Solar Eclipse


On Friday March 20th the whole school went outside to experience the solar eclipse. The Science Department ensured that we were all prepared for this event by ensuring we had the necessary resources. Three students from 7KF recorded the temperature change during the eclipse and we found a 6.5 degree temperature drop which is amazing. These results will be put on the University of Reading News and weather watch database.
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Who are CYMFED?  The Catholic Youth Ministry Federation?  So where did CYMFED come from and what do they do?  They are the Diocesan Youth Service Directors and Principle Officers from New Movements, Organisations and Religious Orders working nationally with young people.  It was formed in 2009.

Why was CYMFED formed?  To share good practice, creative ideas, new initiatives, support and companionship.  We work better together and can achieve more than we can achieve alone.

What was Flame1?  Well, there was not a Flame1 it was simply Flame, in 2012.  Flame event took place at Wembley and followed the Papal visit to the UK where Youth were challenged to, ‘move forward and make a noise.’

Flame2 was the spark that fanned into a Flame and youth gathered together again inspired by the Pope’s Apostolic Exhortation, ‘The Joy of the Gospel’, in which Pope Francis inspires, challenges and urges us to bring the Gospel to the world today.

Saint John Houghton School did not travel to Wembley in 2012 and attend Flame because we were on a school retreat at The Briars and we wanted to support our Diocese and be together as a year Group.  As an Academy we have grown in confidence and taken the step to move forward and make a noise and join 1,000s of people involved in Youth Ministry in England and Wales and Saint John Houghton staff, and pupils were proud to be form Flame2.

With heartfelt thanks to Mrs Angela Gillespie, Director at The Briars and Mrs McCarthy, Head teacher of SJH we were able to attend Flame2 , accept the invitation from Cardinal Vincent Nichols and meet Pope Francis challenge.

Our day started at 7.30am when we met The Briars 2015 Team, Fr John Martin, Fr Neil Peoples, UCT youth Group and young people from parishes at The Briars, Youth Centre, Crich and travelled wearing our ‘Robin Hood’ hats to Wembley.  We had an excellent journey and found our seats.

Flame2 began with prayers that included light, dance, reflection and music which highlighted the theme of flame2 – joy and mercy.  The line of our school prayer for 2014-15 which we are talking about, trying to understand and act is, ‘to follow your Son, Jesus amid the mayhem of our often chaotic world’, so as Falme2 began with readings from John’s Gospel and we saw and heard light, colour and images collide as we considered the chaos of life – our lives and the world.  How wonderful for our school community to hear the Gospel is a fountain of joy and mercy, a bust of Divine glory to fill our hearts and illuminate our lives.  We know that God is not remote from our lives, but present in the grit, and the struggle, and the joy.

The boys in Year 10 who are SJH ‘Soundbox Crew’ were blown away by the stage setting, the lights, the laser displays and the sound system for Matt Redman.  SJH have supported the Diocese ‘Cannons’ so were familiar with Matt Redman’s worship songs and were able to join in with the rousing music.   We will be sharing some of Matt Redman’s music during our Lenten Service on Thursday 19th March 2015.

Since our return from Flame2 everyone has been talking about Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle who has been Archbishop of Manila since 2011 and became a Cardinal in 2012 and it was an honour to hear him first hand.  He is a vibrant speaker and spoke with compassion and strength and brought wisdom, joy and a deeply lived faith to Flame2.  Some of our pupils may have a selfie with the Archbishop who walked amongst us at lunch time.

The professional skills and personal qualities of Baroness Sheila Hollins have been recognised by Pope Francis in appointing her to the Vatican Commission for the Protection of Minors.  Every young person at Flame2 was blessed to hear her advice and thoughts; she delivered hope and sensitivity in her advice as well as showing where faith can matter deeply in times of stress.

Mr David Wells, who served as an RE teacher in SJH, spoke with humour and in a relaxed manner so our youth could hear deep truths of faith in a context of great joy.  Look out for the photographs in The Friday Letter!

Fr Timothy Radcliff, OP spoke to our young people and encouraged them in their faith journey.  Our pupils have been praying The Stations of The Cross with the help of one of Fr Timothy’s books so it was a wonderful opportunity to meet Fr Radcliffe.

Cardinal Vincent Nichols concluded the day by leading us in Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.  What a moment to see seventeen Diocesan Bishops, and the heads of three Religious Congregations together leading us in prayer.  This was a great testament to the value of young people and Youth Ministry in the Catholic Church in England and Wales.

We had a safe journey home, we chatted and swopped contact details with new friends.   And now we will meet the challenge to share Flame2 with you.  Please talk to Rachel or one of the Flame SJH Team to share more details, look out for our Flame2 Act of Worship and see you at Flame 3!





Local Headteachers meet Tristram Hunt Shadow Education Secretary


On Wednesday March 4th Mrs McCarthy attended a meeting with Tristram Hunt MP Shadow Education Secretary at Long Eaton School. She was invited by the Labour Parliamentary Candidate Catherine Atkinson along with a group of local Headteachers to discuss issues concerning education. Mrs McCarthy said that she found it a useful meeting and thanks Ms Atkinson for the invitation.


Local Headteachers, Tristram hunt MP and Catherine Atkinson


Visit of Rt Hon Jeremy Wright QC MP Attorney General to Saint John Houghton


On Thursday we were delighted to welcome the Attorney General Jeremy Wright to Saint John Houghton Catholic Voluntary Academy. Mr Wright was accompanied by Mrs Maggie Throup Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for Erewash. Mr Wright met with student representatives from the Justice and Peace Group, the Fair Trade Group, Team Chaplaincy and the Student Council who informed him about the work they did at school. Our Head Boy Luke Moore and Head Girl Merrin Shelton took our guests into classrooms and around the school. On his return from his tour of the school we had a question and answers sessions with our students asking a variety of questions ranging from MP’s pay, MI5 , school transport and a sixth form for Saint John Houghton. Our students did us all so proud with Mr Wright and Mrs Throup saying how much they enjoyed their visit on their departure.

The Rt Hon Jeremy Wright with the

The Rt Hon Jeremy Wright with the Headboy and Headgirl