Friday, 19 October 2018

End of half term

After the long summer holiday our students quickly settled back into school routines and, as usual, there has been plenty happening in and out of the classroom. Here are some of the highlights.
Chaplaincy news
The first half term has been very busy for Chaplaincy. Year 12 students participated in their retreat days at the start of the term when they explored the theme ‘Journeying Together.’ Year 7 retreats took place last week with students sharing the theme ‘You are God’s work of art’. Both year groups participated in workshops exploring our ethos as a Catholic school whilst building community in their year group. We were delighted to welcome Monsignor Liam Slattery to celebrate our beginning of year Masses at which we eagerly anticipated the canonisation of St Oscar Romero, the new Year 13 patron saint.

A new C.U. (Christian Union) group was launched at the end of half term supported by Gloucestershire Youth for Christ Group; the first meeting was well attended and we look forward to hearing how it continues to grow.
In September we had another successful IGNITE evening with special guest Daniel Cutting. Daniel demonstrated his world record holding football freestyling skills and shared what his Christian faith means to him. If you haven’t yet experienced IGNITE, do come along to the next one on Friday March 8th with Mike Pilavachi the founder of Soul Survivor! 
Students in years 10 and 12 are about to start their CAFOD Volunteer and Leadership Programmes; the response from both year groups was fantastic. It is good to see young people who are keen to learn about justice issues in our world and who want to make a difference

Gloucestershire 'We Are One' Young Upstander award winner
Congratulations to Sulaiman Hasan who has won a Young Upstander award at the Gloucestershire 'We Are One' awards ceremony. Sulaiman and his family arrived in Gloucester as refugees from Al Hasakah, Syria, and he has made every effort to succeed.  Sulaiman has been unafraid to stand up to others and to speak out when he has seen that an injustice has been done. Well done Sulaiman pictured here receiving his award!

Visit to the Cheltenham Literature Festival to see Sir David Attenborough

This month, Year 12 and 13 Biology students embarked on a project sponsored by the Gloucester Aspirations Project (GAP) called ‘Life on Earth’. The students visited the University of Gloucestershire, participated in lectures on biodiversity and entered a competition with Professor Adam Hart. On Saturday 6th October 2018 the students attended the Cheltenham Literature Festival interview with Sir David Attenborough which was a thoroughly inspiring event. Each of our students received a signed copy of ‘Life on Earth’ which Sir David considers to be the greatest achievement of his professional life.

Sir David spoke with great enthusiasm about all of his experiences from selling newts to the local university, to winning a scholarship to study geology and zoology at the University of Cambridge to becoming director of television on BBC 2 and making ‘Life on Earth’ and ‘Blue Planet’. He also shared some of his personal history, describing with great emotion how his mother cared for refugee children during the Second World War and eventually took two Jewish girls into their family permanently. They became David’s sisters, and while as a child he did not fully understand the gravity of this decision, he repeated his mother’s words “They need us more than you do”. The plight of refugees is a cause that remains very close to his heart.

Furthermore, he shared his expertise on climate change, plastic pollution and the impact of over-population, emphasising the importance of international agreements such as the Kyoto protocol, a global agreement reached in 1997 which provided a mandate for industrialised countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The interviewer, Emma Freud, asked a few questions that were submitted prior to the interview and we were delighted with the quality of questions that were submitted by tutor groups at St. Peter’s. Highlights of the question and answer session included the revelations that the species which best demonstrates the beauty and brilliance of natural selection are birds. His most memorable interaction with animals took place with gorillas in the Ugandan rainforest and if he could come back as a species of animal he would be a dolphin as they are so sociable and inquisitive. Overall, it was an unforgettable afternoon and we are extremely grateful to GAP for making it possible. 

Year 10 and year 11 visit the Gloucester History Festival
Forty students from years 10 and 11 attended the fantastic Gloucester History festival to hear a talk delivered by Helen Castor, television personality and lecturer at Cambridge University. The talk was about the insecurities of Elizabeth I's reign, giving students access to a passionate talk on one of the key components of their GCSE. Members of the public complimented the school for taking part in the event, and Helen Castor was kind enough to wish our GCSE and other students well in their students through her recent publication Elizabeth: (Penguin Monarch Series) a study in insecurity:

IT Services have completed computer upgrades in IT4, one of  our primary A-Level and GCSE teaching rooms for computer science. This upgrade means that our computer science students have access to the best equipment possible enabling them to do well in their studies. Thank you to IT Service for completing this project early and under budget. Further upgrades to other IT rooms are planned for later this year. The old computers were cleaned up, serviced and shipped out to the charity 'IT Schools For Africa' allowing children in developing countries to have access to IT resources.

MFL news
This half term 51 students are visiting Malaga to practise their Spanish, to experience Spanish food and culture, and to visit famous landmarks such as the Alhambra in Cordoba.
The very popular annual school ski trip to Austria in the February half term in 2020 has been announced.  All students of all or no skiing ability are welcome. See Mrs Beamish for further details.

Debating clubs: a battle of ideas

St Peter’s claims not one, but two debating clubs: one for sixth form and one for KS4.  This week the year 11 students challenged their seniors to a debate and were accepted. The inaugural debate-off took place on Wednesday lunchtime around the motion “This house believes that all cultures are not equal”. A packed debating chamber heard well-prepared and articulate speeches from the proposers of each side and in the end the motion was defeated by a small majority.  The debate was a chance for some talented speakers and thinkers to practise their ideas and a chance for anyone to take the floor and make their point. It was an impressive spectacle and the two groups now hope to build on this by arranging a second debate for next term on the topic of gun ownership. Very well done to all the speakers and supporters, especially for the high level of respect and dignity you all showed towards your opponents. Thank you to Miss Farrell and Mrs Eakin for their work with the debating groups.

Art department – The Big Draw
A large number of pupils from all years joined in the annual Big Draw art event this Wednesday, along with hundreds of schools nationally! This year’s theme was PLAY. Pupils were able to draw in their favourite art style on a large banner to be displayed in the school.

Over the course of the day drawings were added to the banner including manga style characters, mandala patterns and song lyrics. One pupil said “It is so cool to just be able to express what we like.” and another commented “It was so much fun! ” Thank you very much to all the pupils involved and to the art staff.

The Wizard of Oz

This half term culminated in the whole school production of The Wizard of Oz.  It was delightful to see so many talented students working together to entertain audiences of families and friends. A huge thank you to Mrs Perfect, Mrs Skyrme and Mr Waring and to all the staff and students who performed, played or helped in any way.

We hope all our students have a good half term break and look forward to seeing them again on Monday 29th October (week 2).

Thursday, 19 July 2018

End of Term

Mass for Saints Peter and Paul and Awards Assembly
The Mass and awards assembly on the feast of Saints Peter and Paul went extremely well. A huge number of people contributed to its success but particular thanks go to the music department and, of course, to our chaplain, Mandy Baker, and to Monsignor Liam Slattery.

Natasha Burch, year 12, performed her A Level composition at both the Mass and the year 6 welcome liturgy. Sofia Hensley and Bethan Brito, year 7, sang ‘A Million Dreams’ from 'The Greatest Showman' in the awards ceremony. The year 9 band (Seb Rowe, David Copestake, Cyril Carvajal, Keyan Littleton, Josh Riches) performed ‘Some Might Say’ by Oasis during the awards ceremony. The music department collaborated with the PE Department to perform Stormzy’s ‘Blinded by your Grace’ featuring soloist Harry Matthews, rappers Hansen Castaneda and Pearse O’Neill alongside Mrs Donovan’s gymnasts during the awards ceremony.

All students in Year 8 spent 6 weeks designing and creating banners for the Mass and awards assembly. Each class made one banner using a quotation from the parable of the Sheep and the Goats.

This year’s banners were colourful and spread the message of God’s love into our community.

Other Chaplaincy News
The Year 7 Emmaus First Communion Group celebrated their First Holy Communion with Mgr Liam at St Peter’s Church.

Students having been walking a mile supporting the 'Share the Journey' CAFOD campaign, highlighting the experiences of refugees.

We have had Liturgies for Year 11 and Year 6 as they both prepare for the next stage of their future.

Year 9 shared their annual retreat days together with the theme ‘Stronger Together'.

At Sports Day the CAFOD group sold refreshments and raised £300 for the Help Madina charity in Sierra Leone.

We are preparing for our next IGNITE evening with 5 time world record holding football freestyler Daniel Cutting on Friday Sept 28th at 6.30pm in the school hall. Tickets: £2.

The St Peter’s High School Jazz Band played at the Tuffley Festival - Saturday 7th July 2018.
David Copestake – Year 9 Student and Jazz Band Bass Guitarist - writes:
Tuffley Festival took place at Tuffley Rovers F.C. on Saturday 7th July 2018. Families came to enjoy the sun whilst watching a dog show, browsing pop up stalls and enjoying performances from dance troops, primary school choirs, scouts and guides and, of course, the St Peter’s High School Jazz Band.

The band features a range of amazing saxophonists, a fabulous trumpeter, a great pianist, some noisy electric guitarists, two incredible bass guitarists and a loud drummer! With our very important conductor, Mrs Perfect, we performed some jazzy tunes along with some popular songs like Havana, sung by year 11 student Avygayle Smith. Band members range from students in year 8, all the way up to year 13. We also have teachers in our band. It’s great to have so much musical talent packed into a band and we have a lot of fun doing what we do.

Even though we all missed the first five minutes of the football, it was a fabulous event with a lovely audience cheering us on.


ABRSM Exam Results
Congratulations to year 13 student Hannah Soares for achieving Grade 8 Singing with Distinction this term. This follows a Distinction on Grade 8 Piano in the previous term! This completes another year of a 100% pass rate in our ABRSM Music exams for students in all years groups. Other notable results: Jessica Smith (year 13) and Robyn Marment (year 13) both achieved Grade 8 singing with merit.

Art Show
The end of year art show was a great success, showcasing the excellent work of students from year 7 to year 13.  Parents, guardians, governors, staff and students seized the opportunity to come and have a look at the work on display and were impressed by the skill, creativity and hard work of students this year.  The KS3 Best in show 2018 was won by Zuzanna Watorska for her detailed study of Francoise Nielly’s work.

The Schools Award in the Gloucestershire Apprenticeship Awards
We are delighted that St Peter’s won the Schools Award in the recent Gloucestershire Apprenticeship Awards. This is due to the hard work of our careers officer, Sarah Beeton, and her assistant Georgina Blackburn.

KS5 Educational visits

The Year 12 Politics trip to Westminster was a great success. The students were excellent and visited the Supreme Court as well as the Houses of Parliament. They also took part in an elections workshop in parliament which proved to be good fun for all.

The technology department took students to the New Designers Show in London.

The geography department took 22 A-Level Geographers to Snowdonia and the Quantock Hills to complete their physical geography fieldwork.  Students studied glacial landforms, compared glacial and fluvial sediments and tested the infiltration rates of the soil surrounding a river.  The students worked exceptionally hard, and members of the public commented that they were a credit to the school.  A-Level geography students are required to undertake 4 days of fieldwork; they also visit the suburbs of Gloucester and Brockenhurst in the New Forest for their human geography fieldwork.

The Duke of Edinburgh award scheme
The Silver DofE groups made a fantastic effort on their qualifying expedition in the Brecons, despite very hot weather and insect attacks. They showed great resilience and teamwork. We were delighted that their assessor said they were one of the most impressive groups he had assessed.

The Gold group completed their practice expedition in style at the same time and are well-prepared for the qualifying expedition, which they will do in Snowdonia next summer, when they return to school as Year 12 students. As always, a huge thank you to the staff who give up their weekends for the expeditions.

Summer schools
Well done to a number of our Year 12 students who have successfully secured prestigious university summer schools and other placements which will be of enormous value in themselves and also in applying to universities next year:

Megan Cameron will attend a summer school at Cambridge University and at John Locke summer school in France;
Orla Sheehan will attend summer school at Cambridge University;
Sam Harte will attend a summer school at Bristol University with the Sutton Trust;
Jordan Topping Allsopp will attend a STEM course with Liverpool University;
George Greaves has secured a week's placement in the UK parliament;
Paul Pellissery will be attending an UNIQ course with Oxford University.

Several students have also received invitations to a medical skills event at Cheltenham General Hospital.

The Brilliant Club
Last week saw twelve of our year 8 pupils graduate from the Scholars Programme in the Wills Memorial Hall at the University of Bristol. They each produced a university style essay on literary theories and all achieved a 2:1 or a first! They have worked above their academic level and have shown tremendous resilience and commitment. They have also discovered what university entails and been inspired by the experience.

The Institute of Physics
We are delighted that Mr Jones-Parry has been seconded by the Institute of Physics to conduct training which will benefit students from St Peter's as well as in other schools.

KS3 Elite History awards evening
Once again, students from across Key Stage Three amazed the history department with their incredible projects this summer. The selected students were given a local history project, investigating in Year 7 ‘The Death of Edward II’, in Year 8 the ‘Treatment of Heretics in Early Modern Gloucester’ and in Year 9 the ‘Involvement of Gloucester Soldiers in the First and Second World War.’ 
The work was showcased on Monday 16th July, with the following students selected as winners:

Elite historian of year 7- Fergus O’Grady
Elite Historian for Year 8- Bethany Smart
Elite historian for year 9- Mary McAteer.

Overall winner of the Elite History project for Key Stage three- Benjamin Robinson-Baber.

Run to Wales
Year 9 students took part in a sponsored Run to Wales, raising funds for CAFOD. They were joined by former student, George Lloyd, who plays for Cheltenham Town. The students ran 126.6km, the equivalent to running from Gloucester to Swansea and raised £1, 500 for CAFOD. The whole event was a great team effort.

National success in tennis
The boys' tennis team again made the national finals in Nottingham and came 11th in the country. Thank you to Keiran Montagu and the other coaches for all their work with our tennis teams.

Sports Day

Sports Day on Monday was a great success. Thank you to students, staff and parents for their support.  There was a lovely atmosphere and it was delightful to see so many young people participating and displaying their talents. A big thank you to the PE department for all this work.

Year 10 news
Congratulations to the sixteen year 7 mentors who have been appointed and who helped our new year 7 students on their induction day.

After rigorous interview 5 students were chosen to participate in an accredited  STEM work placement.

The whole year group also participated in a STEM day. The students were guided by professionals within leading Science, Technology, Engineering and Math vocations as to how they might best access employment within these areas of work.

On Tuesday 10th July 2018, the EAL COPE class planted a tree as part of their environment module of their qualification. They have been working on a variety of topics within the module and this week moved on to look at trees. Mrs Lange kindly donated the cherry tree to the class. The group had a lot of fun digging the hole and planting the tree into the ground. They have set up a rota between themselves and have been watering it daily. 

You can securely access your son or daughter's assessments, attendance, achievements, behaviour and other information, including exam timetables, updated in real time, through the web service Insight.  If you do not already have an account, email 

Summer CampsThe annual Clifton Diocese Summer Camps have launched for 2018 and bookings are now being taken. This year, the camps have moved to a new location in Viney Hill in the Forest of Dean and are being held between 13-17 August (ages 7-11) and 20-24 August (ages 12-16). The camps promise to be weeks full of fun, faith and friendship. If you are interested in finding out more, or to book a place for your child, please visit or email

The following members of staff are retiring at the end of term:

Mrs Eileen Lewis (maths)
Mrs Helen Stenson (data manager)
Mrs Mary Lally (maths)
Mr Jonathan Soar (teaching assistant)
Mrs Foster (teaching assistant)
Mr Gibbons (mental health nurse)

The following members of staff are leaving at the end of term:

Mrs Fernandez (MFL)
Mr Dill (P.E.)
Mr Rouffet (science)
Mrs George (MFL / ICT)
Mrs Larkin-Lawton (technology)
Ms Fearn (politics)
Ms Main (MFL)
Mrs O'Donnell (English)
Ms Brookes (science)
Mr Lawless (MFL).

We thank all staff who are leaving for their hard work at St Peter's and wish them well in the future.

Homework and assessment points next academic year
Thank you to those parents who completed the online survey on homework and assessment. Next year students in years 7, 8 and 9 will have an overview of homework stuck in to their planners to help them to manage their time. Further details of how each subject is setting homework can also be seen via a link on this page of the school website:  

We have made some changes to our assessment system for next year but assessment letters will still be sent home three times a year and will reflect assessments completed in class in test conditions, attitude to learning and whether or not students are making expected progress. The system will continue to use the new numerical GCSE system with final gradings from 9 (high) to 1 (low).  Staff will be assessing whether students have the age appropriate skills to progress to the GCSE grade range suggested by their KS2 results.  The target grade range is based on performance at primary school and is used to suggest the potential GCSE grade your son or daughter may attain.  We will be able to discuss this in more details at the September information evenings.

Uniform and hair styles
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 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. 

May I remind you not to try to enter the bus bay at the end of school until 4pm after which there is no problem at all.  We have again experienced problems with some parents blocking driveways of local residents so I ask all parents and guardians to be sensitive to our neighbours.

We have had an extremely positive and challenging year and I am sure you would like to echo my thanks to all the staff for their hard work and commitment to your children. Thank you also for your support. We hope your sons and daughters enjoy the summer break and look forward to seeing them again in September.

Monday, 25 June 2018

June news

It's been another action packed half term so far and here are some of the highlights.

Music Department News
The Junior Concert took place on Wednesday 13 June. It featured a fantastic range of quality performances from our very talented KS3 musicians. One of the performers, Edward Cutting (Year 8), described the concert as ‘…an amazing event to perform in. It was an opportunity for any student from Year 7, 8 or 9 to perform a solo on their musical instrument, or as part of a larger ensemble. Before I began to play I was very nervous, but when I got up on stage and played my first note, I felt very relaxed and enjoyed every second of it! It was great to see all of the musical talent that we have at St Peter's showcased in one evening of entertainment. I can't wait until next year!

Our boys’ a capella group ‘Frontline’ performed at the G15 Celebration of Success evening on Friday 22 June at Gloucester Cathedral. They performed two songs which commemorated the 100th anniversary of the First World War: ‘It’s a Long Way to Tipperary’ and ‘Keep the Home Fires Burning’. The performance was excellent and a tribute to the work done by Mrs Perfect and the rest of the music department.


The Jazz Band will be performing at the Tuffley Festival on Saturday 7 July, 3pm at Tuffley Rovers FC; any support would be greatly appreciated. You can also follow the St Peter’s High School Music Department on Twitter @musicstpeters or via the school website for the latest news, photos, videos and more.

Year 10 Maths visit to the University of Bristol

Last week fifteen Year 10 mathematicians were entertained by two lectures from leading academics and then participated in an exciting maths team challenge with students from 12 different schools.
The lecturers were: Dr Jennifer Roger of Oxford University, who took great pleasure in de-bunking alarmist statistics quoted in the press, and Dr Katie Steckles of Manchester University, who taught them how to square root cube numbers in their heads as a party trick and delved into the hidden maths of technology. Thank you to the maths department for organising this.

The Brilliant Club update
Our twelve Year 8 students who are part of the Brilliant Club have all achieved a 2:1 or higher on their final assignment, an excellent achievement. They have worked extremely hard on this challenging extra-curricular assignment and have impressed the PhD tutor they worked with. They will be “graduating” at the University of Bristol on 4th July and photos will follow. Thanks to Mrs Barker for her work with this group of students.

GROW / GAP Scheme
As part of the GROWS project, some of our Year 10 pupils made the most of their half term by taking part in a 4 day STEM and Cyber Experience delivered by The Gloucester Aspiration Programme (GROWS). Activities included programming a robot to carry out a challenge and a technology teardown – stripping apart common household technology to explore and discover its components and breaking into an iPad to decipher cryptic messages. All this culminated in a trip to the Cheltenham Science festival to listen to industry experts talk about careers in STEM, followed by time in the Discovery Zone getting ‘hands on’ with virtual reality, aeronautical engineering and much more!

Year 10 pupils (with others from the county) also took part in a 3 day Sports Science Experience delivered by The Gloucestershire Aspiration Programme (GAP). Human performance and nutrition was delivered at Hartpury College’s sports laboratories. Here students got their hands on and investigated their own lung function, muscular systems and exhausted themselves through the Wingate test. Biometric investigations at the University of Gloucestershire saw students compare the difference in forces produced by bare footed runners versus those wearing trainers and measure their own speed using Brower gates.
All this culminated in at trip the home of English rugby, Twickenham, where students took part in a session exploring the use of technology in today’s game, identifying different player positions by their GPS track, as well as viewing the pitch from the royal box!


GROWS are offering more taster experiences, this time in Crime Scene Investigation (Dead on Time), and Engineering (Engineer IT) for current Year 9 students during the summer holidays. More details can be found at or

EAL department Strawberry Tea and awards ceremony

On the 20th June the EAL department held the Annual Strawberry Tea Party and EAL Award ceremony to celebrate the success of the students whose second language is English. The ASDAN course students made about 100 scones and cream teas in school that day as part of their course and then we invited all to join in, lower school and sixth form students alike.
For some students it marked the end of their time at St Peters before they move on to college courses next year. It gave them a chance to say thank you to their teachers and friends for all their help. Everyone enjoyed the sun soaked, warm  hearted event, marking the real successes and progress of these hard working and enthusiastic  students from all corners of the world. Thank you to the EAL staff for organising the event and for all they do with our students.


The Duke of Edinburgh scheme has been really successful this year.  46 students in year 9 successfully completed the expedition section of their Bronze Award. They completed a challenging two-day expedition in the Cotswolds. 36 students from years 9 to 11 have completed their Bronze Award this academic year.

Former student Alice Davies has completed her Gold Award and is looking forward to receiving it at St James’ Palace. Thanks to the staff who give up so much of their time at weekends to ensure that the scheme runs and benefits so many students.

Year 9 Run to Wales
On Friday 22nd June, a group of year 9 students ran 126.6km in nine hours, the equivalent of running from Gloucester to the outskirts of Swansea. There were representatives from all eight year 9 forms and, on a hot day, they showed each lots of respect and support, were constantly upbeat and optimistic about the challenge, felt the enjoyment of coming together as a community and displayed their kindness by raising over £1500 for CAFOD. Thank you to head of year 9, Mr Hudson, for organising this challenge.

This Friday, 29th June, is the feast of Saints Peter and Paul and we will celebrate with a whole school Mass to which parents and friends are invited. In the afternoon will be our awards presentations followed by an early finish at 2.30. All buses other than the John Dix ones are able to collect students at 2.30. Students on the John Dix buses - and students whose parents wish them to remain in school until normal time - will of course be supervised. We are looking forward to another memorable day.