Thursday, 5 October 2017

The Start of Term

The students returned for the new school year looking delightfully smart in their uniforms. Our year 12 students look really professional and ready for work in the new crested black blazers. The year has started really well with a lovely calm atmosphere around the school and new staff and new students are already part of the school community.

Our Masses for the start of the academic year were held on Friday 222nd September and were celebrated by Monsignor Liam Slattery of St Peter’s parish, Gloucester. The behaviour of our students at both Masses was excellent and a really respectful and prayerful atmosphere was created. The music was of the usual high standard and we finished both Masses with the customary ‘Sing it in the valleys.’ Last Friday was Ignite, an evening of faith, praise sharing and fun, a very successful evening organised by our chaplain Mandy Baker.

We have held Information Evenings for year 8 to 12 (the year 7 one was in July) and the year 13 one is on 16th October at 7pm in the main hall. At the information evenings we have emphasised the importance of attendance, working hard by getting fully involved in lessons, keeping up private reading and having a positive attitude. We also talked about the importance of extra-curricular activities and getting a good night’s sleep by turning phones off at night and not keeping them in bedrooms.

We are again using Show my Homework. Students and parents have individual log in details and can also download the free app but anyone can also access the system via the home page of the school website. I also encouraged parents to download the new school app which contains key dates and news. Further details of the app and how to get it can be found here: http://www.stpetershighschool.org.uk/Mobile-App/

Open House Wednesdays continue. If you have a query or concern, you can come to discuss it with members of the leadership team from 4pm to 6.30pm on Wednesdays. We are based at the top of the Rosemary Steele block at the very bottom of the site and just ask that you let reception know that you attending by emailing reception@sphs.uk.com by midday on the day you plan to attend and by giving us an idea of your concern.
We are celebrating Black History Month and so far have welcomed Dr Nira Chamberlain, a regular visitor to the school, who spoke to a group of maths students about black heroes in mathematics; Gillian Burke, naturalist, who spoke to geography students and helped them to build a bug ‘hotel’; and Adebanji Alade who worked with year 10 art students and really inspired them.  Our celebration evening is next Wednesday 11th October from 6.30pm and all are welcome. Our thanks to Mrs Roberts-Moore who has co-ordinated these events.

Congratulations to the U18 hockey team who won the National Schools plate and have qualified for the finals of the National Schools Hockey tournament, a great achievement. 

Today is the last day of open ‘week’ and last night was open evening when the school was packed with prospective students and their parents. A huge thank you to all the sixth form students who have represented us so well by taking visitors on tours of the school and to all the students who helped at open evening this year.

 

 

Friday, 21 July 2017

End of the academic year, July 2017

The last half term of the academic year has been long and extremely positive. 

Year 9 retreats were very successful.  Thanks to the tutors, Miss Baker and to Fr. Kevin for their energy and commitment to these important days.

Sports Day yesterday was a great success despite the later start because of the rain and I thank students, staff and parents for their support.  There was a lovely atmosphere and it was delightful to see so many young people participating and displaying their talents. A big thank you to the PE department for all this work.  Last week was also house week and the house totals for the year which include positive SIMS, points during house weeks and sports day are:

House

Points
Position
Thames

8134
1
Severn

8063
2
Wye

7851
3
Avon

7771
4

National tennis success
Our senior girls and senior boys tennis teams made it to the national finals in Nottingham in July.  We were the only comprehensive school to have both a boys and girls team competing at this level which is an amazing achievement.  The girls came 12th in the country and the boys came 11th.  This is a huge achievement for them and for the school and reflects the quality of coaching from Kieran Montagu, Mrs Kat Donovan, Mr Nick Dill and the other coaches. 



In addition, one of the girls who competed at the national finals, Anna Barnes in year 9, played in the Road to Wimbledon county finals on Sunday 16th July. She won and will therefore get to play at Wimbledon in the National Finals during the summer holidays 14th – 19th August.  Well done to both teams and to their coaches!


Resurfacing of the All Weather Pitch and fund raising to kick start a 3G Pitch
Our existing all weather pitch is being resurfaced with work starting on Tuesday 25th July.  The pitch will be ready for September and bookings are being taken now.  

As you know, we are trying to raise £20,000 to kick start the financing of a brand new 3G pitch.  Thank you to those who have already donated and to those who have shown support on social media.  Can we ask once more that if you haven’t yet donated and are able to, to contribute as soon as possible.  £20 from 1000 families means we would reach our goal.  Sponsorship packages are also available on request.  

Provisional bookings for the 3G pitch can also be made via Mrs Tanya Kerslake (tkerslake@sphs.uk.com). #stpeterspitchin



Clarification about the building fund
In my last blogpost requesting contributions to the Just Giving page for the 3G pitch, I mentioned that the school had not sent home building fund envelopes recently.  However, many parents contribute to that fund through a standing order and I would like to reassure you that the money is kept separate from other funds and is used when appropriate to improve facilities for students.


Music news
The newly-formed Girls’ Choir progressed to the regional finals of the National Music for Youth Festival in Birmingham Town Hall. Their programme included Year 12 student, Hannah Soares’ AS composition ‘Irish Blessing’ which was met with huge enthusiasm by the audience and adjudicators alike.

Four students (Natasha Burch, Lydia Ravenhill, Amelia Skipp & Martha Soares) have passed Grade 5 Theory, the benchmark qualification which allows students to progress to the higher practical grades.  Alisha Perkins achieved Distinction for Grade 8 Singing.  This completed a set of highly impressive results for the Year 13 Music set this year:  Grade 8 Distinctions for Willow Burden (Singing), Will Busuttil (Trumpet) and Grade 7 Piano (Distinction) for Christopher Slemensek.

Former student, Hannah Mahon received a 2:1 music degree from Cardiff University and plans to train as a Music Teacher.

Elite History Homework
We have been really impressed by the exceptional quality of the elite history homework completed by KS3 students this half term and the fact that many of the pieces are going to be displayed in Gloucester Life Museum, Westgate Street, until 12th September.  Do try to pop in to see some of the students' excellent work.






Art news

Workshop with artist David Brindley

Art students have been developing their soft pastel skills during the Art and Design Technology Faculty Fortnight. Local artist David Brindley worked with students to produce a still life piece inspired by one of his own greetings card ‘A little bruised but otherwise ok!’   Students worked hard and have produced some excellent pieces of work.

Gloucester Museum Art exhibition
 A group of talented year 10 GCSE students’ work is being exhibited at Gloucester Museum from 15th July to 23rd September.  The Unit 1 still life work was inspired by the style of artists such as Paul Cezanne, Giorgio Morandi and Carolee Clark.  Do try to pop in and admire the work of our talented students.


The Duke of Edinburgh scheme has been really successful this year.  36 students in years 9 and 10 successfully completed the expedition section of their Bronze Award. They completed a challenging two day expedition in the Cotswolds which was then followed by producing excellent presentations to their parents about their expedition on Monday this week.  25 students from years 9 to 13 completed the whole Bronze Award.  

Two former students, Amy Walker and Ffion Ingram, completed their Gold Awards which they will receive at St James’s Palace.  One student will complete their Silver Award over the summer once they have done their expedition. Thanks to the staff who give up so much of their time at weekends to ensure that the scheme runs and benefits so many students.




Lottery Funding for Black History Month events
Mrs Roberts-Moore applied for and was successful in receiving £5150 from the National Lottery for cross curricular events to celebrate Black History Month in the Autumn.  This will involve students in several departments working with visiting artists and musicians and will culminate in our celebration of Black History Month on Wednesday   11th October – a date for your diaries.


Staffing
The following members of staff are leaving at the end of term.  We thank them for their hard work at St Peter's and wish them well in the future:

Mrs Hannah Davy (history), Mr Martin Peake (computing), Mrs Nicola Thompson (maths), Mrs Emma Hilliam (English), Mrs Anna Misselbrook (English), Miss Grace Anderton (art), Mr Andrew Holloway (maths), Mrs Mary Stephen (science & psychology), Mr Peter Morrison (maths), Mrs Nicola Garner (science), Mrs Maria Szoke (maths), Mr Liam Gittins (teaching assistant), Mr Saul Bateman (teaching assistant) and Mr James Dart (maternity cover in English).  Ms Judy Vertannes (MFL and EAL) and Mrs Alison George (MFL and computing) have been granted a year’s sabbatical by the governors.

Mr Jim Stenson
Today we say goodbye and a huge thank you to Jim Stenson who has been Chair of Governors for eleven years.  Jim has devoted hours and hours of his time - completely unpaid - and has been a true servant of Catholic education and of St Peter's High School.  We hope he enjoys his retirement from governing body duties and thank him for his advice and guidance over many years.


The following members of staff will be joining us in September: 

Miss Alice Brookes (science), Mrs Tryphosa Bennett (English), Miss Vicky Langham (science), Mr Elishma Lawless (MFL), Mr Dave Fredrickson (English), Mr Jason Chambers (R.E.),  Mr Philip Brookin (science), Mrs Jane Smalley (maths), Mrs Wendy Lovett (maths), Miss Melanie Moss (art), Mrs Catriona Nicklin (Business Studies maternity cover), Mrs Allyson Mountain (English maternity cover), Mr Scott McSwayde (teaching assistant), Mrs Donna Jackson (teaching assistant), Mrs Emanuela Piva (teaching assistant), Mrs Chricellaine Goodenough (teaching assistant) and Mrs Georgina Blackburn (careers adviser).


Parents and Friends Association
The PFA raise additional funds for the school and meet at the start of each half term on a Monday evening.  Several long standing members left at the end of term when their children (or grandchildren!) left the school and it would be great to see more parents becoming involved.  We are in particular need of a PFA treasurer.  This involves checking the bank statement, advising the PFA of the current funds, organising floats with the finance office and banking money.  The current treasurer says that it involves just over an hour’s time a month and is not an onerous responsibility.  Please let me or Mrs Haywood know if you are interested in joining the PFA and / or becoming treasurer.  You can also see and like the PFA’s St Peter’s RC High School Facebook page which publicises events.


Assessment points next academic year
We have made some changes to our assessment system for next year but assessment letters will still be sent home three times a year and will reflect homework, assessments in class, attitude to learning and whether or not students are making expected progress. The system allows a degree of flexibility as the new numerical GCSE system becomes embedded with final gradings changing from A* - U grades to letters from 9 (high) to 1 (low).  Staff will be assessing whether students have the age appropriate skills to progress to the GCSE grade range suggested by their KS2 results.  The target grade range is based on performance at primary school and is used to suggest the potential GCSE grade your son or daughter may attain.  We will be able to discuss this in more details at the September information evenings and will include more information with the first assessment letters in November.  

Please let us know if you have any comments on assessments, reporting to parents and carers (we have moved to three assessment letters a year instead of one final report) and Insight by emailing reception@sphs.uk.com with the subject heading comments on assessments.


Important reminders for the new term

Cashless catering will be truly cashless
As you should know from my previous blog and emails (and which students know from the posters around the school and the frequent tannoy reminders), students will not be able to top up their catering account in school from September.  All details of how to top up online or via a card in local shops can be found on the school website. Email finance@sphs.uk.com if you need further help.

Uniform and hair styles
Please check the school website before allowing your sons or daughters to dye their hair, have tramlines cut in or extremely short hair and before purchasing new items of uniform.  In particular, trousers must not be skinny or clingy and we have a specific school skirt which can be purchased at the uniform shops. 

Parking
May I remind you not to try to enter the bus bay at the end of school until 4pm after which there is no problem at all.  Earlier in the year we also had problems with some parents blocking driveways of local residents so I ask all parents and guardians to be sensitive to our neighbours.


See you in September

Thank you for all your support throughout the year.  I hope that your sons and daughters enjoy the summer break and we look forward to seeing them again in September.


Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Mass and awards celebration on the feast of Saints Peter and Paul

Last Thursday was a special day for staff and students at St Peter's.  In the morning Fr. Kevin Hennessey said Mass in a packed sports barn bedecked with banners made by year 8 forms.  Our musicians and choir led the singing and were, as usual, superb.  We were joined by governors, parents, former members of staff, former students and by teachers and students from St Rose's, Stroud.  Our students behaved beautifully and showed their appreciation for Fr. Kevin - who is moving to Weston-Super-Mare in September - in a standing ovation which lasted for several minutes.  Two of our governors who are about to retire from their completely voluntary work on the governing body were awarded certificates from Bishop Declan to mark their years of dedicated service to the school: Pat McCrink has served on the governing body for 31 years and Jim Stenson has served for 12 years and been Chair of Governor for 10 years.  As usual the Mass ended with a rousing rendition of 'Sing it in the Valleys'!

In the afternoon we were treated to a gymnastics display to the theme music from The Lion King followed by a wide range of awards for academic, musical and sporting excellence as well as for community and charity work.  The awards were interspersed with well chosen musical interludes: Dominic Travell from year 9 played 'Maple Leaf Rag' as 2017 is the 100th anniversary of Scott Joplin's death; Seb Rowe from year 8 sang and played 'Don't Look Back in Anger' as a tribute to the victims in Manchester; Fin Stevens from year 11 sang 'Bridge over Troubled Water' as a tribute to the Grenfell Tower victims.  As usual, the family of former student Anna McGurk (nee Potts) also joined us to award bursaries in Anna's name to three deserving students.  It was a real privilege to be part of this special celebration and to give out the awards to the following students who have show real commitment and dedication in their various fields:

Sue Goble Award for R.E. - Iona Price
Governors Award for Philosophy and Ethics - Charlotte Burnham
Governors Award for Theology and Ethics - Michael Wright
The David Watts Cup for Science - KS5 - Jack Bruton
The David Watts Cup for Science - KS4 - Ethan Wood and Jamie Gill
The Tony Chesson Award for Biology - Storm Maguire Toombs
The Governors Award for Science - KS3 - Ivy Wang
The Governors Award for Science - KS5 - Jack Cullimore and Jack Jarvis
The Trendgrey Award for Maths - Eddie Evans
The Governors Award for Maths - Finley Stevens and Sean Bryden
The Governors Award for English - KS3 - Keeley Davies
The Governors Award for English - KS4 - Sam Harte
The Governors Award for English - KS5 - Will Bussutil
The Governors Award for Computing - Lily Magri
The Trendgrey Award for ICT - Jahnai Selassie
The Molly Gravells Community Award - The Year 9 Charity Group
The Boyce Award for Endeavour - Cassey Butcher
The Governors Community Award - Mr and Mrs Osman (for 30 years service on the PFA)
The Governors Award for Languages - Alessia Johnstone
The Governors Award for English as an additional language - Yao Ding
The Anna McGurk bursary award (senior) - James Etheridge
The Anna McGurk bursary award (junior) - Ailsa Hall and Emily Watson-Howell
The Moss Construction Award for Sport - Venice Agbayani
The Dave Pointon Award for Sport - Reece Dunn
The Governors Award for Art - KS5 - Emily Burrus
The Governors Award for Art - KS4 - Erin Koronis
The Governors Award for Music (junior)  - Edward Cutting
The Governors Award for Music - (senior) - Christopher Slemensek
The Governors Award for Drama - Alice Davies and Jack Barron
The Sally Holloway Most Valuable Performer award - Patrick Meehan
The Governors Award for Geography - Darcy Woods Broady
The Governors Award for Technology (Textiles) - Jess Walker
The Governors Award for Technology (Product Design) - Kelsey Ryan
The Governors Award for Psychology - Callum Milne
The Peter Baker Award for Social Sciences - Grace Riglar
The David Croft Award for Love of Learning - Warren Greaves
The Governors Award for Social Sciences - Dominik Brown
The Governors Award for Business and Economics - Ellie Robinson
Head Student awards - Anna White and Joe Hill

Bronze Duke of Edinburgh awards: Dominic Thomas, Charlotte Cutting, Pippa Brogden, Rebecca Terry, Hannah Osmanski, Maddie Park, Adam Nash, Rebecca Lambert, Deanna Mempin, Milly Robinson, Fran Smith, Romana Protsyshyn, Elena Davies, Louise Watkins, Ethan Crew, Bradley Coomber.

Certificates for Altar Servers - Simon Cook, Sean Bryden, Dominic Thomas.



Our award winners

Two other occasions added to the celebrations last week.  At the 'Fab 5' Art award ceremony students received awards for excellence in art classwork and homework and superb work from students from KS3 to A-level art students was exhibited. The week ended with an enjoyable evening of Shakespeare from year 7 to 10 students.  We had previously seen talented performances from KS3 musicians at the junior concert two weeks' earlier.

Friday, 26 May 2017

May half term 2017


Another busy half term has seen plenty of activity and some excellent achievements.  Our year 11 students have started their GCSE examinations, the A-level exams begin after half term and these year groups will be using half term week as a week of structured revision.  A huge thank you to the staff for all the additional revision sessions they have put on.  Students in Years 8, 10 and 12 will have internal examinations in the last half term of the academic year and their teachers will inform them of the details.
I have just left the year 13 leavers assembly.  (The students moan about wearing shirts and ties when they are in years 7 - 11 but love to put them back on for leaving day!)  We wish them well in their exams and in the future and look forward to being kept up to date with their news.   Our current, excellent, head students Anna White and Joe Hill are handing over to year 12 students Iwan Kunemund-Hughes and Arianna Gilbert.  We had an extremely strong field of candidates for these posts and are forming a sixth form committee to will work alongside the head students.  
 
Chaplaincy news
Following our visit to Flame 3 at Wembley Arena in March, the Chaplaincy held an IGNITE  evening on Friday 5th May.   This was a wonderful evening of live praise music with input from some our students who had visited and participated in Flame to support the work of CAFOD.  Our year 10 students who participated in a residential retreat at St Cassian's Retreat Centre in Kintbury also shared their experiences of how the retreat had helped them to grow in their faith and personal giftedness.
 
Charity Cake sale: a huge thank you to students staff and parents who contributed to, and bought cakes in aid of one of our school charities Help Madina in Sierra Leone.  The array of cakes was outstanding and Mary Berry would have been most impressed!  A total of £200 was raised.
Congratulations to our Year 7 students in the Mustard Seed group who made their First Holy Communion in May and to our Year 10 CAFOD group who successfully completed their Young Volunteers course and were presented with their certificates this term.  As always, our thanks go to our chaplain, Mandy Baker, for all she does. 
We have received news that Fr Kevin of Our Lady’s parish, Churchdown, is being moved to Weston-Super-Mare.  He has given freely of his time to staff and students of St Peter’s over the last twelve years and will be greatly missed.
 
Staff leaving
Today we say farewell to two long-serving members of our support staff.  Mrs Sue McMahon has been at the school for 13 years, most recently in the finance team, and Mrs Margaret Pinder, our sixth form administrator, has been at St Peter’s for 27 years.  We thank them for their hard work and commitment to the school community, wish them both well and hope that they enjoy spending more time with their families and friends and, especially, with their young grandchildren.
I will give a full update of changes to teaching staff next half term.
 
Department news
Maths
On May 5th we were fortunate to welcome again the renowned Mathematician Dr Nira Chamberlain to talk to a group of students from years 7-10 who were selected by their maths teachers for their hard work and diligence throughout the year.  His talk on mathematical modelling was really interesting and allowed students to see how maths is applied to real life situations.  They thoroughly enjoyed the experience. 
Well done to three year 8 students - Jacob Underwood, Emily Stratford and  Mieko Gayya – who were selected to attend the Royal Institution Masterclasses at Bath university.  The six Saturday morning sessions gave them the opportunity to work with other able mathematicians across the region.  The sessions were designed to deepen their understanding of Maths in various contexts, whilst seeing the beauty and fun of the subject. 
At the start of this term, 120 students from years 7 and 8 took part in the UKMT Junior maths Challenge, an event designed to challenge and intrigue students.  Many excellent results were  achieved in this national competition, with 24 students achieving a Bronze certificate, 10 a Silver and 5 gaining Gold.  Well done to all the students for their efforts.  Particular congratulations are due to Christopher Thomas in year 7 who has qualified for the prestigious Junior Kangaroo event in June. 
 
History
On Friday 12th May the History department hosted  letcturer Toby Thacker from Cardiff university. He delivered a fascinating lecture on Germany after the Second World War to our A Level historians as well as to some Year 10 students. He then conducted a university-style seminar on the First World War with a group of fifteen Year 12 students.
 
The Brilliant Club
Twelve of our year 8 students are visiting Oxford University on Monday 5th June to launch the start of their work for the scholars programme run by the Brilliant Club. They will work with a PhD tutor throughout the summer term, helping her with her research on the effects of the Ebola virus. Their work will culminate in a university style essay that will be assessed by the University and they will get a chance to “graduate” in the Autumn term.  This is a very exciting project and we hope the students will benefit enormously from it.
 
Sporting news
Our Under 18 boys’ football team won the North Gloucestershire Under-18 school boys final.
 
The game was played at Forest Green Rovers (congratulations to them too!) when they beat Sir Thomas Rich’s 5-2 in an excellent game.  It ended a fabulous season for the team, their only defeat coming in the sixth round of the English schools National Cup when they lost to the very strong and eventual winners Millfield.  This ended a superb football season for St Peter’s football with four year groups winning the Gloucester city schools finals and the county final in the Under 18’s The seven teams which represented the school played a total of 60 fixtures this academic year, winning 46, drawing 3 and losing 11. Very well done to the boys and thanks to their coaches.
 
Congratulations to the Under 18 Rugby Sevens squad who won the King Worcester tournament on March 15th 2017 and to our Under 13 Rugby Sevens Squad who won 4 of 5 games at the National Competition in London.  
Our Under 15 cricket team won the Gloucestershire Cricket Board North Gloucestershire ‘Chance to Compete’ competition and will now compete against the Bristol winners and South Gloucestershire winners for the chance to be crowned County Champions. There is a possibility that they could move on to win regionally!
 
School visits
Places have become available on two excellent trips: the Year 8 trip to Normandy in October 2017 and on the whole school ski trip to Austria in February 2018. 
The year 8 Normandy visit is from Friday 20th to Tuesday 24th October 2017 and includes visits to the Normandy landing beaches, the Bayeux Tapestry and Mont St Michel.  There will also be a visit to a boulangerie plus food tasting and games and evening activities.  The cost, including travel, accommodation (full board) and entrance fees, is £350.  
The ski trip to Austria is open to all students and costs £975 which covers all travel costs, accommodation, insurance, ski hire and tuition.  Evening entertainments include swimming, bowling and a presentation evening. 
Both trips have proved extremely popular in the past and come highly recommended.  Please contact Mrs Beamish (jbeamish@sphs.uk.com) for further information.
 
 
Cashless catering – important changes from September 2017 for current students
 
We currently operate a ‘cashless’ catering system using biometric fingerprint technology.  Accounts may currently be topped up through a secure ParentPay website or by PayPoint in local convenience stores
The majority of parents use the secure ParentPay website.  For parents who already have a registered account it is essential that you ensure your children’s catering accounts always have sufficient credit to enable them to purchase food/drink at the school
Alternatively, you may choose to use  PayPoint in local convenience stores.  This method is generally used by parents who do not have ready access to a computer.
At the moment students can use a cash top-up machine in school  but from September 2017 this option will no longer be available:  students will NOT be able to top-up their catering account using cash brought into school
 
For parents who currently pay by cash only there will only be two options available from September 2017:
1.      Secure on-line website using ParentPay. Top-ups are instant, there is a minimum £10 top-up, and you can view your child’s purchases on-line.
2.      Top-up through local stores where you see the PayPoint logo.  You will be issued with a payment card by the school (if this is lost you will be charged for a replacement).  There is a minimum £5 top-up and top-ups take at least 2 working days to clear. 
It is important that you and your child(ren) prepare for this change in advance to avoid problems in September by e-mailing finance@sphs.uk.com with the following details:
Your child(ren)’s name(s) and Tutor Group(s)
Your preferred future method of payment: on-line OR PayPoint
You will then be issued with a username and password. 
For more information on the cashless catering system please see the school’s FAQ http://www.stpetershighschool.org.uk/Parents/Cashless-catering-frequently-asked-questions/
I hope our students enjoy the half term break (although it should not be one for our exam students!) and come back refreshed and ready for another busy half term. 
 
Buses: an important message from John Dix about routes along the A38 corridor
Dear Parents,       
We operate a route along the A38 corridor, incorporating Cam, Dursley, Uley, Nympsfield, Stonehouse and Haresfield.  Whether you have children at St Peter’s already or if they will be starting in September, you are able to subscribe to use this service now.
We have a very limited number of seats left on this route, and as such would urge parents to apply as soon as possible.  There are no other direct transport options to St Peter’s from these areas. This is an online application, and no payments are taken until September 1st 2017.  The total cost is £680 per school year, split into 10 payments of £68.
In order to sign up, please follow these steps:
Select ‘school routes’ from the menu bar.
Select ‘’St Peter’s High School’ from the list of school
Select ‘A38 Route’.Complete and submit the form that is generated.
If you have any issues completing this process, please call us on the below number or email info@johndixtravel.co.uk and we will be happy to help. 
Kind Regards,
John Dix
John Dix Travel Ltd, Unit 9, Quedgeley Trading Estate East, Haresfield, Gloucester, GL10 3EX.  01452 886633  www.johndixtravel.co.uk   info@johndixtravel.co.uk 

Friday, 7 April 2017

Happy Easter


It has been an extremely busy and productive half term for staff and students.

Ethos and chaplaincy

Our thanks to our chaplain, Mandy Baker, and to Fr. Kevin, parish priest of Our Lady’s, Churchdown, for all they do to help us to sustain and develop the ethos of the school.  This half term all year groups had a service for Ash Wednesday, which marks the start of Lent, and it was lovely to see student teams distributing ashes.  We have also held Lenten reconciliation services for each year group where students had the opportunity to go up for individual confession which many did.  We thank the priests of Gloucester and Stroud deaneries for their support with reconciliations.  This week, the last week of term, all students have attended liturgies in preparation for Holy Week and Easter which have been very well received by students.

Fifty students and staff attended Flame 3 at Wembley Arena on March 11th. We were delighted that Romana Protsysyn participated on stage with other CAFOD representatives from the diocese while Clare Walker joined the CAFOD team at the event and helped to run a lunchtime activity.  Well done both!

Last weekend ten year 10 students visited Kintbury Retreat Centre and had an extremely good time “Sharing the Good News” (the theme of the retreat) with students from four other schools who are now firm friends.   Thanks to our Head of year 10, Mrs Tassinari, and to Fr. Kevin for organising this.  


 

The Messiah at St Peter's R.C Church

Last week saw one of the highlights of the term: the St Peter's High School Choral Society performance of highlights from Handel's Messiah at St Peter's Church in Gloucester.  Former pupils and staff joined current students and staff as well as some professional musicians for an exceptional performance of an extremely demanding piece.  Our thanks go to all the singers and musicians and especially to music staff Mrs Smith, Mr Figliola, Mrs Greeenow and, especially, to our director of music, Mrs Catherine Perfect.  It was an evening where I was extremely proud to be connected to such a talented and committed group of people.






Faculty fortnights
Extremely successful faculty fortnights have taken place in science, maths and humanities this half term. 
In science faculty fortnight sleuthing students solved a murder using forensic techniques while Mr Foxsmith transformed the school gym into a planetarium. The fortnight culminated in an entertaining science show. Pupils roared with laughter as they watched their teachers being subjected to number of entertaining yet risky experiments.

St Peter’s science department has also been named as a Science Learning Partner. This follows a series of CPD courses that were held at the school for internal and external members of staff. Day-long practical sessions have been held for trainee teachers and subject knowledge extension events for existing teachers plus a range of courses for science technicians.   
Highlights of maths faculty fortnight included an external speaker for year 10, a maths competition for visiting teams of year 5 students from our main five Catholic feeder schools, and participation in Maths challenges.  Four students from years 8 and 9 (Amelia King, Mary McAteer, Sean Bryden and Lottie Wilkinson) finished sixth out of nineteen in the regional maths team challenge.  Also, in the individual challenge for years 9 and 10, two of our year 9 students achieved a Gold certificate, John Harvey qualifying for the European Kangaroo competition, and Sean Bryden for the Olympiad.  In addition, eight students achieved a silver certificate and eleven a Bronze certificate.  Well done all!

During the humanities faculty fortnight we were delighted to welcome Lord Tyler as part of the Peers in Schools programme.  He spoke to A Level Politics students - as well as some Year 11 students - and was thoroughly engaging throughout.  He commented that our students asked the best questions of all the schools he had visited as part of the programme.  Thanks to Miss Fearn for organising this visit. 


All KS3 students in RE have produced some really creative and informative pieces of work as part of their multi faith studies this half term.  Work has been expressed through art and craft (canvas paintings, information posters, artefacts and working models), drama (one student made a puppet theatre and told the story of Abraham using the puppets), extended writing (one pupil explored their Jewish ancestry and made a family tree), textiles (traditional Hindu clothing was made), food (traditional food was made from across the religious traditions studied and shared) and use of media (films, music, websites and interviews were made). 
 

Other news

‘Hope’ is a charity which supports some of our students to cope with a family member’s life threatening illness.  They will be featured on BBC 1’s ‘Lifeline’ programme on Easter Sunday.  Two of our students – Leanne Rogers and Katie Blagden will be appearing in the programme.  More details are available here: http://www.hopesupport.org.uk/

 
Girls sports news
  • The Under 16s won the Gloucester District netball tournament.The Under 13s won the Wycliffe invitational netball tournament.Emily Lacy has been selected to attend Severn Stars Super league netball trials for the Under 17 squad.
  • The Under 14 hockey team won the Wycliffe invitational hockey tournament.The Under 14s football squad won the Gloucester District tournament and came second in the county.Mary McAteer attended the South Wales Regional Football Training Camp.St Peter’s won the Gloucestershire Schools Gymnastics cup and Armani Parker represented St Peter’s in gymnastics at national level.
  • The senior netball girls defeated the staff in a very competitive match.  The player of the match was Head of year 9, Mrs Roberts-Moore!
  • Year 11 student Grace Riglar has won the Golden boot for Bristol City and will be training with them next year.Our thanks to Niamh Cooney and Venice Agbyani who have given up lots of their free time to teach, coach and umpire lessons and fixtures.


Boys PE news:

  • Brooke Turner, Max Stephenson and Joe Langbridge will represent the Gloucester Rugby  Academy in the Wellington U16s Rugby Festival.
  • Aaron Hinckley has been selected to play for the England Under 18 Rugby squad in an Easter tournament.
  • Rhys Dunn has been selected to represent England in the Under 17’s rugby team against France.
  • Years 7 to 11 all reached the National Schools football semi finals.
  • The U12 and Under 15 teams reached the final of the National Schools football tournament.
  • Congratulations to Archie Brennan and Rhys Sarson who have professional contracts with Cheltenham Town Football Club.
A huge thank you to our PE staff for all the extra-curricular work they undertake and to parents for their time and effort in supporting this.


House Sport

This week has been House Week with students in years 7 to 10 competing in football and netball.  The current scores include all positive points on SIMS as well as house sport results for hockey, rugby, football, basketball, gymnastics and netball.  Well done to the winners so far, Severn House:

Severn – 6068

Thames – 5963

Wye – 5637

Avon – 5473

The ‘Spirit of the Games’ awards this term are for students who had positive attitudes, showed resilience throughout wins and losses and had a positive influence on other members of their team. Each of these students has won an extra 50 points for their house.  The winners of this terms Spirit of the Games award are:

Year 7: Iona Neal and Mac Cheers Berry
Year 8: Daniel Onakoya and Grace Harris
Year 9: Ethan Dunbar and Hope Martin
Year 10: Conor Howard and Izzy Limbrick
Year 11: Zenon Heggs and Lydia Ravenhill

Thank you to Miss Hadley and the PE staff for organising House Week and congratulations to the winners of the Spirit of the Games awards!


National Citizen Service 
This year we had the highest number of students sign up for the National Citizen Service.  This is a scheme  for young teenagers who do adventure activities, team building skills and leadership activities during the summer holidays. The NCS have limited spaces and were very impressed that over a hundred of our year 11 applied and with the quality of the applicants.


Students with English as an additional language

In March ten students with English as an Additional language passed their ESOL exams in Reading and Writing. Seven of them also attained passes in Speaking and listening. The students are from India, Ethiopia, Afghanistan, China, Syria, Albania and Vietnam. We congratulate them for their hard work and progress in learning English.


The Tenner challenge
Twenty five year 7 and 10 students took part in the Business Studies department’ ‘Tenner Challenge’ where they were given £10 and had to come up with a way of making a profit.  A wide variety of projects was organised including cake sales, selling sweets and popcorn, guess how many sweets in the jar, dog walking, selling refreshments at sporting fixtures and making jewellery.  Two year 10 students, Eyhana Hennessy and Maya-Lewis Chaplin, were the most successful.  In four weeks they managed to generate a magnificent profit of £215; a percentage of this profit has been donated to a Guide dog charity. Zoe and Demetrious in year 7 also made a very respectable £80 in profit.

 


 
Year 9 options
Year 9 Options evening takes place on the first Tuesday after Easter, 25th April from 17:30-19:00 with a talk by me at 17:30 which is repeated at 18:30.  Students and parents will have an opportunity to visit option subjects to talk to department staff.  Students must return their option choice sheet to the KS3 office by Monday 2nd May.


Staff news

Mrs Fennell is retiring after 15 and a half  years teaching sociology, history and politics at St Peter’s.  We wish her a long and happy retirement.

Mrs Greenow begins her maternity leave after Easter.  We wish her well and thank her for her work in the music department as well as with her 11B form who have given her some lovely presents to express their thanks to her.


Attendance, punctuality and behaviour

The vast majority of our students are respectful, sensible and considerate but we have had some disappointing incidents this half term which are damaging to the reputation of the whole school.  I have reminded all students about the importance of respecting others and the school environment and that failure to do so, including while travelling to and from school, will be dealt with very seriously.   Some students have let us down with their poor behaviour on public buses and this has been addressed.  Other students are asked to report any silly or disrespectful behaviour to a member of staff so that we can address it. Students have been reminded that mobile phones must be off and completely away during the whole of the school day and that if they are seen they will be confiscated.
We continue to look for your support in improving punctuality and attendance.  Students should aim for at least 97% attendance.  Research shows that students with 95% attendance or more achieve their target grades whereas students with 90% attendance or below attain one grade lower than their target grade.  This is important for all of our students but particularly for key stage four and five students who are preparing for external examinations.  Simply put, if students are not in school then they do not make good progress.
 

Revision
Staff have been extremely generous with their time and have put on lots of extra revision sessions but of course this needs to be backed up by students’ private revision.  Students preparing for external examinations should spend a good proportion of the Easter break revising but can balance this with regular breaks for relaxation and exercise.  It is a good idea for them to check that they have all the necessary notes and materials and to work backwards from the exam timetable to ensure all topics will be covered.  A quiet indoor space without distractions, including music, is important too.   

Research has found that ‘spaced learning (when students revise one subject for a chunk of time followed by a completely different subject and then a third etc) helps rather than hinders the recall of information.   Ebbinghaus’s ‘Curve of Forgetting’ is also interesting as it shows that we need to revise things several times before information is fully retained.  He found that memory decays the most rapidly in the first hour after learning and then continues to decline until it levels off after one month.  Therefore, through regular revision, forgetting will decline and more information will be retained.


Summer uniform
When we return after the Easter break students will need to wear polo shirts and jumpers rather than shirts, ties and blazers.  Year 9 students have been asked to donate their blazers to second hand uniform(if they are not needed for younger siblings). It is usually still quite cold when we return after the holiday so students must have their jumpers and coats with them. 

We are looking forward to being able to open the field but remind students that food is not allowed in the barn or fields as these spaces are used for PE lessons.  Please can I encourage you to remind students to use break and lunch times to go to the toilet and, if necessary, fill up water bottles then (which they are not allowed to do during lesson times.


Diocesan residential weeks
The Diocese is holding two Living Your Faith Residential Weeks in August.  Week One 7 - 11 August (Age 7 - 11) and Week Two 14th - 18th August (Age 12 -16).

The weeks are intended to encourage children and young people to engage in their faith through fun, games and spiritual input.  They take place in the beautiful surroundings of the Marist Convent in Nympsfield.  For more details contact Stephen Spurrell on 07860849460 or at livingyourfaith@hotmail.co.uk
Communication and Show My Homework

A reminder to please let us know if any of your contact details have changed.  Do continue to use the website, school app and twitter to keep up to date with news and events.  The PFA have also set up a Facebook account - St Peter's RC High School PFA which you are invited to like and follow.  The PFA help to raise funds for additional items for the school and are always looking for new members and new ideas.  The next meeting of the PFA is on Monday 24th April at 6pm in the Rosemary Steele block at the bottom of the school.  
 
Please remind your sons and daughters to check Show My Homework regularly.  Students have individual log in details but all homework tasks can be accessed via the link on the home page of the website so there is never an excuse for homework not being done and submitted on time!  
 
We return to school on Monday 24th April and hope that all our students have an enjoyable break.  Have a happy and holy Easter.