And the winners are … US!

Very well done to the Year 5 Prayer Garden team.  On Thursday, 12 pupils from Year 5 took part in a Dragons’ Den style competition to bid for a grant to create our new prayer garden.  The plan is to create a space for worship, reflection and religious teaching in the middle of the school, using the L-shaped courtyard, so that our faith can be seen as visibly central to our community.  The high quality presentation secured a £400 grant for our project.

The presenting team was just a selection of the excellent pupil work that has gone into this project in recent months, led by Mrs Turner and Mrs Edge, and comprising a much larger group of children.  The presentation will be made in the summer term to Governors and the Friends of St Peter’s to boost the funds, and we hope to present to parishes at the end of weekend masses in due course.

All the pupils involved in the project were celebrated in front of the whole school during assembly this morning, and we look forward to seeing the project come to fruition.

The Year 5 Prayer Garden Team Presenting

Bishop Phillip providing valuable feedback

The Team, the Bishop and the cheque!

And, as spring starts to appear, some memories of a snowy school from March 2018

 

The courtyard where the Year 5 plan to create our Prayer Garden

The Year R garden

Too snowy for climbing and sliding!

Mr R Cunningham

Headteacher

 

Younger pupils take the lead

Year 2 provided the spiritual highlight of the week with a calming and reflective liturgy on their Lenten promises. Through Scripture readings and acting, the pupils reminded us of how Jesus resisted the temptations of the Devil before beginning his public ministry. After the children shared some of their Lenten promises, the adults were invited to commit a promise of their own to paper. Amazingly, with over 60 children and about the same number of adults in the room, the Year 2 pupils gave us 25 minutes of prayer, song and worship which served as a peaceful oasis in the midst of a busy week. Well done and thank you to all of the pupils and staff involved.

This week has been especially busy for the younger pupils in our school. Year R trekked off to Staunton Country Park Farm, and managed to come back without any extra animals or too much mud. Extra animals, you ask? Well, the population of Year R grew by 9 this week with the annual hatching of the chicks. A selection of pupils from Year 1 took part in a locally organised racquet skills competition with other primary schools, and lobbed, volleyed and smashed their way to first place. Well done! Year 2 had two great curriculum enrichment visits in the form of guest speakers: Mrs Sumba from Year 3 spoke to the pupils about her experiences in Kenya to help with their ‘Where in the world?’ topic, and the Head of History from Oaklands, Mrs Cunningham, spoke to the pupils about what makes for good historical enquiry and writing when she gave the pupils feedback on their Titanic diaries.

I will sign off, however, by reserving judgement on whether it will be a Happy St Patrick’s Day this weekend until I see how the English rugby team get on at Twickenham on Saturday afternoon!

Mr R Cunningham

Headteacher

Poetry perfection

Our Lenten journey continued this week as Mrs Knight led Monday Worship focusing on how important it is to stand up for something that is right. Using the Gospel reading of Jesus clearing the traders in the Temple, the children reflected on how to respect what is special and treasured in the world. Even though we may feel that we are only standing up in a small way, combined efforts can lead to big results. This message was followed through in my assembly on Friday when the pupils had a sneak preview of their art work on our murals from the life of Christ. More news to follow on these as the next stage of the project develops.

To take the shock off working a full week this week (where did that snow go?), the whole school spent Friday afternoon enjoying an amazing ‘Off by heart’ poetry competition. Several weeks ago, all pupils were given booklets of poems to learn, and then each class and year group conducted heats to pick the best recitals from amongst their peers. This project culminated in a show in which pupils from every single year group performed in front of the whole school, staff and invited guests. It really was a wonderful show, and speaking as one of the judges, it was exceptionally hard to pick the 3 winners from the different age categories. Well done to all the pupils who took part in the heats, and to those who made it to the final, and special congratulations to the age group winners. Three cheers for the staff who performed their own favourite poems (though not off by heart like the children had to!), and of course massive thanks go to Mr Crozier for organising the event.

Mr R Cunningham

Headteacher

Never dull here!

This week has come to a premature close due to the adverse weather!  We did really well to have a full school learning day on Thursday 1 March, but alas the snow, ice and safety of our community meant that a Friday emergency closure was needed.

However, we did pack a lot into just 4 days.  On Wednesday, the school choir represented St Peter’s at the Mayor of Havant’s Fair Trade coffee morning at the Church of The Sacred Heart and St Peter the Apostle.  It was a wonderful opportunity to showcase the talent in our school, and support a worthwhile cause in the local community.  Thanks to Mrs Knight, Mrs Chapman and Mr Chapman for making the event happen.

Thursday saw World Book Day marked in school with a wonderful range of costumes to show everyone favourite book characters.  A reading marathon was arranged between the classes so that there was no stop reading going on from the start of the day to the earlier end of the day!  Thank you to Mrs Domblides and Mr Crozier for organizing our World Book Day events.  Also, a special thank you to Mrs Gray and the catering team for a Witches inspired lunch.

Finally, may I fully encourage the children to make the best of this snowy weather and be prepared to come in on Monday morning 5 March with plenty of tales about their experiences and adventures over this longer wintry weekend.

Mr R Cunningham

Headteacher

 

 

Lent at St Peter’s

With Ash Wednesday falling during the half-term holiday, our usual whole school worship on Monday 19 February also marked for us at St Peter’s the start of the season of Lent. Having re-dressed the altar in purple in keeping with the Liturgical Calendar, the school community then began one of the three tenants of Lent with prayer led by the pupils. I then combined the other two Lenten features of fasting and almsgiving with a chocolate charity challenge. Ask you children about the open tub of 30 Roses chocolates that have been left in full public view on the school prayer table, and give them your encouragement to resist temptation for the benefit of £30 going to CAFOD at the end of Lent.

Year 1 pupils hosted a beautiful Liturgy on Tuesday, where they displayed their learning of parables and how we can take Jesus’ messages from his stories into our everyday lives. Fr Jeremy helped the children to appreciate the value of a good story by conducting a ‘What films did you watch during half-term?’ survey. It was wonderful to see many family members of all ages there, and as ever I stressed that even those people not there in body were there in spirit and were remembered in the children’s prayers.

The week ended with a whole school assembly launching CAFOD’s Lenten campaign. I look forward to hearing of the fund-raising ideas the children will have during this half term to generate a charitable donation. During Lent the children will continue to pray for those less fortunate themselves in all parts of the globe, remembering that poverty is not always simply financial, but can also be spiritual, cultural or ethical.

Mr R Cunningham

Headteacher

Dive on in!

This week I spent part of Thursday morning at the swimming pool in Waterlooville. Although I looked a bit odd sitting poolside in a shirt, tie and jacket, I was there to watch the Year 5E class in their swimming lesson. Swimming is one of those essential life skills that, though we hope never to be in such a situation, can save a person’s life. It was great to see the pupils all getting so engaged in the sport, and clearly loving the opportunity to learn and improve their swimming skills. I have no doubt that every child, from whatever their level at the start of the term, has improved their water confidence and swimming ability. As ever, thanks must go to the St Peter’s staff who organise the programme and coach in conjunction with the resident swimming teachers, and also to the parents who volunteer to help with supervision and transport.

Thanks also go to Mrs Domblides in the library who organised for a group of our pupils to visit the library at Oaklands on Thursday. The visit gave them the opportunity to see how the librarian at Oaklands, Mrs Berogna, promotes a love of reading throughout the secondary school phase.

Finally, I hope your children have come home today full of tales of what they have learnt during our second STEM day. This deep learning day to cover Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths gives the pupils the chance to really investigate and experiment over a good period of learning time, and allows them to bring in many skills from elsewhere in the curriculum to complete a big learning project.

Mr R Cunningham

Headteacher

Staffing crisis at St Peter’s? NO!

Today I received over 55 letters addressed for my immediate and urgent attention. The writers of these letters communicated with passion, detail and vigour to prove their point. There was a near universal momentum of opposition to a staffing proposal that had recently been mooted. In these days of teacher shortages, with trained staff leaving the profession and recruitment to the vocation of teaching being an annual challenge, a pressure group was determined to stand resolute even in the face of a creative and high-impact staffing solution. You see, the pupils in Year 1 had intercepted and opened a letter addressed to me from non-other than the Big Bad Wolf. Having learnt his lesson from failing to gobble up the Three Little Pigs, he had instead written a letter of application to work at St Peter’s Catholic Primary School. For some reason, the Year 1 pupils did not think this would be a suitable appointment, and so set to writing persuasive letters to me to convince me not to employ the Big Bad Wolf. The quality of the children’s writing was excellent, in terms of their handwritten script, their use of spelling, punctuation and grammar, and in their deployment of highly persuasive language choices. So good was their work that I had to let them know that, after all, I would not let the Big Bad Wolf work at St Peter’s. Well done to the pupils of Turtle and Pufferfish classes, and well done and thank you to the Year 1 staff for coming up with such a stimulating and captivating written task for the pupils.

Mr R Cunningham

Headteacher

Super learning support team

Today we said farewell to Mrs Anderson, who leaves St Peter’s after 11 years of work in the learning support department. Mrs Anderson has helped many children through in-class support, intervention work and extra-curricular learning clubs. Ever adaptable, Mrs Anderson most recently did extra work in the afternoons in the school office. Her career is far from over, though, as she takes up a new post immediately in her old stomping ground of the Naval Dockyard, and we all wish her well. It is on occasions like these that we are reminded of the excellent work done by the learning support staff in the school. They provide an essential teaching and learning supplement in the classroom, working with tireless enthusiasm to help all the children make progress. Moreover, they work hard in all areas of the school throughout the day to ensure that St Peter’s remains a happy and productive place for the pupils to learn, grow and thrive. So, goodbye and good luck Mrs Anderson, thank you for all you have done for St Peter’s, and thank you as ever to the great team that you leave behind, who will no doubt stay in touch with such a good friend and colleague.

Mr R Cunningham

Headteacher

Sailing to new horizons

The week had an exciting start for Year 2 pupils who set off for SeaCity Museum in Southampton on Monday as part of their learning on the Titanic. The pupils were shown, with the use of an ice cube tray, just how little water it took to tip the vessel beyond the point of no return once it had struck the iceberg and started to take on water on that fateful night in 1912. Pupils also did work looking at the different age ranges of the passengers on board, and then lined up to work as stokers in order to keep furnaces well fed for the steam powered propellers to work effectively. A great learning experience was had by all, and my thanks go to the staff for arranging the visit and to the many parents who volunteered their time to accompany the pupils on the trip.

In school, work has begun on a major mural project which will involve every pupil and member of staff contributing to collages which will reflect scenes from the life of Christ. As this project takes shape, we will give regular updates in advance of a grand launch in the summer term.

Mr R Cunningham

Headteacher

Happy New Year 2018

Welcome back to the spring term, and a Happy New Year to everyone. I hope that you all enjoyed the festive season, and that the Christmas holidays were not blighted by too many bugs, coughs and sneezes.

We are aware that there is still a lot of illness circulating, so in school we are encouraging the pupils to wash their hands more frequently than normal, and have provided ample tissues to be used once and thrown away in an attempt to limit the spread of germs. Do please check school and NHS guidance about the time required before a child can return to school after an illness.

The children have come back with plenty of new outdoor clothing that they received as Christmas presents, with unicorn hats being a popular favourite this year it would seem! Please can families make sure that all clothing is clearly named so that, if misplaced, it can be quickly returned to the owner. Equally, please do not allow your child to bring valuable items or electronic gadgets into school, as they can provide a distraction to learning and great upset if lost or damaged.

Finally, all families should have received the new plan for home learning this week. The intention is to help children focus on reinforcing core numeracy and literacy skills to benefit their work and progress in school. Teachers will set tasks for children to work on each week, and the programme will develop over the course of the term.

With my very best wishes for a peaceful and prosperous 2018.

Mr R Cunningham

Headteacher