Head’s blog

The Many Benefits of Music

Michaelmas - Week 10

Music is one of the central parts of life here at St Peter’s. Children learn to read music from an early age and all learn a brass instrument in Year 4. There are choirs, wind bands and flute groups and we encourage and support children at all abilities to help them achieve their best.

We know that learning a musical instrument has huge benefits to a child, Classic FM earlier this year outlined the 10 benefits of learning a musical instrument. Many studies show a correlation between musical training and academic success as learning to play an instrument stimulates the brain, improving memory and abstract and reasoning skills.

By learning an instrument you have different opportunities – last week, the Chamber Choir were lucky enough to have the opportunity to sing with the English Touring Opera in a sold out performance of Bach’s St Matthew Passion in Exeter Cathedral on Friday night. Well done to all involved, a really super event.

As children move onto Senior Schools being part of the orchestra or band will mean that they have a ready made social group. And this can then lead on to adulthood where being part of a musical ensemble or choir can hugely enhance quality of life. Music making builds skills in leadership and team-building as well as individual progress. There are stress-relieving benefits, a knowledge of practice paying off and leading to a sense of achievement as well as developing confidence and creativity. We read of children having to deal with new levels of anxiety in the modern day to day. Being part of music and involved in music is a strategy which we can develop in children to help them cope as they move towards adulthood.

Last Wednesday St Peter’s performed in a wonderful concert alongside Lympstone Primary School to raise funds for the Lympstone Church. I was very proud of those who performed.

My message to all parents is – encourage your child to take up an instrument and keep supporting the music practice – it is worth it!

Lest We Forget

Michaelmas - Week 8

The St Peter’s community joined together this week to mark the 100 years since Armistice, the end of the first world war. It has been a truly tremendous week starting with an increasing sea of poppies creeping into the main reception hall. Each child created their own poppy in the style of an artist that they have been studying this term, with styles ranging from pop art to cubism. The Reception is the most wonderful exhibition space and the effect is both joyous and thought provoking. Our boarders spent Wednesday evening creating individual crosses and poppies marked with the name of the St Peter’s Alumni who lost their lives in the great war. On Friday the Prep school made its way down to Exmouth Holy Trinity church for a really very special service led by Dr Evans and put together by Mr Hoban. Many parents, grandparents and community members also joined us and it was good to hear the school in rousing voice. Mr Godwin-Brown read ‘Magpies in Picardy’ by Theodore Wilson, Esme read ‘To Tony (aged 3) (in memory T. P C W)’ by Marjorie Wilson and Joe read, with great expression, ‘Memoirs of a Padre. This was followed by an exceptionally beautiful piece, ‘The Padre’ written by Mr Hoban for our Chamber Choir followed by the Ode to Remembrance. The Chamber choir soared above the congregation with some exceptional descants on ‘O God, Our Help in Ages Past’ and ‘God Save the Queen’. Some of our families then joined the community at Exmouth for a ‘Lights On’ ceremony with local school children. Unfortunately I couldn’t attend as I was singing with the Exeter Philharmonic in Exeter Cathedral!

Yesterday, the Johnstons joined the local Exmouth community at a very well attended service at the war memorial in the centre of the town. The rain cleared to reveal the most beautiful rainbow exactly as the service started. Truly magical. Last night we went to Lympstone to see the Beacon lit as part of the ‘Beacons of light’ ceremony across the UK, symbolising Peace. It has been a great time of coming together and I am so proud of the St Peter’s community for marking and honouring this event.

St Peter’s Preparatory School Roll of Honour

Fl. Off. Quentin Garden – Liberator Captain, died 28 August 1944 during a night mission.
Lt. Edward Wright – Royal Engineers, died in India 12 February 1945, aged 22.
Fl. Lt. Derek Wainwright – RAF Volunteer Reserve, Spitfire Pilot, wounded in action and died 10 June 1942, aged 20.
Sub Lt. Howard Cardwell – RN Volunteer Reserve, Malta, died 23 December 1941.
Lt. Owen Gould – Royal Artillery, killed at Anzio on 20 February 1944.
Lt. John Gould – Royal Corps Signals. Killed in Burma on 23 January 1944.
Lt. Harold Holme – Rajputana Rifles, died 12 February 1941.
Geoffrey Dawes – Assistant Deputy Commissioner to Governer, Leeward Islands – details unknown.
Fl. Lt. Richard Roe – RAF – details unknown.
Capt. Percy Wilson MC – Queen’s Royal Regiment, killed Anzio Beachhead 22 February 1944, aged 28.
Capt. Michael Hogg – Staffordshire Regiment, died 8 July 1944, aged 28.
John Benn – lost at sea off East Africa 16 August 1944, aged 17.
Lt. Harold Coombe – evacuated sick and died in India 20 November 1944, aged 26.
Lt. Bryn Jenkin – Devonshire Regiment, shot by sniper, Normandy, 14 August 1944.
Sgt.Pilot James Colmer – RAF Volunteer Reserve Bomber Command, died 20 September 1941, aged 20.
Fl. Lt. Michael Donne – RAF 17 Squadron Hurricane pilot, died 11 May 1940, aged 23.
2nd Lt. John Sutton (Wallis-Jones) – Devonshire Regiment, died 13 May 1944 in Burma aged 20.
Capt. Dennis South – Hampshire Regiment, killed in motor accident in France, 13 January 1940, aged 26.

Heroes, Halloween, Heads and House Captains

Michaelmas - Week 7

We have had a wonderful week of two halves with some glorious sunshine and some really dreadful weather. It was the first beach school of the year – luckily on the Sunny day and the Year 2s enjoyed their very strict Victorian School Day!
Year 4 impressed the entire school with their outstanding Heroes’ projects. I couldn’t believe how articulate and thorough the children were in presenting their findings. Heroes ranged from Mountain runners to ‘my mum’ and all was presented in true St Peter’s style. Well done to Mr Godwin-Brown and Mrs Sims for working so hard with the children.
I have been meeting with Mrs Tyson to discuss a whole school poppy display in main Reception to mark Remembrance this year. However, before that is Harvest next Friday – please do bring in dried food, tins etc. and deposit it into the green boxes in the main Reception. However, before that(!) it’s the Halloween Disco next Thursday. Always a tremendous event supported by the whole school.
With one week to go until half term I can’t believe how quickly this half has gone. Thank you so much to all those parents who joined us for our first PTA of the year this week. Plans are underway for the Christmas Fair and the Ball next year. All help is hugely appreciated.
Thank you to Mr Brett for taking the cracking photos of our leadership team this year. Jack and Grace as Head Boy and Head Girl and the House Captains: Harriet, Parker, Alice and Alex. I’ve been very impressed with Year 8 rising to the challenge of leadership, setting a tremendous example and embracing responsibility. Well done.
And finally here is Sam of year 8 sheltering a reception child from the rain on her way from the Bus to Reception. What a treat of a picture.

Shining Examples

Michaelmas - Week 5

Our Thought for the Week this week relates to the featured picture. As part of the philosophy and big thinking drive we have discussions on what concepts could
be considered in images/quotes or ‘thunks’. This one certainly provided some wonderful ideas in assembly this Friday.

I have been so impressed with the discussion and language used by children from six to thirteen as they learn the techniques in Philosophy for Children. Our Chair of the Board of Reference observed some lessons on Friday and couldn’t believe the language used. For example, ‘I would like to build on Harry’s point’ (age 7). ‘I agree with James but I also think…’.

I watched some great Rugby on Wednesday and very much enjoyed my first Art lesson in Reception ABJ (along with a woodland walk and some time with the Rabbits!).

We look forward to a weekend of Open Day and Strictly in front of the fire. I am touring new parents and prospective pupils over the weeks and we have received some wonderful feedback and lots of new sign-ups for next year. Our Reception is already looking nearly full for next year! Please see below the lovely feedback from a recent prospective parent. It is the pupils that shine here at St Peter’s and our amazing staff and I feel hugely proud on tours and on our Open days. If you are a current parent, do come along to see the recent developments and meet the older children.

“We just wanted to thank you very much for taking time out of your day to chat with us about St Peter’s, to answer our questions and to show us around the school…We enjoyed our visit so much and were thoroughly impressed with the children – their enthusiasm, polite behaviour, studiousness and energy and also the teachers and all the innovative teaching methods and self assessments that you have in place. We have looked around many schools in the past two years and never thought we could find one to match our son’s current school, but…St Peters has all the same values, energy, feel and ethos. We really loved it.”