Friday, 18 December 2020

Christmas 2020

Apologies that it's been so long since my last blogpost: dealing with Covid-19 has taken up an enormous amount of time. Every single member of school staff worked hard firstly to ensure that we could reopen safely in September 2020 and, since then, to adapt to constantly changing guidance.

Here are some highlights from this term.

Chaplaincy News from Miss Baker, our Chaplain

"It has been a challenging term for all of us as a St Peter’s community but, despite the challenges, the #greenarmy marches on and I have been overwhelmed to see how much there is to celebrate since September.

Love in Action

339.65kgs of food was donated by the school community and taken to Gloucester Foodbank in October. This was in addition to further support this academic year for the national Breast Cancer Charity on ‘Wear it Pink Day’, for Children in Need and also our recent support of local charity, Gloucester Feed the Hungry.

I also had the pleasure of interviewing some of our students in Year 8 and Year 13 about the amazing charity work they had been involved in pre-lockdown and during the summer holidays. This video interview was shared with all schools in the Clifton Diocese for our virtual Diocesan Education Mass. It is wonderful to see our young people participating in the ethos of St Peter’s and the tradition of giving support in love and outreach to people in need. 

The encouragement we have received from the school community and the overwhelming generous support from past students means that we look forward to creating a Memorial Garden for deceased members of staff and students at the front of the school. It is hoped that we can begin in earnest in the Spring term.  More news to come on this!

We have also had the opportunity to celebrate liturgically some of our year group patron saints whose lives are a constant reminder to us to believe that with God everything is possible!"

Our term ended this morning with a virtual liturgy led by Miss Baker. (You'll need to adjust the volume at times).

Thank you to all the students and staff who contributed to the virtual liturgy and, of course, to Miss Baker for this and for all her other work with staff and students.

The Road to Bethlehem

Nearly 200 St Peter’s students have run more than 3,000 miles (enough to get us to Bethlehem) in a virtual challenge. after winning the Marathon Kids' ‘Keep Fit Thru Lockdown’ campaign.

The P.E. department won the Marathon Kids' ‘Keep Fit Thru Lockdown’ challenge, being awarded £1,000 of Nike sporting equipment but, as the campaign finished, the P.E. department and Miss Baker, our school chaplain, motivated students to run the full 3,131 miles in order (virtually) to reach the birthplace of Jesus Christ. All of this was, of course, completed in line with Covid-19 restrictions.

Mr Green, who is in charge of athletic development, said that staff ‘kept students motivated by giving them little competitions along the way and gave them targets every few days. It was about changing motivation and tailoring the targets for each child, which only happens when you have great relationships. In a six-minute period, for instance, some pupils might be able to run 1500m, some might only be able to run 300m, but as long as they were keeping their individual level up, that’s what we wanted.

‘We did some relays, they did over-taking challenges, we asked them to sprint a length or width of the track, little time trials, they could earn rest time by completing a distance in a certain time – all sorts of ideas just to keep them motivated on the journey. They absolutely thrived in that environment. We were surprised at the start because we do have students who think of running as the last thing they want to do, but as soon as we did get them going and they got excited about the challenge - and also getting to Bethlehem - it was about us as a group keeping the fire in them burning,’ he added.

The students who participated were predominantly Year 7 and 8 pupils (the challenge started when Covid-19 meant  Year 10 and 11 were at home), but younger students went down in their breaks, unprompted, to help get to Bethlehem.

Martine Verweij, CEO and founder of Marathon Kids UK, was thrilled that the challenge was used as a further catalyst to get children running despite the difficulties presented by the various Covid-19 restrictions.

‘It’s examples like the one set by St Peter’s that make us so happy to do what we do. We know that running and being fit are so important for kids who not only want to compete at running various distances, but also who want to be the best they can at other sports such as football, hockey or rugby,’ she said.

Of course, there are also huge mental and emotional benefits that sport and the lockdown challenge provide.

Well done to all the students who participated, many of whom are pictured below (in their year 7 group bubble). Thanks also to the P.E. team and, especially, Mr Green.


Music department news

The work of the music department has been very different this term. Music staff have missed gathering to provide the music for our usual Masses and it has not been possible to bring together our usual choir of more than sixty students from year 7 to year 13. It is also the first time in thirteen years that we have not had the excitement of a whole school musical. In addition, Jazz Band and all other normal extra-curricular rehearsals ceased.

However, restrictions have given the department a chance to try different approaches to engage students in practical music making. Students have been meeting in year bubbles each week and we have been delighted to see the following groups develop: Year 7 Choir, Year 7 Band, Year 8 Choir, Year 10 Girls’ Choir, Sixth Form Chamber Choir and Sixth Form Jazz Band. Most of these, as well as Year 9 & Year 11 solos and duets, were featured in the recent beautiful Virtual Carols by Candlelight

If you haven’t had a chance to watch it yet, you can find it here: 

The culmination of Virtual Carols by Candlelight is a community rendition of ‘We Wish You a Merry Christmas’ featuring over 100 students, staff and families. As a result of this event, we are proud to have raised a significant amount of money for a local charity, ‘The Family Haven’. If you would also like to make a donation online, please find the link here:

The music department staff and students have adapted brilliantly to having some music lessons in non-specialist rooms and the staff and the school are extremely proud of the commitment, enthusiasm and talents of the huge number of students who have taken part in our virtual events this term.

Thank you to Mrs Perfect and the music department team for your brilliant work in extremely difficult circumstances.

Thank you

Thank you to every member of staff in every area for your commitment, resilience and hard work this term. To say it has been challenging is an understatement. Thank you also to our governors, parents and friends of the school for all your support in these challenging times.  

We hope that you and your families have a safe and happy Christmas. The Christmas message reminds us that God is with us… in our ordinariness, mess and chaos. May we take time to allow the babe of Bethlehem to creep in beside us and to bring his gifts of love and peace anew this season.



Sunday, 3 May 2020

May 2020

Firstly, I hope that you and your families are safe and well. We know that many of our parents and carers are key workers and we thank all of you for all you are doing during this time. 

A big thank you also to all the members of school staff, including administration staff, cleaning staff, IT support staff, site staff, teaching assistants and teaching staff who are at school to teach and care for the children of key workers and other children who need to be here. Staff at school and at home are working hard to set work, respond to queries, give some feedback on tasks and, of course, to keep in touch with students and families.

As you know, so many special events have been cancelled including trips, concerts, parents’ evenings and leaving events. We hope that at some point in the future we will be able to say a proper farewell to year 11 and year 13 students whose time with us ended so abruptly and who will not have the opportunity to demonstrate what they can do in the external exams.

Badgers and Hedgehogs
Twenty of our Year 7 students had been preparing to perform in our Choral Society concert. The music department managed to get 8 pupils to send videos and 2 to send audio tracks from their homes. I’m sure you will agree that the result is delightful: 
Year 7Choir: Badgers and Hedgehogs, Andrew Carter

The composer, Andrew Carter, was delighted to give his permission for this recording, sent a lovely video message to the students and, after hearing the recording, emailed to say the following: 

Brilliant!  My family and I have very much enjoyed your Badgers and Hedgehogs video, with the visible eight and the invisible two. A really cracking performance, which is no surprise at all, super diction, beautifully in tune, just the right mood and fantastically together, which is a miracle of modern hi-tech, but also a mark of your team determination.

Very well done, each and every one of you young singers and terrific thanks to Mrs. Perfect for getting it and you together in these strange times.

Now you've had some practice, you might persuade Mrs P to tackle something else. Great fun! Thank you!

I’m sure you’ll appreciate how tricky it is to come up with a successful video recording done in this way so thank you to the music department, in particular Mrs Perfect and Mr Figliola, and the students involved.

A Song for Frontline Workers
Ben O'Sullivan from The Music Works (who composes and directs the amazing closing song at the annual Celebration of Success at Gloucester Cathedral when students from all the Gloucester Schools come together in song) is looking for young people and their families to contribute to a song for front-line workers which will also raise money for Cheltenham and Gloucester Hospitals’ Charity. The details can be found here: The deadline for submissions is 11th May with release at the end of May. 

It would be lovely for lots of our young people to take part. You/ they can also send in a video. You will need to complete a form giving permission if you wish to send in a video and those who are under 18 will need to get their form signed by an adult.

Students at school are working on tasks set by their teachers on Show my Homework but are also doing some other enriching activities.

Earlier in the lockdown period, The Business & Economics department, with help from Drama and the Library, put together an enterprise activity called School of Rock. The idea of the day was to create a business plan for a music festival and the students had a number of tasks to complete throughout the day, including:


  •       Creating aPop Star using dressing up clothes (donated by Mr Versaci’s festival veteran daughter)

  •        Designing a map of the festival, including all the stages, food, camping areas and entertainment
  •        A financial plan, including profit forecasts·         
  •            A marketing plan, including role plays, writing jingles and compiling a social media plan

        The images show the students’ pop star creations: Papa Fly, SkyStar, Zoeilla, Travma

       Thank you to Mr Versaci, Mrs Farrelly and Mrs Taylor from the Business/Economics department; Mrs Skyrme from Drama and Mrs Knapton, one of our librarians

Bring Me Sunshine
On another day in school, the Music, Art & RE departments planned a session entitled Bring Me Sunshine to spread a little happiness. Students took part in a range of activities:

·         They were introduced to the song, learnt to sing it and added a variety of percussion rhythms using cajons, drums, maracas and tambourines.
    They chose an uplifting quotation from the Bible to inspire a piece of artwork.
·         They used acrylic paint to produce huge banners to be shown in our next Mass in the school barn, always an amazing occasion.

All the students really entered into the spirit of the day and produced some excellent results. Thank you to Mrs Perfect, Mrs Smith, Mrs Parsons, Mrs Turner, Mrs Schofield and Mr Rumsey.   

Clifton Diocese competitions
Clifton Diocese are running regular school competitions for pupils of all ages during this period of lockdown. Details can be found here: The current competition is a creative writing one on the theme of New Life with a deadline of 15th May. The word limit is 750 words and entrants should give their name and age. Send any submissions to

We are delighted that one of our year 8 students. Esther, won the first creative writing competition for her age group with her piece on Hope. She won a £20 Amazon voucher which she has already spent on books! Well done Esther. You can read her work here:

Congratulations also to year 7 pupil Lawrie who illustrated the work of his younger siblings, all of whom received a special mention in the first competition.

Biology essay
Congratulations also to year 13 student, Maddie Park, who submitted an excellent, well researched and informative essay on the Coronavirus virus to Mr Taylor, her year 13 biology teacher. Her essay can be read here:

History Department Easter Egg Challenge
Congratulations to all the students who participated in the Russell Tarr History Toolkit Easter Egg Challenge. The results are entertaining, creative and show great historical understanding. You can see the students’ creations here: See if you can work out the historical figures being depicted in these eggscellent ways (blame Mr Slaughter for the pun!)

Congratulations to the winners who in reverse order are
3rd Place: Ellie Derbyshire
2nd Place: Sofia Hensley
1st Place: Esther Rumsey

Thank you to all who contributed, very well done to the winners, and thanks to Mr Slaughter for compiling the entries and providing some commentary.

Thank you for your support of and engagement with school staff, for your resourcefulness and resilience and, above all, for supporting our students in working in and coping with these unusual circumstances.

Friday, 20 December 2019

Christmas 2019

Welcome to the last blogpost of 2019. Staff and students are looking forward to a well deserved break.

Chaplaincy news

Ignite evening with Guvna B
On Friday 15th November we had the wonderful privilege of welcoming double MOBO award winning urban music star and author Guvna B to our IGNITE event at St. Peter’s RC High school. Guvna B has appeared at the last two Flame conferences, the largest gathering of Catholic youth in the country, at Wembley Arena. He has also played many times at the Big Church Day Out and Soul Survivor. Taking a leap of faith, our chaplain, Mandy Baker, sent an invitation on social media last March which was picked up by Guvna B’s booking team and the rest, as they say, is history!

Ignite follows the pattern of Flame and uses amazing Christian speakers and performers to inspire the faith of young people. Guvna B was a truly inspirational artist who shared his faith story as part of the performance of his songs. His performance was a wonderful tapestry of high tempo and reflective songs. Guvna B took a real interest in the school and in the Ignite event, saying, ‘You have a really good thing going on here!’ He was supported by some of our own students - Avygayle Smith and Point Naught who shared their musical talent providing inspiration for our younger students to allow their gifts to be used in the community.

It was wonderful to see young people from Swindon, Trowbridge and local Christian youth groups joining our young people in praising God through Guvna B’s music. Guvna B is an inspirational role model for all young people and his book ‘Un-Popular Culture’ has a positive message encouraging young people to be a light and shine wherever they go. Catholic education seeks to educate the whole person, to give young people hope and bring people into community with people of all faiths and none. We hope that Ignite will continue to do this with prayer and much needed financial support. Also, don’t forget to check our Guvna B’s new single ‘Mazza’!

Liturgies for year saints
This term Year 9 and 10 have celebrated their year patron saints: St Agnes of Assisi and St Francis Xavier. We were reminded that as a Catholic community we stand on the shoulders of the saints, the giants of our faith tradition, who continue to inspire us with their lives of faith and charity.

Year of Communion
Advent marks the beginning of the Year of Communion in the Clifton Diocese. We were present at the service of Evening Prayer with Bishop Declan on Friday 22nd November to receive the latest booklet and resources.

Christmas shoebox appeal
98 Christmas Shoeboxes and £115 was donated as part of the Christmas Shoebox Appeal this year. Our boxes will go to children in Belarus. Thank you to all who contributed.

Primary Schools’ Chaplaincy Day and Posada
On January 13th 2020 we will be hosting a morning for the main Catholic feeder primary schools’ chaplaincy teams. During the morning we will be reflecting on the theme of Community. To start our refection a Nativity Posada is journeying around the schools and will return to St Peter’s High School for our Christmas Liturgy celebrations.

St Peter’s Primary School’s Advent Service
Ms Baker was delighted to be asked to lead an Advent Service at St Peter’s Catholic Primary school to mark the start of Advent; the theme was ‘prepare the way of the Lord’.

CAFOD World Gifts
The CAFOD groups in Year 10 and Year 12 are working hard to raise awareness of CAFOD World Gifts. Year 10 are selling the opportunity to send a ‘Secret Santa’ message with either a candy cane or brownies to friends and teachers. Year 12 have a challenge to purchase 2 toilet World Gifts. 40% of the world, more than 2.4 billion people, lack access to adequate sanitation. If you would like to donate to this cause, please send donations to Ms Baker in the Chaplaincy.

Thank you to Ms Baker for all her amazing work!

Music Department News

Peter Pan
The annual whole school musical, Peter Pan, was the collaborative brainchild of the Performing Arts Faculty (Music, Drama & Media). Approximately fifty students in Years 8-13 performed to a full and appreciative audience on the three nights preceding October half term. It was enormous fun and the students on stage and in the band were an absolute credit to the school.

 Percussion Club
A new extra-curricular music activity started in November: Percussion Club run by our drum teacher, Mr Sunderland.  Students in all year groups are welcome to attend on Mondays after school until 4.15pm.  Attendance has been excellent and we look forward to their first performance at the Senior Concert in February.

On Saturday 7 December, two Year 13 students, Romana Protsyshyn and Harry Matthews, were soloists for Handel’s Messiah with Evesham Community Choir.  They performed with real musicianship, confidence and panache.

We were also delighted to hear that Harry Matthews has successfully auditioned for a Gap Year Cathedral Choral Scholarship. Harry will spend the 2020/2021 academic year singing in the Choir of St David’s Cathedral, Pembrokeshire, a beautiful part of the country. Congratulations Harry!

Carols by Candlelight
The Choir has been extremely busy this half term preparing for the annual Carols by Candlelight event. On Friday 13 December, at the Church of the Immaculate Conception Stroud, a 70-strong choir performed to a packed audience. We were proud to showcase our Full Choir, Year 7 Boys’ Choir, Year 7 Girls’ Choir, Chamber Choir, soloists and readers. We are grateful for the extremely generous contributions given in the retiring collection and will be delighted to donate significant sums to the Church funds and to ‘Singing Medicine’, a charity which brings music to patients in the long-term wards of Birmingham Children’s Hospital.

The Chamber Choir was honoured to be asked to sing at the wedding of two former student Choir members - Hannah Mahon & Chris Thomas. Congratulations Mr & Mrs Thomas!

Congratulations to Year 7 student, Sophia

Congratulations to year 7 student Sophia who recently performed in her first major production, ‘Nativity’ at the Wales Millennium Centre, alongside Dani Dyer. Sophia thoroughly enjoyed playing evil student Maleificient. Well done Sophia!

Congratulations to Mrs Lee
On Friday 13th December Mrs Lee, head of maths, came second in the University of Bath Teachers’ Awards 2019 in the category of Learning for Life Award. This is for teachers who nurture students’ talent. The university states that “the awards recognise and celebrate teachers who have gone above and beyond to support your students; guiding them on their path to university; inspiring them to aim high; offering pastoral care to support their well-being and of course nurturing their talents by providing them with exceptional learning opportunities. Thank you for what you do, day in day out, not just from us but from them, your students themselves!”

Mrs Lee was nominated by year 13 student Lily Magri who said in her nomination that “she wanted to thank Mrs Lee especially for acting as a strong female role model within the world of maths and for giving her a love of the subject. Lily feels that all your support and encouragement has made a real and ongoing difference in shaping her future pathway and that you have had a genuine and lasting impact on not only Lily’s life but on the lives of all your students.” 

Mrs Lee attended the University of Bath Celebration Event and was presented with a Teachers' Award trophy. She was also given accommodation at a hotel for the evening. Lily also attended the event and surprised Mrs Lee with a video she had made including Lily’s reasons for nominating her and comments from other students also. 

Congratulations again to Mrs Lee and thank you to Lily Magri for what was clearly an excellent nomination. Lily is currently studying Maths, Further Maths and History and is aiming to study Maths and Computer Science, possibly at Bath University next year

Modern Foreign Languages News
Trip to Normandy
October half term seems like a long time ago now but lots of memories were created by 59 year 8 and 9 students who took part in the bi-annual cross-curricular trip to Normandy.  Students stayed at an old converted château, and enjoyed the culinary delights of frogs’ legs and snails amongst the more usual fare of croissants and fresh bread. Visits included the Normandy Landing Beaches at Arromanches, where the students were impressed with the 360 Cinema which gave them an insight into the D-Day Landings. Respects were paid at the British War Graves, and although it was a wet rainy afternoon, everyone was impressed by the splendour of the American Cemetery, where we listened to the Last Post as the flag was respectfully lowered.  Equally poignant was the German Cemetery, giving a different perspective to this time in history.  The visit to the Mont St Michel was quite an adventure – crossing the causeway by shuttle bus and trying not to get blown over by the blustery wind; everyone was impressed with the Cathedral and the narrow, cobbled streets. 

Although it is hard to pick a favourite (the Bayeux Tapestry? Bayeux Cathedral? Shopping??) many of the students said they really enjoyed practising their French when they undertook the Lunch Challenge – going to the local market to buy fresh produce to create a healthy lunch back at the château.  All in all it was a great trip, made even better by a wonderful email from the château staff complimenting us on our students’ behaviour and manners. Thank you to Mrs Beamish for organising the visit and to the staff who accompanied the students.

Performance by a Spanish Theatre Company
Year 9 students were recently treated to an afternoon of educational fun in the Drama Theatre when we welcomed the Onnatti Theatre Company to St Peter’s to perform their Spanish play, Primera Cita (First Date). The 2 actors captivated the students with their funny antics and slapstick-style comedy, ensuring the Spanish was clear and accessible for all students – even for some invited Year 10 students who had never previously learned Spanish! We hope that students will be motivated to consider Spanish as one of their future GCSE options, as well as realising the importance of having a second language.

Association for Language Learning 6th Form Lectures
On Wednesday 27th November 6th Form students studying A Levels in Modern Languages attended a lecture at Stroud High School. The lectures, delivered in conjunction with the Association for Language Learning and the University of the West of England, are designed to give students an idea of what studying languages at undergraduate level might be like. The French lecture, Le Bénévolat (Charity Work), the Spanish lecture, Monarquias y Dictaduras (Monarchy and Dictatorship) and the German lecture, Bayern (Bavaria) allowed students to hone their comprehension skills, whilst also giving them some ideas for their Independent Research Project for their A Level examination.

G15 Student group chair
Congratulations to Joanna Fajkowska who became the first St. Peter’s student to become the chair of the G15 student body. The G15 is a council of young people (aged 14 – 19) from the 15 secondary schools in Gloucester. They meet six times a year to focus on issues that are important to young people in the area including charity initiatives, visions and plans for Gloucester in the future and social as well as emotional issues.

Joanna had to deliver a 3 minute speech and was voted in by her peers. My informer tells me that Joanna won by a landslide and she will now chair the remaining 5 meetings. This is a great achievement for Joanna and it’s wonderful to see St. Peter’s represented so well amongst our neighbouring schools. Well done Joanna!

Democracy in action
A mock election took place last week with KS5 students representing the views of the key political parties. These were shared via poster campaigns and through presentations of key messages sent to tutor groups. This was a great opportunity for all students to learn more about democracy and to participate in the ballot. As is often the case, the school (and also overall G15 schools results) did not mirror the national results and are as follows:

St Peter’s votes:
1)     Labour Party (53% of votes) – 438 votes
2)     Conservative Party (15%) - 128
3)     Lib Dem Party (12%) - 100
4)     Green Party (11%) - 95
5)     Social Democrat Party (4%) - 33
6)     UKIP (3%) - 27
7)     Scottish National Party (1%) - 11
Total votes 832

Votes of G15 schools who participated:

Brexit Party
Green Party
Lib Dems
Holmleigh Park
Ribston Hall
Severn Vale
Chosen Hill
Gloucester Academy
St Peter’s

Thank you to Ms Tilley for organising the mock election.

School Council
Democracy in action is also seen in the way in which the school council works with representatives of each form attending year council meetings led by members of the KS5 leadership team. Two elected members from each year group then attend the school council. In the most recent meeting members of the school council from year 7 to year 13 worked hard with Mr Lax and our chaplain, Ms Baker, to refine and update our school mission statement. Brilliant contributions were made by students of every age group. Their ideas will now be taken to the staff at the ethos inset day on Monday 6th January. (Students return to school on Tuesday 7th January 2020).

Green Teams and Global Climate Strike
Friday 29th November 2019 was a day of Global Climate Strike which saw many people and especially young students striking in order to get the attention of those in authority so that policies are changed to help us reach net zero emissions. Our Green Teams felt very strongly about these strikes and wanted to do something to show their support but without missing valuable lesson time. They produced campaign boards which were displayed on the fence outside St Peters so that anyone passing by can see that the students of the school supported the action and want to make a difference to the climate change movement.  The boards were made using cardboard from delivery boxes which had come into the school and will be kept safe until the next global strike day.
#globalclimatestrike #youthstrike4climate #gretathunberg
Clay club
The Art Department ran a lunchtime Clay Club to make some little owls to give as Christmas presents. Both staff and pupils attended and all said they really enjoyed creating their own unique creatures. Owls are now available to collect. Thank you to the art staff.

Sports News
Girls Football

Commiserations to the under 14 girls who were knocked out of the ESFA schools cup in the last 32. It was a fabulous achievement to get to this stage, the girls have had some excellent games in the process and scored an incredible number of goals (52 goals in five games!)

Boys Football
As the Christmas period arrives we have 5 teams progressing to the next stages of the national competitions, the highest we have ever had and an incredible achievement for the school. Congratulations to the Year 7 A and B teams, the Year 8B, Year 9 and year 10 teams who are all into the last 32 in the country.

We have played a total of 25 fixtures across the year groups and won 22 with nearly 150 boys representing the school along the way. We are looking forward to 2020! #greenarmylovesoccer

Cross country
Congratulations to the following students who represented the school in the Gloucestershire cross country meet. They ran in their respective year groups and some have now progressed to the next stage of the competition.

Country Cross country results:
Grace Clarke, Year 9 20th
Esther Rumsey, Year 8 28th
Poppy Jermyn, Year 7 18th
Todd Fieldhouse, Year 7  27th
Ralph Dodwell Year 7  2nd
Reuben Lowe Year 11 29th
Finlay Hawkins  Year 11 26th

Congratulations also to Amy Ross, Year 10, who has been selected to play netball for the Severn Stars Under 16 academy and to Elicia Kennedy, Year 11, who has progressed to Gloucestershire academy centre for hockey. 

We hope that you and your families have a peaceful and happy Christmas and look forward to seeing students on Tuesday 7th January 2020 (week 2).