Author Archive: headteacher

Farewells and a big thank you from St Peter’s

On behalf of all the staff at St Peter’s, thank you very much indeed for the kind words, appreciative cards and generous gifts that have been given to staff to mark the end of a school year like no other.

At the end of this term, we say farewell to just 3 colleagues from St Peter’s.

Mrs Halliday has worked in the school kitchen for 23 years, starting at the old St Peter’s site just 4 months after Tony Blair came to power in 1997!  Having prepared meals for countless children, and served plenty of lunches to staff as well along the way, Mrs Halliday is reading for a well-deserved retirement.  Such great service to one school is a rare thing nowadays and has been much valued.

Mrs Sumba has worked across Years 3 and 2 over the past two years in a capacity of covering maternity leave, and has also provided PPA lessons to pupils in several other year groups.  Mrs Sumba has led music, and been instrumental in arranging for the school choir to sing at local events and in our parish church.

Mrs Gissing has worked with us for a year as a Learning Support Assistant in Years 4 and 3, as well as providing valuable work in our breakfast and after-school clubs.  Mrs Gissing has been relentlessly enthusiastic over the school year, taking on many new tasks with initiative and good humour.

We wish Mrs Halliday, Mrs Sumba and Mrs Gissing well as they move on to pastures new.

We also welcome back from maternity leave Mrs Stewart, who will be teaching in Year 3 next year.

I hope that all families are able to have a restful summer break over the weeks ahead.

Mr R Cunningham

Award Winners 2020

CONGRATULATIONS to our annual award winners.

The awards were presented after the socially distanced Year 6 Leavers’ Mass by Liz Holford, Chair of Governors.

Key Stage 2 Governors’ Award – Hayden, class 6P

Key Stage 1 Governors’ Award – Adam, class 2OS

Olympic Values Award – Faith, class 6L (with 100% attendance since the start of Year R!)

Mrs Daley Reading Award – Tilly, class 6P

Sportswoman of the Year – Phoebe, class 6P

Sportsman of the Year – Leon, class 6L


Best wishes to all of our Year 6 pupils as they leave St Peter’s and prepare for secondary school in September.

Mr R Cunningham

Strength in depth

When we reach the end of this summer term, the impact of coronavirus and Covid-19 will have been felt for 18 school weeks.  It was upon returning to school after the February half-term, Monday 24th February, that the first suspected cases of coronavirus were reported in schools elsewhere in the country where pupils had returned from February school ski trips.  For 7 of those 18 weeks we were only allowed to open our doors to the children of key workers and those children categorised as vulnerable, and we did this also over the Easter and summer half-term holidays.  Then, for another 7 of those weeks, in June and July, we have been permitted to (but restricted to in my opinion!) open more widely to pupils in Years R, 1 and 6.  Attendance averages across these year groups has climbed from 60% of eligible pupils in the first week to 84% of eligible pupils in this the sixth week of the wider re-opening phase.

During the past term and a half, I must bring to everyone’s attention the formidable and inspirational work done by the staff members at St Peter’s who work in a variety of logistical and practical roles to keep the school running smoothly.  Worthy of mention and merit are the office team of Mrs Phillips, Mrs Burrows, Mrs Pope, Mrs Brown and Mrs Woolston.  These ‘front line’ colleagues have been the face of the school for much of the communication that has come into the school, and arrange for the distribution of letters, messages and home learning documents.  Mr Chapman and Mr Mack, our caretakers, have done sterling work to maintain and then enhance the site standards, as well as directing traffic for our new drop-off and pick-up arrangements.  Mrs Gray leads the catering team of Mrs Crockford, Mrs Halliday and Mrs Carter-Hall.  They provided high quality midday meals throughout the closure period, as well as breakfast during the full closure and breakfast and lunch over the Easter break.  And finally, we have a team of midday supervisors who come in to supervise the dining hall and playground lunchtime play.  This team has responded wonderfully to new roles such as sanitising each seating place and table between every diner at lunch, and then covering the school site when the rooms are empty at lunchtime to do a round of sterilising wipes over handles, taps and light switches.  Thanks go to Mrs Stan, Mrs Kirby, Mrs McHugh, Mrs Merret, Mrs Underdown, Mrs Dicaprio and Miss Andrews for their contribution.

Believe me when I say that, as Headteacher at St Peter’s, the only person prouder than me of the team that they lead in 2020 is Jurgen Klopp and his victorious Liverpool side (sorry, I couldn’t resist!).

Mr R Cunningham

September re-opening to all pupils

The Government guidance issued on 2nd July relating to the full re-opening of schools for the autumn term in 2020 was an eagerly anticipated document.  Having read the material on the afternoon of its release, I was more reassured and optimistic about September opening to all pupils than the popular press and media may portray the education profession.  Yes, there will be a lot of work to do over July and into August to prepare for all the pupils to be in school, but for St Peter’s this work will be building upon the existing and effective structures that we have in place already.  Whilst I know that those year groups who have not been allowed back into school by the government have been left frustrated in June, we have with Years R, 1 and 6 plus key worker and vulnerable children operated 16 pods (or bubbles) of pupils in the school with staggered timings for all parts of the day.  Our challenge is to adapt this success to full classes, full year groups and so the full school, all the time operating within the guidance given by the Department for Education.  Over the coming weeks, when plans have been developed and put in place, I will send out fuller details to families about how St Peter’s will run from September onwards.  Below is a list of the term dates for 2020/2021, which remain unchanged, as a reminder for your family calendars.

It has been great to see pupils in Years 3 and 5 attend school this week for their “Keeping in Touch” meetings with teachers.  The children arrived taller, more tanned and with longer hair than I remember, and colleagues reported that after a while in the meeting they simply had to sit back whilst the children chattered eagerly amongst themselves.  Next week, it is the turn of children in Years 2 and 4 for their “Keeping in Touch” session with staff, and I am looking forward to welcoming them back to St Peter’s.

Mr R Cunningham


St Peter’s Catholic Primary School  Term dates 2020 – 2021

Autumn Term

Thursday 3rd September 2020 to Friday 18th December 2020

NB: Pupils’ first day of the autumn term is Monday 7th September 2020

Year R transition and induction dates are different and will be communicated separately.

Half term holiday Monday 26th October to Friday 30th October 2020

Inset days this term (school closed to pupils):

Thursday 3rd September 2020
Friday 4th September 2020
Friday 2nd October 2020
Friday 18th December 2020

Spring term

Monday 4th January 2021 to Thursday 1st April 2021

Half term holiday Monday 15th February to Friday 19th February 2021

Inset day this term (school closed to pupils):

Friday 12th February 2021

Summer Term

Monday 19th April 2021 to Friday 23rd July 2021

NB: Pupils’ school day ends at 1:30pm on Friday 23rd July 2021.
There will be no after school club provision on Friday 23rd July 2021

Half term holiday Monday 31st May to Friday 4th June 2021


Bank Holiday school closure

Monday 3rd May 2021 (Early May Bank Holiday)


NB: St Peter’s term dates are aligned to those set out by Hampshire Local Authority.
St Peter’s term dates and Inset days will not necessarily be the same as other local secondary or primary schools.

Full attendance to the final teaching day of each term is expected by every pupil at St Peter’s.


The Feast of Saints Peter and Paul

This Sunday is the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul.  We were due to celebrate the feast day of our patron saint on Tuesday 30 June with a Mass for all the pupils in school, and ice lollies for all at lunch time.

Instead, I offer you below words and images from a liturgy prepared for us by Miss Keogh, the school chaplain at Oaklands, that you may wish to use at home on Sunday, or on Tuesday when we would have had our school Mass.  I also suggest that, if this weather holds, celebratory ice creams should be the order of the day at home to mark our school’s annual feast day.

Mr R Cunningham


On our great patronal feast, we gather together, both near and far, to celebrate as a school community. May this day and the prayers of Saint Peter draw us closer together, even though we are apart. We pray that our school community will be greatly blessed on this day and we will all be filled with joy!

We bring all our prayers to our loving Father, who loves and cares for us.

We pray for the Pope, who follows in the footsteps of St Peter to share the Good News with the world. May Pope Francis always be filled with the Holy Spirit and lead us closer to Jesus.

Lord in Your mercy, HEAR OUR PRAYER. 

We pray for the whole Catholic Church across the world, which St Peter built through his mission from Jesus. We pray that the Catholic Church will always bring love and the joy of the Gospel to the world.

Lord in Your mercy, HEAR OUR PRAYER. 

We pray for our school community, that as we celebrate the feast of St Peter, we will be filled with joy. May we be brave to follow Jesus just like St Peter did.  May we be filled with hope for when we can all be together again.

Lord in Your mercy, HEAR OUR PRAYER.

We pray for all those who are sick and suffering, and for those who have died, especially those who have been affected by the coronavirus. We pray for those who are still alone and those who are afraid.

Lord in Your mercy, HEAR OUR PRAYER.

Lord Jesus, You chose St Peter to take the Good News to the world and to build Your Church. May we, as members of Your Church and the great family of God, always share the Gospel, seek to do good and love everyone as You taught us to. Hear all our prayers, which we make through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Edging back to normality in our churches?

As usual, please see below the links to Ten:Ten for their Sunday Liturgy and daily prayers.  In school, we have no collective worship as year groups or the whole school for pupils who are in, but each day this week between 110 and 170 pupils have enjoyed ‘pod’ worship in their classrooms.

The national change from the start of this week, though, is that local churches have been able to reopen for private prayer.  The Catholic churches in our Pastoral Area are open as follows, but do check individual church websites and newsletters to be sure of daily details before setting out just in case.

Sacred Heart and St Peter the Apostle, Waterlooville: Every day from 9am – 12 noon and from 4 – 7pm

St Edmund’s, Horndean: Every day from 10.30am-12 noon and from 5pm-7pm

St Michael and All Angels, Leigh Park: Every day from 8.30am-4.30pm

St Joseph’s, Havant: Every day from 10.30am-6pm

St Patrick’s, Hayling Island: Mon, Tues, Fri from 11am-1pm; Thursday from 11am-1pm and 4pm-7pm

Please also contact individual parishes for details such as how the church building may be accessed, and any local health and hygiene requirements they may have in place.

Mr R Cunningham

EAL Bronze Award

We are delighted to announce that St Peter’s has been recognised for its work with children for whom English is an additional language.  The school has achieved a Bronze level EAL Excellence Award from EMTAS – the Ethnic Minority and Traveller Achievement Service. We have proven that we meet best practice standards across a range of areas and that the provision for pupils learning English as an Additional Language (EAL) is supportive and enables good progress.  Congratulations especially to Miss Atkins who coordinated our EAL work with pupils and worked with EMTAS to achieve this recognition, and who is already well underway in her work to achieve the Silver level award.


As usual now, here are the weekly links to a Sunday Liturgy and daily prayers from the team at Ten:Ten.

Mr R Cunningham



A new kind of “sort-of” normal

At last, with great excitement and a huge amount of preparation, St Peter’s was able to open its doors more widely to pupils on Monday 1st June.

During the first week after the half-term break, pupils in Year R (aged 4-5), Year 1 (aged 5-6) and Year 6 (aged 10-11) were able to come into school, along with continued provision for the children of key workers and vulnerable children.  It was no mean feat to get the school ready, with classrooms rearranged, one way walking systems in place, staggered timings and locations for arrival, pick-up, break times and lunch times, and all this in a setting that was thoroughly deep cleaned from top to bottom in time for the first arrivals.

Meeting the government guidance for a return to school on Monday 1st June has meant that we have used every classroom in the school and member of staff available in order to accommodate just 3 of our 7 year groups along with key worker and vulnerable children.  At the same time, we are maintaining a deep cleaning schedule of all rooms in the school over the course of the week so that parents, pupils and staff can have confidence that we are doing all we can to maintain a safe and hygienic setting for them.  The staff at St Peter’s are continuing to set learning on-line for children to do at home, and those children who are able to come into school complete those tasks in classrooms of no more than 15 pupils.  Plenty of time is also spent outside (what luck this wonderful recent weather) for PE and games lessons, as well as other outdoor learning opportunities covering science, maths and creative subjects.

Whilst it was wonderful to see the children return with smiles (but not hugs!) this week, we are keeping in contact with the pupils in those year groups not yet nominated by the government to return to school even on a partial basis.  Phone calls home from their class teachers continue, and we know that through a range of technology (mostly their parents’ devices) the children are keeping in regular contact with their friends from school.  In the coming week we will also put into action discussions that have been going on in the Leadership Team about how we can refresh home learning physical resources for children who have completed exercise books over April and May.

So school life enters a new dimension at St Peter’s, once again, and the only thing of which we are sure is that more changes will be on the way for us to handle before we approach anything like a school routine that could be considered normal!  We continue to put the children and their welfare at the heart of everything we do, be they in school or at home, and ask for your prayers for the whole school community, pupils, staff and families, at St Peter’s.

As ever, please find links to the Ten:Ten worship resources for this Sunday and the coming week:

Please don’t forget to keep sending in a picture of your child’s work each week to the class e-mail address (listed below) and colleagues will reply with a praise phrase for your child, as well as the art blog.

With every best wish to you all, and your extended families wherever they may be.

Mr R Cunningham


The class e-mail addresses are as follows:   (Miss Deacon – Year R)   (Mrs Conlon – Year R)     (Mrs Jonas & Mrs Knight – Year 1)   (Mrs Layton – Year 1)  (Mrs Osborne & Mrs Sumba – Year 2)   (Miss Foote – Year 2)    (Miss Shaw – Year 3)   (Mrs Pike & Mrs Atkins – Year 3)   (Miss Jackson-Nash – Year 4)   (Miss Honeywell – Year 4)   (Mrs Edge – Year 5)   (Miss Stapley & Mr Crozier – Year 5)   (Mr Land – Year 6)   (Mr Pratley – Year 6)

If your child has art work to show and share that can be done by sending it directly to Mrs Pearson for inclusion on the amazing art blog.

Thank you teachers, one and all.

This Wednesday 20th May was National ‘Thank a teacher’ day.
In my opinion every adult who works in a school is a teacher, regardless of their official role or job title.  The children at St Peter’s Catholic Primary School learn so much from the adults in their classrooms, the kitchen, the office and in the site team, all working together for their benefit.  I know for sure that the same can be said for our next door neighbours in Oaklands Catholic School and Sixth Form College, as well as our friends and colleagues on the other side of the A3 at St Thomas More’s Catholic Primary School in Bedhampton.  And all of this is true in normal times, never mind the ways in which our Catholic schools have striven to work for the academic, pastoral and spiritual benefit of all their pupils and students in these most challenging of coronavirus times.  Therefore, in the spirit of the day, I can include each and every adult at these three schools when I say THANK YOU to you all colleagues on this week of National Thank a Teacher Day!
And finally, here are the links for a Sunday Liturgy and daily home prayers for the week.
Mr R Cunningham

Marvellous May

We’re half way through May, with beautiful blue skies and clear yet crisp sunny days.  It seems odd that we are just one week away from the summer half-term break having been on term-time closure now for 6 school weeks.  Well done to all the Year 6 pupils for working so hard this year, as on Thursday they would have finished their SATs in school.

Please see below links to this week’s Sunday Liturgy and home prayers, plus a letter sent in response to St Peter’s contribution to the Royal Navy Dockyard’s VE Day commemorations.  Well done to all the pupils who contributed, and thank you to Mrs Pearson, Mrs Edge and Mr Crozier who coordinated our submission.

Mr R Cunningham

Room 251, Victory Building
HMNB Portsmouth

Our Ref: COB_13_05_2020/VE75
13 May 20

St Peter’s Catholic Primary School
Stakes Hill Road

Dear Mr Cunningham,

Please let me take the opportunity to pass on my heartfelt thanks for your wonderful contribution to our VE Day 75 celebrations. Frustratingly limited in both scope and ability, I suspect just like you, our grand plans for honouring the memory and the sacrifice was significantly curtailed. We sounded our horns and flew some additional flags, but what really caught the eye were the fabulous drawings and paintings submitted by the kids from your school. Having canvassed the local schools, the response was outstanding, but St Peter’s eclipsed them all with upwards of 80 plus contributions! Mrs Joyce did a wonderful job of distributing them across our estate, but all displayed prominently in the areas with the highest footfall. All visitors to the Base were greeted by the artwork in the reception centre and, without exception, of our sailors dining in the main dining hall were lifted by the colourful extravaganza. We chose the dining room to highlight your contribution specifically because the photographs from you WW2 and evacuee project generated a genuine feeling of pathos, but also a connection with the past. For that I am truly grateful.

My role on the Bank Holiday was ringing the bell in the dockyard church (St Ann’s), but before I undertook this slightly unusual task I managed to ride around the Base on my bike, taking videos of the artwork, some of which I uploaded to Twitter (@CaptDavidGeorge). Have a look, you will spot some of your work!

Again, on behalf of all in Her Majesty’s Naval Base Portsmouth and HMS NELSON, my sincere thanks.

God bless and stay safe!

David M George

Captain Royal Navy

Captain of the Base