Year 7 Wildlife Garden Project

Impact Day  – March 2017

Year 7 students have investigated and designed layouts for the schools wildlife garden. They considered what types of plants they would like to grow, how to support local wildlife and built animal habitats/shelters and how to incorporate spiritual and religious values into the garden which can be enjoyed by all. To begin with, pupils completed ‘birds eye’ view designs from their research which illustrate where they want things to be placed in the plot of land. They presented their ideas and the best were developed into one final idea to be realised.

Groups of year 7 students have spent creative impact days out on the plot working hard to make the garden a reality.  The students have also been working in teams to create seating for the garden. They have used reclaimed timber and basic hand tools to make benches to be placed in the garden. The benches will be sanded down and varnished to ensure they withstand weather conditions.


Pupils have also produced a range of baked goods which they sold at lunchtime to raise money for the Wild Life garden project. They worked in groups to prepare cakes and cookies. They were decorated using a range of ingredients which linked to the wildlife garden theme. Pupils were also responsible for setting up the selling booth in the school foyer area. Pupils followed health and hygiene procedures when participating and ensuring all products passed the quality checks so that they were suitable to be sold.


A small group of pupils ventured into the wildlife garden and worked as part of a team to select stones which they designed, decorated and up-cycled to provide further purpose as creative Aboriginal symbolic message stones. Pupils looked at key symbols and colour theory identified within Aboriginal Art to create their stones portraying messages of peace, happiness and goodwill. Pupils looked at spiritual symbols in other religions to generate further ideas to apply patterns to decorate their message stones. Once created, pupils further considered the way in which these stones could be arranged to provide a functional or aesthetic element to the garden by taking inspiration from environmentalist and sculpture artist Andy Goldsworthy.


We will keep you updated on the progress as the garden comes to life throughout the school year.

Year 9 Mathematics Impact Day

On 10th March 2017 the Mathematics department were privileged to spend the day at the Lickey Hills with Year 9 students. The all-day trek exposed pupils to mathematics in real life. The day focused on pupils’ ability to problem solve, develop teamwork skills and create a long-lasting impression of Lickey Hills that pupils would never forget. Pupils were trekking from one task to the other using mathematical equipment to work together and solve real life problems, for example, pupils had to estimate the height of a granite Obelisk using trigonometry. We are looking to further develop ideas for the maths trail and look at designing activities at another location.


Year 9 Poetry – Impact Day

On the 10th March, a group of year 9 students participated in a series of workshops. Each workshop was designed to enhance their knowledge and understanding of poetry.

For students to be successful in their GCSE English exam in year 10 and 11, they need to know a series of 18 poems from The Anthology. They are required to know each poem off by heart, be able to analyse and reproduce interpretation of them in their exam. With this in mind, it is crucial that students use any means possible to access the poem in order to retain the information needed. It was for this reason that we wanted to bring the poems to life, students were able to get involved practically with poetry and used the arts to aid this.

Another aspect of the day was enabling students to devise their own poetry, looking at themes from the GCSE specification as an inspiration. Some of the poems were outstanding and the students were really proud of what they produced. Students then looked at poetic devices in order to develop their poetry and find symmetry between their poems and that of the 18 in the anthology.

The work the students produced was fantastic.

 The following poem is by one of our pupils:

I Am Poem
page devide
I am brave, I am scared.
I wonder what would happen if I come out alive,
I hear my daughter’s voice,
I see my wife and daughter,
I want to win and get out alive.

I am brave, I am scared,
I pretend I’m playing with me daughter,
I feel my dad’s hand on my shoulder,
I touch my medal to bravery,
I worry that I won’t see my family,
I cry at the thought.

I am brave, I am scared,
I understand I won’t come out the same,
I say I can get through this,
I dream that I didn’t go to war,
I try to help others,
I hope to make a difference.

I am brave, I am scared.

Impact Day March 2017


Every year, John Henry Newman Catholic College set aside 6 days to make a real Impact on the learning of our students by providing them with experiences which open up their hearts and minds to new possibilities.  The Impact day programme is designed to complement the academic learning back in the classroom and to motivate the students to achieve at the highest level. We are currently halfway through this year’s Impact day programme and are already seeing great fruits for our labours.

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Year 9 History – Art Impact Day


Throughout the academic year, Year 9 students have been applying and extending their History and Art Critical analysis skills, whilst exploring the Golden Age of Weimar Germany. Year 9 students considered how this changing time in German history and society had an influence on the people and culture in this era.

Linking to the new History GCSE specification, students analysed the painting ‘Metropolis’ by the artist Otto Dix and considered how this artist had portrayed the people of Germany and society at this time, throughout his expressive, emotive and honest paintings.
Supported by research students completed critical artist analysis to really gain a solid understand of the people in the painting.

The final outcome of the day was a digital photograph. Each group of 60 Year 9 students recreated the painting, considering how each character would have felt, their role in society and whilst considering their composition in reference to the artist. Year 9 successfully worked as a team to ensure their outcomes were effective, creating multiple photographs to replicate Otto Dix’s triptych.

Since completing the Impact Days Year 9 have successfully applied their knowledge and understanding in history lesson to enable the production of high level and critical extended writing pieces linking to exam questions in relation to GCSE.

Here are some comments from pupils:

“I think it is good that the painting shows the different aspects of how people treated each other in Germany…it shows the rich people having a good time and the lower classes having to beg for money…I think it was created to show what Germany was really like as it not all that it seems”
Kloe Group C

“In the painting, you can see the segregation between the rich and the poor. The rich are having fun in a jazz club meanwhile the poor are sleeping and working on the streets”
Hollie Group A

“In the middle panel, it shows people dancing to the music being played by the band at jazz club…This is important because it shows two completely different lives.”
Kadie Group B

“It makes me feel sad, people on the side canvases are poor, disabled and left alone.”
Charlie Group B

“The colours help to get across the message too, as on the sides the colours are quite dull, depressing and sad. However, in the middle, they are really vibrant, happy and joyful colours.”
Hollie Group C

“I think that the fact that the Aristocrats, the richer of the three has a larger frame than the other two as it represents that they are more important, or seen as more important, have more money and more opportunities. The warped perspective works as it gives off a disturbing view of society, this feels wrong”

Year 9 Birmingham University March 2017


Year 9 were privileged to spend the day at the University of Birmingham and gain an insight into the life of an undergraduate student. Student ambassadors gave our year 9 students a guided tour of the fantastic campus and answered questions about student life. Year 9 took part in a workshop all about the opportunities available at  university and even got to experience a university lecture and seminar with an academic, learning all about the Dark Ages