Tuesday, 17 November 2015

‘As Golden October Declines into Sombre November’


May I begin by copying to you all the message which Catholic schools received from Cardinal Vincent Nichols concerning last Friday’s terrorist attacks in Paris:

This morning I wish to express my horror at the events that took place in Paris last night. This random killing of innocent people is utterly despicable and a course of action which must be rejected unequivocally by all.

Today I offer my prayers, with those of the entire Catholic Community in England and Wales, for those who have been shot dead as they enjoyed moments of relaxation and entertainment. I pray for the bereaved, for those who have been traumatised. I pray for the City of Paris that it will courageously recover its poise as one of the great cities of the world. I pray for the police and security forces who will continue their front-line fight against this evil madness. I pray, too, for the Muslim communities in France, and here in England, that they may not be victimised because of the actions of these violent and ruthless extremists but strive always for the way of peace and cooperation with the wider society.

May God bless France. May God give us the courage and wisdom to resist this violent and inhuman extremism. May God guide us all into the ways of peace.

+Vincent Nichols


Our school continues to work for charities and to answer appeals.  The recent ‘Wear it Pink Day’ raised £1000 for cancer charities and the sixth-form efforts for Children in Need raised over £1200.  Thanks to all the families and staff who supported these events.

Building Progress

With wintry weather coming, the builders are redoubling their efforts, with more workers on site and weekend working established.  The target for completion is still early December, and it is hoped that everything will be tidied up and gone by 11th December.  (Sometimes even the best laid plans, etc.)

The Design and Technology block is finished, however, and the teachers have resumed work in their ‘new’ rooms.  The atrium is, of course, the star of the piece: a whole new teaching space at the heart of the block, which energises the place and inspires good work.  Parents will be able to visit formally in the forthcoming sixth-form open evening, on Wednesday 2nd December from 18.30 - 20.30.

Year 11 Mocks

It is not too early, then, for our year 11 students to start thinking about sixth-form courses.  Every year 11 at St Peter’s has a guaranteed place at our sixth-form.  And the count-down begins for real in January when year 11 will return to a formal week of mock examinations.  My warning is that taken as themselves mock exams have little value unless they are prepared for, and are accepted as a stepping-stone to the real thing.  Therefore, year 11 students need to start preparing for these mocks at the beginning of December, ensuring they have all their notes in order, their revision books tidy and ready and all the guidance from their teachers at hand.  Christmas holidays should be full of fun, of course, but for year 11s room needs to be found for good, old-fashioned revision.  Which can’t – let me tell you – be done by downloading an App.

Collecting Children

We need to be scrupulous about students going off site.  It can be a significant safeguarding issue for us.  We cannot allow students to leave school without permission from parents and carers (and we prefer this permission to be written, although we recognise that sometimes it must be verbal).  We cannot allow older siblings to ‘give permission’ for younger brothers and sisters to leave with them.

School Food

Mrs Smith and Mr Blackshaw are working with the governors’ food committee to introduce a new, healthier, menu across the board in the kitchen.  We are doing this firmly but gradually;  we want to make some changes but we do not want to lose your support nor the students’.  However, we want to ensure that the diet offered by the kitchen – at breakfast, break and lunch – is the best we can provide.  I have spoken to students at assemblies about this.  We need their help; we invite them to try without prejudice new meals which appear; we are offering ‘suggestion books’ where they can make positive comments or constructive criticism.  Please support this move as warmly as possible and feel free to contact me with your own comments as the changes appear.


Please don’t forget to support the Christmas events which are coming up, including the PFA Christmas Fair on 21st November from 1 o’clock till 4 in the school hall, and the Carols by Candlelight on 10th December, at 7 o’clock in the church of the Immaculate Conception, Stroud.

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