Friday, 7 April 2017

Happy Easter

It has been an extremely busy and productive half term for staff and students.

Ethos and chaplaincy

Our thanks to our chaplain, Mandy Baker, and to Fr. Kevin, parish priest of Our Lady’s, Churchdown, for all they do to help us to sustain and develop the ethos of the school.  This half term all year groups had a service for Ash Wednesday, which marks the start of Lent, and it was lovely to see student teams distributing ashes.  We have also held Lenten reconciliation services for each year group where students had the opportunity to go up for individual confession which many did.  We thank the priests of Gloucester and Stroud deaneries for their support with reconciliations.  This week, the last week of term, all students have attended liturgies in preparation for Holy Week and Easter which have been very well received by students.

Fifty students and staff attended Flame 3 at Wembley Arena on March 11th. We were delighted that Romana Protsysyn participated on stage with other CAFOD representatives from the diocese while Clare Walker joined the CAFOD team at the event and helped to run a lunchtime activity.  Well done both!

Last weekend ten year 10 students visited Kintbury Retreat Centre and had an extremely good time “Sharing the Good News” (the theme of the retreat) with students from four other schools who are now firm friends.   Thanks to our Head of year 10, Mrs Tassinari, and to Fr. Kevin for organising this.  


The Messiah at St Peter's R.C Church

Last week saw one of the highlights of the term: the St Peter's High School Choral Society performance of highlights from Handel's Messiah at St Peter's Church in Gloucester.  Former pupils and staff joined current students and staff as well as some professional musicians for an exceptional performance of an extremely demanding piece.  Our thanks go to all the singers and musicians and especially to music staff Mrs Smith, Mr Figliola, Mrs Greeenow and, especially, to our director of music, Mrs Catherine Perfect.  It was an evening where I was extremely proud to be connected to such a talented and committed group of people.

Faculty fortnights
Extremely successful faculty fortnights have taken place in science, maths and humanities this half term. 
In science faculty fortnight sleuthing students solved a murder using forensic techniques while Mr Foxsmith transformed the school gym into a planetarium. The fortnight culminated in an entertaining science show. Pupils roared with laughter as they watched their teachers being subjected to number of entertaining yet risky experiments.

St Peter’s science department has also been named as a Science Learning Partner. This follows a series of CPD courses that were held at the school for internal and external members of staff. Day-long practical sessions have been held for trainee teachers and subject knowledge extension events for existing teachers plus a range of courses for science technicians.   
Highlights of maths faculty fortnight included an external speaker for year 10, a maths competition for visiting teams of year 5 students from our main five Catholic feeder schools, and participation in Maths challenges.  Four students from years 8 and 9 (Amelia King, Mary McAteer, Sean Bryden and Lottie Wilkinson) finished sixth out of nineteen in the regional maths team challenge.  Also, in the individual challenge for years 9 and 10, two of our year 9 students achieved a Gold certificate, John Harvey qualifying for the European Kangaroo competition, and Sean Bryden for the Olympiad.  In addition, eight students achieved a silver certificate and eleven a Bronze certificate.  Well done all!

During the humanities faculty fortnight we were delighted to welcome Lord Tyler as part of the Peers in Schools programme.  He spoke to A Level Politics students - as well as some Year 11 students - and was thoroughly engaging throughout.  He commented that our students asked the best questions of all the schools he had visited as part of the programme.  Thanks to Miss Fearn for organising this visit. 

All KS3 students in RE have produced some really creative and informative pieces of work as part of their multi faith studies this half term.  Work has been expressed through art and craft (canvas paintings, information posters, artefacts and working models), drama (one student made a puppet theatre and told the story of Abraham using the puppets), extended writing (one pupil explored their Jewish ancestry and made a family tree), textiles (traditional Hindu clothing was made), food (traditional food was made from across the religious traditions studied and shared) and use of media (films, music, websites and interviews were made). 

Other news

‘Hope’ is a charity which supports some of our students to cope with a family member’s life threatening illness.  They will be featured on BBC 1’s ‘Lifeline’ programme on Easter Sunday.  Two of our students – Leanne Rogers and Katie Blagden will be appearing in the programme.  More details are available here:

Girls sports news
  • The Under 16s won the Gloucester District netball tournament.The Under 13s won the Wycliffe invitational netball tournament.Emily Lacy has been selected to attend Severn Stars Super league netball trials for the Under 17 squad.
  • The Under 14 hockey team won the Wycliffe invitational hockey tournament.The Under 14s football squad won the Gloucester District tournament and came second in the county.Mary McAteer attended the South Wales Regional Football Training Camp.St Peter’s won the Gloucestershire Schools Gymnastics cup and Armani Parker represented St Peter’s in gymnastics at national level.
  • The senior netball girls defeated the staff in a very competitive match.  The player of the match was Head of year 9, Mrs Roberts-Moore!
  • Year 11 student Grace Riglar has won the Golden boot for Bristol City and will be training with them next year.Our thanks to Niamh Cooney and Venice Agbyani who have given up lots of their free time to teach, coach and umpire lessons and fixtures.

Boys PE news:

  • Brooke Turner, Max Stephenson and Joe Langbridge will represent the Gloucester Rugby  Academy in the Wellington U16s Rugby Festival.
  • Aaron Hinckley has been selected to play for the England Under 18 Rugby squad in an Easter tournament.
  • Rhys Dunn has been selected to represent England in the Under 17’s rugby team against France.
  • Years 7 to 11 all reached the National Schools football semi finals.
  • The U12 and Under 15 teams reached the final of the National Schools football tournament.
  • Congratulations to Archie Brennan and Rhys Sarson who have professional contracts with Cheltenham Town Football Club.
A huge thank you to our PE staff for all the extra-curricular work they undertake and to parents for their time and effort in supporting this.

House Sport

This week has been House Week with students in years 7 to 10 competing in football and netball.  The current scores include all positive points on SIMS as well as house sport results for hockey, rugby, football, basketball, gymnastics and netball.  Well done to the winners so far, Severn House:

Severn – 6068

Thames – 5963

Wye – 5637

Avon – 5473

The ‘Spirit of the Games’ awards this term are for students who had positive attitudes, showed resilience throughout wins and losses and had a positive influence on other members of their team. Each of these students has won an extra 50 points for their house.  The winners of this terms Spirit of the Games award are:

Year 7: Iona Neal and Mac Cheers Berry
Year 8: Daniel Onakoya and Grace Harris
Year 9: Ethan Dunbar and Hope Martin
Year 10: Conor Howard and Izzy Limbrick
Year 11: Zenon Heggs and Lydia Ravenhill

Thank you to Miss Hadley and the PE staff for organising House Week and congratulations to the winners of the Spirit of the Games awards!

National Citizen Service 
This year we had the highest number of students sign up for the National Citizen Service.  This is a scheme  for young teenagers who do adventure activities, team building skills and leadership activities during the summer holidays. The NCS have limited spaces and were very impressed that over a hundred of our year 11 applied and with the quality of the applicants.

Students with English as an additional language

In March ten students with English as an Additional language passed their ESOL exams in Reading and Writing. Seven of them also attained passes in Speaking and listening. The students are from India, Ethiopia, Afghanistan, China, Syria, Albania and Vietnam. We congratulate them for their hard work and progress in learning English.

The Tenner challenge
Twenty five year 7 and 10 students took part in the Business Studies department’ ‘Tenner Challenge’ where they were given £10 and had to come up with a way of making a profit.  A wide variety of projects was organised including cake sales, selling sweets and popcorn, guess how many sweets in the jar, dog walking, selling refreshments at sporting fixtures and making jewellery.  Two year 10 students, Eyhana Hennessy and Maya-Lewis Chaplin, were the most successful.  In four weeks they managed to generate a magnificent profit of £215; a percentage of this profit has been donated to a Guide dog charity. Zoe and Demetrious in year 7 also made a very respectable £80 in profit.


Year 9 options
Year 9 Options evening takes place on the first Tuesday after Easter, 25th April from 17:30-19:00 with a talk by me at 17:30 which is repeated at 18:30.  Students and parents will have an opportunity to visit option subjects to talk to department staff.  Students must return their option choice sheet to the KS3 office by Monday 2nd May.

Staff news

Mrs Fennell is retiring after 15 and a half  years teaching sociology, history and politics at St Peter’s.  We wish her a long and happy retirement.

Mrs Greenow begins her maternity leave after Easter.  We wish her well and thank her for her work in the music department as well as with her 11B form who have given her some lovely presents to express their thanks to her.

Attendance, punctuality and behaviour

The vast majority of our students are respectful, sensible and considerate but we have had some disappointing incidents this half term which are damaging to the reputation of the whole school.  I have reminded all students about the importance of respecting others and the school environment and that failure to do so, including while travelling to and from school, will be dealt with very seriously.   Some students have let us down with their poor behaviour on public buses and this has been addressed.  Other students are asked to report any silly or disrespectful behaviour to a member of staff so that we can address it. Students have been reminded that mobile phones must be off and completely away during the whole of the school day and that if they are seen they will be confiscated.
We continue to look for your support in improving punctuality and attendance.  Students should aim for at least 97% attendance.  Research shows that students with 95% attendance or more achieve their target grades whereas students with 90% attendance or below attain one grade lower than their target grade.  This is important for all of our students but particularly for key stage four and five students who are preparing for external examinations.  Simply put, if students are not in school then they do not make good progress.

Staff have been extremely generous with their time and have put on lots of extra revision sessions but of course this needs to be backed up by students’ private revision.  Students preparing for external examinations should spend a good proportion of the Easter break revising but can balance this with regular breaks for relaxation and exercise.  It is a good idea for them to check that they have all the necessary notes and materials and to work backwards from the exam timetable to ensure all topics will be covered.  A quiet indoor space without distractions, including music, is important too.   

Research has found that ‘spaced learning (when students revise one subject for a chunk of time followed by a completely different subject and then a third etc) helps rather than hinders the recall of information.   Ebbinghaus’s ‘Curve of Forgetting’ is also interesting as it shows that we need to revise things several times before information is fully retained.  He found that memory decays the most rapidly in the first hour after learning and then continues to decline until it levels off after one month.  Therefore, through regular revision, forgetting will decline and more information will be retained.

Summer uniform
When we return after the Easter break students will need to wear polo shirts and jumpers rather than shirts, ties and blazers.  Year 9 students have been asked to donate their blazers to second hand uniform(if they are not needed for younger siblings). It is usually still quite cold when we return after the holiday so students must have their jumpers and coats with them. 

We are looking forward to being able to open the field but remind students that food is not allowed in the barn or fields as these spaces are used for PE lessons.  Please can I encourage you to remind students to use break and lunch times to go to the toilet and, if necessary, fill up water bottles then (which they are not allowed to do during lesson times.

Diocesan residential weeks
The Diocese is holding two Living Your Faith Residential Weeks in August.  Week One 7 - 11 August (Age 7 - 11) and Week Two 14th - 18th August (Age 12 -16).

The weeks are intended to encourage children and young people to engage in their faith through fun, games and spiritual input.  They take place in the beautiful surroundings of the Marist Convent in Nympsfield.  For more details contact Stephen Spurrell on 07860849460 or at
Communication and Show My Homework

A reminder to please let us know if any of your contact details have changed.  Do continue to use the website, school app and twitter to keep up to date with news and events.  The PFA have also set up a Facebook account - St Peter's RC High School PFA which you are invited to like and follow.  The PFA help to raise funds for additional items for the school and are always looking for new members and new ideas.  The next meeting of the PFA is on Monday 24th April at 6pm in the Rosemary Steele block at the bottom of the school.  
Please remind your sons and daughters to check Show My Homework regularly.  Students have individual log in details but all homework tasks can be accessed via the link on the home page of the website so there is never an excuse for homework not being done and submitted on time!  
We return to school on Monday 24th April and hope that all our students have an enjoyable break.  Have a happy and holy Easter.