Say hello to Tawfik, Roder and Magdalena, Year 13 students

As the 2021-2022 academic year comes to an end, we caught up with some of our Year 13 students to find out about their Xaverian experience!

Tawfik Al-Terawi
High School: Albion Academy
Subjects studied: Biology, Chemistry and Mathematics  
Roder Eshun
High School: Co-op Academy North Manchester  
Subjects studied: Accounting, Business and Spanish  
Magdalena Bielec
High School: Loreto Grammar School
Subjects studied: History, Law and Spanish

Why did you choose to study at Xaverian?

Tawfik: “Xaverian seemed like a really friendly and supportive place to be. The Campus stood out and I had heard great things about the Science department.”

Roder: “The reputation! Everyone always talks about how amazing the teachers are and how successful students are as they progress with their careers.”

What has been your favourite subject?

Magdalena: “It’s so hard to pick just one, I like them all for different reasons! But I do love History, each lesson is always really engaging.”

Tawfik: “Biology! It is my favourite, but also the one that challenges me the most, which keeps me motivated to work hard. The teachers apply real-life scenarios to our learning, which makes it more interesting.”

Roder: “Spanish!!! Our classes are so much fun and our teachers have encouraged us to succeed from day one. They have made my experience here so enjoyable.”

What has been the most memorable moment?

Tawfik: “Taking part in enrichment activities, in particular, competing in the British Biology Olympiad Round One earlier this year!”

Magdalena: “The friendships and connections I have made with everyone within the Xaverian community.”

What has been your proudest moment?

Roder: “Walking out of my exams feeling confident that I have tried my very best.”

Magdalena: “I don’t think there is just one moment, but looking back at how much I have improved in each subject since starting makes me super proud.”

Tawfik: “Receiving an offer to study medicine at the University of Oxford was an extremely proud moment for me and my family.”

How has College helped you prepare for the future?

Magdalena: “I think I’ve learnt the true value of hard work. I know if I continue to work hard, I can achieve anything!”

Roder: “Xaverian has helped me make informed decisions about my next steps and taught me that everyone can achieve their greatest ambitions if they work hard.”

If you could describe Xaverian in three words, what would they be?

Tawfik: “Memorable, challenging, joyful!”

Roder: “Enjoyable, happy, spiritual!”

Magdalena: “Fun, fulfilling, friendly!”

As one of the largest providers of post-16 education in the region, Xaverian College offers exciting opportunities to over 2500 students. To find out more, visit Xaverian.ac.uk – Explore Your Future!

Xaverian College students win Talking About Voices competition

Emilio Fox Castineiras and Faith Axon-Kendall, Year 12 students at Xaverian College, were recently crowned winners of this years Talking About Voices competition, led by Manchester Voices.

Manchester Voices is a research project which explores the rich tapestry of accents, dialects, and identities that make up Greater Manchester. The project is based at Manchester Metropolitan University, and is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

The Talking About Voices competition, one of six strands of the project, is an opportunity for secondary school and college students in Greater Manchester to learn about audio production while also reflecting on issues around language and identity. The objective is for pupils to make a short podcast episode about language and identity, with plenty of ideas, training and support provided along the way.

Emilio completed his GCSEs at Chorlton High School before joining Xaverian to study English Language, Film Studies and History. He commented: “The theme of our podcast was primarily focused on bilingualism, and our thoughts on whether or not we had different personalities when speaking in two different languages. However, because Faith has lived in Andalucía and my family are from Galicia, we also got to talk about the differences between our regional Spanish accents and dialects.”

Faith, who also studies English Language, alongside Media Studies and Spanish, added: “It was our English Teacher, Mr Perry, that encouraged us to enter the competition. It was great finding out we were this year’s winners! We both think it is really important for young people to reflect on issues surrounding language and identity as it is part of everyday life, and are keen to continue learning new languages in the future.”

Dr Holly Dann, Research Associate at Manchester Metropolitan University, commented: “We created Talking About Voices in 2020 as a way to give young people from the region a voice in our research, and also as a way to provide resources based on the project to the local community.

“Language is an integral part of who we are. We can tell so much about people just from the way they speak, and it is a really important way to express our identities. Young people are so often – and always have been – faced with corrections and criticisms of the way they speak. As linguists, we are interested in and celebrate all different ways of speaking, and understand the great value of speaking with, for example, a regional accent and dialect. We hope that reflecting on issues around language and identity help young people to see that value too.

“We really enjoyed listening to the Xaverian entries. We were impressed by how well the students managed to bring in their own reading and learning in linguistics to their episodes. In particular, we loved how Emilio and Faith were able to blend in their own personal experiences with more academic descriptions of language in Manchester, Andalucía and Galicia.”

If you’re passionate about communication, or love to read, then English is a course you’ll find irresistible. At Xaverian, students can choose to study A Levels in English Language, English Literature, or a combined English Language and Literature course, where you get to study Shakespeare one lesson, and then wield your own words to wax wonders on the world in the next.

As one of the largest providers of post-16 education in the region, Xaverian College offers exciting opportunities to over 2500 students. To find out more, visit Xaverian.ac.uk – Explore Your Future!

Say hello to Jemma, Dominic and Zaara, Year 13 students

As the 2021-2022 academic year comes to an end, we caught up with some of our Year 13 students to find out about their Xaverian experience!

Jemma Ward
High School: Chapel-en-le Frith High School
Subjects studied: English Language and Literature, History and Politics
Dominic Seymour
High School: Home educated
Subjects studied: Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics and Further Mathematics
Zaara Sharif
High School: Manchester High School for Girls
Subjects studied: Business, Criminology and Media Studies

Why did you choose to study at Xaverian?

Jemma: “I choose to study at Xaverian because of the diverse community and vast range of opportunities available.”

Zaara: “I was instantly drawn towards the diverse community and the great reputation!”

What has been your favourite subject?

Dominic: “Further Maths! I love that each lesson challenges me!”

Jemma: “Politics! It allows me to better understand and analyse the world around me.”

Zaara: “Criminology! It is so much fun and my teacher has been amazing!”

What has been your most memorable moment?

Jemma and Zaara: “Summer on Campus, getting to spend time outside with friends in the sun in between lessons. It is nice to see everyone coming together and enjoying themselves.”

Dominic: “Competing in the British Maths Olympiad Round One earlier this year!”

What has been your proudest moment?

Zaara: “I organised a fundraising event last year which raised over £1,000 for the MS Society.”

Dominic: “Receiving my offer to study Maths at the University of Oxford!”

Jemma: “When I got my mock grades. I felt my all of my hard work was paying off and I was consistently improving in all subjects.”

How has College helped you prepare for the future?

Dominic: “I have always felt incredibly supported by staff and other students – there is always someone to turn to, which is amazing. Xaverian really is a community where you are encouraged to believe in yourself and your abilities.”

If you could describe Xaverian in three words, what would they be?

Jemma: “Community, safe and opportunistic!”

Dominic: “Inspiring, friendly, fun!”

Zaara: “Memorable, challenging and interesting!”

As one of the largest providers of post-16 education in the region, Xaverian College offers exciting opportunities to over 2500 students. To find out more, visit Xaverian.ac.uk – Explore Your Future!

Xaverian College compete in the AoC Sport National Championships

Students from Xaverian College represented the North West at the AoC Sport National Championships last month (April 2022).

Twenty students participated, competing in cross country, football and volleyball, after qualifying to represent their region at the Championships through regional tournaments, hosted throughout the autumn term.

The Men’s Volleyball Team had a storming weekend, winning all group games and knockout rounds, before going head-to-head against Newcastle and Stafford Colleges Group (NSCG) in the final. The team placed 2nd nationally and were credited for their exceptional sportsmanship across the weekend.

The Colleges Women’s Football Team also performed admirably, winning five and drawing one of the eight matches played. The team competed against some of the top football academies across the country and placed 5th nationally.

There were also strong performances from Jaydon Johnson and Ali Qozman, who participated in two 5km cross country races, with Jaydon securing 15th place overall.

Phill Anthony, Physical Education and Sports Teacher, said: “It was great to be back at the Championships this year. Congratulations to everyone who participated in an outstanding weekend of sport. Students were credit to themselves and Xaverian – well done!”

The AoC Sport National Championships is the largest annual student sporting event in the UK. This year, more than 1500 students from 91 colleges took part in 12 different sports at the University of Nottingham, Nottingham Trent University and Willow Sports Centre, Derby.

Greater Manchester Colleges’ Safety Roadshow

Working together to create safer communities

This week, Xaverian College hosted the Greater Manchester Colleges’ Safety Roadshow, to promote a range of support services available within the local area to students.

The Roadshow, which was first introduced in February 2022, aims to address the underlying causes of violence, and work together with communities to prevent it.

Throughout the day, students had to the opportunity to meet with professionals, participate in discussions and gain access to specialist resources.

Sarah Martin, Safeguarding Manager at Xaverian, commented: “I am really pleased that we have been able to welcome the Greater Manchester Police Roadshow. It is extremely important that we create opportunities for our students to connect with local organisations and it is great to see them sharing their experiences alongside gaining valuable tips for keeping themselves and others safe.”

The College welcomed organisations such as, NHS North West Ambulance Service, Kooth, Greater Manchester Police, Eclypse, The Children’s Society, Remedi and TravelSafe Partnership.

The GM Navigator Project, commissioned by the Violence Reduction Unit, are one of the teams’ visiting schools and colleges across the region as part of the Roadshow.

Hannah Barton, GM Navigator Project Lead said: “This roadshow is a fantastic opportunity to meet young people and enable them to understand where and how to get support if they or someone they know needs it.  Giving young people the space to discuss youth violence and sharing knowledge of where they can get help is so important in tackling issues of safety within the community.”

Rebecca Bromley-Woods, Education Lead at GM Violence Reduction Unit, commented: “Through conversation we can bust the myths around violence and knife crime which are often exacerbated by the media, and promote how young people can keep themselves and their friends safe.

“Actions can often have unintended consequences, and anyone can find themselves in a situation where they need support to make a change. The organisations attending the Roadshow are highly experienced in supporting young people through difficult situations as well as delivering prevention activity.”

Support is the golden thread connecting Xaverian values, allowing students to grow and achieve their ambitions. The Colleges dedicated Pastoral team are available to support students through anything, big or small, from day one.  

As one of the largest providers of post-16 education in the region, Xaverian College offers exciting opportunities to over 2500 students. To find out more, visit Xaverian.ac.uk – Explore Your Future!

Billie-Jean Davies

Young athletes at the top of their game

Athletes from Xaverian College are set to further their sporting success overseas after being awarded prestigious scholarships by American universities.

Billie-Jean Davies, Ellise Rennie and Betty Hall, are young athletes that have been enthusiastic about achieving their sporting goals long before joining the College.

Billie-Jean, who has been playing football since she could walk, recently committed to West Virginia State University (NCAA Division 2) for Fall 2022.

Commenting on her success, Billie-Jean Said: “Football has always been a part of my life ever since I can remember. My Dad and brothers all played football, so I am following in their footsteps. This is a once in a life-time opportunity and I couldn’t be more excited. I’d love to be a sports teacher in the future, so this is an important part of gaining the necessary skills and experiences needed to inspire other young people. I will fly over to the United States in August to start the preseason with the rest of the team, I can’t wait!”

Billie-Jean currently plays for two local teams, Stoke City Reserves and Bolton Futsal and coaches an Under 7s club.  

She continued: “Staff at the College have been extremely supportive and always encouraged me to achieve academic and sporting excellence. Mrs Hall and Mr Duggal have been great role models since day one. They even helped me create a plan that keeps me organised at busy periods. I have made lots of memories at College, but I think my favourites are qualifying for the AoC Sport National Championships and winning the Kahoot quiz in Business every single week!”

Ellise and Betty, who have also been playing since a young age, aspire to be professional footballers in the future and are excited to make their mark in America.  

Ellise said: “I have been playing football for my entire life and I absolutely love it! I joined my first team when I was 6 and after a few years I was scouted by Manchester United. It’s still one of my greatest achievements. I now play for Manchester City Girls, which has given me the opportunity to travel all over the world playing football. This summer I will be moving to St. Augustine, Florida, to study at Flagler College!

“My time at Xaverian has been fantastic. It is a really nice environment to study in and all staff are supportive of students ambitions.”

Betty, who currently plays for Manchester City girls, FC United of Manchester Women and Bolton Futsal Club, received offers from Division 1 and 2 teams all over America.

Betty said: “It was really hard to choose but I am pleased to be joining Ellise at Flagler College. Xaverian has always been incredibly fun and supportive. In my first year I got to meet girls in Year 13 who had applied to study in America and following their journey has really motived and inspired me. I am still exploring the different football careers I could pursue but in the meantime I’m hoping to win lots of matches before I return to the UK.”  

Xaverian College continuously emphasises the importance of extra-curricular activities, encouraging students to go above and beyond their core study programme to further develop their skills. 

Antonio de Paolo, Vice Principal – Curriculum, said: ‘’It is inspiring to see our students developing as sportswomen alongside gaining their qualifications. Our dynamic and exciting environment aims to give young people the confidence and skills needed to achieve and even exceed their goals. We are passionate about supporting our student’s personal development and are committed to enhancing their College experience. We are immensely proud of Billie-Jean, Ellise and Betty’s achievements.’’

As one of the largest providers of post-16 education in the region, Xaverian College offers exciting opportunities to over 2500 students. To find out more, visit xaverian.ac.uk – Explore Your Future!

Xaverian College partner with In Our Nature to help Manchester become a zero-carbon city

A group of Xaverian College staff and students have joined forces with In Our Nature, an exciting programme to help create a greener, healthier and more connected Manchester, to rewild Park Crescent, Rusholme.

On a sunny Saturday last month (March 2022), the group met to plant fruit trees, berry bushes, wildflowers and more, bringing nature and beauty back into Rusholme. Over the coming months they will also be supporting numerous other initiatives to help make further environmental improvements across the area.

The In Our Nature programme has been developed in response to the needs of Manchester’s diverse communities. The aim is to, ‘engage, empower, support, enable and inspire Manchester communities to take action to reduce their CO2 emissions by 50% over five years and increase their resilience to the changing climate, at the same time as helping them to achieve other local priorities’.

The programme will support the target set by Manchester to be a zero-carbon city by 2038 or before – 12 years earlier than the national 2050 target. To achieve this citywide, emissions will need to reduce by 13 per cent every year until 2038.

Year 12 students Nicole Astbury, Isabelle Tiernan and Catherine Wadsworth completed their GCSEs at Loreto Grammar School before joining the College. They saw the programme as an opportunity to connect with nature, learn new skills and give back to the community.

Catherine said: “Green spaces are a happier and healthier place to be. I love helping others and it is great that there are creative programmes like this bring us together and help make our city greener.”

Nicole and Isabelle added: “We have never done anything like this before, but we really enjoyed it – it was such a fun day! We can’t wait to get involved again.”

Umair Ahmad, progressed to the College from Abraham Moss Community School and is now in his final year studies. Umair has been volunteering for several years, most recently as a Student Ambassador and Diversity, Equality and Inclusion (DEI) Champion at Xaverian.

Umair said: “We all have a role to play in tacking climate change. I would love to see more greenery in Manchester, but a lot of effort needs to go into generating sustainable local environments. Being involved in this programme is just one of the ways I have been able to contribute.”

Other students commented on the importance of ensuring there are vibrant and relaxing spaces across the city for generations to come and how calming the day was after a busy week of study.

Many communities across Manchester are starting to think about how to address the climate emergency and tackle climate change. The programme will focus on the areas of Hulme, Moss Side, Rusholme, Newton Heath, Miles Platting, Levenshulme, and the Northern Quarter.

Simon Channel, Vice Principal – Student Support at Xaverian, said: “The College has been at the heart of Rusholme since the early 1900s and we have always remained committed to supporting the local community. As educators, we can play an important role in driving change and influencing behaviour, which is why we place significant importance on contributing to programmes, such as In Our Nature, which ultimately helps transform lives in the Greater Manchester area.”

The National Lottery has awarded a development grant to the programme through its Climate Action Fund and has been developed by six core partners, Manchester Climate Change Agency, Hubbub, Manchester City Council, the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research at the University of Manchester, Amity CIC and Commonplace.

As one of the largest providers of post-16 education in the region, Xaverian College offers exciting opportunities to over 2500 students. To find out more, visit xaverian.ac.uk – Explore Your Future!

To find out more about In Our Nature, visit zerocarbonmanchester.commonplace.is – Together we can make a huge difference!

Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance Performance Masterclass 2022

Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance visited Xaverian College on the 31 of March 2022 for the second time this academic year, and spent over four hours coaching A Level Music and BTEC Music Technology students.

The Head of Strings from Trinity Laban, Professor Nic Pendlebury (viola), led the event with two other senior representatives from the department, Sally Pendlebury (cello) and Jan Schmolck (violin). The tutors coached the Colleges string orchestra, string quartet, two string duets, and a variety of soloists, including violin, viola, cello, double bass, and harp. 

Nic started the masterclass with a presentation about Trinity Laban, where he talked about the audition process, the amazing opportunities on offer, and the life of a musician at a conservatoire. The three tutors then performed a stunning and inspirational recital, instantly captivating the students. The masterclasses took part in three different rehearsal rooms and ended with the string orchestra, who had the honour of the highly acclaimed professional musicians performing with them in the ensemble. The day came to and end with an informal discussion, where the tutors answered questions and shared their knowledge and experiences.   

After each performance, students received invaluable verbal feedback about positive aspects of their playing, ensemble skills, solo playing, and they were given targets to improve posture, communication, phrasing, tone, interpretation, technique, ensemble skills, and musicianship.

A dream come true for Xaverian College Teacher

Phil Drinkwater, a Film Studies Teacher at Xaverian College, has recently seen his creative writing turned into a must-watch film by Dark Sky Films.

Broadcast Signal Intrusion, written in collaboration with Tim Woodall, is a psychological thriller, following a video archivist in the late 90s, that unearths a series of sinister pirate broadcasts and becomes obsessed with uncovering the dark conspiracy behind them.

Based on the 2016 short, which was inspired by films such as The Conversation, The Parallax View and Klute, numerous real-life events and a series of unsettling YouTube clips, Broadcast Signal Intrusion puts you in James’ shoes and is a slow-burn that successfully builds a very tense atmosphere but doesn’t rush to unveil the answers.

Phil said: “As a screenwriter, the best thing is having your film made. When there is a sequence that is exactly what we originally wrote, performed by amazing actors, it feels great!

“I have been a teacher for 13 years and its honestly a dream come true. I remember the teachers I had back in school playing a vital role in shaping my thinking and I knew I wanted to be a part of the process that helps guide and inspire young people. My absolute favourite thing to teach is Hitchcock’s Vertigo. To take a film made 60 years ago and bring it to life, show students the possibilities of this medium peaking long before they were born – how exciting!”

Phil has written and directed numerous short films over the last several years in addition to television pilots for the BBC, NBC Universal and Working Title to name just a few.

When asked what he loves about the industry, Phil said: “What’s not to love?! At times it is really challenging but every so often you’ll have the opportunity to create something that will captivate and entertain others around the world, and that is truly amazing!”

Directed by Jacob Gentry, Broadcast Signal Intrusion stars Harry Shum Jr, Chris Sullivan, Steve Pringle, Justin Welborn and Kelley Mack and after seven years in the making, the film aired in cinemas across the UK on Friday 25th March 2022.

Behind every terrific tale, symbolism and subtext is an extraordinary director and the Film Studies course at Xaverian takes students on a journey inside the minds of those with a revolutionary story to share. Students have access to excellent equipment and facilities, allowing them to sharpen their skills in every part of the frame, including, lighting, sound, set design, composition and editing.

As one of the largest providers of post-16 education in the region, Xaverian College offers exciting opportunities to over 2500 students. To find out more, visit Xaverian.ac.uk – Explore Your Future!

Xaverian College return to the RNCM for esteemed Easter Concert

Last Sunday (20th March), over 140 Xaverian College students, alumni and staff returned to the world-famous Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM) for a night of captivating music performances, as part of their annual Easter concert.

A highlight within Manchester’s musical calendar, the Easter concerts gives students the chance to get on stage and share their talents with the local community.

Adam Scaife, who won the Colleges ‘Young Musician of the Year’ Competition earlier this academic year, performed a solo recital of Trumpet Concerto in Eb – J. Haydn in the first half of the concert. Adam said: “I have been playing trumpet for over 10 years now and nothing beats the opportunity to play solo live on stage – it’s exhilarating!

“Music has always been a huge part of family life. It is great that I get to do something I love every day and the support from the College has really helped me excel. I have refined my skills and gained knowledge of how the industry works through experiences like this, which gives me confidence that I am prepared for whatever the future holds.”

Adam joined the College in 2020, after completing his GCSEs at St Damian’s RC Science College. Adam is currently studying A Level History and Music and BTEC Music Technology, and is due to progress to the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire this September.

Students, Lydia-Faith Smith and Will Philpotts brought sophistication, style, and comedy as the concert’s comperes and other performances throughout the evening included:

  • Big Band – Directed by Andrew Levendis
  • Flute Group – Directed by Jennifer Dyson
  • Brass Band – Directed by Mike Cavanagh
  • Clarinet Group – Directed by Ben Pinto
  • Soul Band – Directed by Ged Marciniak
  • String Orchestra – Directed by Duncan Reid
  • Xaverian College Concert Choir – Directed by Ged Marciniak
  • Percussion Ensemble – Directed by Joe Luckin
  • Chamber Choir – Directed by Ged Marciniak
  • Xaverian Orchestra – Directed by Andrew Levendis

The College was joined by The Lord Mayor of the City of Manchester, Councillor Tommy Judge, The Lady Mayoress, Carole Judge and the Deputy Director of Education at the Diocese of Salford, Peter Moore. Peter commented: “I was absolutely blown away by the professional standard of the concert and had a fantastic evening. I’ve been telling anyone and everyone who will listen about their talent, and I came away inspired and humbled by the performances of the amazing young people and their dedication. It was the perfect Sunday evening of entertainment. The students are a credit to the College, themselves and certainly to Catholic education.”

Andrew Levendis, Director of Music, said: “After two-years of virtual performances it was fantastic to be back at the RNCM. We have one of the biggest music departments in the country and we encourage students to be flexible with their sound, enabling them to gain a variety of skills. It’s why we’re able to put together such a wide range of performances at our concerts – our students are multi-talented! The curriculum is designed to prepare students for industry and delivered in partnership with numerous businesses and independent musicians, next week we have a full-day masterclass with Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance.

“I don’t think I could pick just one highlight, the entire concert was brilliant, however I am incredibly proud that we are able to provide a handful of students, that have applied to study with us in September, a chance to perform on stage with us. They were all really excited, and it was a great taster of what to expect as they start their journey with us. Well done everyone!”

The concert hall filled with applause as the Xaverian Orchestra officially closed the evening with a remarkable performance of Gladiator – H. Zimmer.

Teresa Dervin, Chair of Governors, added: “Both staff and students at Xaverian College are a real inspiration. It was great to see our community of musicians performing together and the big smiles on their face at the end of the night. All of their hard work has paid off – it was a wonderful evening, and I am already looking forward to the next one!”

Music is a deeply valued aspect of the culture at Xaverian College and whether students are on a music course of simply want to play, there is an opportunity to join a number of thriving ensembles and practice in outstanding facilities.

As one of the largest providers of post-16 education in the region, Xaverian College offers exciting opportunities to over 2500 students. To find out more, visit Xaverian.ac.uk – Explore Your Future!