Bishop Challoner Parent Bulletin Lent 2024

"May the joy and hope of the Resurrection bring blessings and grace upon all your families in the days ahead."

Dear Parent / Carer,

On behalf of all the staff and governors at Bishop Challoner I wish you all a happy, blessed and Holy Easter. At the start of the Easter holidays we begin the most sacred Triduum, the most important time in the Church’s calendar. On Holy Thursday we remember the Last Supper and the words Jesus said, “Do this in remembrance of me.” This is a command of love. When we participate in the Mass we are participating in the Sacrifice of Christ. His victory over sin and death. Our students have throughout Lent had opportunities to celebrate their witness to the teachings of Christ. May the joy and hope of the Resurrection bring blessings and grace upon all your families in the days ahead. For those of you observing Ramadan I wish you Ramadan Mubarak and a joyous Eid al-Fitr with family, friends and the wider community on 9th April.

This bulletin is brimming with the achievements of our wonderful students. The school community has been on its own Journey to the Cross. This week we celebrated three Lenten Masses and it was a fitting way to share with one another our faith and commitment to live out the Gospel values.

Many of our students have been actively involved in the arts with outstanding contributions in drama, dance and art. Our Year 10 students won a London Design competition and the talent we have in the school goes from strength to strength. Our annual trip to Paris was very successful and our students had a wonderful time.

I am delighted to announce that next term we will have our own family officer Fhamida Begum who will be available every Tuesday to help parents / carers and their families on a wide range of issues. Details have been sent to parents / carers separately.

Finally, I wish to thank all the staff and governors for their hard work and dedication to your child / children. There has been a significant amount of work undertaken to improve the learning experience of our students. I am very grateful to them all for the time and commitment they provide for those in their care. At the end of this term we pay tribute to the services of Mr Prince, Ms Frederick and Mrs McQuade who sadly will be leaving us. We wish them all every best wish for the future.

Students are expected to return on Tuesday 16th April by 8.30am. Monday 15th April is an INSET Day.

Journey to the Cross

For the last half term we have been making the journey through Lent together. Below, there are some highlights from this period of prayer, fasting and almsgiving.

Lent Masses

On Monday, 25th March, our school community came together for Mass, marking the culmination of the Easter Term and the commencement of Holy Week. Each Mass began with a procession of palm crosses carried by form reps, which were placed at the foot of the cross on the altar. This symbolised the spirit of Palm Sunday and prayerfully anticipated the solemn journey ahead as we reflected on the imminent Passion of our Lord. We thank our readers for reading the extract from Mark’s Passion so beautifully, and our musicians and altar servers who supported with all three Masses in such a professional and prayerful way. A special note of thanks goes to Father Keith Stoakes for presiding over each Mass after a busy week of Reconciliations.

Reconciliation Week

The first week of Passiontide was devoted to reconciliation. Throughout the week, our students took part in Reconciliation Liturgies in the Theatre, each tailored to their respective year groups and led by Mr Innocent. These Celebrations of the Word provided a sacred space for reflection and introspection, allowing our students to connect with their faith and seek reconciliation with themselves and others.

Additionally, Confessions were heard daily in St Mary and St Michael's Church. This was very popular, with students from across the school receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation - as is traditional for Catholics during the season of Lent. Thank you to the students from across the school who embraced the opportunity to partake in this sacred tradition.

Charity Focus

Our Lenten charity focus this year has been the CAFOD Israel-Palestine Emergency Appeal. We have a long history of supporting CAFOD, and were keen to contribute to their efforts to provide relief to those affected by the devastation in the Holy Land. Our community has demonstrated remarkable generosity and compassion, participating in a variety of fundraising activities to make a meaningful difference in the lives of others.

Students from Year 7-13 have been taking part in bake sales, Easter Egg Raffles (winner Ms Palray pictured left) and Film Screenings. Sixth Form students have sold smoothies and homemade cookies and even organised football and basketball tournaments (picture below) to raise money. We can't wait to share our final total of funds raised for this important cause.

Stations of the Cross

As we approach the Easter Triduum, the whole school have been praying and reflecting on the stations of the cross during Form Time. Our KS3 students have also been praying the stations outdoors during their RE lessons, using the beautiful stations arranged along our colonnade.

By incorporating the Stations of the Cross into our daily routine, we are inviting our students to journey alongside Jesus as he walks the path to Calvary, ultimately leading to the triumph of Easter Sunday.

Challenge across the curriculum

This term we have had a number of initiatives running across the school to promote challenge in and outside of the classroom. Students in Years 8-10 have been involved in weekly Book Clubs reading award winning texts such as The Life of Pi and To Kill a Mockingbird. Year 7 and 8 students have been discussing weekly news and current affairs in Topical Talks Club. Debate Mate has continued running for Year 9 and 10 students - these students are currently working on producing a podcast that discusses education and business. GCSE and A level students have had the opportunity to attend a networking event with the Civil Service and the Department of Health and Social Care. Finally, a selection of Year 10 students have enrolled on the AchieVE Law program and completed workshops on Criminal and Family Law. Next term we look forward to kick starting a new initiative with Estee Lauder and Whitman Laboratoires for future STEM students.

Drama and Dance Department News: Trips and Workshops

We are thrilled to share the exciting updates from the recent trips and workshops organised by the Drama and Dance Department. Our students had the opportunity to immerse themselves in the world of performing arts and gain valuable experiences that will shape their artistic journeys. Here are the highlights:

1. 'Edward Scissorhands' at Sadler's Wells: Our students attended a mesmerizing performance of 'Edward Scissorhands' at Sadler's Wells. This contemporary ballet production, based on the iconic Tim Burton film, showcased the breathtaking choreography and emotional storytelling that left the audience captivated.

2. 'Everybody's Talking About Jamie' at Peacock Theatre: A group of our students had the pleasure of watching the vibrant and uplifting musical, 'Everybody's Talking About Jamie'. This inspiring show, with its powerful performances and infectious energy, celebrated individuality and the pursuit of dreams.

3. 'Harry Clarke' at Ambassadors Theatre: Our students had the opportunity to witness the brilliance of 'Harry Clarke' at Ambassadors Theatre. This one-man show, featuring an extraordinary performance by the talented actor, explored themes of identity, deception, and self-discovery, leaving a lasting impact on all who attended.

4. 'A Song for Ella Grey' Community Theatre Trip to Theatre Peckham: Our students and parents embarked on a community theater trip to Theatre Peckham to watch 'A Song for Ella Grey' on a beautiful Saturday afternoon. This thought-provoking production, based on the novel by David Almond, delved into themes of love, loss, and the power of music, showcasing the incredible talent of the young performers.

5. Box House Theatre - Physical Theatre Workshop: Our students participated in an immersive physical theatre workshop conducted by Box House Theatre. This workshop allowed them to explore various movement techniques, express emotions through the body, and develop their physical storytelling skills.

6. A huge congratulations to our year 11 GCSE drama students who worked incredibly hard on their practical drama examination on Monday 18th March in front of an external examiner. They really shone in the light.

These trips and workshops have provided our students with invaluable opportunities to broaden their horizons, gain inspiration, and refine their artistic abilities. We are immensely proud of their dedication and enthusiasm in embracing these experiences.

Stay tuned for more updates on upcoming events and opportunities in the exciting world of the creative arts.

Ms Charter, Head of Dance and Ms Ferry, Head of Drama

Art Show 2024

Thank you to all who attended the show at the Art Pavillion this term. The Exhibition ran for two weeks and showcased the work of our talented artists alongside the work of students from other schools in Tower Hamlets.

A particular congratulations to Emamah Bangura (Y11), who won a prize for her work.

Follow us on Instagram

The school has a brand new Instagram account which launches soon. Follow us for news, updates and snapshots of daily life at Bishop Challoner.

Year 10 students Win Mayor of London Design Competition

Congratulations to our Katherine, Ekaterina, Paddy and Anthony - the Year 10 group who came out top in their category in the Mayor of London Design Competition.

Last term, the Year 10 product design students went to the Design Building to present their entries for the Mayor of London's Design Future London Competition. There were 100's of entries across London who were all looking at their local areas and different ways to develop it. One of our groups was shortlisted as a finalist along with 5 other teams from around London. The team were invited to the Mayor's Office on Friday 8th March along with the other teams for the finals event with the Mayor of London.

There were over 200 people who attended this event, ranging from primary to university entries along with VIPs in the design industry and at City hall.

Our students enjoyed meeting several of the VIPs which gave them a new found interest in the world of design. They were very polite and asked lots of questions!

We thank Ms Barnett for all of her support throughout the competition and for accompanying our students to the event.

'A Scandal in Bishop Challoner'– A World Book Day Tale

On the 7th March, to celebrate World Book Day our Year 7s had the mammoth task of solving the murder mystery of a long-standing member of our school community; Mr Theodore Montgomery (who is also very fictional. No teachers were harmed during the making of this scavenger hunt - mostly).

By putting on their best Sherlock Holmes hat, Year 7s had to use their reading, reasoning and deduction skills to reach a conclusion of who was responsible for Mr Montgomery’s suspicious demise.

Suspect posters were plastered around school, alibis were on walls, but most importantly our Year 7s were on the corridors (or should we say – on the case). A murder investigation was definitely under way. Each student had to fill out their own evidence sheets, collecting information from each suspect until they could make their guilty verdict.

For an hour, Year 7s were interrogating, scrutinising and sometimes double-guessing who the possible suspect could be. Of course, the best detective wanted their prize of bringing back law and order to Bishop Challoner and a worthy prize was surely up for grabs – a £10 Amazon gift card. Each student who managed to point their accusatory finger at the correct suspect, was entered into a raffle where one winner was picked at random.

Though this activity was supposed to build excitement around World Book Day, the main premise was to get pupils to recognise not only the importance of reading but also comprehension. All students who took part in this scavenger hunt were required to think critically given the evidence that they collected in order to reach a judgement. To see pupils who weren’t the most confident readers participate in this event is arguably one of the biggest steps in terms of encouraging independent reading for all of our pupils.

- Ms Yesmin, English Department

Pictures from the Paris trip 2024

A selection of pictures from our MFL trip to Paris. Thank you to Ms Cuino and all of the staff that supported with an amazing weekend and to the students who were a credit to our school.

Study Skills Workshop

On Friday 15th March Year 11 attended a Study Skills workshop run by presenters from a company called Maximise Your Potential. The presenters talked the pupils through how to prepare for exams, explained how examiners mark papers and gave tips on how to approach any exam paper when feeling under pressure.

Throughout the presentation the pupils were fully engaged and the presenters were very impressed by how they participated in all of the activities. The feedback from the pupils was that they found it very useful.

Do you have anything you can donate to our Drama Department?

As you may know, our school's drama department plays a pivotal role in shaping the creative and artistic abilities of our students. In order to continue providing enriching experiences for our budding actors and actresses, technical creatives, we are kindly reaching out to request your support.

We are currently seeking donations of items that will greatly enhance our drama department's resources. These items can include costumes, props, stage backdrops, lighting equipment, wigs, sofas, fabrics, various lights, or any other materials that would contribute to the overall production value of our performances.

Your generous donations will not only help our students bring their theatrical visions to life but also provide them with a platform to express themselves confidently and develop their teamwork and communication skills.

If you have any items that you would be willing to donate, we would be immensely grateful. Your contributions can be dropped off at the school office, or you can email me at

Thank you for considering this request and for your continued support of our school's drama department. Together, we can nurture the talents and passions of our students and create unforgettable theatrical experiences for all.

Warmest regards,

Maureen Ferry, Head of Drama

Creative Arts Showcase

On 8th February, a packed theatre of students and families enjoyed a fantastic evening of dance, drama and music. The creative arts showcase is always a highlight of the school calendar, and provides our students with the opportunity to share their talents and hard work with their loved ones.

Group dance performances came from Year 10 and Year 8, and solos from Nellie (Y8), Kayla (Y11) and Head Girl Sofia (Y13).

We were also treated to two powerful Greek monologues from Kayla and Scarlett (Y11) and a roof-raising vocal performance from Johnnet (Y10).

Ensemble performances included a beautiful Schubert piece played by Nickie (Y11) and Laura (Y10) and a stunning cello and vocal rendition of Leonard Cohen’s ‘Hallelujah’ by Nellie and Nickie.

The atmosphere was incredible throughout and there was a huge buzz from families and students as they left the auditorium. A huge thank you to Ms Charter for her hard work programming, rehearsing and running the evening and to Ms Ferry for her support. There will be another showcase in July – we look forward to seeing you there!

Free Cycle Training for Tower Hamlets Families

Do you live in Tower Hamlets and have an interest in gaining skills to cycle together with your family? There is a FREE 3-day Family Cycle Course offered by Bikeworks over the holidays.


Monday, 15th April - INSET DAY

Tuesday, 16th April - Term begins for all students at 8:30

Thursday, 18th April - Year 7 Parents' Evening

Thursday, 25th April - Year 8 Parents' Evening

Thursday, 9th May - Public Examinations Begin

27th - 31st May - HALF TERM