Friday, 8 May 2015

May 2015

Dear Parents and Carers,

Three important areas in this new blog.
Firstly, a big thank you to Mr Slaughter and Mr Fullerton for organising the ‘Dench Cup’, an annual football match between the 1st XI and the staff football team, in memory of Kamil Ciemniewski, a young man who died in sad circumstances over two years ago.  There is also a collection taken at the match each year which raises funds for Gloucester Royal Hospital Critical Care Unit.  I am delighted to report that this time over £1000 was raised for this charity in Kamil’s memory.  (Staff 3 Students 2, by the way!)
Secondly, some of our senior staff are retiring or moving on this summer.  Mr Coughlan and Mr Johns are both retiring after many years of excellent work here, and Mr Lester, our business manager, is moving to a new post in Cumbria.

I am not a big fan of change.  But sometimes change happens to us and we have to deal with it positively and embrace it warmly.  It is hard to believe that someone can come along and step into Mr Coughlan’s shoes, hard to believe that someone can replace Mr Johns;   however, as these two wise teachers know only too well, someone will.  We have advertised the posts internally and I know who has applied for these jobs.  Therefore, I can confidently say that we have the staff here to continue the work fluently, intelligently and sensitively.  
Mr Coughlan has managed the discipline of the school very effectively for many years.  He has been brilliant;  firm and sensitive and loving.  But our heads of year have learnt from his example and our governors continue to be fully engaged with the disciplinary process.  We pride ourselves at St Peter’s on the quality of our pastoral care and I assure you this quality will not be compromised.
Mr Johns has worked inspirationally as a member of the leadership team and as a teacher of modern languages.  But once again, we have in the languages department talented young teachers who have learned from Mr Johns’ example.

Mr Lester is another big loss and his work over the last years, especially with the conversion to academy status and within the diocese, has been essential to the school’s progress.  He has definitely earned the opportunity to take on a challenging job close to the mountains of the Lake District which he loves.  Mr Lester has led on our big building projects and his legacy to the school will last for many years – this summer we have a million-pound refurbishment project to manage and Mr Lester is ensuring before he leaves  that everything is set fair for that project - he has also agreed to answer the phone should I need to ring him for advice!

Finally, Year 11 are also moving on.  They go on study leave today – along with year 12.  I wish them all the best with their exam work and their revision.  Dr Starkey and Mr Lester are ensuring that light breakfasts are available to year 11 – free of charge – from 8.30 before their exams, and after that a short, sharp revision talk  – in the sixth-form common room – to make sure everyone is in the best mental position to undertake the exam.  A warm-up on the touchline before joining the game, as it were.

Our students want to do their best.  During study leave, they need to get up early and focus on revision and learning even on days when they don’t have an exam.  Especially on days when they don’t have an exam!  Drinking water throughout the day helps, and so does taking a break every hour or so for some fresh air.  It’s important to go to bed at the right time and not to worry.  If students take their learning seriously, even at this late stage, they will find they have much less to worry about!
We had a wonderful Mass for our exam students – with a lovely farewell to Mr Amphlett the design and technology technician – and all our students who are facing these exams know that our thoughts and prayers are with them.