Friday, 21 July 2017

End of the academic year, July 2017

The last half term of the academic year has been long and extremely positive. 

Year 9 retreats were very successful.  Thanks to the tutors, Miss Baker and to Fr. Kevin for their energy and commitment to these important days.

Sports Day yesterday was a great success despite the later start because of the rain and I thank students, staff and parents for their support.  There was a lovely atmosphere and it was delightful to see so many young people participating and displaying their talents. A big thank you to the PE department for all this work.  Last week was also house week and the house totals for the year which include positive SIMS, points during house weeks and sports day are:







National tennis success
Our senior girls and senior boys tennis teams made it to the national finals in Nottingham in July.  We were the only comprehensive school to have both a boys and girls team competing at this level which is an amazing achievement.  The girls came 12th in the country and the boys came 11th.  This is a huge achievement for them and for the school and reflects the quality of coaching from Kieran Montagu, Mrs Kat Donovan, Mr Nick Dill and the other coaches. 

In addition, one of the girls who competed at the national finals, Anna Barnes in year 9, played in the Road to Wimbledon county finals on Sunday 16th July. She won and will therefore get to play at Wimbledon in the National Finals during the summer holidays 14th – 19th August.  Well done to both teams and to their coaches!

Resurfacing of the All Weather Pitch and fund raising to kick start a 3G Pitch
Our existing all weather pitch is being resurfaced with work starting on Tuesday 25th July.  The pitch will be ready for September and bookings are being taken now.  

As you know, we are trying to raise £20,000 to kick start the financing of a brand new 3G pitch.  Thank you to those who have already donated and to those who have shown support on social media.  Can we ask once more that if you haven’t yet donated and are able to, to contribute as soon as possible.  £20 from 1000 families means we would reach our goal.  Sponsorship packages are also available on request.  

Provisional bookings for the 3G pitch can also be made via Mrs Tanya Kerslake ( #stpeterspitchin

Clarification about the building fund
In my last blogpost requesting contributions to the Just Giving page for the 3G pitch, I mentioned that the school had not sent home building fund envelopes recently.  However, many parents contribute to that fund through a standing order and I would like to reassure you that the money is kept separate from other funds and is used when appropriate to improve facilities for students.

Music news
The newly-formed Girls’ Choir progressed to the regional finals of the National Music for Youth Festival in Birmingham Town Hall. Their programme included Year 12 student, Hannah Soares’ AS composition ‘Irish Blessing’ which was met with huge enthusiasm by the audience and adjudicators alike.

Four students (Natasha Burch, Lydia Ravenhill, Amelia Skipp & Martha Soares) have passed Grade 5 Theory, the benchmark qualification which allows students to progress to the higher practical grades.  Alisha Perkins achieved Distinction for Grade 8 Singing.  This completed a set of highly impressive results for the Year 13 Music set this year:  Grade 8 Distinctions for Willow Burden (Singing), Will Busuttil (Trumpet) and Grade 7 Piano (Distinction) for Christopher Slemensek.

Former student, Hannah Mahon received a 2:1 music degree from Cardiff University and plans to train as a Music Teacher.

Elite History Homework
We have been really impressed by the exceptional quality of the elite history homework completed by KS3 students this half term and the fact that many of the pieces are going to be displayed in Gloucester Life Museum, Westgate Street, until 12th September.  Do try to pop in to see some of the students' excellent work.

Art news

Workshop with artist David Brindley

Art students have been developing their soft pastel skills during the Art and Design Technology Faculty Fortnight. Local artist David Brindley worked with students to produce a still life piece inspired by one of his own greetings card ‘A little bruised but otherwise ok!’   Students worked hard and have produced some excellent pieces of work.

Gloucester Museum Art exhibition
 A group of talented year 10 GCSE students’ work is being exhibited at Gloucester Museum from 15th July to 23rd September.  The Unit 1 still life work was inspired by the style of artists such as Paul Cezanne, Giorgio Morandi and Carolee Clark.  Do try to pop in and admire the work of our talented students.

The Duke of Edinburgh scheme has been really successful this year.  36 students in years 9 and 10 successfully completed the expedition section of their Bronze Award. They completed a challenging two day expedition in the Cotswolds which was then followed by producing excellent presentations to their parents about their expedition on Monday this week.  25 students from years 9 to 13 completed the whole Bronze Award.  

Two former students, Amy Walker and Ffion Ingram, completed their Gold Awards which they will receive at St James’s Palace.  One student will complete their Silver Award over the summer once they have done their expedition. Thanks to the staff who give up so much of their time at weekends to ensure that the scheme runs and benefits so many students.

Lottery Funding for Black History Month events
Mrs Roberts-Moore applied for and was successful in receiving £5150 from the National Lottery for cross curricular events to celebrate Black History Month in the Autumn.  This will involve students in several departments working with visiting artists and musicians and will culminate in our celebration of Black History Month on Wednesday   11th October – a date for your diaries.

The following members of staff are leaving at the end of term.  We thank them for their hard work at St Peter's and wish them well in the future:

Mrs Hannah Davy (history), Mr Martin Peake (computing), Mrs Nicola Thompson (maths), Mrs Emma Hilliam (English), Mrs Anna Misselbrook (English), Miss Grace Anderton (art), Mr Andrew Holloway (maths), Mrs Mary Stephen (science & psychology), Mr Peter Morrison (maths), Mrs Nicola Garner (science), Mrs Maria Szoke (maths), Mr Liam Gittins (teaching assistant), Mr Saul Bateman (teaching assistant) and Mr James Dart (maternity cover in English).  Ms Judy Vertannes (MFL and EAL) and Mrs Alison George (MFL and computing) have been granted a year’s sabbatical by the governors.

Mr Jim Stenson
Today we say goodbye and a huge thank you to Jim Stenson who has been Chair of Governors for eleven years.  Jim has devoted hours and hours of his time - completely unpaid - and has been a true servant of Catholic education and of St Peter's High School.  We hope he enjoys his retirement from governing body duties and thank him for his advice and guidance over many years.

The following members of staff will be joining us in September: 

Miss Alice Brookes (science), Mrs Tryphosa Bennett (English), Miss Vicky Langham (science), Mr Elishma Lawless (MFL), Mr Dave Fredrickson (English), Mr Jason Chambers (R.E.),  Mr Philip Brookin (science), Mrs Jane Smalley (maths), Mrs Wendy Lovett (maths), Miss Melanie Moss (art), Mrs Catriona Nicklin (Business Studies maternity cover), Mrs Allyson Mountain (English maternity cover), Mr Scott McSwayde (teaching assistant), Mrs Donna Jackson (teaching assistant), Mrs Emanuela Piva (teaching assistant), Mrs Chricellaine Goodenough (teaching assistant) and Mrs Georgina Blackburn (careers adviser).

Parents and Friends Association
The PFA raise additional funds for the school and meet at the start of each half term on a Monday evening.  Several long standing members left at the end of term when their children (or grandchildren!) left the school and it would be great to see more parents becoming involved.  We are in particular need of a PFA treasurer.  This involves checking the bank statement, advising the PFA of the current funds, organising floats with the finance office and banking money.  The current treasurer says that it involves just over an hour’s time a month and is not an onerous responsibility.  Please let me or Mrs Haywood know if you are interested in joining the PFA and / or becoming treasurer.  You can also see and like the PFA’s St Peter’s RC High School Facebook page which publicises events.

Assessment points next academic year
We have made some changes to our assessment system for next year but assessment letters will still be sent home three times a year and will reflect homework, assessments in class, attitude to learning and whether or not students are making expected progress. The system allows a degree of flexibility as the new numerical GCSE system becomes embedded with final gradings changing from A* - U grades to letters from 9 (high) to 1 (low).  Staff will be assessing whether students have the age appropriate skills to progress to the GCSE grade range suggested by their KS2 results.  The target grade range is based on performance at primary school and is used to suggest the potential GCSE grade your son or daughter may attain.  We will be able to discuss this in more details at the September information evenings and will include more information with the first assessment letters in November.  

Please let us know if you have any comments on assessments, reporting to parents and carers (we have moved to three assessment letters a year instead of one final report) and Insight by emailing with the subject heading comments on assessments.

Important reminders for the new term

Cashless catering will be truly cashless
As you should know from my previous blog and emails (and which students know from the posters around the school and the frequent tannoy reminders), students will not be able to top up their catering account in school from September.  All details of how to top up online or via a card in local shops can be found on the school website. Email if you need further help.

Uniform and hair styles
Please check the school website before allowing your sons or daughters to dye their hair, have tramlines cut in or extremely short hair and before purchasing new items of uniform.  In particular, trousers must not be skinny or clingy and we have a specific school skirt which can be purchased at the uniform shops. 

May I remind you not to try to enter the bus bay at the end of school until 4pm after which there is no problem at all.  Earlier in the year we also had problems with some parents blocking driveways of local residents so I ask all parents and guardians to be sensitive to our neighbours.

See you in September

Thank you for all your support throughout the year.  I hope that your sons and daughters enjoy the summer break and we look forward to seeing them again in September.

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Mass and awards celebration on the feast of Saints Peter and Paul

Last Thursday was a special day for staff and students at St Peter's.  In the morning Fr. Kevin Hennessey said Mass in a packed sports barn bedecked with banners made by year 8 forms.  Our musicians and choir led the singing and were, as usual, superb.  We were joined by governors, parents, former members of staff, former students and by teachers and students from St Rose's, Stroud.  Our students behaved beautifully and showed their appreciation for Fr. Kevin - who is moving to Weston-Super-Mare in September - in a standing ovation which lasted for several minutes.  Two of our governors who are about to retire from their completely voluntary work on the governing body were awarded certificates from Bishop Declan to mark their years of dedicated service to the school: Pat McCrink has served on the governing body for 31 years and Jim Stenson has served for 12 years and been Chair of Governor for 10 years.  As usual the Mass ended with a rousing rendition of 'Sing it in the Valleys'!

In the afternoon we were treated to a gymnastics display to the theme music from The Lion King followed by a wide range of awards for academic, musical and sporting excellence as well as for community and charity work.  The awards were interspersed with well chosen musical interludes: Dominic Travell from year 9 played 'Maple Leaf Rag' as 2017 is the 100th anniversary of Scott Joplin's death; Seb Rowe from year 8 sang and played 'Don't Look Back in Anger' as a tribute to the victims in Manchester; Fin Stevens from year 11 sang 'Bridge over Troubled Water' as a tribute to the Grenfell Tower victims.  As usual, the family of former student Anna McGurk (nee Potts) also joined us to award bursaries in Anna's name to three deserving students.  It was a real privilege to be part of this special celebration and to give out the awards to the following students who have show real commitment and dedication in their various fields:

Sue Goble Award for R.E. - Iona Price
Governors Award for Philosophy and Ethics - Charlotte Burnham
Governors Award for Theology and Ethics - Michael Wright
The David Watts Cup for Science - KS5 - Jack Bruton
The David Watts Cup for Science - KS4 - Ethan Wood and Jamie Gill
The Tony Chesson Award for Biology - Storm Maguire Toombs
The Governors Award for Science - KS3 - Ivy Wang
The Governors Award for Science - KS5 - Jack Cullimore and Jack Jarvis
The Trendgrey Award for Maths - Eddie Evans
The Governors Award for Maths - Finley Stevens and Sean Bryden
The Governors Award for English - KS3 - Keeley Davies
The Governors Award for English - KS4 - Sam Harte
The Governors Award for English - KS5 - Will Bussutil
The Governors Award for Computing - Lily Magri
The Trendgrey Award for ICT - Jahnai Selassie
The Molly Gravells Community Award - The Year 9 Charity Group
The Boyce Award for Endeavour - Cassey Butcher
The Governors Community Award - Mr and Mrs Osman (for 30 years service on the PFA)
The Governors Award for Languages - Alessia Johnstone
The Governors Award for English as an additional language - Yao Ding
The Anna McGurk bursary award (senior) - James Etheridge
The Anna McGurk bursary award (junior) - Ailsa Hall and Emily Watson-Howell
The Moss Construction Award for Sport - Venice Agbayani
The Dave Pointon Award for Sport - Reece Dunn
The Governors Award for Art - KS5 - Emily Burrus
The Governors Award for Art - KS4 - Erin Koronis
The Governors Award for Music (junior)  - Edward Cutting
The Governors Award for Music - (senior) - Christopher Slemensek
The Governors Award for Drama - Alice Davies and Jack Barron
The Sally Holloway Most Valuable Performer award - Patrick Meehan
The Governors Award for Geography - Darcy Woods Broady
The Governors Award for Technology (Textiles) - Jess Walker
The Governors Award for Technology (Product Design) - Kelsey Ryan
The Governors Award for Psychology - Callum Milne
The Peter Baker Award for Social Sciences - Grace Riglar
The David Croft Award for Love of Learning - Warren Greaves
The Governors Award for Social Sciences - Dominik Brown
The Governors Award for Business and Economics - Ellie Robinson
Head Student awards - Anna White and Joe Hill

Bronze Duke of Edinburgh awards: Dominic Thomas, Charlotte Cutting, Pippa Brogden, Rebecca Terry, Hannah Osmanski, Maddie Park, Adam Nash, Rebecca Lambert, Deanna Mempin, Milly Robinson, Fran Smith, Romana Protsyshyn, Elena Davies, Louise Watkins, Ethan Crew, Bradley Coomber.

Certificates for Altar Servers - Simon Cook, Sean Bryden, Dominic Thomas.

Our award winners

Two other occasions added to the celebrations last week.  At the 'Fab 5' Art award ceremony students received awards for excellence in art classwork and homework and superb work from students from KS3 to A-level art students was exhibited. The week ended with an enjoyable evening of Shakespeare from year 7 to 10 students.  We had previously seen talented performances from KS3 musicians at the junior concert two weeks' earlier.