Wednesday, 28 March 2018

Happy Easter

Chaplaincy news

The recent Ignite evening was an occasion to ‘live, love, laugh and believe!’ We were amazed by the wonderful tricks and inspired by the testimony of our special guest, magician Tom Elliott, and we shared prayer and worship together.

We heard from Joanna Fajkowska and Fred Ma’a about the latest fundraiser to come from Year 9: the hour long ‘Run to Wales’.
The next IGNITE evening is on Friday 6th July.

Lenten reconciliation services: once again we had a tremendous response from our students at our reconciliation services where we reflected on the theme ‘Be Opened’ to God’s love and forgiveness. Thank you to the priests of Gloucester and Stroud Deaneries for their care and support.

Easter liturgies during Holy Week: all students have attended Easter Liturgies during Holy Week this week; these have brought together the mission of Jesus in the dance of salvation through his death and resurrection. Students shared how they are serving others following in the footsteps of the Servant King.

Year 10 CAFOD DAY: Year 10 CAFOD leaders spent a day at St Joseph’s Catholic College, Swindon, with other schools in the diocese as part of their CAFOD Young Volunteers course. They shared all the wonderful things they have been doing to raise awareness and funds for CAFOD.

Easter Eggs for Gloucester Feed the Hungry project: we were delighted with the response to this appeal. 201 Easter Eeggs and 2 Easter bunnies were collected and distributed to the children at Milestones school.

Links with the Catholic primary schools: our chaplain, Mandy Baker, led the students at St Peter’s Catholic Primary School in preparation for their reconciliation service. They reflected on the commandment of Jesus to ‘Love one another, as I have loved you’.

Thank you to our chaplain, Mandy Baker, for all her work on the above events.

Duke Ellington Sacred Concerts
This year the St Peter's Choral Society joined with a professional big band, tap dancers and two soprano soloists, one of whom was our own former student, Willow Burden, to perform Sacred Concert by Duke Ellington at Blackfriars, Gloucester, and at the Church of the Immaculate Conception, Stroud. Nearly fifty students and several members of staff and former members of staff were involved in these fabulous concerts. The choir were directed by head of music, Catherine Perfect, and our thanks go to all the students and staff who participated to make these evenings such memorable occasions.

RE News
During this half term, students in KS3 have been learning about other world faiths as it forms an important part of Religious Education at St Peter'. As the Church says, “The love for all men and women is necessarily also a love for their culture. Catholic schools are, by their very vocation, intercultural.”

Years 7, 8 and 9 have spent homework time producing and then presenting an outstanding array of creative, and thought provoking project work. We have seen carefully crafted and detailed models, media videos, paintings, posters, textile work, powerpoint presentations and quite a number of delicious cakes and other foods, all of which were connected with the religions of Judaism, Hinduism and Islam. It has been our pleasure to see the creative nature of our children come to life and see the fruits of their work. Below are some images of what has been produced, but they really are just a small sample of what our students created.

We thank every pupil for their dedication and effort in making this research project such a wonderful success.

The Brilliant Club

Last Thursday saw the launch of the Brilliant Club for a selected number of year 8 pupils. They began their Brilliant Club experience with a visit to the University of Cardiff where they met their PhD tutor and set out to study literary theories. They will complete a series of assignments leading to a final piece of 1,500 words. All pupils were outstanding on their launch trip and have made a great start to what promises to be a wonderful journey for them.

The Duke of Edinburgh award
Congratulations to Luke Fullard, Mariella Rosato, Ava Bunce, Hannah Dawkins, Lena Thomas, Nathaniel Baruela, Maria Pieszko and Grace Adams who have recently completed their Bronze Duke of Edinburgh awards. There are currently 50 students in year 9 looking forward to their Bronze expeditions to the Cotswolds and 14 students across years 11, 12 and 13 looking forward to their Silver expeditions in the Black Mountains and the Brecon Beacons. Thank you to Mr Edwards, Mr McAteer and to the other staff who enable so many students to take part in this highly acclaimed scheme.

The English Speaking Union
Well done to Charlotte Ellis and Debbie Watkins from year 8 who made it to the South West regional finals of the ESU Shakespeare competition with their performance as Helena and Hermia from ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream.’ This was our first entry to the competition and the girls performed with great professionalism on the night. Sadly, we didn’t make the London final this time but we hope to enter again next year.

Group Maths Challenge
Congratulations to Amelia King, Mary McAteer, Chris Thomas and Benji Witherington who came 7th out of 24 schools in the recent Group Maths Challenge They were beaten by Pates, Cheltenham Ladies College, Katherine Lady Berkeley, Monmouth Boys School, Monmouth Girls School and John Masefield School.

The International Food Party 2018 
The International Food Party is now in its 14th year and has become an annually anticipated event, hosted by the EAL students and teachers in the department, with delicious dishes to tempt  tastebuds  from far and wide across the globe.  Dishes from Vietnam, China, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Afghanistan, Kurdistan, Iran, Spain , India, Gujarat, Poland, Bulgaria, Myanmar and Syria adorned the tables in the Pavilion last week. 

The students organise the event as part of a module for their ASDAN course and as a way of joining the community together to say thank you to teachers and other professionals involved in their lives for  their time, care and effort.  This year we catered for around 100 people,  with the additional dishes from Lyn Smith from the school's catering team, which was very much appreciated.  Sainsbury’s supported the students by giving £30.00 towards ingredients as a charitable donation. A further £30.00 was raised for GARAS who support the students outside school. It was lovely to see so many students from previous years continuing to support the school and bringing food to share. It  was also great to have the families of students at the event. Thank you to the EAL department and to all who cooked, set up the room and cleared at the end.


Business Studies news
Well done to the business studies students who made profits during the 'tenner challenge'. The winners - o made £160 profit - were Kayone Weir-Roberts, Zidiane Watson and Kynan Murchison.

The department also have a team through to the final round of the BASE game, a national business and accounting challenge. An accountant from a local firm will be coming in to work with the group on the final pitch which they will deliver by video link. The group are led by Lewis Vanstone and include Daiyaan Janodien, Joe Langbridge, Rohan Parry, Justin Varney and Monika Panyotova.

Geography news
During the recent Geography and Business Faculty Focus week 60 students from Year 9 were invited to take part in an earthquake science seminar. During the seminar, students learned about the impacts of the earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand and witnessed CCTV footage of buildings collapsing and some miraculous stories of survival.  The students were then tasked with creating their own earthquake building, made from straws, sticky tape and blu-tac.  In small groups, students had to design, build and eventually test their buildings' structure on the specially made shaker table.  Of the 14 different models, only 4 managed to survive 20 seconds of shaking, most crumbling or toppling over.  All students who took part were a credit to Year 9 and the school and through great communication and teamwork managed to create some exceptional designs.

Sports news

Congratulations to Charleigh Garrot in year 7 who goes on to represent the South West in    gymnastics after she won gold at a recent event.

Congratulations to former student, Grace Riglar, who has been selected for the English colleges FA national squad.

Congratulations to Mary McAteer who played for Wales in an international football tournament last weekend.

Congratulations to the Year 9 netball team who won the recent Wycliffe School tournament:

Congratulations to the gymnastics team who came 17th in the country at the recent British Schools Gymnastics Milano Team National Finals in Stoke-on-Trent. They also contributed to the South West region coming 10th overall.
Football news

The year 7 girls football team won the County tournament and will now progress on to the South West stage. 

Our year 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11 teams all won the Gloucester Schools District cup football finals this week - an amazing achievement. The students played extremely well and were a credit to the school. Well done to them and to their coaches!

Under the leadership of Adam Scott in Year 12 the sixth form boys’ basketball team have done extremely well in the county league. They have won most of their fixtures and finished as runners up overall. The success of the team is the result of the effort of sixth form students, with a minimum of support from teaching staff.  Practices and fitness training have been  organised by the boys themselves. They are an excellent example to others.

Exam classes and revision
Staff have been extremely generous with their time and have put on lots of extra revision sessions. There are also several revision sessions taking place during the holidays for which staff have volunteered their own time. All of this needs to be supported by students' private revision. Students in exam years should spend a good proportion of the Easter break revising but will need to 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 their exam timetable to ensure all topics will be covered. A quiet indoor space without distraction, including music, is important too.

Research has found that 'spaced learning' (when students revise one subject for a period 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.

Staffing updates

Mrs Wintle is leaving St Peter’s after many years of teaching English here. She is looking forward to the challenge of working with a different age group as she is joining Warden Hill Primary School in Cheltenham.

Mrs Lovett joined the maths department in September and is leaving to run the cafĂ© attached to her daughter’s beauty salon in Shurdington.
Mrs Piva joined us as a teaching assistant in September. She qualified as a teacher in Italy and wishes to qualify to teach languages in the UK next academic year.

We wish all three members of staff every success in the future and thank them for all they have done at St Peter's. Mrs Baker, head of art, commences her maternity leave after Easter and we wish her well also. She was spoilt by her form this morning who very thoughtfully organised beautiful gifts and cards.

We look forward to seeing the students back in school on Monday 16th April. Students will be wearing their summer uniform of polo shirts but will need jumpers and coats also! Year 9 students will not wear blazers after Easter and have been asked to donate them to second hand uniform.

We hope you and your families have a happy and holy Easter.

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Approaching Easter

Diocesan report and ethos
You should have received an email with a link to the recent diocesan inspection report. It can also be found via a link on the home page of the school website:

The Catholic life of the school and the teaching of RE were found to be Good and the report contains many positive comments on the school and on the students. We will of course work on the areas identified as targets.

Students in all year groups have attended Lenten reconciliation services led by our chaplain, Miss Baker. We are grateful to the priests from local parishes who have supported these services. As usual the students themselves have been extremely respectful and have participated well.

Ignite evening
Ignite was postponed because of the snow and will now take place on Friday 16th March. Doors will open at 6:30pm and the evening will start at 7pm. We are delighted that Tom Elliott will be appearing. Tom is an entertainer, comedian and magician. Among plenty of laughs, tricks, silly props and audience participation, he will share a positive and life-affirming message and give testimony to his Christian faith. Tickets are available from reception.

The Brilliant Club – year 10 
A group of 12 high ability year 10 students was selected to take part in the Scholars’ Programme organised by the Brilliant Club. The launch was at Warwick University. It is a unique chance for them to work with a PhD tutor on some university style scientific research. Pupils are exploring the evolution of species with the help of technology to help their PhD tutor answer the question “what would Charles Darwin do with a computer?” Pupils have now almost completed their work which will be graded with university style marks (first class, 2:1, 2:2) prior to attending a graduation event at another university. Thank you to Mrs Barker for her work with the Brilliant Club.

The Science department trip to Geneva and CERN
The science department trip to Geneva and CERN went well although the weather conditions were very challenging with daytime temperatures falling as low as -9C. The students conducted themselves excellently throughout. Prior to the visit to CERN, Mr Jones Parry gave a well-received lecture to students on the work at the site and the physics behind the concepts. Staff were pleased by the challenging questions from the students. The visit to CERN was extremely interesting and students from all year groups again asked lots of valid questions. The group passed into France via a CERN coach to visit the cryogenic facility, the AMS experiment and the control centre. This followed a one-hour lecture and film on the history, current work and future plans for the site. Students and staff also visited two permanent exhibitions - Microcosm (about the setting up of the LHC) and the Globe (about the universe). Afterwards the group went into the old town which was followed by a quiz from Mr Parry Jones on CERN, Switzerland as well as on some general knowledge. The trip also included a visit to the botanical gardens which was shorter than previously because of the cold weather and instead more time was spent inside at the science museum. A visit to the Red Cross Museum ended the science trip to Geneva and CERN. Thank you to Dr Taylor, Mr Jones Parry, Miss Holliday and Mr De Young for taking the students on this excellent educational visit.

February half term ski trip
48 students accompanied by six staff took part in the annual school ski trip to Austria during the February half term.  After a long (25 hour) journey by coach. The party again went to St Michael im Lungau, stayed again in the delightful family-owned hotel Zum Weissen Stein. Students skied with their instructors according to their ability, and the superb snow conditions meant that most rose to the challenge of making two levels of progress during the week. Several students even enjoyed skiing with their teachers at the end of the day. Evening entertainment involved a trip to the Therme Amade indoor water park but extreme weather conditions meant that the planned bowling trip at Oberlungau had to be abandoned. The best evening was the awards evening when staff and students were joined by the ski instructors who awarded medals and trophies to students who had completed the slalom race earlier that day.  Our students displayed their ROCK values all week, and proof of this came from very favourable comments from the two coach drivers who were delighted with how tidy the coach was after the long journey, and also the ski school head instructor, who said that we were the most polite and respectful school they had worked with all winter! Thanks to Mrs Beamish for organising the trip and to Miss Beachus, Mr Figliola, Mr Potter, Mr Rumsey and Mr Versaci who also went.

Will it make the boat go faster?

Next Tuesday 20th March at 18:00 we will be joined by ex-Olympic gold medallist and author Ben Hunt-Davis. Part of the Redgrave, Cracknell and Pincent era, Ben won gold in the men’s eight in Sydney 2000. Team GB had not 'medalled' since 1912 in this event. Ben and his peers broke this 88 year old record when they not only got on the podium, but won gold.
Ben has since shared his story in a bestselling book he co-wrote, Will It Make The Boat Go Faster? Among other things, Ben has become a world class business consultant and keynote speaker.

Students and parents are invited to this special evening. Tickets are £5 per head and can be purchased in reception. Thank you to Mr Pinnell for organising this event. Profits will be split between Prostate Cancer and the rugby tour to Canada.

Rome visit at Easter
A reminder to parents of students going to Rome at Easter that there is an information evening on March 14th at 6.30pm. Please bring your child’s passport and EHIC card.