On Sunday 5th February 2017, a special event is taking place to combine a parish welcome to Monsignor Jeremy Garratt and to strengthen the links between St Peter’s and one of the two parishes from which it draws many children, the Waterlooville parish of The Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and St Peter the Apostle. At the 10:30am Mass all children in the parish are invited to attend church in their school uniforms to take a lead role in the celebration of Mass, and volunteering if willing to help with readings, the offertory, etc. When this special Mass was first discussed, I was keen from the start for it to be for all children of any school in the local area to attend Mass in their school uniform, and not just those children at St Peter’s. So if you know of families with children who are not at St Peter’s but who attend Mass at The Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and St Peter the Apostle, please do encourage them to come along. In time, it is hoped that such a celebration of Mass can take place in other Catholic parishes in the area, so Sunday 5th February really is a test run. I know it happens elsewhere, and I have recollections of attending the same when I was a child at St Bede’s Catholic Primary School in Weaverham back in the 1980s (in short trousers with scratched knees and bruised shins as is de rigeur for small boys I am sure), so am keen for us as a school community to place children at the heart of our local parishes.
We were lucky enough this week to host Fr Jeremy as he celebrated Mass with our Year 3 and 4 pupils. Fr Jeremy then set out on what was intended to be a visit to all the classes, but conversations with Year 3 about their taste in literature and quick-fire questions from Year 1 slowed his progress; a sign I am sure of a great relationship being forged between Fr Jeremy and the children of St Peter’s.
Mr R Cunningham
The main focus of my attention this week has been on observing lessons in St Peter’s. I have drafted in the help of Headteacher colleagues from local schools and the local authority in order to validate my judgements and provide objective guidance on where we as a school can make progress in the coming months. I am delighted to report that all of the visitors have praised the work ethic, good manners and excellent behaviour of our pupils. The origin of such praiseworthy conduct is manifold, coming from pupil self-discipline and motivation, excellent professional instruction and guidance from the staff at St Peter’s, and of course the positive approach to school life that is encouraged and embedded at home. I am confident in the knowledge that on such firm foundations can be built great academic and personal progress for all of the pupils at St Peter’s in the spring and summer terms of 2017.
Meanwhile, the highlight of the week for the pupils was surely the Italian Day in the canteen, where Mrs Gray and her superb team served over 380 meals to hungry boys and girls ready for a taste of Italy. With that number to feed, thank goodness we ordered in more than ‘Just one Cornetto!’. On behalf of everyone, therefore, to the canteen staff I say a heartfelt ‘Grazie’ for all your efforts every day in keeping us well fed and ready for the afternoons.
Mr R Cunningham
In the first two weeks of term, I have been very impressed with the enthusiasm shown by two year groups in particular who have immersed themselves in the history of our wider Hampshire area. Year 2 visited the Sea City Museum in Southampton to investigate RMS Titanic’s fateful maiden voyage, and then deepened their learning with a Titanic dressing-up day at the end of last week. It was great to have children in Edwardian garb reading prayers to the whole school as part of my Epiphany worship, and their topic learning has continued with the captivating picture book story of ‘Samson’s Titanic Journey’ by Lauren Graham. Meanwhile Year 6 spent a day at Beaulieu Museum with a focus not on the classic cars, or the beautifully derelict Cistercian Abbey, but the work done by the agents of the Special Operations Executive during their top secret spy training for World War Two. Of particular note was the promotion given to the brave women of the SOE who risked their lives on missions designed to, in the words of Churchill, ‘Set Europe ablaze!’ whilst under Nazi occupation. As ever, thanks goes to the staff who organise the trips, parents who volunteer to help, and of course the pupils who are excellent learning ambassadors for St Peter’s. And of course, I must thank my colleagues for giving me a decent ‘history fix’ to remind me of my old job in the week when I was appointed to the permanent post of Headteacher, but don’t worry, a whole school project on the significance of the ministry of Sir Robert Peel 1841 to 1846 won’t be rolled out just yet!
This week at the Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and St Peter the Apostle in Waterlooville the parishioners said a final farewell to Father Kevin Bidgood (see previous blog of 2nd December 2016 for how St Peter’s expressed our thanks to Fr Kevin) and welcomed Monsignor Jeremy Garrett as the new parish priest. After the special Mass of transition on Tuesday evening I invited Fr Jeremy to come into St Peter’s as soon as he is able in the busy schedule of getting to grips with a new parish, and we look forward to making Fr Jeremy an integral part of our worshipping school community.
Finally, thank you for the many words of congratulations and encouragement that I have received in the playgrounds this week following my appointment to Headship.
Mr R Cunningham
Welcome back to all the children as we start 2017 with great enthusiasm and optimism for the year ahead.
This week, whilst still in the season of Christmas but with the bustle of the commercial season having passed, we took the opportunity in school for calm reflection in our two whole school worships.
We began on Wednesday with a worship centred around the Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God. Our pupils took the time to cast away in their imaginations the clean cut nativity figure scenes that adorn our homes and churches to think instead about the more realistic sights, sounds and smells that would have surrounded the Holy Family as the birth of Christ took place in a stable. We then all reflected on what we know about the circumstances surrounding our own births, and this weekend would be a great opportunity to remind your children of when and where they were born, who their first visitors were, and any interesting anecdotes surrounding the special event.
In our whole school worship on Friday we turned our attention to the Epiphany. The children all know that the birth of a child brings gifts galore for the new baby, with Jesus being no different. What struck me with my own children in more recent years has been the rise of the (dreaded) party bag, where children walk away from parties to which they were invited with gifts of their own – it was a slice of cake in a sticky napkin in my day! We thought about what we would have in a party bag if we were to leave a celebration of Jesus’ birthday, which in effect is one of the elements of the Epiphany as we return to Ordinary Time in the liturgical calendar. The children were shown how the gifts from the celebrations of Christ’s birth, being Peace, Love, Hope, Joy and Faith, have more significance in our lives than any other gift, and will far outlast anything else that we may receive at Christmas or at our birthdays. Each class took from the worship a party bag containing these gifts on slips of paper, and these will form the centre piece of class worship on Monday morning.
So, onwards St Peter’s with pride and confidence into 2017. I wish you all peace, prosperity and happiness in the coming year.
Mr R Cunningham