Monday, 29 November 2021

Advent 2021

We have just begun the season of Advent, a time of preparation, excitement and anticipation and the start of a new year in the Church. A great deal has happened so far this term and we are delighted that so many enriching events and activities have taken place to aid our students' development.

Chaplaincy News

In September our full-time chaplain, Ms Baker, led four retreat days for Year 12 students which were held in the Pavilion. Students worked with their tutors and had the opportunity to meet key people in the school, including Mrs Layhe, the Principal, our four head students and staff from Student Support Services. They explored our ethos and Catholic values and there were also sessions on team building and wellbeing. Each day ended with a short service. The days also enabled new students to get to know those who had been at St Peter's previously.

We celebrated our start of the year Masses (in two halves) with Monsignor Liam Slattery on Friday 24th September. This was the first time we had been able to join together in person since September 2019, meaning that our year 7 and 8 (as well as many of our year 12) students had not experienced a large School Mass in the barn before.  Our theme was ‘Our Community Built on the Rock’ and both Masses were wonderful occasions with brilliant attentiveness and respect demonstrated by students. Our four head students read the prayers of the faithful and, as usual, our students - led by the music department - contributed magnificently to the occasion through their beautiful playing and singing. Of course, we finished with our unofficial school hymn, Sing it in the Valleys!

In October Ms Baker led four days of retreats for our Year 7 students, focusing on the theme ‘We are God’s Masterpiece,’ a phrase taken from St Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. The students participated with great enthusiasm. As part of the day students brought in and shared the story behind objects that were special to them. The reflected on their uniqueness, value and giftedness in God’s sight. They also explored the wonder of God’s creation and our responsibility to be good stewards of our planet. Students played the CAFOD Climate Game and participated in CAFOD’s ‘Eyes of the World’ campaign for the COP 26 conference.

The day gave everyone much food for thought. 

So far this year students have raised over £1000 for the Wear it Pink cancer charity, have contributed well over 100 shoeboxes (with the help of one of our parent's colleagues!) and we have also raised money for Children in Need.

Music Department News

The team started the academic year with a brand-new venture: Music Champions. After months of virtual performances, the staff wanted to kickstart live music again and were delighted by the response. Five weeks of auditions took place with over 60 students taking part, some in several different categories. After much deliberation, the team settled on 20 finalists and the Grand Final took place on Thursday 21st October in the Main Hall.  Again, this was the first time we had been able to gather together in the hall in person since the whole school production in October 2019. We were delighted to welcome back two former music students, Hannah Thomas and Avygayle Smith to be our adjudicators alongside the Creative Director of The Music Works, Ben O’Sullivan.

Every student performed wonderfully in a wide range of genres which made the adjudication extremely difficult. Thank you also to members of FOSPA, the Friends of St Peter’s Association, who provided refreshments.

The final Champions listed below were awarded the fantastic prize of two hours in a recording studio at the newly created Music Hub:

Junior Adjudicators’ Prize: Sophia Guarino (Music Theatre Vocals category)

Junior Audience Prize: Maisie Matthews & Ruby Wager (Ensemble category)

Senior Adjudicators’ Prize:  Florence Gates (Classical Piano category)

Senior Audience Prize: Josh Barsellotti/Matias Beales/Ben Luces/Hubert Sokolowski (Ensemble Category)


More recently, twenty students from Years 7-9 were chosen to represent us in a public performance with the Multi-Story Orchestra and professional soloists at GL1 Leisure Centre on Friday 19th November. They performed Our Future in Your Hands, a new piece which focuses on the global youth protest against climate change. Well done to all who represented us:

Our various Choirs are busily preparing for our annual Carols by Candlelight event on Tuesday 14th December. It will feature the main School Choir, Senior Boys’ Choir, Senior Girls’ Choir, KS3 Choir, soloists, readers and congregational carols.  Please come and join us (we will of course comply with any updated government guidance which may follow)

To find out even more about what our musicians get up to, please subscribe to our YouTube channel and like our videos. You can also follow us on Twitter: @musicstpeters


Congratulations to Sophia who has been cast in and is currently appearing in King Arthur, the Panto at the Roses Theatre, Tewkesbury!

UKMT Senior Maths Challenge

This month St Peter’s A level mathematicians entered the UKMT Senior Maths Challenge which is a highly regarded national competition. A large group of sixth formers tackled the tricky maths problems (all to be solved without a calculator), enhancing their thinking skills as the questions are often ‘outside the box’.

We are delighted that St Peter's gained 5 UKMT Bronze certificates and that the Best in School and Silver certificates went to Amelia King for a superb effort. Well done Amelia!  All participating pupils are commended with positive SIMS and a UKMT certificate which will be presented soon. Edward Cutting won the Best in Year 12 Title, only missing a Silver Certificate by 2 points. Bronze certificate scores were also achieved by Jamie Fulford, Samarth Khurana, Patrick Riggall and Steven Smith. Well done all!

Parliament Week 1st – 7th November

In the first week back after October half term, St. Peter’s students experienced a range of events relating to Parliament Week. The week was designed to introduce all students to the concept of Parliament, democracy and the role of MPs. They undertook various activities such as a 360 degree tour of the House of Commons, being MP for a week, a Parliament Quiz, running debates on topical issues in the manner of Parliament, and reading diary excerpts from former MP Chris Mullins. The week finished with a visit by County Councillor Andrew Miller (pictured below) who spoke to our Key Stage 5 politics students plus a select number of year 11 pupils. The week has enhanced students’ understanding of fundamental British values and our system of government. Thanks to Mr Lax for his lead on this very useful series of activities.


Careers Day, November 26th 2021

St. Peter’s hosted our latest and most ambitious Careers Fair on Friday 26th November. 36 employers and providers attended to speak to our year 13, 12, 11 and 10 students during the morning. 

Our exhibitors ranged from engineering companies to construction, the armed forces, hospitality providers and others whilst we had a range of universities and other HE institutions covering courses such as drama, law, music and sport and, finally, colleges offering post-16 courses. As well as attending the fair, students were able to listen to one of 7 careers talks delivered by the experts in their field. Talks ranged from careers in the civil service and army to apprenticeships and T levels and all students attended at least one of these. 

Local MP, Richard Graham, visited the school for the fourth time, spoke to many of our students and even offered the chance of work experience in his office for interested students. He is pictured below:

The morning was a huge success with feedback from the exhibitors telling us what we already know – that our students are amazing! They said our students were very well prepared, proactive, had done their research, were attentive and polite. Speaking to several students since, it’s clear that some now have firm ideas on their careers path whilst others now have more questions and ideas to research. This was a wonderful morning. Huge thanks for the mammoth organisational task go to Mrs Sarah Beeton, our Careers Lead and to Mr Lax.


I.T. Services updates

Older computers in H1 have been replaced with new, more energy efficient models. The computers are 120% faster than the previous models and are much more energy efficient.

Art 1 and Art 2 also now have wide desking with 4 high specification computers each for use with art lessons. Thank you to IT Services.

Extra-curricular activities

We are delighted that a large number of our students are attending the wide range of clubs on offer at break, lunch or after school. All students are encouraged to attend at least one club per week.

We are similarly pleased that sports fixtures have resumed this academic year with numerous fixtures taking place for football, hockey, netball and rugby teams.

 U16 Girls Football

Our U16 girls played a very tough fixture recently and progressed through to the last 16 in the National Cup!  The girls were a credit to the school, showing perseverance, determination and really showing us what it means to be a member of the #greenarmy. Well done girls!


 Thank you to both immediate & wider members of the school community for your support.













Wednesday, 21 July 2021

Summer 2021

What an extraordinarily challenging year it has been for everyone, including those in schools. The students and staff have been remarkably resilient in spite of the numerous changes to our usual practices and the impact of lockdowns and self-isolation. We have become accustomed to teaching remotely, to virtual meetings and parents evenings and, of course, to all the systems put in place to mitigate against Covid-19.

Chaplaincy News

Emmaus Group: Sacramental Celebration

14 of our students from years 7-9 have been preparing to make their First Holy Communion this term as part of the Emmaus Group. Since May students have met in their year groups and reflected on the Sacrament of Reconciliation and the Eucharist. Due to Covid-19 restrictions we had to celebrate two Masses at English Martyrs Tuffley with Fr Gerry Walsh. Thank you to the Rowe family for providing music for the Mass!

St Peter’s Mass

During this academic year we have continued to celebrate the liturgical calendar and each year saints' feast days through virtual liturgies. For the feast of our Patron Saint Peter on 29th June we returned to our roots with a live streamed Mass with Monsignor Liam Slattery at St Peter’s Church in Gloucester. A small number of our choir and musicians gathered for the Mass which was live streamed back to school and was accessible globally on line in the true spirit of the evangelising ministry of St Peter. 

It was lovely to see Mrs Beamish who led us in our prayers and readings. Monsignor Liam preached on the Gospel of the ‘Calming of the Storm’ and, taking Pope Francis’s words, he reminded us that faith is like a lamp which guides our way. The lamp of faith does not take fear away but shows us a path to follow that can guide us through fear and difficult times. Whilst we have certainly experienced some storms this year, we have also seen much to be thankful for in our school community.

(screenshot of the live streamed Mass)

Mass for St Peter’s staff

Monsignor Liam will say a Mass at 9 am on 1st August in St Peter’s Church, Gloucester, for the intention of all our school staff.  Thank you to the family of Dominik Brown, year 11, who said they had arranged this with Monsignor Liam to show their appreciation for the school staff, 'It is for all the staff of SPHS to express our gratitude and to keep you and your families in our prayers.' Thank you for this special gift which is really appreciated.

Charity Outreach

An important part of our Catholic Ethos is to have a heart for social justice and, despite some of the restrictions, we have continued to reach out to those in need through our charitable work. As a school community we supported Mr Versaci to reach his £2000 target for the Teenage Cancer Trust. He will be running the London marathon in October. A cheque for £2011.07 is also being sent to CAFOD covering school fundraising donations from the last calendar year.

This term we have been selling ice pops - even on inclement days - to raise funds for Help Madina a charity in Sierra Leone co-founded and supported by two of our local doctors, Dr Veronica Sawicki and Dr Rohit Sethi. You can see the work of the charity here

New Head students

Congratulations to our new head students with whom we look forward to working next academic year:

Fin Kelly
Dewi Kunemund Hughes
Fred Ma’a
Myiesha Smith

Anna McGurk Bursary Awards

The Anna McGurk Bursary Awards were set up in honour of Anna McGurk (nee Potts), a former student of St Peter's who was tragically murdered as she made her way home from work one evening. Students are encouraged to apply for a bursary to pursue a hobby or passion. Members of the Trust visited school recently to make the following awards.

Jasmine Calzado applied for specialised chisels to use to further her woodwork, especially her passion for bespoke joins in furniture design. Studying the creative A Levels of Art, Creative iMedia and Product Design, Jasmine hopes to secure an apprenticeship in the future. Members of the Trust expressed an interest in seeing her future furniture designs too!

During the first lockdown in 2020, Ellis Parry was challenged by his tutor to discover new hobbies. Ellis certainly found an interesting pastime in Rope Darts! For those who don’t know, this is a form of martial arts but is now mostly used as performance art. Ellis is looking forward to using the bursary to purchase more rope darts, including ones with fire and others with different coloured smoke.

Finally, the youngest award winner this year is Esther Rumsey. Esther applied for money to “re-wild” the school environment to create more animal and insect friendly areas around the school site. Her application was detailed and thoughtfully written. It is wonderful to see a pupil who has the interests of others in mind. We cannot wait to see the benefits for the whole school community.

Thank you to all the pupils who took the time to apply this year. Every application is read by the Trust and works to keep Anna’s memory alive in our school.

Music Department News

Against all the odds, music rehearsals have continued every break time throughout this academic year. We are incredibly grateful to the students for their commitment and dedication to extra-curricular music and are delighted with the outcomes of all their performances.

It was wonderful to be back in St Peter’s RC Church, Gloucester for the feast of St Peter & St Paul on 29 June. Due to restrictions, a very small number of students & staff provided the music for the Mass. We are extremely proud that we were able to do this with just two family bubbles!  Congratulations and thank you to the Rowe family and two of the MacDonald siblings for singing & playing so wonderfully! If you missed it, you can catch up with a recording of the livestream here

After the success of last year’s Virtual Junior Concert, it was time for the students in Years 10-13 to demonstrate their musical prowess in the first Virtual Senior Concert!  On 5 March, thirty students contributed fantastic performances which can be seen here  

We are thrilled to report that former student, Willow Burden has graduated with a First Class Honours Degree in Vocal Performance from the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire.  Hannah Soares graduated with a 2:I, our second student in recent years to gain a coveted place to read Music at Oxford University, where she was also a choral scholar. Congratulations to both of them as they begin the next step of their musical career.

If you have enjoyed the links above, please subscribe to our YouTube channel and like our videos. You can also follow us on Twitter ‘@musicstpeters’. Whilst we will regularly continue to upload performances, we also really hope to be able to bring back live music to audiences next year. 

G15 Celebration of Success 2021

On 12 July, the annual G15 Celebration of Success event took place virtually for the second year running. We were delighted to contribute to this with our whole school community performance of ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ which can be viewed here.

You can see performances from the other Gloucester schools here, culminating in a finale which features our Year 10 Band, Kalamity!  

UKMT Junior Maths Challenge

Forty of our year 7 and 8 mathematicians were able to participate in the UKMT Junior Maths Challenge in April this year. All of the pupils involved stepped up to the non-calculator problem-solving challenge, achieving very high scores overall.  All pupils have been presented with an official personalised UKMT certificate by the Headteacher, Mrs Layhe.

Bronze and Silver certificates were awarded in each year group:

Year 7 particularly high commendation for the Silver and Bronze awards goes to Nathan Franco-Feltham, Marcel Gumula and Connor Riggall.

Year 8 particularly high commendation for Silver and Bronze awards goes to Lathusha Judeamalathas, James Cooper, Isaac Powrie and Janson Ciereszko.

A very well done to the year 7s:      

















Ollie S



A very well done to the year 8s too:





















Girls’ Sports and Wellbeing Week

(Click here to view the trailer for the week)

Girls' Sport and Wellbeing Week brought a wide range of sporting stars to St Peter’s to give our female students a broad and enriching programme focussed around improving the girls’ physical and mental wellbeing. Every day every girl from year 7-10 got to experience an activity of their choice from. We were incredibly lucky to have such a high calibre of athlete and coaches is an understatement!

Day One- Rugby and Zumba:

On Monday our very own Ms Tatyana Heard ran a series of fantastic rugby sessions focussing on basic ball handling skills and movement right through to some touch rugby games. Tatyana currently plays for Gloucester Hartpury RFC and has received 4 caps playing for England. The highlight of the day was every student putting herself into a new environment and working with each other collaboratively in different game situations. Zumba saw our girls getting in their groove, working through a variety of routines to Latin music. Zumba focusses on mixing dance steps with fitness exercises to get a really high intensity routine. The girls greatly enjoyed this and it was great to see all of the students work through some complicated footwork and trying something new and outside their comfort zone.

Day Two- Basketball & Clubbercise:

On Tuesday we were very lucky to have Molly James at school who has been offered to play Basketball in the USA in Division 2 of the NCAA Basketball league. As a local girl from Bristol Molly was an Acro Gymnast till the age of 14 where she then gave up Gymnastics to take up Basketball.  At the age of 16 Molly was recruited to play for Riders Basketball Club in Charnwood before most recently gaining her scholarship to the United States. Molly ran a series of fantastic sessions focussed around dribbling and passing before getting into some small games.

As an alternative to Basketball, Natasha Scott came and delivered a series of Clubbercise classes to our pupils. The girls loved performing a variety of routines with disco lights and glow sticks at the ready. This activity was definitely one of the most popular of the week.

Day Three- Netball and Self Defence:

On Wednesday we were again fortunate enough to have two amazing athletes come into school to give our students a great sporting experience. Chloe Carchrie who is a Severn Stars Superleague Netball player came to school to give the girls some amazing netball workshops. All of the girls were put through their paces in the glorious sunshine focussing on their passing, footwork and speed on court all through fun team-based practices. 

Paul Sutherland from Trojan Fighters also visited the school on Wednesday to give the girls a self-defence workshop. Supported by Year 7 pupil Aaron Sutherland (European Champion in his age group), Paul has over 30 yeas of martial arts experience, and is also a former professional MMA fighter. The girls learnt three different self-defence manoeuvres throughout the session and I think it was safe to say that no one will be messing with the #greenarmy any time soon!

Day Four- Football and Gymnastics:

As part of our exciting new partnership with Gloucester Sport, Gloucester City players Jade Powell and Lucie Cummings came to run a series of football sessions for the students. With girls’ football becoming increasingly popular here at St Peter’s it was wonderful to see so many students taking part in the sessions across year 7-10. With lots of prizes to be won, the girls definitely brought their competitive side to the pitch.

Sheer Velocity and Severn Valley Gymnastics Club also visited, running a series of amazing acrobatic and tumbling practices. All of the students has a go at working on their tumbling, building towards somersaults and flicks as well as performing acrobatics lifts as part of a trio.

Day Five- The Finale

After an amazing first ever girls’ sports and wellbeing week, there seemed to be only one way to wrap up the week: with a tug of war!

The girls were split into teams of 8-10 before taking to the rope. It was a glorious sunny day and the atmosphere was amazing. The girls worked really hard and it was a great community feel to end a fabulous week.

Check out the videos of day 1-4 on YouTube by clicking here. Thanks to Mr Watkins for filming.

Thank you to all the P.E. staff and to Miss Wilton in particular for organising this week.

To our new Year 7s: mini summer book club

We are looking forward to you joining us on Monday 6th September.

During the holidays, follow this link here for details about our Year 7 mini summer book club.

Staff Leaving St Peter’s, July 2021

Mrs Melton, second in maths (formerly Miss Darke) is retiring and we wish her all the very best for the future.

We wish the following members of staff who are leaving to pursue new posts or challenges our very best wishes for the future:

Mrs McNeill, senior laboratory technician

Mrs Adcock, science
Mr Spanjers, R.E. & HOY12
Mrs Azubuike, science
Mrs Frampton, science/health & social care
Mrs Blackburn, careers advisor
Miss Tilley, head of politics and teacher of history
Mr Rouffet, science
Mr Addis, cover supervisor
Miss Beddall, cover supervisor
Miss Golding, teaching assistant
Ms Munday, maternity cover MFL
Miss Padley, maternity cover English
Ms Wocknitz, MFL supply teacher

Autumn term, 2021

Thursday 2 September: staff inset day

Friday 3 September: staff inset day

Monday 6 September: year 7 in school. 

Tuesday 7 September: year 7 and year 12 in school

Wednesday 8 September : all year groups in school

Please check the school website before allowing your sons or daughters to dye their hair, have tramlines cut in or extremely short hair and before purchasing new items of uniform. In particular, trousers must be full length and not be skinny or clingy, socks should be black and at least ankle length (not trainer socks) and we have a specific school skirt which can be purchased at the uniform shops. Details can be found here.

Thank you for your support during this most challenging of years. It is greatly appreciated. We hope you and your sons and daughters enjoy the summer break and we look forward to seeing them in September.

I am closing with some images of the St Peter's test centre from much earlier this year and which I haven't previously shared.

Friday, 18 December 2020

Christmas 2020

Apologies that it's been so long since my last blogpost: dealing with Covid-19 has taken up an enormous amount of time. Every single member of school staff worked hard firstly to ensure that we could reopen safely in September 2020 and, since then, to adapt to constantly changing guidance.

Here are some highlights from this term.

Chaplaincy News from Miss Baker, our Chaplain

"It has been a challenging term for all of us as a St Peter’s community but, despite the challenges, the #greenarmy marches on and I have been overwhelmed to see how much there is to celebrate since September.

Love in Action

339.65kgs of food was donated by the school community and taken to Gloucester Foodbank in October. This was in addition to further support this academic year for the national Breast Cancer Charity on ‘Wear it Pink Day’, for Children in Need and also our recent support of local charity, Gloucester Feed the Hungry.

I also had the pleasure of interviewing some of our students in Year 8 and Year 13 about the amazing charity work they had been involved in pre-lockdown and during the summer holidays. This video interview was shared with all schools in the Clifton Diocese for our virtual Diocesan Education Mass. It is wonderful to see our young people participating in the ethos of St Peter’s and the tradition of giving support in love and outreach to people in need. 

The encouragement we have received from the school community and the overwhelming generous support from past students means that we look forward to creating a Memorial Garden for deceased members of staff and students at the front of the school. It is hoped that we can begin in earnest in the Spring term.  More news to come on this!

We have also had the opportunity to celebrate liturgically some of our year group patron saints whose lives are a constant reminder to us to believe that with God everything is possible!"

Our term ended this morning with a virtual liturgy led by Miss Baker. (You'll need to adjust the volume at times).

Thank you to all the students and staff who contributed to the virtual liturgy and, of course, to Miss Baker for this and for all her other work with staff and students.

The Road to Bethlehem

Nearly 200 St Peter’s students have run more than 3,000 miles (enough to get us to Bethlehem) in a virtual challenge. after winning the Marathon Kids' ‘Keep Fit Thru Lockdown’ campaign.

The P.E. department won the Marathon Kids' ‘Keep Fit Thru Lockdown’ challenge, being awarded £1,000 of Nike sporting equipment but, as the campaign finished, the P.E. department and Miss Baker, our school chaplain, motivated students to run the full 3,131 miles in order (virtually) to reach the birthplace of Jesus Christ. All of this was, of course, completed in line with Covid-19 restrictions.

Mr Green, who is in charge of athletic development, said that staff ‘kept students motivated by giving them little competitions along the way and gave them targets every few days. It was about changing motivation and tailoring the targets for each child, which only happens when you have great relationships. In a six-minute period, for instance, some pupils might be able to run 1500m, some might only be able to run 300m, but as long as they were keeping their individual level up, that’s what we wanted.

‘We did some relays, they did over-taking challenges, we asked them to sprint a length or width of the track, little time trials, they could earn rest time by completing a distance in a certain time – all sorts of ideas just to keep them motivated on the journey. They absolutely thrived in that environment. We were surprised at the start because we do have students who think of running as the last thing they want to do, but as soon as we did get them going and they got excited about the challenge - and also getting to Bethlehem - it was about us as a group keeping the fire in them burning,’ he added.

The students who participated were predominantly Year 7 and 8 pupils (the challenge started when Covid-19 meant  Year 10 and 11 were at home), but younger students went down in their breaks, unprompted, to help get to Bethlehem.

Martine Verweij, CEO and founder of Marathon Kids UK, was thrilled that the challenge was used as a further catalyst to get children running despite the difficulties presented by the various Covid-19 restrictions.

‘It’s examples like the one set by St Peter’s that make us so happy to do what we do. We know that running and being fit are so important for kids who not only want to compete at running various distances, but also who want to be the best they can at other sports such as football, hockey or rugby,’ she said.

Of course, there are also huge mental and emotional benefits that sport and the lockdown challenge provide.

Well done to all the students who participated, many of whom are pictured below (in their year 7 group bubble). Thanks also to the P.E. team and, especially, Mr Green.


Music department news

The work of the music department has been very different this term. Music staff have missed gathering to provide the music for our usual Masses and it has not been possible to bring together our usual choir of more than sixty students from year 7 to year 13. It is also the first time in thirteen years that we have not had the excitement of a whole school musical. In addition, Jazz Band and all other normal extra-curricular rehearsals ceased.

However, restrictions have given the department a chance to try different approaches to engage students in practical music making. Students have been meeting in year bubbles each week and we have been delighted to see the following groups develop: Year 7 Choir, Year 7 Band, Year 8 Choir, Year 10 Girls’ Choir, Sixth Form Chamber Choir and Sixth Form Jazz Band. Most of these, as well as Year 9 & Year 11 solos and duets, were featured in the recent beautiful Virtual Carols by Candlelight

If you haven’t had a chance to watch it yet, you can find it here: 

The culmination of Virtual Carols by Candlelight is a community rendition of ‘We Wish You a Merry Christmas’ featuring over 100 students, staff and families. As a result of this event, we are proud to have raised a significant amount of money for a local charity, ‘The Family Haven’. If you would also like to make a donation online, please find the link here:

The music department staff and students have adapted brilliantly to having some music lessons in non-specialist rooms and the staff and the school are extremely proud of the commitment, enthusiasm and talents of the huge number of students who have taken part in our virtual events this term.

Thank you to Mrs Perfect and the music department team for your brilliant work in extremely difficult circumstances.

Thank you

Thank you to every member of staff in every area for your commitment, resilience and hard work this term. To say it has been challenging is an understatement. Thank you also to our governors, parents and friends of the school for all your support in these challenging times.  

We hope that you and your families have a safe and happy Christmas. The Christmas message reminds us that God is with us… in our ordinariness, mess and chaos. May we take time to allow the babe of Bethlehem to creep in beside us and to bring his gifts of love and peace anew this season.



Sunday, 3 May 2020

May 2020

Firstly, I hope that you and your families are safe and well. We know that many of our parents and carers are key workers and we thank all of you for all you are doing during this time. 

A big thank you also to all the members of school staff, including administration staff, cleaning staff, IT support staff, site staff, teaching assistants and teaching staff who are at school to teach and care for the children of key workers and other children who need to be here. Staff at school and at home are working hard to set work, respond to queries, give some feedback on tasks and, of course, to keep in touch with students and families.

As you know, so many special events have been cancelled including trips, concerts, parents’ evenings and leaving events. We hope that at some point in the future we will be able to say a proper farewell to year 11 and year 13 students whose time with us ended so abruptly and who will not have the opportunity to demonstrate what they can do in the external exams.

Badgers and Hedgehogs
Twenty of our Year 7 students had been preparing to perform in our Choral Society concert. The music department managed to get 8 pupils to send videos and 2 to send audio tracks from their homes. I’m sure you will agree that the result is delightful: 
Year 7Choir: Badgers and Hedgehogs, Andrew Carter

The composer, Andrew Carter, was delighted to give his permission for this recording, sent a lovely video message to the students and, after hearing the recording, emailed to say the following: 

Brilliant!  My family and I have very much enjoyed your Badgers and Hedgehogs video, with the visible eight and the invisible two. A really cracking performance, which is no surprise at all, super diction, beautifully in tune, just the right mood and fantastically together, which is a miracle of modern hi-tech, but also a mark of your team determination.

Very well done, each and every one of you young singers and terrific thanks to Mrs. Perfect for getting it and you together in these strange times.

Now you've had some practice, you might persuade Mrs P to tackle something else. Great fun! Thank you!

I’m sure you’ll appreciate how tricky it is to come up with a successful video recording done in this way so thank you to the music department, in particular Mrs Perfect and Mr Figliola, and the students involved.

A Song for Frontline Workers
Ben O'Sullivan from The Music Works (who composes and directs the amazing closing song at the annual Celebration of Success at Gloucester Cathedral when students from all the Gloucester Schools come together in song) is looking for young people and their families to contribute to a song for front-line workers which will also raise money for Cheltenham and Gloucester Hospitals’ Charity. The details can be found here: The deadline for submissions is 11th May with release at the end of May. 

It would be lovely for lots of our young people to take part. You/ they can also send in a video. You will need to complete a form giving permission if you wish to send in a video and those who are under 18 will need to get their form signed by an adult.

Students at school are working on tasks set by their teachers on Show my Homework but are also doing some other enriching activities.

Earlier in the lockdown period, The Business & Economics department, with help from Drama and the Library, put together an enterprise activity called School of Rock. The idea of the day was to create a business plan for a music festival and the students had a number of tasks to complete throughout the day, including:


  •       Creating aPop Star using dressing up clothes (donated by Mr Versaci’s festival veteran daughter)

  •        Designing a map of the festival, including all the stages, food, camping areas and entertainment
  •        A financial plan, including profit forecasts·         
  •            A marketing plan, including role plays, writing jingles and compiling a social media plan

        The images show the students’ pop star creations: Papa Fly, SkyStar, Zoeilla, Travma

       Thank you to Mr Versaci, Mrs Farrelly and Mrs Taylor from the Business/Economics department; Mrs Skyrme from Drama and Mrs Knapton, one of our librarians

Bring Me Sunshine
On another day in school, the Music, Art & RE departments planned a session entitled Bring Me Sunshine to spread a little happiness. Students took part in a range of activities:

·         They were introduced to the song, learnt to sing it and added a variety of percussion rhythms using cajons, drums, maracas and tambourines.
    They chose an uplifting quotation from the Bible to inspire a piece of artwork.
·         They used acrylic paint to produce huge banners to be shown in our next Mass in the school barn, always an amazing occasion.

All the students really entered into the spirit of the day and produced some excellent results. Thank you to Mrs Perfect, Mrs Smith, Mrs Parsons, Mrs Turner, Mrs Schofield and Mr Rumsey.   

Clifton Diocese competitions
Clifton Diocese are running regular school competitions for pupils of all ages during this period of lockdown. Details can be found here: The current competition is a creative writing one on the theme of New Life with a deadline of 15th May. The word limit is 750 words and entrants should give their name and age. Send any submissions to

We are delighted that one of our year 8 students. Esther, won the first creative writing competition for her age group with her piece on Hope. She won a £20 Amazon voucher which she has already spent on books! Well done Esther. You can read her work here:

Congratulations also to year 7 pupil Lawrie who illustrated the work of his younger siblings, all of whom received a special mention in the first competition.

Biology essay
Congratulations also to year 13 student, Maddie Park, who submitted an excellent, well researched and informative essay on the Coronavirus virus to Mr Taylor, her year 13 biology teacher. Her essay can be read here:

History Department Easter Egg Challenge
Congratulations to all the students who participated in the Russell Tarr History Toolkit Easter Egg Challenge. The results are entertaining, creative and show great historical understanding. You can see the students’ creations here: See if you can work out the historical figures being depicted in these eggscellent ways (blame Mr Slaughter for the pun!)

Congratulations to the winners who in reverse order are
3rd Place: Ellie Derbyshire
2nd Place: Sofia Hensley
1st Place: Esther Rumsey

Thank you to all who contributed, very well done to the winners, and thanks to Mr Slaughter for compiling the entries and providing some commentary.

Thank you for your support of and engagement with school staff, for your resourcefulness and resilience and, above all, for supporting our students in working in and coping with these unusual circumstances.