Head’s blog

What a performance!

Trinity - Week 11

Well! We are nearly there.

The highlights this week have been two outstanding drama performances. Year 5 performed ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ and Year 4 performed ‘Between the Lines’ at the Blackmore Theatre in Exmouth. It was so wonderful to see all the children perform so confidently on stage, really getting into and embracing their characters. Thank you as always, to the staff for their hard work with the children. So very worth it!

Lots of pupils have been away on expeditions this week. Year 7 to Dartmoor and Year 8 on their ‘survival’ weekend. I’m looking forward to seeing them back and exhausted later today! One of the children simply rolled out of the minibus prostrate on the grass!

This week I enjoyed a rare trip out! Taking a team of athletes up to the National Arena in Birmingham where they took part in the IAPS National Athletics. Congratulations to our National Champions, Will Saltmarsh and Dan Ward. Well done to all the staff and parents making this such a wonderful year!

The Summer Party Barn Dance was held on Saturday night. The weather was fair and the marquee is up! Speech days this week and a chance to say farewell to school before starting the eagerly awaited summer holidays.

Things have been hotting up…

Trinity - Week 10

This week has been about the heat – the Swimming Pool has been in action constantly – some Year 7s had two swims in one day!

The grounds are looking a little bit crispy but the ball is bouncing well for the cricket. We have managed sports day to take account of the sunshine and the heat and Year 3 has also had their ESB exams. We’ve had more ‘Preparation for next year’ parents’ meetings and evenings to discuss individual progress and a Board of Reference Summer Dinner which took place on the front lawn in an idyllic setting on a beautiful evening.

I’ve enjoyed careers morning with Year 8 today where I told them about my journey to Headship from pulling pints to consulting in Philadelphia to Devon. We talked about the importance of understanding that careers aren’t really a ladder but more of a jungle gym. Sometimes you will move across before you move up! It is all about seizing life opportunities and being flexible and open minded and of course resilient to knock backs.

I’m looking forward to taking some pupils up to the National Prep Schools Athletics Finals in Birmingham tomorrow. As well as waving off our Year 7 and Year 8 on their Spirit of Adventure residentials in the wild! That will build up the resilience!

Thank you to all parents for their support with Sports Days this week. Thank you also to the team and their flexibility in being able to adapt the programme because of the heat. No cancelled sports days at this school!

A Summer Celebration

Trinity - Week 9

Today I saw Harry from Year 1 become ‘Mrs Norris the teacher’.  He became part of the brilliant show ‘Margo and Mr Whatsit’  performed by the Paddleboat travelling theatre company and was very impressive in his role!  All the children have hugely enjoyed their drama experiences this year visiting local theatre from Caves in Torquay to the Northcott.  We had our whole school photograph which this year included Monty the dog. Our girls cricket continues to drive forward and we even had a mixed house cricket competition for Years 7 and 8.

My week has been taken up at both ends of the school, firstly with our youngest children aged two and three. I’ve been reading through the Early Years reports where targets range from ‘colouring in the lines’ to ‘balancing carefully on the beam in the adventure playground’.  I read stories to three year olds while I was on playground duty and watched the Year 7s take on their new roles of responsibility. Alex, age 12 playing in the little toy shop with a bunch of three year olds was hilarious and Esme reading stories to a gaggle of girls just delightful.  We had Nursery sports morning. The determination of the egg and spoon and pride in the sack race. Our Year 7 helpers were very keen to demonstrate the sack race and I think had more fun than the Nursery children!

And then to the top end of the school and my Year 8 Leavers.  One of the highlights this week was on Monday when I spent some time taking 1 to 1 leaving interviews with Year 8.  What a wonderful experience. I wish I could have videoed them all and put it up on the website. They are such a testament to St Peter’s and all the staff who work here.  We talked about their very first teacher as some have been here since they were three! Their favourite teachers, the best thing they have done, their cross keys program and their impending expedition to Dartmoor as well as their preparation for their next school.  I am so proud of them. An articulate, confident, reflective bunch ready for the adventures ahead. Well done.

Finally CONGRATULATIONS to our amazing athletes who competed at Mount Kelly on Sunday.  We have qualified for the National championships in 14, yes 14 different events. There are more details in this week’s celebration newsletter but what an incredible achievement for a small prep school.  Out athletes will be off to Birmingham to compete later in the term. Wow!

A busy week ahead with Sports Days and Plays.  The Summer term is definitely the best!

C. Johnston, Head

An Insight into Independence

Trinity - Week 9

It has been exam week for the Upper School and the children have worked incredibly hard in their revision and during the exams themselves. The Year 8s are now to be seen in their Red ‘Leavers’ Hoodies and have left for their two night expedition with great excitement. My thanks to Charlie Pritchard and Claire Smith for organising a wonderful Leavers’ Programme featuring events such as circus skills to a murder mystery event — cycling to Topsham and other excitement.

We have recently received the results of the Independent School Council Census taken this year (2018). This is the authoritative source of data providing a picture of where independent schools sit within the UK’s education landscape . The Census which has been conducted annually for the past 45 years, is completed by all schools in the ISC membership and provides some fascinating insights into the sector.

There are now 529,164 pupils at 1,326 ISC member schools – the highest number since records began in 1974. Almost £400m was provided in means-tested fee assistance for pupils at ISC schools, 4% more than last year. There are nearly 60,000 full-time equivalent teachers at ISC schools, equating to a pupil-teacher ratio of 9:1. 91% of pupils who leave ISC schools go on to higher education. The majority (54%) to Russell group universities of which 5% choose Oxbridge.

Barnaby Lenon, ISC chairman and previous Head of Harrow School writes “Independent schools play an important part in the UK’s internationally-recognised and diverse education system. Our independence from central government and local authorities enables each ISC school to follow its own curriculum – offering a wide range of learning opportunities – and be innovative and experimental, better to meet the needs of pupils.”

Julie Robinson general secretary of the ISC writes: “Parents choose independent schooling for their children because they value the broad all-round education on offer, including academic excellence, learning opportunities outside the classroom and outstanding pastoral care.”

It is very interesting to read this feedback and reassuring that the independent schools’ sector is performing so successfully nationwide as well as here in Devon. Another super week here!

C. Johnston