided us with an incredible improved facility which has had a significant impact on the school and the local community and will ultimately encourage a healthier lifestyle for everyone.”
Awards for All have provided a £10,000 grant towards the refurbishment of our school Fitness Suite. Not only are the new facilities fantastic for Queen’s Park students the grant will enable us to carry out a community fitness improvement programme with our partner schools and other local groups which will start in the summer term.
The Redgrave Institute supported the PE department in the design of the room and also provided additional equipment to help improve the space. Students and staff were delighted by a surprise visit from Sir Steve Redgrave in March. He called by school to see how the outcome of the refurbishment and offer his support to KS3 students who were taking part in an after-school indoor rowing club run by our British Rowing Coach, Annie Barsoum, along with our student Sport Leaders.
Friday 1st March was the first day for the school as an academy.
What academy status means for that it is, in effect, a government-funded independent school. This means it can make its own decisions about the curriculum and how it busy services.
Assistant head teacher Stephen Gauller said: “This builds on the independence we have always had as a Catholic school, and puts us fully in control of our own destiny.
“We have had excellent support from our staff and the Diocese in completing the changeover to academy status, and we are now setting out on a new chapter in the history of our school.”
He said that despite the change, the school remains fully committed to its Catholic ethos.
The Catholic High School is still fully committed to its mission as a Catholic school and this means we are very definitely committed to;
The conversion day was celebrated with a special blessing from Fr Paul Shaw and goodwill messages from chairman of governors Peter Devine and the chairman of the academy executive Bernard Larkin.
The cast and crew from Queen’s Park High School’s recent production of Beauty and the Beast, which featured over 100 students engaged in acting, set design, lighting and sound. They are pictured with local radio station mascot Chester the Cat.
A group of students added some weight to their learning when they got to try out a suit of armour that was brought in for the show. Brave student Jim Williams was chosen to try on the suit, which provided a great set dressing and artefact to demonstrate medieval battle techniques.