Tuesday 23rd March 2021 this week saw pupils and staff at St Peter’s pause as part of their daily worship to reflect on the past year in the context of the Covid-19 global pandemic. Monday 23rd March 2020 was the first day of enforced partial school closure – 26 pupils attended school on site that day. Since then, so much has changed, and been learnt by all, in the world of education, but the relentless march forward was paused to take time to reflect on the human cost of the last 12 months. Using a range of age-appropriate resources, and still in classes and year bubbles as group social distancing still applies in school, teachers drew the pupils together to reflect, pray and remember. A key feature was the strength that comes from communities in times of challenge, expressed in the following prayer that was shared with the children in their reflection:
You place us in families and communities, and we give you thanks for all those around us who serve us and help us in so many ways. Give wisdom to community leaders, to our schools, hospitals, care homes and other agencies who make a difference to our lives. Help each of us to have the courage to reach out with thanks and kindness to those around us and to speak words of faith as we share the good news of your love.
Mr R Cunningham
There is a definite feeling of spring in the air at St Peter’s. The glorious yellow daffodils which have burst open in the school grounds have clearly provided inside inspiration for our wall displays.
Year 1 have used a watering can to ‘Pour out the prayers’ (James 5) and a bag of seed to ‘Feed on God’s word’ (2 Timothy 2-15) in their wall display to show how they can grow in Christ likes the sunflower and vines either side of the pictures.
In the library, meanwhile, for those days when March seems more wintery than winter and April showers beckon, there are suggested reads for all ages to ‘Spring into a good book’.
Enjoy the sunshine!
Mr R Cunningham
At last, it’s all systems go once again at St Peter’s with a full return to on-site learning for all pupils this week.
I must start, though, with a great vote of thanks and gratitude to all you parents and carers who have made learning possible over these past 8 weeks of term. No two families’ experiences have been the same, but for all of you, whether it was full-time home learning, blended learning of part-school and part-home, or your children attending full time in a very different school atmosphere, “THANK YOU!” To paraphrase a popular saying, “It takes a village to raise a child, but a vineyard to home-school one!”. Thank goodness it’s Friday.
Back to the start of the week, and the children just kept on arriving for the morning drop-off of Monday 8th March, and by 9:00am 430 pupils were settled down to classroom learning with their teachers once again. The curriculum, thanks to teacher planning and remote resourcing, has seamlessly got back underway in school, and here’s a little flavour of what the children have been learning this week. Early Years have been finding out all about the springtime, and are eagerly awaiting the arrival of eggs and an incubator to wait patiently for hatching chicks. Year 1 children are ‘Going on a bear hunt’ for their English topic, whilst Year 2 are setting off to find out about life on the Titanic. Year 3 are building empires through their study on the Romans, with the lives of the gladiators and Roman toilets featuring as early favourite topics, whilst year 4 are doing volcanoes and the human digestive system at the same time – I wonder which will make more rumblings? Year 5 are concluding studies in 2 subjects, space for science and crime and punishment through the ages for History, whilst Year 6 are trekking out to Nepal and the Himalayas for Geography, combined with a study of Buddhism for their multi-cultural topic.
Please don’t forget the need to keep your distance from one another on the school site during drop-off times and especially at end of the day pick-up times whilst waiting to access both playgrounds. And a real plea for all adults accessing the school site to wear a face covering, for the sake of other adults and our staff, as we do in shops and on public transport.
And finally, even with the children back in school, we are still producing two collective worship videos a week for use in class during Lent. This coming week, with the kind hosting of Fr Daniel Agber, we are broadcasting from the parish of St Edmund’s in Horndean.
Mr R Cunningham
Hello to all the pupils at St Peter’s.
Slowly but surely the spring flowers are starting to make their appearance, just in time to welcome back your bright and smiling faces on Monday 8th March.
I am sure you will outshine even these beautiful blooms, and we all can’t wait to welcome you back to school on Monday.
Stay safe, have a lovely weekend, and we’ll see you soon at school!
Mr Cunningham and all the St Peter’s staff
Mr R Cunningham
I never thought it would come to this – tuning into BBC Parliament at 3:30pm on a Monday afternoon, 22nd February to be precise, to listen to a Prime Ministerial statement. And then as for cheering when he announced the full re-opening of all schools with effect from Monday 8th March, well, I really truly honestly never thought it would come to that! Information on the return to St Peter’s for all pupils on Monday 8th March will be shared is a separate letter, and we can’t wait to welcome the children back to school.
During this week, all staff at St Peter’s received refresher training on cyber-safety and the many potential pitfalls of the on-line world for children that go hand in hand with the benefits of the internet. The training was delivered by our on-line safety consultant Lee Haywood, and he will be available for parent consultations during our remote parents’ evenings of 21st and 28th April – booking details to follow in early March.
For now, though, here is a link to Lee’s company website Parent Zone, which will be of interest to all families with children and teenagers at home:
Mr R Cunningham
Inspired by the current cold snap, the children in Year 4 (aged 8 and 9 years old) at St Peter’s created these stunning winter tree silhouettes and landscapes.
Having mixed remote and in-school learning for the best part of 6 weeks now, pupils and staff alike are ready for a half-term break before a partial return to school on Monday 22nd February. We remain ever hopefully of a wider return of more pupils to school from Monday 8th March, Covid permitting.
Mr R Cunningham
Over the past fortnight in Religious Education, children in Year 3 (7 and 8 year olds) have learnt about the Bible story of Samuel being called by God, and how at first he mistook it for the summons of his master Eli. Building on the instruction Eli gave to Samuel of “Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.”, the pupils reflected on the difference between hearing and listening. By linking this to their own lives, and usually involving instructions from their parents that they may have heard but not necessarily listened to, the children were able to understand more fully how important it was for Samuel to listen to God’s call rather than just hear the voice of his master. As we continue this period of partial school closure, and this work being done by home learners as well as school attendees, the need to listen to the true word of the Lord is perhaps a good way of helping us to balance out some of the more “catastrophising” news reports that we still hear about education. We all have a lot to learn from the children in Year 3!
Mr R Cunningham
It’s Children’s Mental Health Week 1st -7th February… so it’s the perfect time to be thinking about your mental health and your wellbeing.
In school we talk about wellbeing a lot and it’s such an important thing to take care of… just as important as your physical health. This last year has been really difficult for everyone and there have been so many changes for you all. You’ve all accepted and embraced them and done your absolute best and we are so proud of you all for that.
This year’s theme for Children’s Mental Health Week is ‘Express Yourself’ so we want you to get creative and celebrate all the amazing things about yourselves. We are going to create a fabulous display outside the Pumpkin Room called ‘Reach for the Stars!’ but we need your help.
We would like you to do the following:
- Draw around your hand and then cut it out.
- On your cut out hand, write down some amazing things about yourself – your skills, strengths or talents, or amazing things you’ve done (e.g. some brilliant school work, helping your family, learning a new skill, sending a gift to someone to cheer them up etc). Anything amazing that you’re proud of!
- Decorate your hand and make it look beautiful!
- Take a photo of it and send it to us at: email@example.com
We look forward to seeing all of your amazing creations!
Mrs Byrne and Mrs Chapman, St Peter’s ELSA* Team
(*Emotional Literacy Support Assistants)
For more information about Children’s Mental Health Week, please visit: Parents and Carers – Children’s Mental Health Week 2021
Please remember if your child is in Key Stage 1 they should be aiming for 3 hours remote learning each day and if your child is in Key Stage 2 the expectation is around 4 hours. This time frame reflects the amount of time pupils spend learning in class each day and so it is important that your child does not go over this daily recommendation as given by the Department for Education.
There is no expectation that pupils must complete every task and activity set.
If your child is finding some of the work too challenging then they should access the support resources that your child’s teacher will have provided. Please do not worry if your child does not complete all of the activities for a given lesson; they can always come back to that same activity the following day. It is important that your child works at an appropriate pace for them on the tasks set, even if this means they do not get to the end of that lesson. Children will find the process and practice of learning at home very different, so taking a measured approach to the amount of time they spend on a task will be important for their well-being and happiness. Spending time really understanding and practising a new skill is just as important, and prioritising dedicated reading time each day (from a page not a screen) is a great way of reinforcing learning and reducing anxiety. A simple timetable for each day will also help save pupils from spending too long on one subject. When it gets to the end of your set time for a particular lesson, make sure your child stops (even if they have not finished all tasks) and has a break before moving on to the next subject. Please encourage your child to join the live teacher sessions each day where the class teacher will clearly explain the learning for that day and answer any individual questions your child may have, as well as providing pastoral contact.
Mr Crozier Mrs Knight
Deputy Headteacher Assistant Headteacher
From Monday 25th January, staff at St Peter’s Catholic Primary School have the option to take Lateral Flow Tests at home in order to see if they are asymptomatic carriers of the Covid-19 coronavirus. These kits have been offered to all primary school staff in England from the NHS and DfE, and are voluntary for staff to take. The thinking behind the testing offer is to detect individuals who, although positive with Covid-19, may not be showing symptoms but could still be contagious. Given that positive cases of Covid-19 amongst the staff and pupil cohort at St Peter’s has remained exceptionally low when placed in the national and global context, it is not expected that there will be many if any asymptomatic positive returns. Staff are advised to take these tests twice a week, every 3 to 4 days, on days when they attend the workplace. Staff are also advised to take these tests first thing in the morning in order to reduce to a minimum the time gap between the test and attending the workplace, and so reduce the chance of unknowingly contracting the virus. This very short time gap between testing and starting the working day could present staffing challenges if we get late notice of a colleague not being able to attend work. Also, we would need to engage in the usual track, trace and subsequent self-isolation of individuals who may have had contact with a positive Covid-19 case, even asymptomatic ones. As you would expect, we will do all we can to minimise staffing disruption on children’s education, be that in school or at home, and will engage fully with all required actions in the event of any positive Covid-19 case being reported to us by individuals who have been on the school site.
Mr R Cunningham