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