aquinas college ejournal dec 2015

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Teacher at sea! ejournal | 19 Keep in touch with all the latest news: @ AquinasUK /aquinascollegeUK THE NEWSLETTER OF AQUINAS COLLEGE STOCKPORT ISSUE 19 DECEMBER 2015 Students hit the big screen! When in Rome! Young person of the year! Teacher/writer extraordinaire! DOE begins! Student Success! Pathways go team! Student actors shine!

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Page 1: Aquinas College eJournal Dec 2015

Teacher at sea!

ejournal |19

Keep in touch with all the latest news:

@ AquinasUK /aquinascollegeUK


Students hit the big screen!

When in Rome!

Young person of the year!

Teacher/writer extraordinaire!

DOE begins!


Pathwaysgo team!

Student actors shine!

Page 2: Aquinas College eJournal Dec 2015

The Eddie-torial


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Answers - Left to right - Gary Goswell, Eddie Moore, Diane Spencer, Duncan Whelan

Welcome Sam!

Thank you for downloading this issue of our ejournal. It has seemed the most hectic of terms but we were determined to get this edition onto the website before the college closes for Christmas.

This edition contains just a little of the variety that makes up life at Aquinas and the richness of the experiences available to Aquinas students.

We start this edition with the Celebrating Young People Awards held in London in July. Next is Angela’s Adventure as Teacher at Sea for 7 weeks on the RRS James Cook to the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Our Biology features next, with fruit flies and field trips. Former student Paul McCoy features in our “Where are they now?” series. Paul has his dream job working for Manchester City. One of our more recent courses, Public Services, follows and the Geology field trip to Porth Dafarch in Angelsey is next. Tom Dixon reports on Screen Stockport and more Aquinas success. Vicki Ormiston tells about Cuckuu student winners. Memories are stirred by last June’s Rome trip.

Welcome to Samantha Hickey! Sam (6D6) has joined the ejournal team and has played an invaluable role in getting this edition out. Anthony Trevelyan, in his own inimitable style, tells Sam Hickey about ‘Weightless World’, his novel that was published in the summer. Her interview with Anthony Trevelyan is illuminating and marks a slight shift in direction for the ejournal with thoughtful pieces. Our production of the Tempest as part of the

National Shakespeare Festival at the Contact Theatre in November is reported by Sarah Harris. Next up is the news from CAFOD, Pathways, DoE and Stockport’s Young Apprentice event. This term we have had a Spanish perspective from Ana Pastora Molina. Olivia Dunn tells us why she donated her hair to the little Princess Trust. During the last week of term we had our Certificate Evening to celebrate our student leavers’ successes, with an inspirational address given by 2015 Student Council President Luke Thomas. And we finish with work from the Cartooning Club.

Thank you to all our contributors for taking time out from their very busy schedules to keep us posted about Aquinas life. Thanks especially to Lucy Timon our Graphic Designer, whose skill and encouragement have ensured we made the end of term deadline...just! Lucy is leaving us in January to travel the world! Well Australia for a start. Thank you Lucy for all your skill, expertise and dedication. We’ll miss you. Safe journey.

Please let us have your feedback, news, stories and photos for our next issue. Wishing us and our families a safe, peaceful and joyful Christmas and health and happiness throughout 2016.

Guess the Aquinas Staff Santa!Created by Learning Support Assistant/ Cartoon Artist, Sam Townend

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Attending the awards celebrations at Prince Charles Cinema, in the presence of guest of honour Cardinal Nicholls, highlighted the wealth of love that so many young people feel for their fellow citizens. From the young family carer upholding human dignity, to the teenager promoting peace by leading the campaign to eliminate bullying, all of the nominees and award-winners were truly living out the Church's social teachings whilst simultaneously invalidating the claims so often made by society that young people are apathetic.The effort of striving for peace was evident throughout the whole day. The fact I got to meet the special guests and go to the House of Lords was just the icing on top of a really delicious cake! It was one of the most enjoyable days I have experienced and I look forward to keeping in touch with Million Minutes in the years to come. Finally, all I have expressed culminates in a strong urge that Aquinas students do not feel disheartened by recent events, but that we, as a community, feel compelled to work for peace and love everyday, everywhere and for everyone.

Celebrating Young People Awards Lucy Mellor −

U6 Student


B eing invited to be a part of an initiative known as Celebrating Young People Awards powered by Million Minutes was such an

honour and joy. Getting to socialise and hear the stories of like-minded individuals who have done and continue to do amazingly charitable things was possibly the best part of it all. It made me feel even more greatly motivated to live out Catholic social teaching in the community, even if that be by doing 'small things which great love', a wise saying from Mother Teresa.On Wednesday 1st July, hundreds of young people, youth workers and teachers, family and friends gathered in Leicester Square to celebrate the inspirational lives of nominated young people all around the country. Preceding the evenings celebrations was a chance for certain nominees to have afternoon tea at the House of Lords with the accompaniment of special guests: Baroness Sheila Hollins and Margaret Mizen. Not only did I get to experience delicious treats in Parliament but more importantly I got an insight into what other young people have done to make this world a better place.It is at times such as these, when we have witnessed horrific terror attacks-most notably in Paris- and we have high-risk security measures in place, that this event is most meaningful to me because it reminds me of all the good works that do not get mentioned by the media and it gives me a sense of immense pride and faith in our generation.

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Keep in touch with all the latest news: @ AquinasUK /aquinascollegeUK

Page 4: Aquinas College eJournal Dec 2015

Teacher at Sea!

I have been appointed to take part in the opportunity of a lifetime -to join the team of research scientists on an expedition to the

Mid-Atlantic Ridge to try to work out what is actually happening to the Ridge as it parts.

The expedition is being funded by NERC and involves Birmingham, Cardiff and Durham Universities. I will be joining the scientists with the aim of preparing resources for schools and the public that will make the research accessible.

On the 13th or 14th of January I will set sail aboard the state of the art research vessel RRS James Cook. We depart from Cape Verde (just off the West Coast of Africa) and will arrive in Trinidad and Tobago on February 24th. The Mid-Atlantic Ridge (MAR) between these countries is very interesting. It is not covered by sediment so the geology of the sea floor is clearly visible. There is great interest in the science world about the MAR at this location because it is not spreading as geologists used to think.

The Science

Generally it is believed that the MAR spreads outwards from a continuous line of volcanoes that starts in the Arctic and joins the Southwest Indian Ridge which runs from the southernmost Atlantic into the Indian Ocean.

The oceanic crust in this chain of volcanoes is young, very thin, hot and relatively lightweight. New magma fills the gaps that are left behind from the spreading plates. This is not happening in the study area at 13ºN on the MAR. Instead the supply of magma to the crust is diminished here, so the plate separation is taken up largely by sliding along faults. This allows deep rocks to be exposed at the bottom of the faults. From this scientists are learning how the oceanic crust is constructed. There are lots of questions that arise from this research:

• How far do such faults extend along and across the ridge axis? (This is the main focus of the expedition.)

• Why do the faults slip?

• What happens to the magma trapped?

• What stops the faults from slipping and for normal spreading to start again?

• How common is this type of fault behaviour?

Ten of the twenty largest cities on Earth are located on plate boundaries. It is essential that we understand the workings of our planet in order for the people in these cities to be able to live safely with tectonic forces.

Angela Bentley − Head of Earth Science


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Keep in touch with all the latest news: @ AquinasUK /aquinascollegeUK

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The minerals and resources brought to the surface by tectonic forces are used in our everyday lives. Understanding where these resources are located is vital with our expanding global population. At these faults where the deep oceanic crust is exposed there could be many resources that could be utilised by industry.

Teacher at Sea

If you are a teacher (from Key Stage 3 starting to teach about forces to A Level teaching about tectonics) I can produce a range of resources related to the curriculum and examination specifications linking to our expedition – just ask. This will tick many OFSTED boxes for your paper work. Whilst I am on board we can have a live classroom with Q’s and A’s from the RSS James Cook. I will be Tweeting and writing a blog about my day to life on board. I can show what life is like aboard a research vessel (another OFSTED box regarding careers – scientists, officers, engineers and catering staff) and I will create a resources that I think will be useful and interesting for students of all ages.

So who am I?

My everyday teaching role is as part of a wonderful team of teachers at Aquinas College in Stockport. My headteacher Danny Pearson has been absolutely fantastic in supporting me in this unique opportunity. THANK YOU DANNY!!I am a wife and a mother – I have two grown up children, my youngest is off to study Geology at Birmingham – she is quite: ‘jealous of my insane adventure’. I have been teaching for eighteen years this will be my fifth year at Aquinas College – so I’ll be out of my comfort zone!

I was over the moon to be appointed as ‘Teacher at Sea’ on 11th August this year. I’ve learned a great deal already and must thank Christine Peirce – lead scientist from Durham University – as she has been a great help with the practicalities of the venture:New safety trainers – anti slip, steel toe capsHigh visibility jacketBoiler SuitGlovesHard HatMy big question is: WHAT, AM I GOING TO BE DOING EACH DAY TO REQUIRE SUCH A RIGOUT? I haven’t liked to ask yet…I know I’ll have shifts, four hours on – eight hours off – that will take some getting used to I’ve never done shift work. I have recently completed a Sea Survival Course – not for the faint hearted!!! The final exercise is in a smoke filled, dark swimming pool with the sirens blaring. I had to jump off a high platform into the turbulent water below and scramble into a life raft. I enjoyed my visit to the ship in October, it’s a large vessel with everything 52 people could require for 7 weeks at sea. The cabins are like rooms in university halls and shower rooms are shared between two people.

I’m really looking forward to my adventure.

You can contact me and follow my journey:

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @teacheratseaMAR



The Vessel and Scientists:

RRS James Cook:

Professor Christine

Professor Roger Searle:

Professor Tim Reston:

Professor Chris MacLeod (who won’t be going to sea with us as he will already be at sea on a drilling ship)

Page 6: Aquinas College eJournal Dec 2015

Biology Events


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A group of 15 U6/L6 took up the opportunity to meet leading University of Manchester researchers. They participated in activities,

watched presentations and got the chance to speak directly to researchers and ask about their work and career paths. There was a wide range of topics from research involving ancient DNA, how zoos help with conservation, how a lab can fit on a computer chip and be used to complete genetic analysis, the use of heat activated drugs, stem cell research, and the use of artificial polymers to help repair nerves. They learnt about new research e.g. beginning human trials directly from the researchers carrying it out. It was a fascinating and inspiring evening for all in the fabulous setting of Manchester Museum

25th September Science Uncovered at Manchester Museum

Catherine Houghton − Subject Leader Biology

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I realise the photos are a little misleading but it really was late June when 117 intrepid Biology students ventured out to the wilds

of Ainsdale to complete their fieldwork investigating succession. We had a fun filled day collecting data and picnicking in the rain! The students were acredit to the college and enjoyed the day despite the weather. Many students encountered an environment they had not previously appreciated; for example we saw a Labyrinth spider with its amazing web and with some effort spotted a Natterjack toad.


L6 Field trip June

2nd November 2015 – The use of Drosophila to research human neurodegenerative disease

W e were lucky enough to have Professor Andreas Prokop and Sanjai Patel

from the Manchester Fly Facility come into college to run a hands-on workshop looking at how Drosophila (fruit flies) can be used in research. A group of U6 & L6 students learnt about how Drosophila had featured in the research which earnt 7 Nobel prizes. Students carried out practicals involving the fruit flies, looked at the importance of sample size, analysed data and gained an appreciation of current research and how the fruit files made it possible. It was an enjoyable and challenging workshop. The students impressed Professor Prokop with their answers and enthusiasm.

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Where are they now?Paul McCoy – Manchester City Football Club Sports Coach

W e caught up with one of our former students Paul Mcoy to see what he has being doing since he left us in summer


Please can you tell us a bit about yourself, e.g. where you came from, how long it is since you have been at Aquinas, what did you study whilst in college?

I grew up in Reddish Stockport and attended Reddish Vale Technology College. I attended Aquinas College in 2006 studying Sport Level 2. This was a one year course with an option to study Sport and Leadership Level 3 for a further two years.

What experiences have you had since college? What has been your greatest achievement? E.g. Awards, university, apprenticeships.

I left college with the determination to become a sports coach. I worked at a number of companies in Stockport on a part time basis. I was given the opportunity to do some part time hours at City in the Community in 2008 which became full time employment as a community coach 2009. I have had a number of roles since working at CITC and I am currently working as the Roadshow coordinator which gives the opportunity for children to take part in a number of football activities when we visit their school.


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My greatest achievement since college was being part of the health team that won the Community Project of the Year award at the Northwest Football awards in 2011.

What is your next goal? What do you hope to achieve in the future?

Working at Manchester City has helped me develop as a coach and a person. As the club and the group (City Football Group) continue to grow, there are opportunities to travel the world and deliver football to lots of different people. I would like to hope that one day I am involved with international work and that I get the chance to travel around delivering football.

Any advice for current students who wish to succeed in sport?

Continue to study and get as much education you can. The best type of education is to deliver because you find out what works well and what could be changed for next time. If you know what you want to achieve in the future don’t give up on that dream. I wanted to become a football coach and have been blessed to be given an opportunity to work for a Premier League Club and get the chance to travel to different places including Abu Dhabi and Switzerland.

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BTEC Public Services

R ight at the end of the first half term, on the 21st October, we had a visit from our Local Fire Service. They were

in college to discuss career paths with our PS students, but also to demonstrate the importance of road safety. Around 50 students attended the workshop, which included a road safety driving simulator and a live demonstration of how Fire-Rescue crews respond to an RTA with trapped passengers.

Two of our brave U6 students, Kyle Cashman and Tessa Dewhurst, volunteered to be ‘rescued’ from the vehicle – but just watching the process was scary enough for most! On a blustery autumn afternoon the demonstration reminded us all of the importance of road safety, particularly during the festive period.

On the other side of the half term break, Lower Sixth Public Services students took part in a day trip to The People’s History museum in Spinningfields, Manchester. The visit was an opportunity to think about politics in our area, in readiness for a Unit on Government and the Public Services.

All those who took part seemed to enjoy themselves, representing the very best of Aquinas College with their mature and thoughtful conduct in the museum. Al Sutherland, Gary Smillie and Ruth Hewitt accompanied the students who were an absolute pleasure to be with…we even had to drag some of them away from the exhibitions!

IN the coming weeks Public Services Students have visits from the local police force, the Safer Stockport Partnership and a local councillor to look forward to…what a lucky lot!

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Right at the end of the first half term, on the 21st October, we had a visit from our Local Fire Service. “

Gary Smillie – Public Services Teacher

Page 10: Aquinas College eJournal Dec 2015

Who do we think we are?

I n the summer term of 2015, our L6 students were asked to partake in the Aquinas 'Who do we think we are?' project. In a similar format to

the BBC series, students were asked to research the origin of their surnames and, if they wanted, to delve into stories from their family past. As you can imagine, what unfolded was a rich Aquinas family history. The map shows just some of the places of origin for our surnames.

Here is a selection of fascinating stories which the students wanted to share. To see more, please keep an eye on the upcoming Aquinas E&D website. Is there anyone famous who shares your surname? My cousin Francis Jeffers, from Liverpool who is a famous footballer, who has played and scored for England, and got a 20million contract from Everton to Arsenal.

Where does your surname originate?

My name Kajal is associated with the qualities such as - "Someone with EXTREMES in fortune, health and spirituality. Someone who is versatile, idealistic and intuitive. Someone who always enjoys great success. The solution is service to others. Use your leadership abilities for humanity and not for self-glorification. Someone who is bold, independent, inquisitive and in-terested in research. Someone who knows what you want and why they want it." I think this is really fascinating and motivating because all these qualities do link quite well with my characteristics and it is very motivating that I am on the right path fulfilling the motive of my parents when they gave it to me.

Derives from old Irish Gaelic "O' Gealbhain" meaning "white light", or a nickname for someone with a receding hairline (which I hope isn't an omen).

My surname originates from Poland but can be also found in Germany and Austria. My surname does not seem to have a meaning and 354 people in Poland have the surname Szyman.

78% of people with the surname Stapelberg live in South Africa.

Are there any stories from your family past to share/celebrate?

Y We don't know our family. My granddad escaped from a POW camp in Ukraine and never saw them again. He then went to meet my grandma is Austria and got moved to a refugee camp in Birmingham

Y My family name comes from the state of Gujarat in India where my ancestors used to be traders caste of landowners, farmers and village leaders

Y My grandfather was in the second world war. My grandmother was taken by Russians during the invasion of Poland in the second world war and survived.

Y My grandma was born just after the abolishment of slavery.

Y My grandad came to England from Pakistan with nothing and ended with his own factory and a very wealthy wage.

Anna Snape − Religious Studies Teacher


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Keep in touch with all the latest news: @ AquinasUK /aquinascollegeUK

Page 11: Aquinas College eJournal Dec 2015


Porth Dafarch in AngleseyUpper Sixth Geology Student

A s part of our geology coursework, it was required to collect data and field notes. So we, the upper sixth geology students,

went to Porth Dafarch in Anglesey. We had to investigate an igneous body. We had to find out what the nature and southern extent of the igneous body and its relationship to the surrounding rock.

We arrived at around 10 o’clock and split into two groups. My group headed to first site which required us to scramble across the rocks to access it. We then began to take notes and draw sketches of what we saw. There were several igneous structures such as spheroidal weathering and mineralisation in between horizontal and vertical joints. Unfortunately the tide had stated to advance so we had to hurry back and did not get time to sample crystal sizes.

We then went to a site on the other side of the beach. We began to systematically sample the crystal sizes across the igneous body and took notes on the rock characteristics. We determined that the igneous body was made up of dolerite and that it had a range of crystal sizes. After, we followed the igneous body across the bay to Porth Y Post. The land above the igneous body was flat, low and had minimal vegetation. The surrounding land was higher up, uneven and had plants and shrubs. The southern extent of the igneous body showed columnar joints. First we drew the igneous body from a distance as this site was larger than the others. We went down on to the igneous body to collect our data. To access this site there was some narrow steps with a rope to hold on to; however it would offer no help if you fell! We went on to collect our data in the same way we did on the previous site.

As the igneous body was discordant so it cut across the beds, this would indicate that it is a dyke. Since it cut across the beds the igneous body also has to be younger than the surrounding country rock. You could tell that the igneous body cut across the bed as the rock type was different and the south stack beds were folded and contained Schist and quartz.

Once all our fieldwork was completed we had some time to appreciate and enjoy the beautiful surroundings. We had a snack before the journey home and took some pictures of the amazing geology which people travel from all over the globe to see. Then around 3 o’clock we started the return journey. All in all the day was enjoyable and fun.

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Screen Stockport October 16th 2015

Tom Dixon – Head of Film Studies

A quinas has long supported this event and our students have historically had some success in the Colleges category something

we were hoping to repeat this year.

Over 160 Film, BTEC Media and Communication and Culture students made the short trip to the Stockport Plaza and were treated to a diverse range of films of all genres. The festival has certainly grown from its modest roots at the Romiley Forum in 2010 to an established, successful showcase for young talent and ex Aquinas student Joe Barratt once again acted as compere for the project he put together from scratch just 5 years ago. As with previous years the day also offered the students the chance to see a talk from an established director and this year award-winning filmmaker Steve Sullivan gave a talk about the much-anticipated documentary ‘Being Frank: The Chris Sievey Story’ about the life of the man underneath the large papier-mache head of cult character Frank Sidebottom. We were treated to a sneak preview of the work in progress and talked through the intricacies of the production process and judging by the audience reaction the film will be extremely popular at least in Franks home territory.

“This October Screen Stockport once again opened its door to North Wests cinephile community and showcased the best amateur film making talent, from first time directors to Post graduate work...

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The competition was strong and particular highlights were ‘Harriet and the Matches’ in the very short film category and the hilarious ‘Jim Reaper’ in the University Student Short Film category. Of greater interest to us was the Schools and Colleges Short Film category where ex students Ellie Fenn and Adam Bircher were nominated for their film ‘The Rehearsal.’

The film was their A2 Film Studies coursework last year so it was great to see it take home the ‘Highly Commended’ award and the successful duo were delighted with their win. The day was hugely enjoyable and the confirmation that the North West and indeed Aquinas College is very much at the centre of contemporary film production was a great endorsement for our students hard work and a real inspiration for the new lower sixth students.

For more information about the Screen Stockport Film Festival visit, The Rehearsal- link to the film

Award winning Directors Adam Bircher and Ellie Fenn with lead actor Pierce Coen. They won the ‘Highly Commended’ award for their A2 Film Studies coursework ‘The Rehearsal’

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Cuckuu student Winners!


M y friend Joao set an illustration task to an Upper Sixth group in October to produce hand drawn designs that reflect

what is important to them and how their time is spent. The best ones he mocked up to link to a project that they are doing with the Apple watch. Oscar Ingham and Olivia Kelly’s designs were selected.

Vicki Ormiston − Graphic Design Teacher

Keep in touch with all the latest news: @ AquinasUK /aquinascollegeUK

Page 14: Aquinas College eJournal Dec 2015

Rome... June 2015!

I n June, the Aquinas RS department visited the religiously and cultural significant city of Rome, and there was certainly a jam packed itinerary!

Upon arrival we dropped our bags off at the hotel and went to see the Spanish steps and Piazza Navona. This provided a great way to get used to the tram system as well as try the infamous Italian ice cream.

On Tuesday, we visited the city of Ancient Rome with a tour of the ancient forum and the Colosseum. The students particularly enjoyed learning about the lower levels of the Colosseum (where the Gladiators and animals were prepared before battle) and the temple of Venus (where dead Gladiators would be sent for burial). On Wednesday, we got the tram to Vatican City. In the morning we visited the museum of the Holy Souls of Purgatory and the Castel Sant’Angelo and in the afternoon we went onto a tour of the Vatican and St Peter’s. It was very busy and languages from all over the world could be heard. When in the Vatican, the art work was simply spectacular; the walls and ceilings were covered with Fresco paintings and there were ornate statues throughout. The Sistene Chapel was particularly poignant and many students enjoyed sitting down for some reflection in one of the busiest tourist destinations in the world. In St Peter’s Basilica the altars of the Papal tombs made a perfect place for prayer and quiet. In the evening, we visited a local arts festival to celebrate the feast of John the Baptist where there was harp music and local amateur dramatic performances.

Our last full day was Thursday and we went to visit the Catacombs in the morning. They didn’t actually contain any bones as these had either been stolen by the Barbarians or had disintegrated, but it is still possible to see how the rituals of burial worked. Some families had large crypts to themselves, others had to be piled on top of each other. What was particularly harrowing was the amount of small coffins for babies which brought home the advancements in healthcare. In the evening, some staff and students attended the Basilica of the Holy Cross of Jerusalem for Mass in the crypt which was a bonding experience for Catholic and Non-Catholic students alike. By Friday, we were all ready for a well deserved rest!

Anna Snape − Religious Studies Teacher


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Keep in touch with all the latest news: @ AquinasUK /aquinascollegeUK

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The Weightless World by Anthony Trevelyan

Interviewed by Aquinas student,Samantha Hickey

How long did it take you to write your work, as well as research it?I wrote this novel fairly quickly: I spent about six months on the first draft, then another three months re-writing before I sent it to my agent. After she found the book a publisher, I then worked on and off with editors at the publishing house re-writing the novel again over the course of about a year.

How did your visit to India with college influence your writing?I’ve been lucky enough to go to India with college four times, and I can’t tell you what a deep and shuddering impression those trips have made on me. My book isn’t just set in India; many of its key locations are actual places – hotels, cafes – that I visited with colleagues and students on those various trips. I’m hugely grateful to Eddie and Priya for their having given me the chance to experience India with them, and for their having given me such an important part of my book. It seemed only fair to thank them properly in the acknowledgements!

As the author, how do you want the audience to react, or do you believe that many different themes should be taken on-board from your story?I’m happy for readers to see as much or as little in my book as they want. Some reviewers have described whole patterns of theme in the novel of which I have to say I was wholly unaware; which is not to say those patterns ‘aren’t there’ – I just didn’t know about them! I think the writer of a book is rarely the best authority on it. Readers have their experience, and the book’s writer doesn’t get to tell them what that experience was. I’m pretty much all for that.

You’ve written other books, although this is the first one published. How similar are each of these stories?There is probably some family resemblance between each of the books I’ve written so far – an interest in contemporary culture, with a particular emphasis on the uneasy, the unsettled, the sense that things aren’t as they seem. That may only be because I am a very, very paranoid little man.

Could you outline the story of The Weightless World?Two rather pillocky English blokes travel to India because they think they can persuade a reclusive inventor there to sell them an antigravity machine he has apparently invented. They’re hoping to make a fortune out of this machine, or at least to save their company, which is close to bankruptcy. So these two slightly awful guys are pretty desperate. Oh, and it’s possible that one of them has imagined the whole thing, that there’s no machine, no inventor, and the entire trip is a wild-goose chase. That’s the setup.

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Although the main goal for the protagonists is to find an antigravity machine, would I be correct in saying genre-wise this is more about self-discovery than scifi?I would say there are elements of self-discovery in the book, yes. I wanted to take the idea – the image – of weightlessness and see what other ideas and images it led me to, but really the novel is about whatever readers think it is about. There are scifi elements too. I don’t mind if someone reads the book and thinks it’s a scifi book. Why not?

Could you describe both Steven and Raymond and how their relationship, as well as individual personalities, are important in your work?Steven and Raymond! In some ways they’re both me (obviously) and in other ways they’re both nothing like me (obviously). Each of them is based on a person I know or have known in real life, though I couldn’t possibly say who. I suppose they each embody aspects of what I find most embarrassing about myself – my cringe moments, my shame reflexes.

Did anything else in college influence The Weightless World?Everything else in college influenced The Weightless World. I’m serious.

As you continue to teach here at Aquinas, has this publication impacted your approach to teaching English and especially Creative Writing?I’m sure it has, though I don’t know if I could say how. My teaching style has always been a combination of bluster, off-the-top-of-the-head inflammatory assertion and brute force. Perhaps now it is only…more so.

Would you recommend The Weightless World to your students?No. It’s totes boring. But you almost certainly have an auntie or uncle who would love to get it for Christmas.

And in terms of aspiring students how important of an example is your first publication going to be, as an achievement of pursuit and hard work?I strive always to be an example, a role model, a shining beacon, if you will, in the eyes of my students. And the example I more than ably provide is: The Way Not to Go.

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Keep in touch with all the latest news: @ AquinasUK /aquinascollegeUK

Page 18: Aquinas College eJournal Dec 2015

The Tempest

T aking the page to stage was an inspiring, challenging and empowering experience for all. Working on The Tempest was an invaluable experience for these

budding Actors, Designers and Technicians. Company members worked alongside National Theatre Directors and Actors on workshop days at professional Theatre locations around Manchester. The final performance was at the Contact Theatre on the 3rd November. The actual evening show was run by our very own talented student lighting and sound technicians.

This project was an enrichment opportunity Aquinas College decided to participate in, mainly to stretch and challenge our most gifted students. The Performing arts department are extremely proud of this cast and working in a professional capacity pushed their talents to another level. The production engaged the audience using action, song, live music and dance. It was this eclectic mix of art forms that made The Tempest by Aquinas students really stand out. In the words of an SSF Parent: The project reaches into student’s hearts and minds in a far deeper way than just working through a play in a classroom context, my son has grown in confidence and has a wonderful group of new friends who shared a wonderful experience when working on The Tempest at Aquinas.

Sarah Harris − Performing Arts Teacher


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The Performing arts students from Aquinas College participated in the National Shakespeare Festival for the first time this year...

A huge congratulations to the Cast, I look forward to doing it all again next year!

Page 19: Aquinas College eJournal Dec 2015


Page 20: Aquinas College eJournal Dec 2015

For this year’s CAFOD Family Fast Day, Aquinas staff and students turned their attention to the gift of water. Whilst fresh running water is a basic amenity for us in the UK, there are still over 783,000,000 people globally who go without clean drinking water. This is not only catastrophic for health and hygiene, but it also prevents development, as large chunks of the day are spent gathering water as opposed to working or going to school. It costs £750 for a CAFOD world gift of a water supply and the Aquinas students have genorously donated £387.91 so far. We are aiming to reach the target by the end of this academic year. If you would like to make a donation to help us reach our target, please contact

Anna Snape on [email protected]


CAFOD Family Fast Day

Page 21: Aquinas College eJournal Dec 2015

Pathways News


A s part of the Pathways programme, we have been working hard to provide our students with a regular work experience placement.

There is great value in real work experience out in the community for our students, both socially and in terms of employability.

The students go out each Thursday for a full day or a half day, depending on their need. It has taken a lot of hard work, negotiating and …… grovelling! Jo Rowley has secured placements in a wide variety of places, such as reptile shops, cafes, supermarkets, nurseries and offices. For the less independent students, we have managed to arrange some in-house placements with the kind co-operation of our colleagues. Some have worked in the canteen, the library and with the Facilities department. The experience for our students is so positive that even after finishing the course Joe is returning once a week to carry on working with Mike.

Charlie helping organise student photos for a college trip!

Chelsea cooking up a delicious feast!

Nathan hard at work in the salon!Kyran looking after the reptile enclosure!

Sue Marks − Pathways Teacher

O n Thursday 26th November eleven students of the Pathways Department took part in an annually held Boccia

tournament at Werneth School. A large groupof schools and colleges from the area gather to play a knock-out tournament lasting 4 hours and is always enjoyed by all.

Boccia is not unlike Bowls in that, the purpose is to get your teams set of 6 balls as close to the 'Jack' as possible. Team Aquinas managed to ight through to the finals narrowly scraping through each round by 1 or 2 points, eventually though it was Kingsway School that took the win at the final, beating Aquinas by just one point.

Work Experience Success

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The benefits of such experience for our students is priceless, an increase in self-esteem and confidence in meeting new people. An understanding of what ‘work’ is and how to behave in such situations. Jo’s latest success has been gaining a placement for a student at Manchester Airport, where he’ll be working in a range of positions around the airport front of house and behind the scenes. She is constantly looking for new placements – so if anyone has any contacts or can offer even an hour a week, please contact her!

Boccia TournamentAquinas have only ever won this tournament once in the 5 years we have attended, so to get so close again was a real achievement. Let's hope we bring it home next year!

Thom Greensill − Pathways Teacher

Page 22: Aquinas College eJournal Dec 2015

T he new Duke of Edinburgh year started in earnest on 13 November with a practice walk on a damp day in the Goyt Valley. Supported

by Amanda Burgess, Richard Purslow, Heather Howe and Judy Bartlett, twenty students navigated their way from Pym Chair along Foxlow Edge, to the ruins of Errwood Hall. After zigzagging up Shooter’s Clough we reached the highest point in Cheshire,

Shining Tor: here we are by the trig point.We covered some of the essential D of E skills: micro-navigation using a 1:25000 map, ‘setting the map to ground’ and understanding orientation, pacing out distances accurately and calculating timings. We also practised safe stream crossings and learned how to use the iconic D of E camping stove, the Trangia. The weather wasn’t wonderful, but the autumn colours were still lovely. Above all, we started to form that sense of working together in supportive teams that makes the D of E experience so special.

Here’s looking forward to the summer expeditions!


DOE Practice Walk! Richard Purslow − RE Teacher

Keep in touch with all the latest news: @ AquinasUK /aquinascollegeUK

Page 23: Aquinas College eJournal Dec 2015

Young Apprentice!

T he competition was ‘Stockport’s Young Apprentice Event’ held by Stockport Council. Students

were asked to produce a ‘mock up’ Christmas card with the purpose of advertising the Apprenticeship Store in Stockport. The card also had to be green and specifically targeted at local businesses and the young people of Stockport. Students were given 2 hours to create the mock up, write a business plan and create a pitch to deliver to a panel of judges. All groups did a fantastic job and all got fully involved in the activities. We are very proud of our students, they are a credit to the college! Well done!

Nicole Masters − Business Studies Teacher


“On 26th November, 11 students from the Business, Accounting andFinance department represented the college in a competition at Cheshire Conference and Events. Edgeley Park.

Page 24: Aquinas College eJournal Dec 2015


Aquinas From A Point Of View

W hile studying at University, I had the opportunity to teach at a Spanish School and gain an understanding of how

everything worked within the education system. Last year, I travelled to France in order to improve my French and was able to work as a volunteer at a private school. This year, I decided to leave Spain and journey to England with the intention of learning English whilst experiencing the English culture. I was eager and energised, ready to learn everything that I could. Two months after arriving in Manchester, I had the chance to attend Aquinas as an observer and as a volunteer teacher.

From the get go, I was accepted with open arms into Aquinas and was quickly assigned a role within the Language Department. I was provided with a timetable of different subjects that I would have to observe and participate in. I was introduced to the different teachers within the department, and then shown the classrooms that I would be conducting my observations in. All the teachers, without exception, were indisputably lovely; they helped and supported me with everything.

In these months I have gained a clear understand-ing of the general working structure of the College from different points of view: as that of a student, and that of a teacher (I attended classes also you see).

“My name is Ana Pastora Molina, I was born in the South of Spain and I am a Graduate in Primary Education and a Specialist in children with educational needs...

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When I started with lessons, the first thing that caught my attention was the great variety of subjects and material offered by the College. All classrooms are fully equipped with computers, projectors, digital whiteboards, etc. encouraging a greater level of motivation and participation from the students; moreover there is an area dedicated exclusively to students with educational needs. Secondly, I was taken aback by the absence of textbooks, something that is used a lot in both Spanish and French schools. Finally, I was impressed by the level of involvement provided by teachers and other members of staff within the College.

I must say that before coming to Aquinas, the general impression I had of the English education system, after reading different articles and opinions on the internet, was not good. However, little by little, Aquinas has made me view things differently.

This College offers a methodology and content adapted to the characteristics and needs of their students, carried out thanks to the work of the teachers who adapt their lessons to different levels of each group. In other words, Aquinas not only offers an education focused on the student but also gives young people a voice, to present their views, and explain their needs and aspirations. In this way, students are granted an education of higher quality, providing them with equal opportunities. On top of this, ‘Pathways’ fights against discrimination, providing students with any necessary support and eliminating the barriers of physical, social and educational prejudice.

In general, I would say that Aquinas is a paradise for students, since the level of education is outstanding and students are always happy. Aquinas encourages students to think, while at the same time avoiding to suffocate them with monotonous lessons.

It is here that I would like to clearly state, with pleasure and pride, that any and all opinions expressed within this article are based solely on my own experiences and perspectives.

Page 25: Aquinas College eJournal Dec 2015

Student Olivia supports the Little Princess Trust by kindly donating her hair!


A teenager lost her luscious locks for charity after having the first proper haircut of her life. Olivia Dunn, 16, from Brinnington, had

previously only ever had the occasional trim and her hair came down to her waist.

But she decided to take the plunge and donate her hair to the Little Princess Trust, which makes wigs for children who have lost their hair through chemotherapy.

And Olivia also collected sponsorship for the charity, raising a total of £411. Mum Julie Graves, 52, said: "She has had really long hair since being a baby and it was like a mermaid's. She has just had trims all her life and although her hair has always been in good condition she has never had a hairstyle. So she was a bit nervous about the cut but was really happy with it in the end and says its the best thing she has ever done."

Olivia, who lives on Somerset Close with Julie and sister Stephanie, 21, studies law, art and design, Spanish and design at Aquinas College. She has attended dance classes at Brinnington Community Centre, Hereford Road, since she was a small child so had her hair cut there by professional Claire Johnson.

Julie added: "Olivia was going to do it at home but I said we needed to do it somewhere that would give it more oomph and give her more support. She loves her new look and has a different style every day with buns and plats and all sorts. It was getting to be a hindrance, especially when dancing as it was heavy. I am so proud of her and so are a lot of other people."

Olivia said: "I have had long hair all my life and recently decided I needed a change. I had heard of the charity before and thought it would be a wonderful idea to give another child the opportunity I have had. Even though I know my hair will only make a small contribution to the making of just one wig, it will also hopefully make a contribution to a childs happiness and confidence."

Article taken from Stockport Express Newspaper


Page 26: Aquinas College eJournal Dec 2015

I hope you are all enjoying the last time we ever get to see each other as a group. This might be a bad thing for some, maybe a good thing for some. But whether you hated or loved everyone we have made it through 2 years of college, we are going to get our pieces of paper which prove how well we did, we can now focus on the next stage of our lives. That could be getting a job at Argos or becoming a swimming teacher, going to University, or even getting an apprenticeship and be able to laugh at all your poor Uni friends.

It goes without saying that there are some people in college that we will remember forever. Your best friend, your rival, favourite teacher, least favourite teacher.

I’m sure all of us will remember Duncan, his assemblies, Aquinas Day and just the way he roams around the college and makes sure everyone is alright. Of course, every subject has their characters, but can we all, students, parents, guardians, grandparents, whomever, all give a round of applause to everyone who made your time at Aquinas possible. Without you, we would be unrefined talent.

So I was thinking about how I could sum up our time here. I have picked a few things that stand out to me: Sumo Fights in the Main Street, Take Me Out, India, New York, Moein, Bubble Football, Fashion Shows, Les Mis, Exams, Stress, Lack of Air Conditioning, BBQ Chips, Free BBQ, Leavers Ball, Visit to the Graveyard, Trips to Maccies or Subway, and of course, working really hard and attending every lesson. All of us have precious memories that might come from lessons, events, or relaxing around college playing cards making the place look untidy.

However, now we are moving on. Now we are actually given the pen to write the next chapter of our lives. It is now up to you to make the rest of your life, the best of your life.

College wasn’t just about getting your grades. It is to make you into a good person. That is why we had Ethics and I think quite a few times, my ethics teachers changed my life. So I thank you for that. Even all around college there are quotes about life on the walls.

I can also give you a quote that isn’t on the wall. It is what my Mum tells me but I think she stole it then shortened it from Harry Potter, the quote is “Choices not Abilities”. What I think this means is that a better measure of a person is not how smart they are, but the choices they make. How they react to the world around them. So I hope you can all make the right choices in life.

Last thing I want to say. Be Creative, Be Bold, Be Passionate, Be Loving, Be Smart, Be Cheeky, Be Brave but most importantly just Be More.

Thank you.

Certificate EveningSuccesses! Luke Thomas −

Student Council President 2014


Page 27: Aquinas College eJournal Dec 2015


Page 28: Aquinas College eJournal Dec 2015

Cartooning Club Post-It Notes. Sci-fi and horror genre tropes, and a war-themed one by me thrown in for good measure. Although I am aware that a gun-toting, cigar-chomping soldier isn’t the most seasonal of images…Cartooning Club meet every Thursday at 4:00pm in G10. All welcome!

Cartoons by: Sam Townend, Ash Yarwood, Olivia Berry, Jess Burke, Elle Crawford, Sophie Crawford, Libby Davidson, André Joshua