Friday, 26 May 2017

May half term 2017

Another busy half term has seen plenty of activity and some excellent achievements.  Our year 11 students have started their GCSE examinations, the A-level exams begin after half term and these year groups will be using half term week as a week of structured revision.  A huge thank you to the staff for all the additional revision sessions they have put on.  Students in Years 8, 10 and 12 will have internal examinations in the last half term of the academic year and their teachers will inform them of the details.
I have just left the year 13 leavers assembly.  (The students moan about wearing shirts and ties when they are in years 7 - 11 but love to put them back on for leaving day!)  We wish them well in their exams and in the future and look forward to being kept up to date with their news.   Our current, excellent, head students Anna White and Joe Hill are handing over to year 12 students Iwan Kunemund-Hughes and Arianna Gilbert.  We had an extremely strong field of candidates for these posts and are forming a sixth form committee to will work alongside the head students.  
Chaplaincy news
Following our visit to Flame 3 at Wembley Arena in March, the Chaplaincy held an IGNITE  evening on Friday 5th May.   This was a wonderful evening of live praise music with input from some our students who had visited and participated in Flame to support the work of CAFOD.  Our year 10 students who participated in a residential retreat at St Cassian's Retreat Centre in Kintbury also shared their experiences of how the retreat had helped them to grow in their faith and personal giftedness.
Charity Cake sale: a huge thank you to students staff and parents who contributed to, and bought cakes in aid of one of our school charities Help Madina in Sierra Leone.  The array of cakes was outstanding and Mary Berry would have been most impressed!  A total of £200 was raised.
Congratulations to our Year 7 students in the Mustard Seed group who made their First Holy Communion in May and to our Year 10 CAFOD group who successfully completed their Young Volunteers course and were presented with their certificates this term.  As always, our thanks go to our chaplain, Mandy Baker, for all she does. 
We have received news that Fr Kevin of Our Lady’s parish, Churchdown, is being moved to Weston-Super-Mare.  He has given freely of his time to staff and students of St Peter’s over the last twelve years and will be greatly missed.
Staff leaving
Today we say farewell to two long-serving members of our support staff.  Mrs Sue McMahon has been at the school for 13 years, most recently in the finance team, and Mrs Margaret Pinder, our sixth form administrator, has been at St Peter’s for 27 years.  We thank them for their hard work and commitment to the school community, wish them both well and hope that they enjoy spending more time with their families and friends and, especially, with their young grandchildren.
I will give a full update of changes to teaching staff next half term.
Department news
On May 5th we were fortunate to welcome again the renowned Mathematician Dr Nira Chamberlain to talk to a group of students from years 7-10 who were selected by their maths teachers for their hard work and diligence throughout the year.  His talk on mathematical modelling was really interesting and allowed students to see how maths is applied to real life situations.  They thoroughly enjoyed the experience. 
Well done to three year 8 students - Jacob Underwood, Emily Stratford and  Mieko Gayya – who were selected to attend the Royal Institution Masterclasses at Bath university.  The six Saturday morning sessions gave them the opportunity to work with other able mathematicians across the region.  The sessions were designed to deepen their understanding of Maths in various contexts, whilst seeing the beauty and fun of the subject. 
At the start of this term, 120 students from years 7 and 8 took part in the UKMT Junior maths Challenge, an event designed to challenge and intrigue students.  Many excellent results were  achieved in this national competition, with 24 students achieving a Bronze certificate, 10 a Silver and 5 gaining Gold.  Well done to all the students for their efforts.  Particular congratulations are due to Christopher Thomas in year 7 who has qualified for the prestigious Junior Kangaroo event in June. 
On Friday 12th May the History department hosted  letcturer Toby Thacker from Cardiff university. He delivered a fascinating lecture on Germany after the Second World War to our A Level historians as well as to some Year 10 students. He then conducted a university-style seminar on the First World War with a group of fifteen Year 12 students.
The Brilliant Club
Twelve of our year 8 students are visiting Oxford University on Monday 5th June to launch the start of their work for the scholars programme run by the Brilliant Club. They will work with a PhD tutor throughout the summer term, helping her with her research on the effects of the Ebola virus. Their work will culminate in a university style essay that will be assessed by the University and they will get a chance to “graduate” in the Autumn term.  This is a very exciting project and we hope the students will benefit enormously from it.
Sporting news
Our Under 18 boys’ football team won the North Gloucestershire Under-18 school boys final.
The game was played at Forest Green Rovers (congratulations to them too!) when they beat Sir Thomas Rich’s 5-2 in an excellent game.  It ended a fabulous season for the team, their only defeat coming in the sixth round of the English schools National Cup when they lost to the very strong and eventual winners Millfield.  This ended a superb football season for St Peter’s football with four year groups winning the Gloucester city schools finals and the county final in the Under 18’s The seven teams which represented the school played a total of 60 fixtures this academic year, winning 46, drawing 3 and losing 11. Very well done to the boys and thanks to their coaches.
Congratulations to the Under 18 Rugby Sevens squad who won the King Worcester tournament on March 15th 2017 and to our Under 13 Rugby Sevens Squad who won 4 of 5 games at the National Competition in London.  
Our Under 15 cricket team won the Gloucestershire Cricket Board North Gloucestershire ‘Chance to Compete’ competition and will now compete against the Bristol winners and South Gloucestershire winners for the chance to be crowned County Champions. There is a possibility that they could move on to win regionally!
School visits
Places have become available on two excellent trips: the Year 8 trip to Normandy in October 2017 and on the whole school ski trip to Austria in February 2018. 
The year 8 Normandy visit is from Friday 20th to Tuesday 24th October 2017 and includes visits to the Normandy landing beaches, the Bayeux Tapestry and Mont St Michel.  There will also be a visit to a boulangerie plus food tasting and games and evening activities.  The cost, including travel, accommodation (full board) and entrance fees, is £350.  
The ski trip to Austria is open to all students and costs £975 which covers all travel costs, accommodation, insurance, ski hire and tuition.  Evening entertainments include swimming, bowling and a presentation evening. 
Both trips have proved extremely popular in the past and come highly recommended.  Please contact Mrs Beamish ( for further information.
Cashless catering – important changes from September 2017 for current students
We currently operate a ‘cashless’ catering system using biometric fingerprint technology.  Accounts may currently be topped up through a secure ParentPay website or by PayPoint in local convenience stores
The majority of parents use the secure ParentPay website.  For parents who already have a registered account it is essential that you ensure your children’s catering accounts always have sufficient credit to enable them to purchase food/drink at the school
Alternatively, you may choose to use  PayPoint in local convenience stores.  This method is generally used by parents who do not have ready access to a computer.
At the moment students can use a cash top-up machine in school  but from September 2017 this option will no longer be available:  students will NOT be able to top-up their catering account using cash brought into school
For parents who currently pay by cash only there will only be two options available from September 2017:
1.      Secure on-line website using ParentPay. Top-ups are instant, there is a minimum £10 top-up, and you can view your child’s purchases on-line.
2.      Top-up through local stores where you see the PayPoint logo.  You will be issued with a payment card by the school (if this is lost you will be charged for a replacement).  There is a minimum £5 top-up and top-ups take at least 2 working days to clear. 
It is important that you and your child(ren) prepare for this change in advance to avoid problems in September by e-mailing with the following details:
Your child(ren)’s name(s) and Tutor Group(s)
Your preferred future method of payment: on-line OR PayPoint
You will then be issued with a username and password. 
For more information on the cashless catering system please see the school’s FAQ
I hope our students enjoy the half term break (although it should not be one for our exam students!) and come back refreshed and ready for another busy half term. 
Buses: an important message from John Dix about routes along the A38 corridor
Dear Parents,       
We operate a route along the A38 corridor, incorporating Cam, Dursley, Uley, Nympsfield, Stonehouse and Haresfield.  Whether you have children at St Peter’s already or if they will be starting in September, you are able to subscribe to use this service now.
We have a very limited number of seats left on this route, and as such would urge parents to apply as soon as possible.  There are no other direct transport options to St Peter’s from these areas. This is an online application, and no payments are taken until September 1st 2017.  The total cost is £680 per school year, split into 10 payments of £68.
In order to sign up, please follow these steps:
Select ‘school routes’ from the menu bar.
Select ‘’St Peter’s High School’ from the list of school
Select ‘A38 Route’.Complete and submit the form that is generated.
If you have any issues completing this process, please call us on the below number or email and we will be happy to help. 
Kind Regards,
John Dix
John Dix Travel Ltd, Unit 9, Quedgeley Trading Estate East, Haresfield, Gloucester, GL10 3EX.  01452 886633