Xaverian students impress judges with poise and passion in public speaking competition

Last weekend, Xaverian students Jeffrey Sefa-Sarpong and Liaba Mohammad took part in the annual Catenian Public Speaking Competition.

The competition, which is open to all students aged 16 to 18 years who attend Catholic Schools, brings together the winners from regional competitions held earlier in the year, to present their speech to a panel of judges at the finals in Manchester.

Students were asked to write and deliver a four-minute speech on a subject of their choice, and Liaba had the unenviable task of opening the competition with her speech, ‘Success covers a multitude of blunders’. Liaba commanded the stage with confidence, poise, and maturity and later in the day Jeffrey took to the stage to impress the audience with his speech, ‘Emotional wellbeing, it matters’, and spoke with conviction, passion, and sincerity.

Liaba, former MEA Central student, is currently in her first year of studying A Level Business, Psychology and Sociology at Xaverian. She said: “I have always loved public speaking, I enjoy the thrill of it and the rewards and fulfilment once you’ve delivered something.

“On the lead up to the competition, Miss Mason taught us so many great skills – projection, pace, how to use the space around us, how to address the audience and so much more. This really helped fill me with confidence when it came to the finals.

“I chose to study at Xaverian because of the opportunities Teachers create and the College community – everyone is really enthusiastic about learning, which makes it a great place to be. I am enjoying all of the subjects I study, and they are all helping me gain new skills that I can apply in the real world.”

Jeffery, who also joined the College in September 2023 after completing his GCSEs at Cardinal Langley RC High School, said: “I chose to take part in the competition because I hadn’t done anything similar before and it was completely outside of my comfort zone. I have been able to develop so many new skills and with lots of practice, I was able to deliver an authentic speech in the final, on a fairly abstract topic.

“Before I applied to Xaverian I knew it would be a place where I could develop my sense of character, both personally and academically. I am a very analytic thinker, so I really enjoy studying Maths, Further Maths and Physics and often get ‘oh, that makes sense now’ moments. I’m also studying Philosophy, Ethics and Theology, which compliments my other subjects well, as many scholars approach their theory in the same rational manner that is evident in Maths and Science.”

The judges highly commended both students for their heartfelt and moving compositions. Jeffrey won third place and Liaba was a runner up.

Jen Mason, Assistant Divisional Lead/English Literature Curriculum Leader, commented: “In today’s world it is essential that young people equip themselves with the skills to communicate confidently, clearly and effectively. It was an incredibly close competition, but both students were extremely impressive and inspirational. I am enormously proud of their efforts – they are a real credit to Xaverian.” One of the things that sets Xaverian apart is our commitment to enriching students’ futures outside of the classroom. The Xaverian Xtras Enrichment gives students a chance to get involved in fantastic opportunities that are fun, interesting and educational, and will give them a really fulfilling College experience. To find out more visit xaverian.ac.uk

A Level students immerse themselves in ancient wonders in a series of engaging educational trips

Venturing beyond the confines of textbooks and classrooms, enthusiastic A Level Ancient History and Classical Civilisation students at Xaverian College are on a quest to unravel the mysteries of the ancient world in a series of engaging educational trips.

In the last month, students visited the University of Warwick to attend the University’s biggest outreach event, Warwick Ancient Drama Festival. The festival provides an opportunity for students to experience ancient tragedy whilst enhancing their knowledge to support their GCSE and A Level study and throughout the day students had the opportunity to explore the history of the Persian Wars by listening to range of lectures and watching a live performance of Aeschylus’ ‘The Persians’, a play set in the Persian capital as they lament over the loss of their fleet at Salamis and the arrogance of their King Xerxes. 

Former Stretford High School pupil, Kiranjit Kaur, who joined Xaverian in September 2023 to study A Level Classical Civilisation, History and Sociology, said: “I loved seeing Warwick’s take on Aeschylus’ ‘The Persians’. The actors were incredibly talented, and I loved exploring how the themes of fear and femininity intertwine during the lectures. It was so much fun.”

Later in the week, the students attended a production of an Ancient Greek Comedy, Aristophanes’ ‘Birds’, a show first produced in 414 BC, at Stockport Grammar School. The script was fully updated to explore the theme of climate change and there were really entertaining musical numbers. 

Will Dearnaley, Classical Civilisation and Ancient History Teacher at Xaverian College, commented: “We’re committed to enriching students’ knowledge outside of the classroom and each year, as a department, we create a range of fantastic trips and visits that are fun, interesting and educational, to help give students a really fulfilling College experience.

“In a few weeks, we’ll be travelling to Athens in Greece, where our students will have the opportunity to see ancient Greek monuments and sample Greek cuisine, see beautiful theatres and visit museums.”

Committed not only to enriching the students’ learning experience, Will also places significant importance on his own continuous professional development. Most recently, Will was invited by UK-based charity, Classics for All, to speak at the Ancient History Teachers’ Day at Harrow School about Ancient Roman politics and the role of violence and corruption in the classical world.

Will continued: “It was great to meet up with colleagues to talk about our niche subject and to be surrounded by pictures of famous old Harrovians and even tour their museum of Greek vases. Xaverian has more students following ancient world subjects than any other sixth form in the country, so it was great to share tips and resources with others that will allow me to continue developing our exciting curriculum.”

If you love thinking deeply about the world around us and are fascinated by culture, then Ancient History and Classical Civilisation are courses you’ll find irresistible. Share your observations, opinions and interests, alongside developing essential critical and creative thinking skills. Did you know, many Ancient Historians at Xaverian go on to have medical careers? It is not uncommon to have students studying Biology, Chemistry and Ancient History. Although, some students do pursue the subject at university or go on to Degrees in Archaeology, Anthropology or Egyptology.  

As one of the largest providers of post-16 education in the region, Xaverian College offers an extensive range of A Levels in addition to several BTEC courses.

Students at Stockport Grammar School
Will Dearnaley, Classical Civilisation and Ancient History Teacher

Xaverian College students shine as six gain spots in prestigious BFI Film Academy

In a remarkable achievement for Xaverian College, six talented students have been selected to join the prestigious British Film Institute (BFI) Film Academy at ‘Home’ arts centre in Manchester. This accomplishment not only reflects the dedication and skill of these budding filmmakers but also highlights the high quality of teaching on the Film Studies and Media Studies A Levels offered by the College.

The successful students were Niraj Arora, Max Gilson, Bee James, Joey Roberts, Olivia Shaw and Scarlett Southworth.

Former Stockport Grammar School pupil, Niraj, joined the College this summer to study A Levels in English Literature, Film Studies and French. Commenting on his success, he said: “I have aspirations to work in the film industry, as a director or producer in the future, so when I found out Xaverian offered a Film Studies A Level I knew I had to study it. It’s the perfect combination of analysis and practical skills, and the opportunity to create your own short films as part of the coursework modules is really appealing.

“We spent the very first lesson talking about the BFI Film Academy and Phil, our Teacher, encouraged us all to apply. I was thrilled to find out I’d been accepted, especially because of how competitive it is!

“As part of the Academy, we’re learning all about the filmmaking process – writing, directing, lighting, sound, editing, distribution, and so much more. We’re also able to get hands-on experience, trying out all of the different roles as we develop our own film, which will be premiered at a local cinema in a few weeks.”

Olivia added: “Being a part of the BFI Film Academy is a great opportunity for us to develop our skills and it’s definitely something that will help me achieve my future goal of becoming a cinematographer.

“The Teachers at Xaverian are really supportive and are incredibly knowledgeable. The department is a friendly and welcoming place to be, and everyone is always encouraging one another. I’d encourage anyone with a passion for the creative industries to consider studying Film Studies!”

The British Film Institute (BFI) Film Academy is an initiative that aims to nurture and develop the next generation of talented filmmakers in the United Kingdom. The academy offers a range of programmes and opportunities for young filmmakers to enhance their skills, gain practical experience, and connect with industry professionals. Being accepted into the BFI Film Academy is a significant milestone for any aspiring filmmaker.

Previous Xaverian Film students have gained places on the Academy every year it has been in existence, including Tehreem Faisal and Izzy Glenton. Tehreem is now working at Pinewood Studios on Indiana Jones 5 and the new Star Wars series for Disney Plus. Izzy was an Editorial Assistant on Venom 2 and Black Widow and now works at ‘Home’ herself.

The Film Studies A Level at Xaverian is run by experienced and knowledgeable teachers who teach students about the history and evolution of the film industry, different film genres and directors’ styles, as well as the mix of skills they need to write, shoot, direct and edit their own professional film. Gaining high-level skills and the passion students have for the industry opens-up opportunities such as this that are highly sought-after and can be an excellent route into exciting careers.

Curriculum Leader for Film Studies, Phil Drinkwater, said: “Being part of the BFI Film Academy opens up a world of opportunities for these students. They will have the chance to learn from industry professionals, collaborate with like-minded peers, and gain hands-on experience in various aspects of filmmaking. This invaluable experience will not only contribute to their personal and professional growth but also position them favourably as they embark on their careers in the film industry.”

Shaun Steele, Divisional Lead, added: “The College’s emphasis on fostering creativity and supporting students in pursuing their passions has undoubtedly played a crucial role in preparing these young filmmakers for the competitive world of cinema.”

As one of the largest providers of post-16 education in the region, Xaverian College offers an extensive range of A Levels in addition to several BTEC courses. Visit xaverian.ac.uk to find out more.

Creative students embark on an academic adventure in the city that never sleeps

Creative students studying A Level Film Studies, Fine Art, Graphic Communication, Media Studies, Photography and Textiles at Xaverian College recently jetted off across the Atlantic Ocean on their annual trip to New York.

After landing in John F. Kennedy International Airport, they set off to midtown Manhattan to watch the sunset as the iconic skyline emerged on the horizon, before heading to Times Square to immerse themselves in the bright lights and hustle of the city.

Throughout the week, students got to experience some of the very best art, film and media the ‘city that never sleeps’ has to offer, including, a visit to Central Park to find and recreate famous movie scenes, guided tours of the Museum of Modern Art and the New Museum, workshops at the New York Film Academy and much more, as well as spending time seeing all of the well-known sights.

Noman Yousafi, former Manchester Communications Academy student, said: “Our trip to New York was amazing! We got to see a one-off screening of Hitchcock’s ‘Rear Window’ at Film Forum in Greenwich Village, sailed aboard the Staten Island Ferry and passed the Statue of Liberty, and saw some of the most incredible artwork by Monet, Van Gogh, Picasso and Klimt – it was inspiring!”

The trip was organised by Dani Morrison and Phil Drinkwater, Teachers at Xaverian. They said: “We packed so much into the five days, we didn’t sit still for one moment, New York is a city with endless opportunities, especially within the creative industries. We plan this trip every year to ensure our students have the best opportunities to explore and extend their learning outside of the classroom, we’re already excited for next year!”

The creative industries are set to soar across advanced and developing economies worldwide during the next decade, which will provide numerous exciting career opportunities, and studying a creative subject at Xaverian can help support you in landing your dream job.

As one of the largest providers of post-16 education in the region, Xaverian College offers a range of creative subjects, including A Levels in Film Studies, Fine Art, Graphic Communication, Media Studies, Photography and Textiles. To find out more, visit xaverian.ac.uk – This is Your Place!

Harmonious Triumph in annual Young Musician of the Year Competition

Xaverian College students proved their talent in the Xaverian College Young Musician of the Year Competition. With 21 entries from the Music A Level course and across the College, the standard of performances impressed the judges with all students performing to a high professional standard. 

The judging panel for the competition, that consisted of Xaverian College music teachers, and peripatetic instrumental tutors, eventually picked John Millar as the overall winner with his Saxophone performance of Henri Mancini’s ‘Days of Wine and Roses’. Richard Bond was awarded second place, followed by Charlie Fretwell and Laura Gilmour in joint third place and Henry Parsons who was awarded ‘Most Improved Young Musician’. 

John, former pupil at Chapel-en-le Frith High School, said: “It was great hearing everyone perform. The experience was so much fun, and it was a privilege to win amongst such fantastic musicians!”

Henry added: “The Young Musician of the Year Competition was a great experience for me. It really helped me develop my confidence and performance skills.”

The competition has been running for many years and aims to assist students in their preparation for conservatoire and university auditions and give students invaluable performance experience in front of a live audience.

Andy Levendis, Director of Music at Xaverian, said: “This year’s event was a huge success with families, friends and teachers attending to listen to the performances. The students were amazing and they should all be proud of their performances.”

Xaverian music students are currently preparing for the Xaverian Christmas Showcase concert on 10 December at the Royal Northern College of Music. Tickets are available by calling in at Student Services at the College, or tickets can be bought using Parentpay.

As one of the largest providers of post-16 education in the region, Xaverian College offers an extensive range of A Levels in addition to several BTEC courses.

RNCM Performance Masterclass fostering excellence in Music education

The RNCM visits Xaverian College each year to run a Performance Masterclass. Students receive extensive feedback for their performances and are guided on how to prepare for auditions, competitions and recitals.

The RNCM visited Xaverian on the 1st November and spent three hours coaching our fantastic students. Senior representatives, Rob Buckland (Professor of Saxophone), Chris Hoyle (Head of Strings), Iyad Sughayer (Professor of Piano), Nico de Villiers (Deputy Head of Vocal Studies), Andy Stott (Head of Popular Music) and Wayne Ellington (Voice and Popular Music) led the event. The feedback enabled students to improve their posture, communication, phrasing, interpretation, technique, musicianship and stage presence. 

Andrew Levendis, Director of Music at Xaverian College: “Our young musicians were focused, confident and were eager to learn.  I am so proud of how well they performed, they demonstrated exceptional professionalism beyond their years. The RNCM tutors have inspired the students to progress to the next level and fulfil their potential. It was a real honour to welcome the RNCM tutors to Xaverian, and it was a delight to observe their expertise in action.”

Xaverian students’ exceptional achievements in University of Cambridge National Chemistry Competition

Talented students studying A Level Chemistry at Xaverian College recently gained outstanding Gold, Silver and Copper Awards in the national Cambridge Chemistry Challenge, giving them experience at the highest level against tough competition.

The competition, which is organised by the University of Cambridge, aims to stretch and challenge students interested in Chemistry and provides an excellent experience for Chemistry students wishing to take their studies further. The paper is set by an experienced team of teachers and university chemists. It is designed to be accessible to Year 12 students but will take them significantly beyond the syllabus and encourage them to think about science in the way they would at university.

The challenge takes the form of a 90-minute written paper which students completed at the College. They had no prior knowledge of the topics but prepared themselves by looking at past papers. The students tackled questions based on advanced Chemistry theory and the top students were awarded Gold, Silver and Copper certificates. Students who achieved A/A* grades in the end-of-year exam were invited to take part in the competition, and of these, 17 gained Copper, 10 gained Silver, and 1 gained a Gold Award.

Priyanka Nayar, Chemistry Teacher at Xaverian, said: “We are exceptionally proud of our students as it was a very tricky paper.  The questions would challenge some of the brightest university students, so achieving awards in all three categories is a great achievement. With over 9000 taking part throughout the country, our students have proved themselves to be amongst the best at this level.”

“Taking part in the competition is a great addition to the students’ Personal Statement and College reference when applying to university.  Gaining a certificate proves a high level of attainment in chemistry and many previous students have secured places on Degree programmes at Oxbridge and Russell Group universities. 

As one of the largest providers of post-16 education in the region, Xaverian College offers an extensive range of A Levels in addition to several BTEC courses. This Is Your Place. Visit xaverian.ac.uk to find out more.

Future Economist highly commended in national Royal Economic Society Competition

Xaverian Year 13 student and budding Economist, Nicholas Youmbi-Youdom, 17, from Openshaw, impressed judges from the Royal Economic Society (RES) in the Young Economist of the Year Competition, by being ranked in the top 25 out of 2000 entries that were submitted from across the UK.

The Competition aims to encourage students in Year 10 to Year 13 in schools and colleges to produce their own ideas in analysing contemporary economic problems facing the UK and the world. Students chose from five topics ranging from ticket prices at gigs and climate change to the economic impact of robots and Artificial Intelligence and Big Tech, and from this had the choice of writing an essay or producing a media piece.

Nicholas commented: “It was my Economics Teacher at Xaverian who suggested I participate in the Competition to begin with. She first introduced me to the subject and gave me the tools I needed to write an outstanding essay. I chose to submit an essay on the question ‘Are high wages for top tier sportspeople justified?’, and I utilised unconventional statistical strategies in order to compare the deserved mess of wages for athletes compared to, say, heart surgeons. In my conclusions, I determined that while some sportspeople do receive the correct level of pay, there is a huge disparity of pay within the sports industry when taking into account the wages of Olympians and other high-level athletes.”

Former pupil of The Barlow RC High School in Didsbury, Nicholas, who is currently studying A Levels in Accounting, Economics, Mathematics and Further Mathematics, continued: “Being at College is such a massive change from high school in the sense that you gain a lot more freedom to manage your own time and there are lots more people your own age. I really enjoy my subjects and find the combination of Mathematics and Economics fascinating as they are developing my skills as well as giving me new knowledge.

“The outcome of the competition has provided me with a major boost in confidence and the motivation to study Economics after Xaverian at the University of Oxford and eventually work as a Trader or Banker as part of the financial services industry.”

Nichola Labrey, Curriculum for Economics at Xaverian College commented: “I’m so proud of what Nicholas has achieved to rank as high as he did in a competition that attracts so many high-quality entries. It’s an amazing achievement and one that will be well-respected by universities and employers and one that will make him stand out when he takes the next step after Xaverian. Nicholas is a talented economist and I’m sure he will be successful in whatever he chooses to do at university and as a career.”

As one of the largest providers of post-16 education in the region, Xaverian College offers an extensive range of A Levels in addition to several BTEC courses. This Is Your Place.

Xaverian College Students Embrace Creative Expression in Drama Workshop Led by CU Scarborough

A Level Drama and Theatre students at Xaverian College were recently visited by CU Scarborough where they gained an insight into post-16 options available for those wishing to pursue a career in the creative industries alongside taking part in a range of mini workshops.

Throughout the day, Diana Logan, Course Leader BA (Hons) Acting at CU Scarborough, helped students explore physical exercises that prestigious theatre company, Complicité, use and different rehearsal techniques to support them in upcoming components of their course.  

Xaverian Alumni, Liam Farricker, who completed his Degree at CU Scarborough, also returned to the College to support Diana and spent time with students talking about his experience of entering the fast-paced world of becoming an Actor, offering practical advice and guidance and sharing top tips on how to stand out.

Anna Metcalfe, former Parrs Wood High School pupil and Xaverian student, commented: “Participating in workshops like this is a great way for us to find out more about our next steps, and speaking to former Xaverian students really inspires me to pursue my future in Performing Arts.”

Michael Mitchell, Curriculum Leader for Drama and Theatre, said: “Building strong connections with businesses and universities is essential for our students’ holistic growth and success. It not only provides them with real-world experiences and valuable resources but also fosters a dynamic learning environment where they can bridge the gap between theory and practice. These partnerships are invaluable in shaping well-rounded, industry-ready individuals who can excel in their chosen pathways.

“We’ve just started rehearsals for our performance of Macbeth at the MANCEP Shakespeare Festival and everyone within the department is really excited for the plans we have in place for our end-of-year show!”

As one of the largest providers of post-16 education in the region, Xaverian College offers exciting opportunities to over 2800 students. To find out more, visit xaverian.ac.uk – This Is Your Place!

Find Your Place at Xaverian College Open Day

One of the largest providers of post-16 education in the region, Xaverian College is opening its doors for their first Open Day of the academic year on Saturday 7th October 2023, from 10:30am-2pm. 

The day will give prospective students, and their friends and family, an opportunity to explore the College’s excellent facilities and learn about the different A Level and Applied Courses on offer.   

With a wide range of activities taking place throughout the day, attendees can engage with subject-specific taster sessions, gain an insight into student life and find out more about the College’s excellent support services.

Tony Knowles, Principal, commented: “Our Open Days are incredibly popular events! In fact, the majority of current students studying at the College started their journey after attending one of our Open Days.

“I am very much looking forward to meeting all of our prospective learners on 7th October. This is not only an opportunity to show them how incredible our College truly is, but also to tell them all of the brilliant things that we have planned for the future.”

The College is committed to providing students with the skills, experience and qualifications that will prepare them for their future career or higher-level study, encouraging them to become confident individuals who will make valuable contributions to businesses and the local economy in their future careers.

To attend the Open Day, you can register your place here or just come along on the day. By registering your place, you can keep up-to-date with the latest news and what’s happening on the day. 

Need more information? Get in touch: 

If you are unable to attend this particular event, the College will be hosting another Open Day event on Sunday 15th October 2023, 10:30am-2pm.