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Head’s blog

Projections, Promotion and Pancakes

Lent - Week 6

Last week was Science Faculty Week and we played host to the inflatable Science Dome. All the children took part in a variety of incredible experiences. There is a wonderful picture of Year 1 pupils gazing up at the Moon and then Mars (projections on the inside of the dome). I went in with Year 3, who were ‘inside’ a body, watching a camera move through the oesophagus and down into the stomach. ‘Yuck’, said the children! Thank you to Dr Evans for organising such a brilliant day for the children.

There was huge excitement (as you can tell from the pictures) when the ITN filming finally took place on Wednesday, with fabulous sunshine (thank goodness). I was so proud of the staff and children for really rising to the occasion, being hugely flexible and showing the film crew just how amazing St Peter’s Preparatory School is. The day started with Beach School, some rugby and then onto recording Mr Hoban’s wonderful song to the Mayflower, performed by the Gala Choir. Nursery children were filmed for a Wild Woods session, as were Year 4 in a science lesson. It was a whirlwind day that went like clockwork. Huge thanks and congratulations to all involved.

This week also saw the start of a new St Peter’s tradition: the House pancake race!! Mrs. White organised teams, the House flags were raised and a new ‘Frying Pan’ trophy was bought! It was a break time of pure joy, from the little ones to the staff race. The pancakes were flipped and then raced up and round the house flags and home to hand over to the next in the relay team. I think that the House pancake race met many of our St Peter’s school values. ‘Opportunity’: a new one for sure. ‘Achievement’: some were master flippers. ‘Community’: the whole of St Peter’s community came together to enjoy the event. ‘Endeavour’: oh my goodness those competitors were trying hard! ‘Nurture’: Mr Ball gave Mrs Ball a hug after she fell and hurt her knee, and ‘FUN’ – our new St Peter’s value. And it certainly was!

I enjoyed welcoming Eugene du Toit, the new Head of Wellington School, to St Peter’s for a parent forum. He spoke of his educational philosophy and answered lots of questions about Wellington School and his plans in his first year.

Another super week at St Peter’s!

Charlotte Johnston, Head

Scholars, Snowdrops & Sausages

Lent - Week 5

Catching up with the pupils at lunch is one of the best bits about being a Head. I have Year 6 for lunch in my study throughout the year, a Leaders’ lunch with the Heads of School, House Captains and Heads of Sport once a term and I also host Year 8 for lunch at home once a term. We had a very entertaining discussion ranging from naughty puppies to rugby. The Year 8s were delighted to feast on the ginormous Yorkshire puddings, sausage and mash followed by a whopping chocolate fudge cake, which was TOO much for them. But not, I hasten to add, too much for the staff! The boarders have been loving the new breakfasts this week with scrambled eggs and bacon properly hitting the spot on Tuesday morning.

Nature News – ‘Buzz’ our local Buzzard has been back and frequenting our new bird feeders in the wild woods. Well done to Mrs. Simms for taking this amazing picture from the Year 4 class window and inspiring our next generation of very keen bird watchers. The snowdrops are carpeting the wild woods and daffodils are now out on site.

We have further scholarship news with Taylor receiving Music and Drama awards from Blundells and Isabella receiving a special ‘Contemporary’ music scholarship created just for her from Blundells. Well done also to Noah for receiving a Drama Scholarship to Wellington School. It is looking like the scholarship tally will far exceed any previous year. We are very proud of them all and to all of the staff who have prepared them over the years. These accolades are not the result of one day but huge amounts of preparation from the team and hard work from the pupils.

Australia to China in a day

Lent - Week 3

It has been a great week with some glorious weather here at St Peter’s.

As I write this (on a Friday morning) we have three prospective children in for taster days, I have completed a tour, I’ve visited Year 1 for their Australia Day and tried to make sense of the excited gabble as they crowded around my french windows to tell me all about their ‘exercise’ start to the day and that they were then off for a ‘Barbie (BBQ)’ in ringing Australian accents!

I visited Year 2’s China Day and loved joining in with their first ‘chopstick challenge’ of the day! I have visited Reception who have been working on shadow puppets and will be celebrating Chinese New Year later in the day. The wonderful catering team have created a Chinese Feast for us for lunch as well.

I have meetings and practice interviews with some of Year 8 who are off to scholarships and interviews at Bryanston and Sherborne next week, a Year 6 Assembly for the London trip and further meetings and taster day feedback! A busy day in the life of a Headmistress!

Meanwhile, the boarders enjoyed a Scuba Dive experience and Tom Hurley took some wonderful pictures for us as you can see. Well done to all for a great week. Enjoy the weekend with your families and remember to put 27th June in the diaries for the St Peter’s ‘Harefields’ Festival.

Charlotte Johnston, Head

Brendan, Buzzards and Beasts

Lent - Week 2

Storm Brendan came crashing into the school last week. It felt like the scene in the Wizard of Oz where whole houses go zooming past the window! And then, Wednesday: a day of beautiful, still, sunshine. As I write, Marcus and Ben are buzzard-watching on the front lawn. We have a pair who are seen regularly, circling over the school and stomping about on the playing fields. The photo featured is definitely my favourite shot, taken from my garden a while ago. I think we need to name them as we see them so regularly!

Week 2 was super busy, but I enjoyed a period of calm mindfulness at Year 4’s India Day. We have run our first Eco Council and School Council meetings of the year and the ideas from the children are outstanding: a staff v pupils netball match has been suggested for Sport Relief, as well as a ‘Minibeast bug hotel’ activity for next term. We have been running regular career assemblies on a Thursday morning and this week I told the children all about my journey from pupil to Headmistress! We covered what university is, apprenticeships, Masters degrees, what qualifications are for and the different pathways that people take. We want to convey the message that the children mustn’t worry if they don’t know ‘what they are going to do when they grow up’, but understand that the important thing is to grasp opportunities, work with different people and learn new skills. We had our first parents’ seminar on the EYFS, which was hugely valuable. Many of our Year 8s took the 13+ Exeter School exams, with the results shared with you next week. Congratulations to Josh, Luca and Zac on being awarded sports scholarships to Clifton College.

The children are happy and smiling and our new pupils have settled in remarkably well. Our first PTA meeting of 2020 is later this week in the Learning Hub. All parents are welcome to join as we look to plan the Easter Egg Hunt and the Summer Festival. This week, Reception and Year 2 celebrate Chinese New Year and Year 1 will learn about all things Australian!

Charlotte Johnston, Head