All change

The past week has seen all of the pupils at St Peter’s get ready for next year.  Children in Years R to 5 have met their new teachers, and have spent a total of two full days in their new classrooms.  As I have walked around the school, I have seen a great deal of introduction and transition work successfully taking place, which means that all the classes will be able to make a running start with immediate learning from Tuesday 5th September when we return after the summer break.  This week has also seen transition work at each end of the age range at St Peter’s, as future Year R pupils have completed their ‘stay and play’ sessions, whilst Year 6 pupils have visited their future secondary schools.  All this goes to show, therefore, that the only constant is change!

With just over a week to go, there remains lots of work still to be done, but we will of course turn our attention to marking the end of the school year with celebrations and public recognition of achievements.

And finally, thank you for all of the good wishes and prayers that came my way whilst I was recovering from a burst appendix.  Normal service is, gradually, being resumed.

Mr R Cunningham

Headteacher

It’s hot, hot, hot!

What a fabulous week of sun we have enjoyed! Thank you to all the parents who have provided sun hats, sun cream and water bottles. The children have managed brilliantly in the warm weather, making the most of shady spots outside and teachers have ensured regular opportunities to rehydrate throughout the day.

In spite of the heat, the hard work and learning continues this week with a variety of valuable opportunities. Year 5 and 6 enjoyed a reflective and prayerful mass at the Sacred Heart Church. It is always very special coming together to worship and this was no exception. In addition, Year R visited Tuppenny Barn in Southbourne as part of their ‘Growing’ topic. Whilst there, they were able to think about how plants grow, make their own eco-friendly plant pots and then cook food that had already grown. One of our Year 5 classes went to Staunton Country Park and Farm to help develop a better understanding of habitats and life cycles. The other Year 5 class are very excited to be going this coming Monday. Thank you to all the staff and helpers who were involved in providing the children with such valuable, hands-on learning opportunities.

To finish our week, we were all inspired to ‘never give up’, ‘encourage others’ and ‘do our best’ (NED), through an exciting assembly that really helped us to reflect on what helps us to be ‘champion learners’.

“I really enjoyed it! It will help me to encourage others to keep going!” (Kaitlyn, Year 5)

“It definitely told us the message and inspired me to never give up and do my best in all my work.” (Oscar, Year 5)

We are really looking forward to bringing NED into our learning inside and outside of the classroom.

Mr Cunningham is at home recovering well from his recent operation. Our prayers and best wishes remain with him and we look forward to his return in the coming weeks.

Mrs Knight and Mrs Pfeiffer

Another busy week…

As you are may be aware, Mr Cunningham underwent an operation last week to remove his appendix. He is currently recovering from this and cards and best wishes from the children have been gratefully received.
We would ask that all members of our school and parish community remember Mr Cunningham in our prayers while he recuperates.
In the meantime, the hard work and commitment continues in school, and last Friday we celebrated a wonderful St Peter’s Fest. Great fun was had by all! The children all enjoyed performing on the stage and taking part in fun activities organised by the Friends of St Peter’s. We would like to say a huge thank you to all those who contributed to such a successful evening.
This week we have also had children from our school choir take part in the Waterlooville Music Festival at St George’s Church in Waterlooville. The children performed with confidence and commitment and were a real credit to the school.
We are delighted to welcome the summer weather this week; the children have been enjoying the field at lunchtimes. Please can we take this opportunity to remind you all to wear hats, sun cream and a water bottle to keep hydrated.
Thank you for your continued support.
Mrs Pfeiffer and Mrs Knight

A burst of colour

Thank you to all of the children (and families behind the scenes!) for coming to school today in such bright and varied outfits.  Having reflected prayerfully this week on the pain and emotion of the events at the Manchester Arena on Monday night, this morning’s assembly was a celebration of life, colour and diversity.  All the colours of the rainbow, and more, were on display both in my assembly presentation and in the children’s clothing, and the Year 3 recorder group played a piece of music which demonstrated how unity and cooperation can make every individual feel braver in the face of a challenge.

Once again, we used the following prayer in class worship this week; you may find this helpful if your children want to continue to offer spiritual support to those affected by the Manchester attack.

Let us pray…
For the people who died in Manchester on Monday
For the people who were hurt in Manchester
For the friends and families of all of the victims
For the brave people who helped at the scene
For the loving people who are caring for the victims
For peace in our lives, our country and our world
We make this prayer together in the name of the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen

Please also see a link to the BBC about how to address matters with children, which you may find useful.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-40011787

And finally, please follow a link from Tuesday’s Diocesan e-newsletter to read Bishop Philip’s letter to the Bishop of Salford, Bishop John Arnold.

http://www.portsmouthdiocese.org.uk/enews/uploads/BoP-Letter-to-Bishop-John-Arnold-(23-May-2017).pdf

Wishing you all a restful and peaceful half term holiday

Mr R Cunningham

Headteacher

Great memories

This week at St Peter’s has been full of memorable moments that make up school life.

The week ended with one of those memory making moments when class photographs were taken.  Everyone says that your school years are the best of your life, and whilst those pupils who have taken tests recently may temporarily disagree with this, the photos taken today will allow the children to look back on their teachers and classmates with fond recollections.  Photo proofs and order details will follow in due course.

Year 1 pupils had their first major trip of the year with an adventure at Marwell zoo.  The chance to explore the park with classmates, to take part in a ‘Fur, feathers and fins’ workshop, and to get more enjoyment out of a 30 minute coach ride than would seem reasonable, all made for a great day of off-site learning.  Thank you to all the staff and volunteers who made this possible.

Not to be left out, the Friends of St Peter’s hosted a great Karaoke evening last Friday night, and are gearing up for their main fundraiser of the year with a Wild West themed St Peter’s Fest.  The event takes place from 5:30pm to 8:00pm on Friday 9th June, with a special guest appearance from ‘Taylor Swift’ to add some country music flavour to the evening.  Next Friday, 26th May, is a non-uniform day for the children, with the request that each brings in a bottle for the tombola as a means of raising plenty for school funds.

And finally, congratulations to our colleague Mrs Stewart and her husband, who had the memorable experience of the arrival of their first child, a daughter named Caitlin May, last Friday night.

Mr R Cunningham

Headteacher

Summer peeks through

At last, it may, just possibly, finally be appearing.  This week the children at St Peter’s have, both in their free time and lessons, been able to enjoy better weather for their outdoor play and learning.  Of course, those in the teaching profession always know exactly when summer will arrive – at the very time in the school year when many pupils are stuck indoors revising and sitting tests.  So well done to our Year 6 pupils who conducted themselves in an exemplary and mature manner through their SATs this week.  These pupils more than most should enjoy any good weather and generous family treats (hint hint parents) that may come along this weekend.

The work is not over, though, as Year 6 will continue to produce, review, edit and hone their written work to submit for moderation in mid-June, and Year 2 pupils will have more SATs during the coming week, so do please keep all of these pupils in your prayers.

Well done to six pupils from Years 4, 5 and 6 who took part in Crookhorn School’s Press Gang challenge on Friday 5 May.  They performed exceptionally well to research stories and produce new articles under strict time pressures in competition with other local primary schools, and the certificates with which they were presented will be handed out in an up-coming assembly.

Mr R Cunningham

Headteacher

Testing times

The time has inevitably come upon us, as it does in every academic year, for national tests and exams to take place for pupils across the country.  The rights and wrongs, and the means and methods, of the tests are a matter of constant debate amongst teaching professionals, families and politicians.  It is a debate that is so well fuelled that thankfully I feel neither the need nor the desire to add to it here, you’ll be glad to know!

Instead, it is time to reflect upon the hard work of our pupils in Years 2 and 6 over the whole school year.  A focus upon the children’s commitment to learning and the rates of personal progress that each child has made will lead us to the real value of their academic education at St Peter’s.  Add to this the depth and richness of the education at St Peter’s that simply cannot be measured in a test paper, such as the spiritual, social and moral formation that the children receive, and we are coming closer to appreciating the true worth of their experience in these most precious school years.  Furthermore, the dedication and professionalism of the staff at the school is worthy of praise.  I am always impressed with the imagination, enthusiasm and attention to pupils’ individual needs that marks out the St Peter’s staff as a cut above the rest.

So, at the end of a short week, where in truth we all just squeeze five days’ work into four days, our Year 6 pupils have a final weekend before their SATs.  My message, as it always has been to pupils preparing for tests, is that meaningful rest and relaxation is just as important as hard work and revision, as long as both are done in sensible and beneficial amounts.  Take some time to revise and focus on areas that may still give cause for concern, but also spend time at leisure with family and friends, as they will be around long after any SATs exam has faded into distant memory.

Mr R Cunningham

Headteacher

 

Fake News

Now I am not really one for practical jokes (I tend to find them frustrating and sometimes more than a touch cruel), but in the name of learning I will confess to condoning two curriculum ‘wind ups’ this week.  Teaching colleagues in Years 4 and 6 asked me if we could stage announcements about changes proposed for St Peter’s as a means of provoking outrage and indignation amongst pupils which would lead them to improve their persuasive writing, reasoning skills and communication.  Year 4 pupils were informed of plans to reduce morning playtime to a 5 minute drink and toilet break, and lunch to a 25 minute refuelling stop, whilst I gravely announced to Year 6 that we intended to sell the school field for use by an electricity company and for the construction of new homes.  The Year 4 project was aided by a formal letter allegedly written by me to go to all families, and Year 6 were further convinced of my field selling plans by the cordoning off of a large section of the field to allow for ‘surveying work’ to begin.  The responses from the pupils were a mixture of shock, dismay and rebellion; chants were prepared, letters were drafted and placards were planned.  I for my part made sure that parent mails to families in Years 4 and 6 were sent to both allay fears of terrible change and also to try to get people on board with the project if debates continued at home.

These exercises revealed two things to me, both of which I knew already but which are always beneficial to have reinforced.  Firstly, it was wonderful to see how quickly, sensibly and passionately the children became engaged in an activity which revolved around their school and what they see to be the great benefits it provides.  Our children clearly recognise and enjoy the value of the social interactions at break and lunchtimes, and the wonderful resource that we have in such a large and diverse open green space in our school field.  We are very lucky as a school to be able to offer the children the time and space to learn and grow outside the classroom in both structured and free-time activities, and long may this continue.  Secondly, the exercises revealed the creativity and commitment of the teaching staff at St Peter’s.  Add to this their willingness to actually encourage a situation where they are working with lots of livid children, and we are fortunate indeed to have at St Peter’s such a wonderful teaching team.

Mr R Cunningham

Headteacher

Easter

So we reach the end of the second term at St Peter’s for the 2016-2017 academic year.  Once again in recent weeks, St Peter’s has risen to the challenge of raising funds for good causes.  With their penny-based efforts, the children have raised over £250 to send to Cafod’s Little Fish into Big Fish Lent campaign, and the school staff have donated over £140 to the Diocesan Bamenda appeal to enable schools fees for 7 children to be paid for a year in our sister Diocese in Cameroon (see my blog from 3rd March 2017). 

Meanwhile, the Friends of St Peter’s are delighted to announce that the Easter Eggstravaganza raised an incredible £1,160 for school project funds.  I must express an enormous thanks to all of the families who volunteered and gave of their time and energy so willingly in all that went into organising the event.  The travelling book fair was able to raise £255 in commission which has been spent on new library resources, so thank you to Mrs Moore and volunteers for organising the sales. 

And finally, on the last day of term the school was able to officially donate to Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance a cheque for over £790 raised in our December fundraising sponsored run (see my blog from 9th December 2016).  The Air Ambulance team delivered a great assembly for the whole school, hosted a special Q&A session for Year 6 with two of the specially trained Air Ambulance medics, and then treated Years R and 1 pupils to an action packed and super informative ‘Be a 999 hero!’ session to teach them about how to get help in an emergency.

Of course, this week in school we have continued with the children’s Lenten journey, with Stations of the Cross for all children.  The pupils in Key Stage 2 followed a route around the school grounds to reflect upon the different Stations of Christ’s Passion, whilst Key Stage 1 and Early Years pupils had a reflective service to focus on Christ’s ultimate sacrifice and act of love for all mankind.

So it only remains for me to wish you all a restful, holy and happy Easter, and below you will find a reminder of the services over Easter for our two local parishes

Mr R Cunningham

Headteacher

Sacred Heart of Jesus and St. Peter the Apostle, Waterlooville

Thursday 13 April

8.00pm Maundy Thursday Mass of the Lord’s Supper

Friday 14 April

10.00am Good Friday Stations of the Cross for parents and children

11.15am Ecumenical Procession of Witness begins at Sacred Heart

3.00pm Liturgy of the Lord’s Passion

7.30pm Prayers around the Cross (informal service of readings)

Saturday 15 April

8.00pm Easter Saturday Vigil

Sunday 16 April

8.30am Easter Sunday Mass

10.30am Easter Sunday Mass

St. Edmund’s, Horndean

Thursday 13 April

4.00pm Children’s Stations of the Cross

7.30pm Mass of the Lord’s Supper followed by Adoration

10.00pm Night prayer and watch until 12.00 midnight

Friday 14 April

10.00am Good Friday, Churches Together Walk of Witness from Blendworth Methodist Church

3.00pm Good Friday Liturgy of the Passion

Saturday 15 April

7.00pm or Sunset, The Easter Vigil

Sunday 16 April

8.30am Easter Sunday Mass

10.30am Easter Sunday Mass

 

 

Is there anybody here?

For an oversubscribed school, it’s felt a bit like the Marie Celeste here at St Peter’s lately.  I have found empty desks, abandoned chairs and deserted classrooms, and have tried not to take it personally!

The truth behind these absences lies not in any sort of great escape, but in children from St Peter’s experiencing learning enrichment in different environments over the spring term.  On Monday this week, pupils from Year 6 worked in the Oaklands Food Technology Department to prepare Greek food as part of their work on the study of ancient Greece.  They brought their wares back to eat in their classroom, but by the time I got there it was all gone. All I was left with was the tempting smell of Greek salad and a pile of empty plates!

Not to be outdone, the Year 5 children have been having lessons in programming at Oaklands over a series of weeks.  As you will know, we do a lot of work in school on how to stay safe on-line and how to avoid or report any instances of unpleasantness in the cyber-sphere.  However, this enrichment opportunity for Year 5 puts St Peter’s pupils in a strong position for ‘digital literacy’, which was recently mentioned in the press as being as important for children today as traditional literacy and numeracy.  This goes alongside that other essential life skill of swimming, which Year 5 have been doing weekly at Waterlooville leisure centre this term.

Lower down the school, we recently sent a Year 2 group to Crookhorn to take part in Professor Cranium’s Maths Challenge.  This annual event brings children together from local primary schools to tackle a series of mathematical puzzles in a competition setting.  Our team came second in the competition, which was no mean feat given the number of schools involved and the fact that the top 3 places were only separated by 2 points!

Feeling in need of a little culture?  Well, once again, St Peter’s pupils have been out and about showing off their talents.  Over 50 pupils took part in the Oaklands Dance Celebration this week, performing in front of a packed auditorium alongside students from Years 7 to 11 at Oaklands.  This was the result of a several week long after-school project with Oaklands dance students, and was a really uplifting experience for all involved.  We are also entering the season of external music exams at this time of year, and I have just been told that 4 pupils who took recorder exams all achieved distinctions.  Well done to them, and we look forward to awarding their certificates in school in due course.

So, is it any wonder that I sometimes can’t find full classrooms with all of this going on?  I must, then, offer enormous thanks to all of the staff who work so hard to create these life enhancing enrichment opportunities for our pupils.  I am lucky to be leading such a great team of dedicated and enthusiastic professionals.

Mr R Cunningham

Headteacher