Author Archive: headteacher

Festive fundraising – already!

Thank you to all families who have been able to order Christmas items from their child’s drawings this week.  The Friends of St Peter’s usually does so much to help raise extra funds for the school, and next week would normally have seen the Monster Ball parties for children on the Friday before the half-term break.  Alas, that and our children’s Christmas parties will need to be cancelled, but the Friends of St Peter’s continue with their efforts through the Christmas picture orders.  There is also a growing stock of nearly new uniform for sale at very accessible prices – information and contact details are available on the website via

Thanks must also go to our Art teacher Mrs Pearson who taught the lessons in which the festive images were produced, and who has coordinated the project in school.

Congratulations to former St Peter’s pupil Mason Mount, who scored for England last Sunday night.  Mason was at St Peter’s between 2003 and 2010, and is now a regular starter for Chelsea.  His winning goal at Wembley Stadium in the UEFA Nations League secured a 2-1 win over the top ranked team in world football, Belgium.

Mr R Cunningham

Learning and living RE

Over the two weekends of 3rd and 10th October, a selection of pupils from St Peter’s made their First Holy Communion.  Please keep in your prayers Aimee, Kieron, Connie, Teddy, Harriet, Thomas, Luca, Brayden, Jonah, Sophie, Georgia, Sophia, Lola, William, Edie, George and Harrison.  They were joined by children from other schools for whom we also pray.  It was a delight to share Mass with these children and celebrate with their families; the young ladies looking simply splendid and the chaps looking very smart indeed.

In school during the month of September, RE lessons for pupils have had two themes.  Firstly, the children discussed what they could do to live out the school mission statement of ‘Walking hand in hand with God to make our world a better place’.  Next, pupils have studied the creation story, ranging from ordering the days of creation by the youngest children to pupils in Year 6 considering how they can be responsible stewards of God’s creation in the twenty first century.

Thank you to St Peter’s colleagues who raised £107.73 for Macmillan nurses on Friday 2nd October in donations for cakes during the inset day.

If you know of any families who are looking for a school place for Reception in September 2020, please direct them to contact the admission secretary Mrs Pope  to provide their own contact details to join our mailing list for updates on the application process via 02392 262599 or

Mr R Cunningham

One month done!

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is September done!  It has been quite an undertaking, yet thoroughly successful, so I am delighted to have the first month of the school year under our belt.  It is also great to report that whole school average attendance for the month of September was 98%, which compares incredibly well to other attendance figures for attendance (national 91%, Hampshire 94.4% and Havant & Waterlooville 95.1% in September 2020).

Over the course of this week, the Senior Leadership Team has met with every class teacher to discuss class and pupil priorities that have been identified over the first four weeks of term.  Each colleague has a clear action plan in place for the children they teach to support any catch-up needed as a result of school closure, and also strategies to embed and drive forward the learning for this school year.  During the Inset day on Friday 2nd October, colleagues will be looking at whole school outcome targets, and developing lesson planning and resourcing to work towards the successful achievement of these for your children.

Thank you all for the support given as we have navigated our way through September.  We know that different ways of doing things still lie ahead of us in this term, and we will continue to look for ways to refine and improve our practice to make the school day ever more efficient for pupils and families alike.

Mr R Cunningham

September is fast disappearing!

A busy week this week which saw the school operating at full capacity, with pupils in all years groups from Year R through to Year 6 attending full time.  We certainly do have a confident cohort of Early Years children this year, keen to dive right into everything on offer in the Reception classrooms and outdoor learning areas.  Indeed, they fit the bill of being perfect newcomers to school life as they are only ever quiet on 2 occasions during the school day – story time and lunch time!

We have been able to make use of all our outdoor areas this week for break and lunch time play, giving pupils valuable opportunities in their year group bubbles to socialise and exercise in the fresh air.  It is something of a miracle that we were able to dodge the downpours that beset us in the middle of the week.

Average attendance over the first 3 weeks of term sits at just over 96%.  This is above the Government expectation of good attendance (measured at 95%) but short of our school minimum expectation of 97% over the course of the full school year.  Information from the NHS and Public Health England has been shared by the school to help families distinguish between common seasonal ailments and Covid-19 symptoms, and as we get used to learning together in a school community again I look forward to our attendance figures rising over the coming weeks.

Don’t forget that Friday 2nd October is a staff Inset day and the school will be closed to pupils.  They will be able to enjoy a 4 day week and, I am sure, a much needed long weekend to get over the hectic start to a busy autumn term.

Mr R Cunningham

We’re well underway

It’s great to be back at St Peter’s, and back with a full house across the age groups.  Children in Years 1 to 6 started this second week of term in fine fettle and raring to go.  From Monday, they were joined by our new entrants in the Reception Year, who were gradually building up their school days before going full time next week.  Staggered drop-off and collection times have been streamlined to benefit families and make the school learning day even more efficient, and we are in a position now to move to year group ‘bubbles’ to help with learning support and interventions.  Each year group bubble will continue with different break and lunch times, and designated outdoor spaces in which to play.  All of the pupils have been superb in seamlessly adapting to the new way of doing things in school – they are a credit to their families and the staff at St Peter’s.  And in a great sign of a return towards our usual customs and practices, pupils in Year 4 celebrated our first Liturgy of the academic year with Fr Jeremy and Miss Keogh, Oaklands’ lay chaplain, in attendance.  The beautiful display material used by the children is pictured below.  Sadly, for the moment, we cannot invite families into school to share in these year group worships, but they were remembered in our prayers.

Mr R Cunningham

All present and correct

It was just fantastic to open our doors and welcome back the children from Years 1 to 6 this week.  Attendance was excellent at 99%, and we are braced for more next week as the Year R pupils begin their half day taster sessions.

The pupils have settled into lessons and school life exceptionally well, all hungry to learn and work hard for their new teachers.

Perhaps the greatest excitement was in Year 1 with the opening of a new outdoor learning area for Mrs Layton’s Puffer Fish class to complement the Secret Garden outdoor learning area used by Mrs Jonas’ and Mrs Knight’s Turtle class.  Now each Year 1 class has their own area to continue with discovery led learning outdoors and make the transition from the Early Years to Key Stage 1 seamless and successful.  Enormous thanks go to the Friends of St Peter’s for their fundraising efforts which went a very long way to financing this project.  I hope you enjoy the pictures as much as the children are enjoying their outdoor learning.

Mr R Cunningham

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.