Friday, 19 October 2018

End of half term

After the long summer holiday our students quickly settled back into school routines and, as usual, there has been plenty happening in and out of the classroom. Here are some of the highlights.
Chaplaincy news
The first half term has been very busy for Chaplaincy. Year 12 students participated in their retreat days at the start of the term when they explored the theme ‘Journeying Together.’ Year 7 retreats took place last week with students sharing the theme ‘You are God’s work of art’. Both year groups participated in workshops exploring our ethos as a Catholic school whilst building community in their year group. We were delighted to welcome Monsignor Liam Slattery to celebrate our beginning of year Masses at which we eagerly anticipated the canonisation of St Oscar Romero, the new Year 13 patron saint.

A new C.U. (Christian Union) group was launched at the end of half term supported by Gloucestershire Youth for Christ Group; the first meeting was well attended and we look forward to hearing how it continues to grow.
In September we had another successful IGNITE evening with special guest Daniel Cutting. Daniel demonstrated his world record holding football freestyling skills and shared what his Christian faith means to him. If you haven’t yet experienced IGNITE, do come along to the next one on Friday March 8th with Mike Pilavachi the founder of Soul Survivor! 
Students in years 10 and 12 are about to start their CAFOD Volunteer and Leadership Programmes; the response from both year groups was fantastic. It is good to see young people who are keen to learn about justice issues in our world and who want to make a difference

Gloucestershire 'We Are One' Young Upstander award winner
Congratulations to Sulaiman Hasan who has won a Young Upstander award at the Gloucestershire 'We Are One' awards ceremony. Sulaiman and his family arrived in Gloucester as refugees from Al Hasakah, Syria, and he has made every effort to succeed.  Sulaiman has been unafraid to stand up to others and to speak out when he has seen that an injustice has been done. Well done Sulaiman pictured here receiving his award!

Visit to the Cheltenham Literature Festival to see Sir David Attenborough

This month, Year 12 and 13 Biology students embarked on a project sponsored by the Gloucester Aspirations Project (GAP) called ‘Life on Earth’. The students visited the University of Gloucestershire, participated in lectures on biodiversity and entered a competition with Professor Adam Hart. On Saturday 6th October 2018 the students attended the Cheltenham Literature Festival interview with Sir David Attenborough which was a thoroughly inspiring event. Each of our students received a signed copy of ‘Life on Earth’ which Sir David considers to be the greatest achievement of his professional life.

Sir David spoke with great enthusiasm about all of his experiences from selling newts to the local university, to winning a scholarship to study geology and zoology at the University of Cambridge to becoming director of television on BBC 2 and making ‘Life on Earth’ and ‘Blue Planet’. He also shared some of his personal history, describing with great emotion how his mother cared for refugee children during the Second World War and eventually took two Jewish girls into their family permanently. They became David’s sisters, and while as a child he did not fully understand the gravity of this decision, he repeated his mother’s words “They need us more than you do”. The plight of refugees is a cause that remains very close to his heart.

Furthermore, he shared his expertise on climate change, plastic pollution and the impact of over-population, emphasising the importance of international agreements such as the Kyoto protocol, a global agreement reached in 1997 which provided a mandate for industrialised countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The interviewer, Emma Freud, asked a few questions that were submitted prior to the interview and we were delighted with the quality of questions that were submitted by tutor groups at St. Peter’s. Highlights of the question and answer session included the revelations that the species which best demonstrates the beauty and brilliance of natural selection are birds. His most memorable interaction with animals took place with gorillas in the Ugandan rainforest and if he could come back as a species of animal he would be a dolphin as they are so sociable and inquisitive. Overall, it was an unforgettable afternoon and we are extremely grateful to GAP for making it possible. 

Year 10 and year 11 visit the Gloucester History Festival
Forty students from years 10 and 11 attended the fantastic Gloucester History festival to hear a talk delivered by Helen Castor, television personality and lecturer at Cambridge University. The talk was about the insecurities of Elizabeth I's reign, giving students access to a passionate talk on one of the key components of their GCSE. Members of the public complimented the school for taking part in the event, and Helen Castor was kind enough to wish our GCSE and other students well in their students through her recent publication Elizabeth: (Penguin Monarch Series) a study in insecurity:

IT Services have completed computer upgrades in IT4, one of  our primary A-Level and GCSE teaching rooms for computer science. This upgrade means that our computer science students have access to the best equipment possible enabling them to do well in their studies. Thank you to IT Service for completing this project early and under budget. Further upgrades to other IT rooms are planned for later this year. The old computers were cleaned up, serviced and shipped out to the charity 'IT Schools For Africa' allowing children in developing countries to have access to IT resources.

MFL news
This half term 51 students are visiting Malaga to practise their Spanish, to experience Spanish food and culture, and to visit famous landmarks such as the Alhambra in Cordoba.
The very popular annual school ski trip to Austria in the February half term in 2020 has been announced.  All students of all or no skiing ability are welcome. See Mrs Beamish for further details.

Debating clubs: a battle of ideas

St Peter’s claims not one, but two debating clubs: one for sixth form and one for KS4.  This week the year 11 students challenged their seniors to a debate and were accepted. The inaugural debate-off took place on Wednesday lunchtime around the motion “This house believes that all cultures are not equal”. A packed debating chamber heard well-prepared and articulate speeches from the proposers of each side and in the end the motion was defeated by a small majority.  The debate was a chance for some talented speakers and thinkers to practise their ideas and a chance for anyone to take the floor and make their point. It was an impressive spectacle and the two groups now hope to build on this by arranging a second debate for next term on the topic of gun ownership. Very well done to all the speakers and supporters, especially for the high level of respect and dignity you all showed towards your opponents. Thank you to Miss Farrell and Mrs Eakin for their work with the debating groups.

Art department – The Big Draw
A large number of pupils from all years joined in the annual Big Draw art event this Wednesday, along with hundreds of schools nationally! This year’s theme was PLAY. Pupils were able to draw in their favourite art style on a large banner to be displayed in the school.

Over the course of the day drawings were added to the banner including manga style characters, mandala patterns and song lyrics. One pupil said “It is so cool to just be able to express what we like.” and another commented “It was so much fun! ” Thank you very much to all the pupils involved and to the art staff.

The Wizard of Oz

This half term culminated in the whole school production of The Wizard of Oz.  It was delightful to see so many talented students working together to entertain audiences of families and friends. A huge thank you to Mrs Perfect, Mrs Skyrme and Mr Waring and to all the staff and students who performed, played or helped in any way.

We hope all our students have a good half term break and look forward to seeing them again on Monday 29th October (week 2).

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