SCHOOL REPORT: Mount Carmel RC High School, Accrington, is a comprehensive serving the Catholic community of Hyndburn.

It draws students from five diocesan feeder schools, St Oswald's, Sacred Heart, St Anne's and St Joseph's, St Mary's, Oswaldtwistle, and St Mary's, Clayton-le-Moors.

Today's school has been established for 12 years undergoing a complete metamorphosis to become the academically successful and over-subscribed educational establishment.

The name Mount Carmel, in honour of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, was bestowed in 1978. Secondary modern school Holy Family, Accrington and girls' Convent Paddock House had been founded in the early 1920's by the Sisters of Mercy, and Holy Family was first opened in 1958. The merging of the two schools was a slow and sometimes painful process. The fact that the school was on two sites at a mile and a half distance increased the problems.

In 1990 the Holy Family site underwent a £3,000,000 facelift and Mount Carmel RC School became a single site school with excellent facilities which are being augmented and extended right up to the present day.

NUMBER ON ROLL: Mount Carmel is an 11/16 school with 725 pupils. The catchment area spreads from Oswaldtwistle, through Church to Accrington, Clayton-le-Moors and even the outskirts of West End and Rishton. We cater for Catholic students, but have some non-Catholic and non-Christian students on roll. This September we took in our largest year seven intake for a long time, 170 students in all.

Last week, at our annual Open Evening, we opened our doors to 450 visitors.

STAR PUPILS: Eight pupils in four years have taken up YTS Apprenticeships with local football clubs. Daniel Gardner and Nicholas Hill (Bury FC), Joseph O'Neill (Preston North End), Joel Pilkington, Matthew O'Neill and Richard Chaplow (Burnley) and Edward O'Neill (Hull City).

SOMETHING TO BRAG ABOUT: Last year the Drama Studio and the Food Technology Department were given a complete facelift at a cost of several thousand pounds. Over the summer a new Out-of-School Learning Experience was created consisting of a suite of rooms with a fully appointed kitchen and workroom/dining area.

The idea behind this is that pupils can arrive early to school to partake a hot breakfast and do some work using the facilities in the work area. At close of school the experience is on offer again and a hot drink, toast and biscuits are available.

Earlier this year a couple of rooms in the Science area were knocked through to provide an alternative ICT suite for the Science Department. This enhances Science facilities and frees up the ICT area in the Learning Resource Centre for use by other subjects.

For almost a year now the school has pulled out all the stops to raise £50,000 to fund our share of the money required for a successful Science College Status bid for Mount Carmel. Without this input from us the bid will not be considered, and starting with nothing at all we launched a campaign to gain this massive sum last October.

Sponsors have been sought and, in many cases, have pledged money. We have organised events and students have also played their part in fund raising. Just before the summer break, KS4 students raised nearly £2,000 by bag packing at Asda, and in September Year Seven raised in excess of £600 by holding a sponsored line dance at lunchtime.

Over the holiday period, a country and western event added another £1,000 to our coffers, and next month we are holding a Charity Dinner and Auction with guest speaker at Horizons in Accrington, and a Fashion Show featuring celebrities from television, also with a charity auction. The Fashion Show will be at Accrington Town Hall. Past pupils have become involved giving sponsorship and time to our cause.

WHAT WOULD YOU DO WITH A £100,000 WINDFALL?: Our immediate response to that question would be that it would make up the current shortfall in the £50,000 needed to support Mount Carmel's bid for Specialist College Status in Science. The remaining £70,000 would be put towards a major capital project of completely refurbishing the existing laboratories and building a new laboratory providing state of the art science facilities, fitting for a Specialist Science College.