Friday, 25 May 2018

Making a Viking Longboat

The Vikings has been the topic for our Year 2 pupils this half term. They have been looking at who they were, what Viking Britain was like, what they did, how they lived and the amazing longboats that they constructed.

Pupils had a go at 'constructing' a life sized longboat to get a sense of how it would have been to travel. They had great fun 'rowing' it!

They then designed and constructed model boats using everyday items. They mixed paints to achieve the right colour. We think they look splendid!


Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Stella Maris has got Talent!

Pupils across the school wowed us with their talented acts at our annual talent show. From singing and instrumental performances to acting and comedy; there were lots of confident performances to entertain us. We've packed some highlights into our video montage for you to enjoy!

Monday, 14 May 2018

School Day Open Mornings

We are holding two school day Open Mornings this term where prospective families can come and see how we operate on a normal school day. It is a great opportunity to meet the teachers and observe lessons.

There is no need to book your space in advance, just drop in between 9.30am and 11.30am on the dates detailed below and we will provide a tour of our school.

We pride ourselves on being able to provide our pupils with individual attention, excellent class sizes and a warm, caring environment. We also have an excellent reputation of helping children secure places at the top Grammar Schools in the region including Manchester Grammar, Withington Girls School, Manchester High School for Girls, Stockport Grammar, Cheadle Hulme School and Alderley Edge for Girls.

Friday, 4 May 2018

Speech and Drama Showcase

Pupils across the school who attend our Speech and Drama Clubs, treated us to an entertaining showcase assembly recently.

Many of the children are working towards their LAMDA exams in May so this was a great opportunity for them to perform in front of an audience.

Speech and Drama teacher Holley Brown commented "The children have been working so hard this year and it was great for them to be able to perform in front of their families. I was particularly impressed with how well the Drama Club worked as a team, with children as young as three having the confidence to take key roles. The enthusiasm shown by the pupils is so nice to see."

We captured the highlights on film for you to enjoy. With poems, performances from books and their very own performance piece it is well worth a watch!

Thursday, 3 May 2018

Celebrating our Uniqueness!

Pupils in Year 2 have been looking at what makes us unique. They have enjoyed looking at the ways in which they differ to each other - whether it be height, hair colour, personality or our favourite food - they have enjoyed discovering that there are lots of things that make us unique!

At their recent assembly they shared with us a lovely poem, song and prayer all about uniqueness. Click the link below to enjoy the highlights.

Monday, 23 April 2018

Olympic Swimmer James Goddard Inspires Year 5!

Pupils in Year 5 enjoyed a visit to Care UK's Abney Court Care Home in Cheadle to hear an inspirational talk by Commonwealth gold medal winner James Goddard. The swimmer, who was raised in Stockport, shared his secrets of success and told pupils what it was like to be part of the Great Britain Olympics and Commonwealth Games teams.

Afterwards the pupils enjoyed wearing his medals!

Year 5 Teacher, Mrs Hesketh commented: "This was a really interesting school trip. It is great for our pupils to meet an elite athlete who has shown such commitment and determination to his sport and has had his hard work rewarded. We are very grateful to the staff at Abney Court for inviting us; we love visiting the staff and residents there  - they are so welcoming."

Friday, 20 April 2018

Young Pupil Donates Pocket Money to Charity for a Second Year Running!

Kind-hearted six year old Ayla Jidran, who is a Year 1 pupil at Stella Maris, has again saved her pocket money for a whole year to donate to charity.

This is the second year that Ayla has donated her pocket money. This year she managed to save £96!

Headteacher Norah Johnson reflects: “Ayla is such a caring, thoughtful girl. When Ayla asked us to help her find a charity that supported children who would be grateful of the donation of her pocket money for a second year running, I was happy to assist. After discussions with Ayla we decided that a charity supported by a family at school would appreciate the money, The Good Life Orphanage in Kenya.”

Mary Maguire, who founded the orphanage in 2008 alongside her husband Kevin, came along to Stella Maris to talk to the pupils about the orphanage and to receive the generous donation from Ayla. She commented “I was overwhelmed when the school got in contact with me to tell me that one of their young pupils had shown great kindness by donating all of her pocket money for a whole year. 
Our orphanage and neighbouring school is funded solely by donations, so we rely on generosity of others. Since we opened our doors 10 years ago we have seen over 100 children stay at the orphanage and we have over 300 pupils attending the school. Essential donations like this help us keep our doors open. We’d like to thank Ayla and Stella Maris School for thinking of the Good Life Orphanage and the children we support”.

Ayla with Mary Maguire from the Good Life Orphanage

Monday, 16 April 2018

St Joseph's Penny Appeal

During Lent staff and pupils have been collecting coins for the Caritas Diocese of Salford's St Joseph's Penny Appeal.

The annual appeal has been running since 1904! Families are encouraged to donate change which is then used to help disadvantaged families within the Diocese.

We had some fun and games along the way too; we built 'penny lines' across the hall to see if we had collected enough coins to stretch across the school hall and back!

We also had a 'guess the number of pennies/coins' with our older pupils guessing how many pennies were in the bag and the younger pupils guessing how many coins were in the bag. Nobody managed to guess the exact numbers but the two pupils who got closest were awarded a prize.

Luckily, we no longer have to count the pennies as the bank has a super machine that counts and sorts the coins for us. We managed to beat last year's effort; with coins and notes we raised £203.70 this year - well done!

Thursday, 29 March 2018

Spring has Sprung in Pre-Prep!

Pre-Prep have been celebrating Spring! They have made lovely hats complete with paper daffodils, they have planted cress seeds so they can watch them grow and they have recorded their observations in their record books.

Tuesday, 27 March 2018

Mock Trial: The Princes in the Tower

In their History lessons, pupils in Years 5 and 6 have been looking at the War of the Roses. They have looked in detail at the case of the Princes in the Tower and considered the evidence as to what could have happened to the young princes.

To bring the case to life, pupils took part in a mock trial presided over by 'Judge Johnson'. Pupils took on roles of solicitors, barristers, policemen and defendant to try and figure out the answer to this famous mystery.

They enjoyed presenting the evidence to their peers, answering questions raised from the 'public gallery' and trying to convince Judge Johnson that their chosen defendant should be punished! We think we have a few lawyers in the making here; watch them in action and see what you think!

Friday, 23 March 2018

Votes for Women!

Pupils in Years 5 and 6 have been studying the Suffragettes in their History lessons.

This week they were lucky enough to be able to bring the topic to life with a visit to the Pankhurst Centre in Manchester. At the centre they took part in an interesting workshop and learnt lots about the origins of the movement. They dressed up as Suffragettes and were eager to hear about what life was like back in 1903 when the very first meeting of the Suffragettes took place. 

In addition to their visit to the Pankhurst Centre, the boys and girls also visited the Holy Name Church to marvel at the amazing Gothic architecture and the stunning Whitworth Art Gallery.

Headteacher Norah Johnson commented "As well as being fascinating and informative, the trip enabled our pupils to learn valuable skills, especially our Year 6 pupils who are going off to secondary schools soon, including travelling by bus and looking out for dangers when getting on and off buses. The children learnt to watch out for cycle lanes and to develop awareness of walking along crowded footpaths. It was an action-packed day out and we all enjoyed visiting parts of the city that a lot of us had not seen before."

Friday, 16 March 2018

A Fascinating Trip to Manchester City Centre's Libraries

Year 6 pupils enjoyed a trip to The Portico Library and Manchester Central Library as part of their focus on reading and their enrichment programme.

At The Portico they were fascinated by the tour of the library and the historic collection of books. They learnt about the founding members of the library and how the library still operates as a subscription library to this day. They examined some very old books and were particularly taken with the marbled paper at the front of the books.

The staff shared with them details of the history of the library and pupils were surprised that women were not allowed to be members of the library until sixty four years after it first opened with the advent of the Married Women's Property Act in 1870.

The children found out a little about the Peterloo Massacre and the involvement and views of some of the members of the library in 1819.

Pupils then had a short walking tour of Peter Street and visited the former Free Trade Hall (now the Radisson Hotel), the site of the Peterloo Massacre and Manchester Central Library at St Peter's Square. They compared the more modern surroundings of Central Library which was opened in 1934 to the Portico which opened in 1806.

Library Walk at Central Library

Headteacher Norah Johnson commented "We are fortunate to live in a city that houses two fantastic libraries in the heart of the city centre. We can often take for granted the area that we live in but finding time to explore and learn about historic events and buildings that are right on our doorstep is a great way for our pupils to expand their knowledge and for teachers to take learning out of the classroom."   

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Open Morning - Saturday 17 March 2018

Our next Open Morning will take place on Saturday 17th March 2018 from 10am until 12 noon. The morning provides an opportunity for families to learn more about life at Stella Maris and meet staff and pupils.

We have limited spaces available in some year groups for an immediate start and for Pre-Prep 1 and 2 (Nursery and Reception) for September 2018 start.

There is no need to book in advance, families are welcome to turn up on the day.

For further information please contact Lindsey Farrelly on 0161 432 0532 or email

Thursday, 8 March 2018

Celebrating Reading on World Book Day and Beyond!

World Book Day sparked a month long celebration of the joys of reading across the school.

We took part World Book Day on Thursday 1 March 2018 with a brilliant house book quiz; a closely fought contest with Mark pipping Matthew to the trophy by one point!

Pre-Prep pupils came to school dressed as their favourite book character and brought with them a book featuring the character to share with their classmates. We had everything from Snow White to Hairy Maclary!


The 1 March also saw the start of the superb 100 Million Minutes Reading Challenge run by education specialists Achievement for All. Children have been reading in school and at home every day and recording the number of minutes they have read for. They have been surprised how quickly the minutes fly by when enjoying books, magazines, comics and even reading comprehensions! The whole school enjoyed a lovely, tongue-twisting story from Miss Maiden as part of the Challenge. The Challenge concludes on Thursday 8 March.

Children are also taking part in Manchester Airport's Six Book Challenge. By the 16 April pupils need to have read six books and completed a line on the challenge grid which challenges them to do a range of activities such as 'reading under a blanket with a torch' or asking someone to read to them'. The bonus challenge is to read a book in an unusual place - one of our Year 6 pupils has completed this section by enjoying his book at Wembley Stadium!

Reading is also forming the basis for some of our school trips this month with pupils visiting several libraries including, the Portico, Manchester Central and the Heatons.

Headteacher Norah Johnson commented "We pride ourselves on being a school full of keen readers with all pupils from Pre-Prep to Year 6 enjoying some reading time in school and at home each day. Reading is the key that unlocks a world of education, understanding and pleasure. It is by far the most important skill in a child's quest for success and achievement in life. In an age of increasing internet popularity, there is a great danger that the power and importance of reading is being undervalued and is in decline. Now, more than ever, parents and teachers need to encourage children to become enthusiastic and capable readers. I am pleased to say that at Stella Maris teachers and parents work in partnership to ensure this is the case. The challenges, activities and trips that the children are taking part in help us keep reading at the forefront."

Thursday, 1 March 2018

Exam Success for Year 6

Year 6 pupils are celebrating outstanding results and offers of places at the top schools across the region. The school maintained its on-going record of every Year 6 pupil receiving an offer from their first-choice grammar school. 

Pupils were offered places at Manchester Grammar School, Manchester High School for Girls, Stockport Grammar School, Alderley Edge School for Girls, Cheadle Hulme School, St James’ Catholic High School and St. Bede’s College, as well as passing 11+ exams in Trafford. In addition, four schools offered one pupil a music scholarship. 

Headteacher and Year 6 teacher, Mrs Norah Johnson commented: “This has been an exceptional year with each pupil receiving an offer from their first-choice school as well as offers from other schools too. Pupils and parents are now in a fantastic position to be able to choose between a number of excellent schools for their secondary education. It has been another competitive year with large numbers from across the region sitting Grammar School exams.  I am very proud of our children and their level of success and the way in which the parents and children have handled the whole process. We’ve continued to have lots of fun at school throughout the exam and interview period. Our children move to secondary schools across the region as happy, confident individuals and enjoy a seamless transition.”

Year 6 pupils alongside Stella Maris Headteacher, Mrs Norah Johnson

Monday, 26 February 2018

A Focus on Local Heritage

Pupils in Years 5 and 6 were lucky enough to attend an excellent workshop hosted by Dr Alexandra Mitchell, Group Archivist at Manchester based Peel Group. Peel Group is one of the biggest privately owned companies in the UK and owns many iconic Manchester assets including the Trafford Centre and the Manchester Ship Canal.

As part of her role, Dr Mitchell researches the history of Peel Group and regularly delivers talks to various history groups and other organisations.

She spoke to pupils about the history of Manchester Ship Canal. The children were taught about the reasons why it needed to be built and the seven years it took to complete the 36 miles stretch of water. They examined photographs from the time of construction of the workers and discussed how they were dressed, the tools that they used and what their lives they would have lived.

The workshop then focused on the opening ceremony of the canal in 1894. Queen Victoria attended to officially open it the children learned. Dr Mitchell showed them some interesting objects including an old map of the canal, a moustache cup, some glassware with pictures relating to the opening of the canal and an old coin.

Following the visit, the children then designed posters advertising the opening ceremony as an extension activity.

Year 5 Teacher, Mrs Hesketh, commented "The workshop was fascinating and the children were completely captivated by Dr Mitchell's vivid account of the opening ceremony of the Manchester Ship Canal. They also enjoyed examining the artefacts and trying to guess what the strange cup was used for - they were surprised to hear it was to allow gentlemen to keep their moustaches dry while drinking a cup of tea!".

Monday, 19 February 2018

Celebrating the Year of the Dog

Pupils in Pre-Prep and Years 1 and 2 got together to celebrate the Chinese New Year by taking part in a number of different activities.

First on the list was trying some yummy Chinese food including spring rolls, noodles and fortune cookies!


Children then enjoyed creating some beautiful Chinese inspired art.


The final activities of the day were writing our names in Chinese script and performing a dragon dance!

Friday, 9 February 2018

Mirror, Mirror: Drama Club Gets to Grips with Mirroring

Pupils in Drama Club focused on activities to improve their focus. Actors need to be able to focus their minds so they can block out distractions from their performance. Through a series of simple exercises the children studied how to concentrate on working with partners and how to block external noise.

The children also performed a mirroring exercise. Working in a mixed age group the children had to mirror movements. This was a great exercise in teamwork and it was great to see different year groups working well together.

Drama teacher Holley Brown commented "All of the pupils work incredibly hard each week but the mirroring exercise really showed off their concentration skills. In fact some of the pupils were so good at it that I struggled to tell who was leading and who was following!".

Thursday, 25 January 2018

Pre-Prep Scientists

Our Pre-Prep pupils got to grips with their first Science experiment.

They carefully mixed together bicarbonate of soda and vinegar in their dishes and then they used pipettes to add food colouring to the mixture. They loved observing the fizz it made and enjoyed mixing the different colours.

Pre-Prep teacher Mrs Jones commented "Hands on experiments are fantastic fun! The children really enjoyed using the equipment and the pipettes were great for helping perfect their pincer grip, an essential skill for learning to write".

House Spelling Bee Creates a Buzz

Pupils across the school represented our two Houses, Matthew and Mark, in our first House Spelling Bee Competition.

Over 10 rounds teams of 3 or 4 pupils were asked to spell out some tricky words including 'necessary', 'restaurant' 'knowledge' and 'privilege'.

Years 3 and 4 teacher, Mr Brown, organised the competition and was very impressed by the teamwork on display. He commented "It was great to see pupils coming together across year groups to work in teams. The pupils loved the competitive element. For some it was their first time writing on the interactive board and to have the confidence to do that in front of the whole school is brilliant."

Over the 10 rounds Matthew just edged it with 10 correct spellings to Mark's eight.

Pupils are now looking forward to the next House competition which will be part of the World Book Day celebrations.

Friday, 19 January 2018

Resolutions for the New Year.

Pupils in Year 5 hosted an assembly reflecting on the resolutions they have made for 2018. From being nice to siblings to performing random acts of kindness, our boys and girls have resolved to make some small changes for the new year.

We were impressed with how confidently they shared their promises with us, especially as many of them had family members in the audience who were quickly taking note to make sure they are held to their promises!

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Creating a Winter Wonderland Masterpiece

Pupils and staff in Pre-Prep have been working with our Art Teacher, Mrs Baldwin, to produce a Winter Wonderland mural. Each week they are developing their art skills and adding to the Winter scene.

In the first week they practised their painting skills and painted the blue sky and snowy background. They had to work hard to ensure their brushstrokes were all going in the same direction to produce a nice smooth sky.

Our little artists are ready for action!

In the second week they used stamping techniques with corks and cotton buds. They busily dipped their 'stampers' into white and silver paint to create snowflakes of varying sizes and patterns to the Winter sky. The next step was great fun - sprinkling glitter to make the snowflakes sparkle!

Trees will be added next week to finish the Winter Wonderland - we can't wait to see the finished mural hanging on the wall!