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Happy Christmas from all the staff at St Peter’s

Advent adventures

On Tuesday 4th December, the whole school walked to the Church of the Sacred Heart and St Peter the Apostle for our annual Advent Service.  This was a wonderful opportunity to reflect at the very start of the season of Advent the awe and wonder contained within the Christmas story.  Children from every year group took part in leading the service, and the singing of traditional and modern hymns was rousing and uplifting.  Thank you to Fr Jeremy and all who work in the parish for hosting us so warmly, and to the many family volunteers who accompanied the children on foot.

On Wednesday the entire Reception year took to the stage to perform their Nativity play. The Early Years team chose to produce a traditional Nativity play, like the one that you and me had when we were at school! It was a true delight to see children who have been at St Peter’s for only 3 months singing, acting and narrating with such confidence and enjoyment. Great thanks go to all the families who helped the children prepare for the performance, and of course to the wonderful Early Years staff who made it all happen. And of course, very well done indeed to the Year R pupils.

In this coming week ahead, everyone in the St Peter’s community is warmly invited to the Key Stage 2 Carol Service at the Church of The Sacred Heart and St Peter the Apostle on Wednesday 12th December 2018.  The Carol Service begins at 6:00pm and will last for approximately 1 hour.  We look forward to welcoming as many of you there as we can.

Families are asked, where possible, to make use of local car parks in Waterlooville to ease the burden of traffic around the church.  Although the church has a large car park, the more people that are able to park away from the church and make a short walk the better as this is a very popular event.  Possible car parks to use include the free parking at Asda or the Wellington Retail Park by Sainsbury’s; the Waitrose car park is also nearby but does make a charge before 6:00pm.  Please do not park in the residential roads immediately around the church, as local homeowners will need access to their own properties and parking at the end of the working day.

Mr R Cunningham

Headteacher

The value of volunteers

Many of you will by now have read the letter from Ofsted regarding the monitoring visit to St Peter’s in early November. The letter made many positive comments about the progress being made in the school against the areas for improvement identified in our last full inspection of September 2017. Late on in the letter, a paragraph makes reference to school governors, and their role in holding the school to account for improvements and outcomes in many different areas. The work of school governors is an invaluable way for schools to draw on the broad professional experience of a range of people in order to help the school deliver the best possible results, be they academic, pastoral or professional. The Chair of Governors, Mrs Liz Holdford, is always keen to respond to enquiries about the roles and responsibilities of being a school governor. It is a demanding but rewarding voluntary role to undertake, and governors do play a key role in the effective running of successful schools. As I near the second anniversary of my appointment to the Headship of St Peter’s, I must thank the governors for the professional support and constructive challenge that they have provided me, the leadership team and the school.

An equally essential volunteer group from which many schools, but especially St Peter’s, benefit is a parents’ association. Our PTA, known as the Friends of St Peter’s, provide vital support in organising and running school events to benefit pupils and families, all the while raising additional funds to boost the school budget when buying extra resources for the children’s benefit. The Friends of St Peter’s are a great team, and always work tirelessly for the good of the school. You will have read in the November newsletter that the leadership of the Friends is getting ready for a rotation in 2019. There are plenty of roles to fill, not all of them with a specific title lest you are concerned, and the current team will be on hand to advise and support during the transition in 2019. The Friends bring so much to St Peter’s, so any help that families (yes, grandparents, aunts and uncles, not just mums and dads) can offer is appreciated. If you think this is something with which you could help, contact details for Angela McLaughlin are available in the November newsletter.

Mr R Cunningham

Headteacher

Going to church, en masse!

Over the past two weeks, children in Key Stage 2 have had the opportunity to celebrate Mass in one of our local parish churches, Sacred Heart and St Peter the Apostle. The centrality of the Eucharist in the Catholic tradition provides a strength of faith and constancy that holds the worldwide Church together. It is therefore a special and valued opportunity for our pupils to worship at our local church and celebrate Mass together. The Year 3 and Year 4 Mass had as a central theme Remembrance, whilst the Year 5 and Year 6 Mass was based around the power of prayer and the working of the Holy Spirit. Father Jeremy is unfailingly welcoming, and the celebration of Mass is shown for the children as being a joyous and fulfilling experience. It is no mean feat to get over 120 children to church and back on foot, so my thanks must go to the staff of St Peter’s who organise the Masses, to Miss Keogh for providing the music, and to the many parent volunteers who accompany the walking column through the town. Year group Masses in the spring are celebrated in school, but these year groups will again celebrate Mass at the church in the summer term, so all families and parishioners are welcome to join them in May (Y3/4) and June (Y5/6).

Mr R Cunningham

Headteacher

Armistice and Remembrance

Remembrance was a key feature to learning and worship at St Peter’s last week as the nation marked 100 years since the Great War Armistice.  In the week running up to Friday 9 November, pupils’ curriculum work focused especially on History in readiness for a ‘Deep Learning Day’ on a range of Great War topics on the Friday.  To start the History Deep Learning Day, a teaching assembly centred on the work of the Royal British Legion and the significance of Remembrance, noting the fact that well over half of the pupils are in uniformed groups that take part in local war memorial parades and services.  The learning focus for the younger years especially was on the power of peace overcoming conflict, and reconciliation being the way to lasting peace.  Older pupils in the school worked particularly on the personal experiences of those in the conflict on the Western Front, and how their lives were relayed in letters, poetry and news reports.  Each year group got to present their work to the rest of the school in a special assembly.  I must thank all colleagues for constructing their learning around the Remembrance theme, and especially Miss Allen for coordinating the History week events.

The culmination of Remembrance at St Peter’s was a whole school worship on the Monday after Armistice Day, beautifully led by Mrs Pearson.  Alongside the prayers, candles and poems, the most moving part was a reading of The Beatitudes by pupils from Year 6.  This was shared in the style of ‘call and response’ for each line by pairs of pupils in different parts of the hall, such that the Word of the Lord was truly circulating within the pupil congregation and throughout the school community.

Mr R Cunningham

Headteacher

Guests galore

At St Peter’s we often play host to a range of visitors who come to work with our pupils and enhance their learning provision. This week was no exception, with 2 very different guests.

On Monday afternoon author Guy Bass came to work with pupils in Years 4, 5 and 6. Having spoken to all of the pupils in the year groups, and thoroughly entertained them with his telling of tales, Guy than had a smaller group of competition winners with whom he worked in an additional session. It is such a treat for pupils to meet the people behind the books they love, and once again Mrs Domblides our librarian delivered a great experience for the children.

On Wednesday the school was visited by Sir Robin Bosher. He came to St Peter’s to conduct an Ofsted monitoring visit, assessing the pace and impact of the progress the school has made since the last inspection in September 2017. Once again, the pupils were exemplary in their behaviour and hard work, and Sir Robin complimented the positive attitude of every pupil he spoke to during the day. In due course, Sir Robin will write a letter to the school to summarise his observations and judgements made during the visit, and this will be shared with families as soon as possible upon receipt.

Mr R Cunningham

Headteacher

We will remember them

As we approach the hundredth anniversary of the World War I Armistice, St Peter’s is marking the event in a public display of poppies. Mrs Pearson’s cryptic requests for empty plastic bottles have come to fruition in a wonderful piece of installation art at the front of our school grounds. We have a host of poppies standing tall and proud, and a rock mosaic on the grass, as a public testament of our gratitude for all those who gave their lives in global conflicts throughout the twentieth and twenty first centuries. My thanks go to Mrs Pearson, the pupils who painted the poppies and the parents who gave up their time to help construct the artwork.

The school has a selection of Royal British Legion items which are available for a suggested donation of between 50p and £1:00, as well as the traditional paper poppies which are available for any amount of donation. The work of the of Royal British Legion with veterans and their families remains as important today as when it was founded in May 1921, and we as a school will do all we can to support their good work.

Mr R Cunningham

Headteacher

Year 5 Residential report

The Friday assembly this week was prepared and presented by pupils from Year 5 to showcase their recent trip to The Sustainability Centre in Clanfield between 8th and 12th October. This amazing place, just 10 miles from school, offers a completely different outlook on the countryside that lies just to the north of Havant and Waterlooville. For some children, this was their first time spending 2 nights away from home, and the setting is ideal as the accommodation is cosy and homely, and the site is calm and well maintained. Although so close to home and school, the pupils felt as if they were a world away from their everyday life during the visit.

During the assembly, pupils recounted tales of their favourite activities from den building, clay oven making, night walking and farm visiting to name a few. There were plenty of photos to show and anecdotes to share, as well as tales from the campfire and games galore. As ever, it is a big undertaking for staff to arrange a residential visit, especially when it involves the school using a location for the first ever time. I am delighted to add that every single child from the year group was able to take part in the trip, building strong bonds between classmates that will aid their learning back in the classroom. So on behalf of the children and their families, thanks go to Mrs Edge, Mrs Crozier, Mrs Pearson, Mrs Taylor, Mrs Pelling and Mrs Richardson for facilitating such a great experience for the pupils.

With best wishes for a restful and enjoyable half term holiday

Mr R Cunningham

Headteacher

Threshold Thursday at Fairthorne Manor

The sun came back for the fourth day of the year 6 Fairthorne residential and the children made the most of the sunshine by enjoying the water on stand up paddle boards. These are the latest fad in water sports, and plenty of children broke new ground, well new water really, in having a go. Children continued to develop their skills of persistence and teamwork while building crate towers, tackling Jacob’s Ladder and scaling the vertical assault courses. It has been great to see the pupil groups getting higher and moving faster on these challenges as the week progressed, reflecting the development and growing confidence of the children.
Changing the pace a little, groups of children got creative during the Land Ecology session where they used leaves, twigs and mud to create natural art. Pupils also played detectives looking for animal tracks and making bug hotels. The outside fun will continue this evening with a camp fire, hopefully with songs aplenty and endless marshmallows.
Friday morning has time for two activity rotations before packing up and heading home to St Peter’s to be ready for collection as normal at 3:15pm from the north playground. As this is the last blog from Fairthorne, I must thank Mr Pratley, Mr Land, Mrs Wibberly, Miss Stapley, Mrs King, Mrs Richardson, Mrs Chapman, Mrs Jonas, Miss Burch, Mrs Knight, Mrs Moore and Miss Honeywell for giving up their time, energy and enthusiasm to organise and run this residential trip. And finally, to you all, good luck with the laundry this weekend!
Mr R Cunningham
Headteacher

Battling the elements … in Botley

It may have been rainy on Thursday, but it certainly didn’t dampen spirits as the Year 6 children took part in activities that required teamwork, perseverance and commitment. One of the activities was den building where children worked together to build a structure that would be waterproof, provide warmth and be large enough to fit the group of 5 children inside. What the pupils produced was very impressive. Children went on to develop their survival skills further by learning how to build and light fire; no easy task in the rain!

Teamwork continued with an assault course requiring balance, strength and stamina whilst listening and talking to others to complete the course as a team. The final activity, ‘camo-tracking’, encouraged the children to get nice and muddy in order to hide in the forest, playing a number of games that required the children to move stealthily through the forest area without being seen. The children embraced all the challenges with admirable persistence.

They are now getting dressed up ready for this evening’s entertainment…the disco!

Mrs L Knight
Assistant Headteacher