Friday, 27 March 2015

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter!

Last week at St Peter’s – Visitors to the school – Year 10 lessons – Year 9 options – Building bids – Orchard - Forthcoming events – Summer uniform

A Good Weekend

Last weekend was a good one for St Peter’s.  I was delighted by the good sense and good order shown by our students during the partial solar eclipse.  The weather was perfect for the event, and the holes in the technology department roof provided the perfect ‘camera obscura’! 

Last Friday afternoon, Miss Fearn of the history department organised a full parliamentary election debate with candidates from Gloucester and Stroud constituencies, including Stroud’s current MP Neil Carmichael.  This was a fabulous opportunity for our sixth-formers to meet working politicians face to face and to learn about our democratic system and the issues facing voters in this spring’s election.

Throughout the day there had been a whole series of activities, coordinated by Mr Hudson and Mr Devane from the ICT department, to mark the anniversary of the Philippines cyclone which so devastated that country.  Special lessons for key stage 3 classes were managed by year 10 students, and in addition there was a cake sale, a candlelit prayer service and other sporting events long into the night.

And, finally, we and the parishioners of Stroud Immaculate Conception enjoyed a wonderful performance by the school Choral Society, led by Mrs Perfect, of John Stainer’s ‘Crucifixion’.  John Stainer’s great-grandson, Andrew, was in the audience and he enthused warmly about the quality of the choir which was pitch-perfect throughout.  A marvellous way to mark a Friday in Lent.

A Good Visit

A local secondary headteacher visited the school this last Monday to undertake a review for us of our ‘pupil premium’ provision.  She praised the quality of teaching and learning which she saw, the quality of marking and homework, and the honesty and enthusiasm of the students whom she interviewed.    She identified some areas where we can work a little more efficiently in administering the pupil premium funding and in ensuring that all students achieve their academic potential.

In the last six months we have welcomed four senior staff on formal visits to St Peter’s:  two senior staff in large comprehensives similar to ours, and two inspectors.  All four of them have focused their praise on the things which we most hold dear:  teaching and learning, homework, and ethos & behaviour.  We are always striving to improve and we are sensitive to any adverse criticism, but sometimes we can afford to reassure ourselves that the staff at St Peter’s are providing a first-class education.
Year 10 English and maths

You will all be aware that we changed our pattern of subjects for this year’s year 10 students:  they have one fewer option but more time for English and maths.  I have been speaking individually to all our English and maths teachers, and without exception they assure me that the extra time has helped them to teach more broadly and more carefully and for the students to learn more richly and more deeply.  I am very grateful to them for the quality of their work, and I am delighted by their confidence in the effectiveness of this change.

Year 9 options

All too soon, perhaps, our year 9 will begin their GCSE years and their option evening is fast approaching.  They will follow the same option pattern of our current year 10s.  However, we are not publishing option blocks in advance this year and this is essentially for financial reasons:  we cannot afford to run small groups.  We are asking students to place their chosen subjects in a priority order and then we plan to create efficient groupings from these so that the school can provide the requested options as efficiently as possible.  We are not planning to increase the size of option groups overall – subjects are still generously staffed – but we want to avoid having to run a group for 8 in block A while there is a group of 10 studying the same subject in, say, block C.  A group of 20 is for many subjects an efficient and sensible size.

We had great news about our building bids this week

We are delighted to receive the news from the Department for Education that we had been successful in our two bids to the Condition Improvement Fund for refurbishment of the design & technology and main blocks.  £1.1 million!!

The original 1964 buildings at St Peter's Catholic High School and Sixth Form Centre are past their serviceable life. We began the programme of work to refurbish or rebuild these buildings last year with the English block refurbishment which has been transformed.  The next phase in the programme will take place this summer following the approval of our two bids.  We are obviously delighted with this news.

The work will start in May 2015 and will be largely be completed by September when we return after the summer holidays.  The frontage of the school will be transformed – surely a huge fillip when students enter the school – and the design technology area will be modernised and improved. 


Eagle-eyed passers-by may notice that we have taken delivery – from Day’s Cottages in Brookthorpe – of thirty apple trees.  All local varieties.  There will be a small orchard, then, at the Stroud Road end of the far rugby field, and we are dreaming of picking our own apple crumble from the branches before too many years have passed.

Forthcoming events
Hay festival coach

We have (provisionally) booked a coach to go to the Hay Festival on Friday 29th May (the Friday in Whit half-term).  Hay Festival is a lively affair in a lovely Borders town -  loads to see and do – but parking can be terrible!  So we think that enough of us may enjoy going by bus and enjoying a day out without having to worry about parking or driving back home.  The coach will leave here at 9, so will arrive around 10.30, and will set off home from Hay at 8 pm.  The cost is £17.50 for adults and £7.50 for students/ children.  Might sound a lot until we remember the cost of parking and petrol!  And any profits will go to the PFA.

Could you let us know if you’d like tickets, please, by emailing Mrs Cameron,   We need to know numbers by the beginning of May.  Thank you.

Lawrence Montagu Ball

Following on from the huge success of The Lawrence Montagu Ball last year, the extended school team is delighted to announce an even bigger and better Ball for 2015!  16th May is the date.

Last year, our guest speakers kept us entertained with stories about their careers and school life here at St Peter’s. The auction prizes were absolutely incredible and included: a signed Andy Murray tennis racket, a signed 1966 England shirt, a one-of-a-kind Harley Davidson leather jacket and a week’s residential revision prize with Oxford International College, just to mention a few! The prizes raised a staggering amount for the foundation and, with your help, we are hopeful of beating that amount this year.

It is a ‘black tie event’ with a 3 course meal and wine.  In addition, there will be guest speakers, an auction with some fantastic prizes, live music (St Peter’s Jazz band) and DJ until late. Tickets cost £40 and the proceeds will all go towards the Lawrence Montagu Foundation.  Champagne reception with canapés starts at 6pm and everyone will be seated for their meal at 7pm.

If you would like to attend, please email Frank ( or call 01452509280) with the number of tickets, before Friday 1st May.  

We really do hope you are able to join us this year as, I’m sure those of you who attending last year would agree, it was a terrific and enjoyable evening in memory of a fantastic man.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Anniversary Mass

Fr Kevin will be celebrating a Mass in memory of Larry, at 4 pm on 28th April, in the drama theatre.  All will be welcome. 


Our school Parents and Friends Association are hoping to raise funds on Saturday 25th April at Sainsbury’s in Gloucester Quays, by helping with bag-packing.  We are lucky to have secured the slot at Sainsbury’s but now need student (or parent!) volunteers to help.  It is a great opportunity for the PFA to raise considerable funds – can your son/daughter help?  All we need is a few hours of their time between 10 and 6 on Saturday – perhaps they could bag-pack whilst you do your shopping?

The PFA is a very hard-working group of people who arrange numerous events throughout the year with a view to assisting in financing the school minibuses, as well as providing vital funds for one-off items to ensure that your children get the very best opportunities in all areas of their education.  Your support is essential to its success!!   

Summer is Coming …

And we look forward to seeing students in their summer uniform – polo shirts, with sweaters on chilly days – when we return after the Easter break.  It would be really good to see the whole school smart from years 7 to year 13 for the final, sunny, term.

Please enjoy a good Easter break.

Philip Rush



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