Head’s blog

A Dramatic Pause For Thought…

Michaelmas - Week 12

Wow, what a tremendous Christmas Fair, it was a huge success. More information and photos
will follow next week.

A Year 8 Drama Showcase! As a Head, there are always many highlights to the week, the beautiful frost, doing puzzles with Nursery children, observing an outstanding lesson then looking at some great pupil response in marking, and watching a great Hockey Match in the dark whilst wearing my ski gear as it was so cold! Being proudly shown a Lego model by a Reception child which was not a ‘water pistol’ as we thought (Mrs. Bruce-Jones avoids having ‘guns’ in the classroom) but, as explained by the four-year-old, was indeed a ‘Wine shooter’. What a surprising invention. Perhaps this may be useful for all of the adults out there as we approach the end of term…?

However, the star this week has been the Year 8 drama showcase in the (being developed) Performing Arts Room. All of the Year 8 learned monologues or paired pieces and performed them to a packed audience of parents, staff and pupils. There was a real feel of the ‘First event of the Last Year at St Peter’s’ about it for our top year group and their parents. So, in some ways, nostalgic and a little sentimental and in others incredibly exciting for the pupils and their futures ahead. The room lent itself extremely well to a more intimate performance and it was an evening of joy, laughter and pride. The Year 8 pupils excelled themselves with confident, amusing, self-assured performances. Those, who have drama as a passion and others who do not feel confident on the stage, bit the bullet, faced their fears and bonded together even more as a group. If there was anything that confirmed to me what a good thing it is to have Drama now on the curriculum, it was this. Well done to all of Year 8. But well done in particular to Mrs. Colwill whose clever selection of dramatic pieces that were appropriate to each child or pair was inspired and made the evening even more poignant.

I spent a lovely couple of hours in Nursery and Reception this week. The children were proud to show me their work and involve me in what they were doing but it was their independence that impressed me. Confidently navigating their learning environment with interesting and purposeful activities the children are happy, involved and at the beginning of their St. Peter’s journey with Year 8 at the end. What a wonderful 10 years!

Our Children in Need total raised has come in at a staggering £686.10 – with over £150 just on Mr. Cunliffe’s haircut!

C. Johnston

There And Back Again…

Michaelmas - Week 11

The ever-energetic Mrs. White has got the staff into pairs and completing a ‘steps challenge’. All of us are marching around the site now wearing our ‘fitbits’ and engaging in healthy competition. Proudly of a morning we enter our steps onto the spreadsheet in the staff room. 8,000 steps here, 10,000 steps there and then in comes Mrs. White after the first day with 27,000. Mmmm. How can we compete? Mr. Poole, on our maintenance team also shocked us with 10,000 steps before lunch on the first day! In any case, it brings the team closer together and is great fun. I love seeing some of the staff off on a lunchtime walk together enjoying the wonderful site.

I enjoyed a trip to Wells Cathedral school on Tuesday and attended a percussion concert in their incredible new concert hall. I heard two pupils give their last performances before going up to London to take part in the BBC Young Musician Of The Year competition. I did not know a whole piece could be written for just a snare drum! Even headteachers are learning all the time! I followed this with some Shakespeare performed by Exeter school that evening and was very much looking forward to it.

The Year 6s were away last week on their yearly trip to London. They visited the sights, attended a dance workshop at Pineapple dance studios, went to Harry Potter world followed by an evening performance of ‘School of Rock’. I’m not sure who was more excited – the staff or the pupils. They safely returned the following Saturday.

We look forward to the Christmas Fair next weekend, please do bring family and friends. It is a wonderful event. Thank you in advance to the PTA for all of their hard work.

Next week we look to Tolkien for inspiration:

C. Johnston

Given The Chance…

Michaelmas - Week 10

Opportunity. That is what we provide here for all of our children. Whether it be our activity programme, our varied and interesting curriculum or the opportunities to take part in trips and residentials. 19 children are looking forward to the school ski trip coming up, the first in a number of years for St Peter’s. Year 7s will take part in a trip to a French Chateau, outward bound programme all delivered in French in the Lent Term, all included in the fees as part of the curriculum. As part of the boarding programme, children have the chance to try Scuba Diving, leaping off the high dive platforms in Plymouth and taking part in a CSI Detectives night on Thursday this week – ‘Who killed Miss Hoare!’ I love the way that our staff get fully involved in everything to make the experience that the children have here so rewarding and exciting.

While touring prospective parents (I’ve done six tours this week! – the new marketing material and website is doing its work!) it was great fun to see Year 5’s working on fractions where they worked out the correct proportions of ingredients that would turn me into a frog!! It was lovely to greet Year 7 in the Languages Room with a jolly ‘Bonjour’ to be responded to with an ‘Ola!’ as it was a Spanish Lesson! I am so proud of the staff for delivering interesting, creative lessons of an outstanding quality day in day out to ensure that St Peter’s children have the best opportunities possible.

Charlotte Johnston, Head

So much built into a week

Michaelmas - Week 9

Our Upper School tourers returned from a wonderful cultural trip to Rome in half term. The tour was cleverly planned by Mrs. Tyson who organised activities related to the sites the children were seeing. A fresco (wall) painting workshop was done before a visit to the Sistine Chapel ceiling, a gladiator training session before a visit to the Colosseum and then the children went to the opera! What a wonderful experience.

And so rather than ‘When in Rome!’, we say ‘When at St. Peter’s’! and what a week we all have had. As the Head, I am privileged to be able to attend and take part in everything we do and I have been extremely busy!

On Monday we officially opened the Research and Learning Hub and the children enjoyed a day of stories from a visiting actor. On Tuesday Year 5 enjoyed WWII day and I spent some time sharing with them what St. Peter’s would have been like in WWII (Left, in 1946).

No girls, no heating, no ‘compliance’, and lots of (yikes) caning !! The Year 2s played their first Rugby and Hockey matches in gruesome weather but with such enthusiasm. An event which produced the best picture I’ve got this term so far (Above). Nursery did their first Show and Share assembly, so sweet and so confident. An Open day on Wednesday with very impressive Year 7 tourers as the Year 8 battled with exams. A simply tremendous 1st XV rugby match in glorious sunshine with outstanding teamwork, and thundering tries. Thursday, a pre-prep poetry recital with five and six-year-olds taking the microphone then Friday a wonderful remembrance service and finally the Chamber Choir singing with the touring opera at Exeter Cathedral! Phew.

Mrs. Johnston out.

C. Johnston