Congratulations to all the St Joseph’s pupils who ran at the ISA SW Cross-Country event at Haldon forest on Wednesday 25th January. All the pupils ran very well and there was great support and kindness shown throughout the event, as well as some very competitive running. St. Joseph’s won 5 team trophies; an amazing achievement by the Year 4 girls, Year 5 and 6 girls, Year 7 and 8 boys and girls and the Year 9 and 10 girls.
The 22 pupils who were placed in the top 10 have been selected to represent the South West team at the national finish at Princethorpe School near Rugby on Saturday 4th March. For a school of this size to have 10% of their pupils representing the South West is impressive indeed.
The pupils were: Michael Barton, Max Darwall, Henny Morrell-Davies, Ava McDiarmid-Hall, Lily Truelove, Emma Honey, Kellen Lincoln, Robin Smith, Will Collings, Peter Ray, Max Russell, Daniella Stevens, Chloe Smith, Ella Henry-Brock, Kitty May, Ella Shaw, Louisa Smith, Freyja Malin, Sophie Renfree, Shannon Uglow, Lowen Courtney-Bridgey and Sam Thomas.
Above and beyond the achievement of just taking part and being selected to represent the South West team, special congratulations should go to Michael Barton and Freyja Malin who were winners of their respective events!
Official GCSE League tables now published show just how strong the performance of the non-selective Independent school St Joseph’s, Launceston, continues to be. The school has for many years achieved results that demonstrate great success at national and county level, and 2016 was no exception. St Joseph’s results were again the best in Cornwall with 90% of pupils achieving the national benchmark of 5 A* to C Grades including Maths and English.
St Joseph’s welcomes pupils of all abilities and sets no entrance exam, so for fully a third of GCSE grades to be A* and A and two thirds of all grades awarded to be B and above in addition to the 90% headline statistic is a remarkable feat.
Headmaster Mr Oliver Scott said “I am very proud that we can see so clearly in these tables just how well the children have done. That they outperform a number of selective schools shows how hard both they and our staff work. We are always trying to improve, always looking to make sure St Joseph’s moves forward, in terms of what we can provide for the children and how we support their learning. Outcomes for our pupils are at the forefront of our thinking, and the support we give in a small, supportive and caring environment is essential to the children’s success. Everyone who visits the school comments on how confident, polite and proud of their school the students are, and to top this off with such examination success is remarkable. Coming hard on the heels of National sporting success in the pool and in cross country, as well as team sport and musical concerts of the highest calibre, it is clear that the students here are given every opportunity to succeed, whatever their talents.”
“We are working still on developing the school: we have just opened a new fitness suite, we are upgrading classrooms, designing new changing rooms and have plans for new peripatetic music rooms in the coming years. However, we won’t let these exciting plans affect our focus on GCSE and academic success for all, in whatever guise that may take.”
“While there has been a great deal of national debate about making GCSEs ever harder, seeing our students with their wide range of abilities continuing to achieve highly is a real credit to them. I would just like to say thank you to all those teachers who have taught the children, from Nursery to Year 11.”
GCSE results are only one measure of a school’s success: St Joseph’s builds confidence and pupils take more with them that certificates when leaving school; the personal qualities that the school develops can be seen in each one of the pupils who achieved such a level of GCSE success.
It takes quite some talent to make a splash at the Independent School’s Association’s National Finals, but that’s just what Launceston girl Molly Barton did this week when representing St Joseph’s school. And not content to bring a gold medal back across the Tamar, Molly did it in style, breaking the ISA National record in the process.
Molly joined St Joseph’s in Year 3, and it was and whilst swimming in the school’s swimming programme that she was invited to join Launceston Swim Club by the time she reached Year 5. Molly quickly advanced to become County Champion and age group record holder, and by the time she was in Year 7 she qualified for races at Regional Level.
Molly’s talent and growing reputation in the world of South West swimming meant she came to the attention of Jon Rudd, the Head of Elite Swimming at Plymouth Leander, who approached her with a view to joining his elite athlete programme. This she did at the beginning of Year 8 and, due to the enormous time commitment required, reluctantly left St Joseph’s to join Plymouth College where an Olympic size pool beckoned.
By Year 9 Molly had reached number 6 in the UK for 50m Backstroke and was not only competing nationally but also internationally, and had been placed in ‘Performance Elite 3’ squad, a feat that only a handful of 13 year olds had previously achieved.
Unfortunately, continued recurring injury meant that it was difficult for Molly to complete the more arduous parts of the swim programme, a gruelling slog which consisted of 18 hours of swimming and 6 hours of gym each week. Therefore it was decided that she should take a break from elite performance swimming in order to allow her time to recover from injury. As a result of that Molly decided to return to St Joseph’s and all at the school were delighted to have her back.
Never being one to give in, she continued training with Launceston Swim Club and it was from here that she competed for St Joseph’s at the ISA National Swimming Gala having powered her way onto the team. And it was in the prestigious surrounds of the London Aquatic Centre, scene of such Olympic success in 2012, that last week she achieved a Silver medal in the 200m Individual Medley and a Gold Medal in the 100m backstroke. An outstanding achievement, while in the process setting a new National ISA Record not only for herself but for St Joseph’s, for Cornwall and for the South West.