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Head’s blog

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Welcome Back to Years 7 & 8

Lent - Week

We’ve done it!  All children at St Peter’s Preparatory School are back on site with Year 7 & Year 8 joining today! 

St Peter’s Preparatory School has welcomed back Nursery and primary school age children in a phased return since 1 June 2020.  Our pupils were delighted to see their friends again after so long away and return to a sense of normality (albeit in ‘bubbles’).  The school has felt more full again.

We are delighted to announce that from 1 July are welcoming back Years 7 and 8, for the last week of term.  Our Year 8 leavers will have the opportunity to say goodbye to their teachers and friends, celebrating their time with us.  

A number of measures have been introduced in order to ensure that our pupils can return to school safely.

  • ‘Bubble’ system: all pupils have been allocated to a bubble of 15, who work, play, eat and exercise together with their allocated adults, in specific segregated locations.  Social distancing has been adhered to at all times if bubbles require access to communal spaces (such as toilets).
  • Drop off and pick up times are coordinated in bubbles, with parents asked to remain in their vehicles as members of staff help children out of and into cars.
  • St Peter’s has increased its cleaning routine, with all communal surfaces cleaned frequently throughout the day.  Disinfectant wipes and hand sanitisers have been issued to all rooms and communal areas in use.  
  • Staff and pupils wash their hands upon arrival and frequently throughout the day, assisted by the introduction of outdoor sinks, next to classrooms.
  • Pupils have been able to wear their own clothes, to ensure that clean clothes are worn every day.  
  • Learning is taken outdoors whenever possible, a feat made possible by St Peter’s extensive grounds.  Specialist subject teachers stay with their allocated bubble and teach other pupils through Google Classroom, which the children access on Google Chromebooks.  

Mrs Charlotte Johnston, Head, says: “It is a pleasure to be able to have all year groups back on site, here at St Peter’s Preparatory School.  During lockdown, our teaching staff did a fantastic job of delivering learning online to pupils at home.  This has enabled our pupils to benefit from regular contact with their tutors and make progress with their school work.  From 1 July 2020 we will have pupils from all year groups back on site.  It is a testament to the hard work of our Senior Leadership Team, teaching staff and operations/maintenance team that is possible.  As a school community we look forward to celebrating the end of the school year together. Furthermore, we have now trialled having our whole school community back on site and we know that we can make this work for September.”

St Peter’s Preparatory School’s Admissions team is very busy with many families coming for socially distanced tours in these last two weeks of term. Whilst we are running a waiting list in a number of year groups, we do have availability in others so do contact our Director of Admissions & Marketing, Ms Rachel Elliott, on 01395 272148 or email rachel.elliott@stpetersprepschool.co.uk if you would like to book a tour or inquire about availability.

Lamb and ewe

‘LIVE’ assembly and Falkner House Day

Trinity - Week 2

We have lambs here on site and, after the rain, all is looking lush and beautiful.

Congratulations to everyone for completing week 2 of virtual ‘lockdown’ school as School life continues, albeit remotely. I have spoken to prospective families this week, held remote management meetings, video conferenced future school advice for some families and had some good catch-ups with fellow Heads who provide a support network for each other in these extraordinary times. Mrs Ball and I have continued with storytime for Pre-prep and Lower School and it is lovely to see and have a catch-up with the children, and often the parents in the background! We hope that we will have more information soon on when schools will return to some type of normal, but at the moment we, as with the rest of the general public, do not have any further clarity.

Thank you for all of your work with the children at home. They are clearly enjoying their learning and it is wonderful to see some of the pictures of their work which have been shared with us. Well done to the key worker school as well. Year 2 created the most wonderful thank you video for their teachers which is shared with you here. I know you and I certainly appreciate all of their work to make the lessons fun and engaging and to ensure that children continue to make progress here at St Peter’s. A highlight of my week was popping into the Reception tutor classroom to see Mrs Bruce-Jones deep in Maths explanations, where she passed half of her banana to Miss Atkins who (off camera) picked up her half of a banana and, as if by magic, Mrs Bruce-Jones had passed it through the screen! Amazing. I’ve also dropped in to see Will D in Year 8 to wish him a happy birthday and have loved running my first ‘LIVE’ assembly with help from Falkner House Day.

Thanks for all the Harefield Run photos – they are so fabulous. Well done to Mrs White for organising.

Charlotte Johnston, Head

Learning at home

Remote learning

Trinity - Week 1

Well done everyone!  We have completed the first full week of Remote Learning with our new timetables.  I do hope that there has been some measure of success, as well as some steep learning curves for parents, pupils and staff!  Certainly from the work I have dipped into, the tutor groups I have joined on Google meet and the whole school zoom staff meeting, St Peter’s is doing brilliantly.  We are very proud of everyone and that includes the parents. Children are really enjoying seeing their friends during their form time Google Meets at 08:30 each morning.  Do make sure they are using the ‘Grid view’ (top right of the Google Meet screen), which means they see everyone. Help on this can be found further on in this newsletter.  Activity timetables are shared in this information letter for ease of printing. 

I would like to let you know that we have a member of the Senior Leadership Team on the front desk every day.  Please do call up on the usual school telephone number if you have any worries and we can help you with logins, frustrations or can talk to the children.  From experience, it seems that nipping problems in the bud early, rather than them overwhelming everybody, is a good plan! We will be sending a survey for feedback at the end of next week.  

Do remember to sign in to Story Time every day; 15:00 for Pre-prep and 15:30 for Lower School.  Mrs Ball and I are reading stories – we had 61 children on a Google Meet last week!  The link is in the Assembly ClassroomThe link to the Google Meet will be posted there and will be the same one each day. 

Devon Wildlife Trust has made some wonderful resources for ‘Wild Learning at Home’ to support children in the current pandemic, from ‘Birds from your window’ to ‘How to start a nature journal’.  There are loads of great ideas.

Over the holidays, I was lucky enough to be sent the most wonderful book by Charlie Mackesy‘The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse’.  With wonderful illustrations, Charlie makes sense of the world and reassurance when things get overwhelming.  It is indeed A book of hope for uncertain times. 

Make sure to enjoy the weekend and rest everyone.  Making weekends different to school days is important.  Finally – thank you for all of your support and also emails of congratulations regarding the recent inspection report.  It means a lot and we have passed all on to the staff team. 

Charlotte  Johnston, Head

Mud and Magic

Lent - Week 7

The rain has finally cleared. As I write this and reflect upon the week, the sun is finally shining!

Our Year 7s have been having a wonderful time in France (I’ve never seen such muddy activities in my life) and are due back this evening.

We enjoyed a busy PTA looking forward to the Easter Egg Hunt and towards the Harefields Summer Festival on 27 June.

We are also delighted to announce that on Monday 6th July Dr. Sam Willis and Professor James Daybell will be performing their Histories of the Unexpected Live! show, ‘The Tudors’ in the Marquee at 6.30pm. This is a show for parents, children and families for ages 8 – 108! Do put it into your diaries. This will be a true community event, so friends are more than welcome.

The little ones in Reception are very much enjoying their new scooters and balance bikes which have been purchased by the PTA recently to replace some of the ones which had certainly seen some wear and tear!

Thursday saw World Book Day with a new costume parade (including the teachers). The children enjoyed a variety of magical themed events – many thanks to Mrs. Parker for organising such a wonderful day for the children.

Charlotte Johnston, Head