Head’s blog

Books of Excellence

Lent - Week 6

2PG came to see me today and squeezed into my office. They were very proud as they had created a class book which was inspired by ‘Dear Teacher’, a wonderful book of excuses about why a boy had not been in lessons and couldn’t come to school. The class book was laminated, spiral bound and it was so fantastic to read of their creative ideas: ‘I couldn’t come to school as I was busy “skooba diving”‘. “I couldn’t come to school as I was visiting a mer-unicorn…”.  I suggested we keep their book in the school library for other children to read. They liked this.

Following their visit, I welcomed in some pupils who have been entered into the Book of Excellence for outstanding work. Four had built the most incredible cell models for Science and one had created a beautiful laminated poster on fossil fuels and another had written a detailed analysis of the poetry of Benjamin Zephaniah. The quality of attainment and achievement across the school is hugely impressive. Here they are proudly showing off their work.

Charlotte Johnston, Head

Happiness is a purple cow

Lent - Week 5

Our happiness focus continues this week and in Assembly I introduced the ‘Thought of the Week’ as penned by the extraordinary wordsmith, Roald Dahl.  We have been thinking about happiness and what is important for the children to be happy to live a fulfilled, rich life, as well as what happiness looks like. I certainly do see happy children as I spend time with them in classrooms, lunch and at break times.  I teach in Reception on a Monday afternoon and I, quite simply, feel very happy when I am there. Last week in Art the children were following instructions to draw a cow. Step one: draw the head like this…. (demonstrate) Step two: draw the body like this … demonstrate etc.  The children drew wonderful cows and were then able to colour them in while I worked with another group. I presumed (totally incorrectly as I then found out) that they would continue to follow the example for colouring (black and white markings, pink udders, black hooves) but NO!  “Mrs Johnston I have finished!” exclaimed one young lad, brandishing on high his superbly coloured cow – expertly coloured in turquoise, pink and purple and sporting a hot pink bandana across the eyes – superhero style. Goodness me! What joy! A superhero cow. Moments like this cannot be bought or planned but are just brilliant.

Lots of music and sport is happening this week – please read the information letter carefully.

There is a Pre Prep concert on Tuesday 5 February, a concert at Lympstone church on Thursday 7 February and a day out at Wellington for the orchestra on Friday 8 February.

Finally, results are starting to come in for our pupils who have sat their 13+ entrance exams over the last few weeks.  We have 8 successful at Exeter school with 2 of the top academic exhibitions and a Music Scholarship, 8 successful at The Maynard with scholarships still to be confirmed, a music scholarship to Clifton College, a Sports and All Rounder with Sports scholarship to Taunton School and pre-test success for some of our Year 7s at Sherborne and Bryanston. Some of Year 8s are off to Wellington School next week to sit scholarships in music and sport.  We will keep you up to date and wish them well. When all of the results are in we will publish them in full.

Charlotte Johnston

A busy and thriving January…

Lent - Week 3

I walk Monty every day at about 7:15 and this was the first morning that it felt like it was getting lighter! Hoorah. Last week I was away running a Preparation for Headship course for the Independent Association of Prep Schools – mentoring 40 prospective head teachers! They have lots to learn about the challenges of headship but also that it is a privilege to lead a school, affecting the lives of hundreds of children and being a force for good.

This is the term that starts in the Winter and finishes at the beginning of the Summer. It has got off to a great start with the children being thrilled to see their friends again whilst enjoying netball, hockey and football.

It was the Exeter School 13+ exams this week as well as Sports and All Rounder Scholarships for King’s Taunton and we wished all of our sitting Year 8s the best of luck as all of the preparation becomes worth it! We have also had some year 7s sitting pretests for Sherborne over the last few days, with an academic scholarship sitting for the Maynard next week, other children sitting Music scholarships for Clifton College, Wellington and Exeter alongside further sports scholarships to Taunton School and Wellington. I will let our parents know the results as they come in.

We pride ourselves at St Peter’s for working with families to find the best school for their child; each being considered on an individual basis and looking at their academic data as well as what they enjoy. I am in contact with all the Heads of the Senior Schools who receive children from us and this personal approach is one of the things that St Peter’s is really good at. This begins with a 1 to 1 meeting with me in around about Year 5, however, some parents want to start the conversation earlier for which my door is always open. Appointments can be booked with my PA, Mrs. Squance.

The School is really thriving with lots of interest from prospective parents – I’ve toured three families just this week whereas January is normally quiet! Interest in St Peter’s is certainly increasing and I feel very proud of the teachers and their work with the children. This makes that most important marketing tool – ‘word of mouth’ happen. Parents are so impressed with the wide and varied opportunities your children have here and of course, there is lots of sport, music and drama as well as ‘Art for Relaxation’, cooking, chess and lacrosse – just some of the weekly activities going on this term!

Our thought for the week is to consider happiness. I certainly see a lot of happy children at St Peter’s!

The Many Benefits of Drama

Michaelmas - Week 12

This is one of those weeks which makes being a Head so special. Drama is one of the most popular subjects on the curriculum and we have wide and varied opportunities for children to perform and present. The benefits of drama are enormous. They learn actively and interactively, memorising words and music, they can makes sense of their own world by taking part in role play of parallel situations. Rather than sitting still and listening they are encouraged to actively participate, to move and respond and to work together rather than in isolations. The earliest of these opportunities at St Peter’s is the Nursery and Reception Nativity. Extraordinary to see such tiny children singing proper Christmas carols and confidently acting on stage. I had a very sleepy sheep in front of me rubbing his little hooves in his eyes. Just gorgeous! Year 1 and Year 2 performed a wonderful Nativity with some really upbeat songs and dance moves! Every word was heard by all and there was a feeling of great festive joy around the school. My huge thanks to all who were involved with both events a triumph. At the other end of the school, we were treated to the Year 8 monologues evening on Tuesday where every child wrote and performed their own monologue to a very receptive audience of staff and parents. To see in one week our three year olds and thirteen year olds performing was a great treat and fully encapsulated the magic of St Peter’s. I would also like to take this opportunity to draw your attention to the info letter which gave details of a new Salsa dance class that will run on Saturday mornings in the Performing Arts Room at St Peters for 10-13 year olds for all those Strictly fans!