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Head’s blog

Lent term 2021 – Week 9: Return to School!

Lent - Week 9

Well, here we are. Finally, back on-site in the sunshine and an end of the week outside assembly. What a joy! It has been a simply glorious week and I think that
Monday was one of my best days ever as a Head. The sheer happiness oozing from the children as I visited classroom after classroom was tangible and it is the noise that I notice the most! The sound of fun, laughter, jokes and glee. The happy chatter and shrieks from the astro as children play together for the first time in
months. I reminded the children that the last time they were on site there was a ginormous Christmas tree outside the front of Harefield. It feels like a lifetime
ago.

As a staff team (also delighting in being together again), we are spending this time with the children until the Easter holidays focusing on social catch-up. They need to be together, to talk, to work, to laugh and to play. The quality of the online learning provided in remote school was outstanding, but there will be gaps in knowledge and skills for some of the children. We will spend these weeks getting into the swing of things on-site and assessing where the children are. We will run our standardised assessments a little earlier next term, so that we can review and look towards a targeted programme of intervention where it is needed, keeping you as parents in the loop at all times.

Finally, can I also thank the parent body so much for the flowers, brownies, gifts and cards that have come in over this week for the amazing team? They are hugely appreciated. I couldn’t be more proud of the team, as well as the pupils, for all that they have achieved.

As a country, we remain in lockdown so weekends and the longer evenings cannot be filled with the usual sports, seeing friends and activities, which would normally be the case for our families. We have, therefore, worked with the PTA to set a special Land’s End to John O’Groats (and back again) challenge.  Families can walk, run, cycle, SUP, kayak the distance and log it using the STRAVA App while donating to charity. All info is on the poster. My thanks to the new PTA Chair, Kirsty Gillies, and Mr Parker for helping us to organise this event (and Mr Brett for the poster). There will be prizes for the year group and family who go the furthest!

Have a lovely weekend with your families.

Mrs Charlotte Johnston
Head

Lent term 2021 – Week 8

Lent - Week 8

And so, this is it! The last week of remote schooling, and it finished with a bang: World Book Day! Virtual, but no less fun. Thank you to Mrs Parker and Ms Hodder-Williams for organising for us.

Mrs Wellington-Smith has written separately to you all with regard to the mental health and well-being of your children as they get ready for return. Some may be anxious, some may be very excited. We do understand. Mrs Wellington-Smith has included a link to a Google Form for you to access should you have any concerns and we can then have an overview of the state of pupil well-being at the school ready for support on their return. Please click here to view her letter. We are looking forward to welcoming Elaine Paul to run a seminar for parents on Friday 12 March. Please see later in this newsletter for more details.

This lockdown has been tremendously challenging for our families. Some with many children – homeschooling, for example with four children under the age of 9, will have taken its toll I know. Families where the children have no siblings have dealt with loneliness, but also have made support bubbles with other families, and there are great stories of success and bonding out there. Well done and thank you to everyone for keeping the children safe and supporting them as much as you have done.

We ran the PTA AGM this week and I would like to thank Robin Jackson for his two year tenure as PTA Chair. He has been a tremendous Chair, fun, reliable and hugely supportive of the school. He steps down to become Deputy and Mrs Kirsty Gillies (Euan Y4 and Toby Y2) takes over. Oliver Johnston (my husband, for those who haven’t met him!) has been a brilliant Treasurer and steps down this year, handing over to Erin Altenburger (Freddie Y1). Thank you also to Frances Lewis (Ethan Y4 and Agnes Y2) for continuing as Secretary and to Katie Down (Josh Y5) and Emma Cooling (Charlie Y6) for being so brilliant with the second-hand clothing sales. And lastly, thank you to the Class Reps. We look forward to some community events moving forward and the return to
normality.

This lockdown has shown us how important the St Peter’s Family is for all of our families, particularly for those who are new to the community. As we return to school on 8 March, but with the country still officially in lockdown, we thought it would be fun to launch a St Peter’s community event run by the PTA and our new chair, Mrs Kirsty Gillies.

May I remind you, as we go back to school, that the country is still in lockdown and that you are only allowed to meet one other friend for exercise at the moment,
meaning no sleepovers or playdates at each other’s houses. Thank you for abiding by the rules as families to keep everyone safe and making sure the teachers don’t get any ‘surprises’ in the Monday morning news sessions!

I very much look forward to seeing you on Monday. Here is a pic to make you smile! My outfit for popping in to the Google Meets to all the pupils on Thursday.
Leopard print for ‘Wild World Book Day’ and a birthday hat from Mrs Ball for my lockdown birthday! The life of a Headmistress!Mrs Johnston's Birthday on World Book Day

Mrs Charlotte Johnston
Head

Children’s Mental Health Awareness – Week 4

Lent - Week 4

This week is Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week; thank you very much to Mrs Wellington-Smith and Mr Budgett for putting together a fantastic week of events, focusing on time together. Please do join him for our family quiz on Sunday evening to wrap up a really wonderful week. Details later on in this newsletter. I am delighted to share with you tremendous news that all six pupils in Year 8 who applied have received an offer of a place at Exeter School. Our Head of School, Max C, received the top award. This is a fantastic achievement and continues our success with St Peter’s gaining the top award every year for the last five years.

This week, we received the very sad news of Captain Sir Tom Moore’s passing. As a school, we loved cheering on Sir Tom, as he walked his 100 laps around his garden, and we have followed his incredible year and marvelled at the amount of money he raised. His cheerful determination and stoicism touched the
Nation and he raised millions of pounds for the NHS charities. Initially, Sir Tom had hoped to raise £1000 for charity and had said “One small soul like me won’t make much difference”. But, what a difference it made…£32 million pounds of difference. However, it was more than the money. Captain Sir Tom Moore
was an inspiration to us all during difficult times and, through his courage, perseverance and strength at the age of 99, he united a nation. The Prime Minister paid tribute to him in this video clip and the Union Jack was flown at half mast in his memory; I must admit to feeling rather emotional while watching this after another long week of February lockdown! Do take a moment to watch it though and take time to consider his wonderful story, as it brings about a moment of reflection on what has happened in the space of one extraordinary year.

We are so looking forward to being back together on-site. There are many mixed messages and rumours in the press. What we do know is that there will be clarity on 22 February, which we eagerly await.

Thank you for your ‘Dress-up your pet’ challenge submissions. The ones in uniform were particularly hilarious. ‘Ted Collyer’ and ‘Rambo Radcliffe’ below, as well as a black Lab in a St Peter’s cap (unnamed).  Do let me know!

Next week, the challenge will be: MOONWALKING. Those of you with teenagers will be aware of this craze at the moment. Watch this video, then have a practice and record yourself and send it in. The more family involvement the better. Have a lovely weekend! Also, enjoy the House Pancake Flip Challenge in the activity programme.

Mrs Charlotte Johnston
Head

Lent Term 2021 – Week 4

Lent - Week 4

Congratulations to all of the children at home and onsite, to the parents who are at home working with the children and to those on the front line of the pandemic
response. Another week of the pandemic completed. I realise how challenging this all is, both as a parent and a Headteacher. Tom, now aged 18, was expecting A
Levels this Summer; a year that should’ve included 18th birthday parties and a fitting finale to his Upper 6th and all those years at school. He faces an uncertain few months, with no clear plan ahead.  Alice is at Exeter, now in Year 10, the first year of her GCSEs, which has been hugely affected by the current situation. Nothing yet about what those important exams will look like next Summer 2022 for her year group. There will be a long legacy for these kids. Peterhouse has now got a pool table and a dart board, so both of them will be highly skilled at ‘Pub Games’ by the time this all over!

Children’s Mental Health Awareness week starts on Monday and we have a huge amount planned. Thank you to Mr Budgett and Mrs Wellington-Smith. Families will receive an activity to do together each day, culminating in the Great St Peter’s Family Quiz next Sunday afternoon!  More details later in this Newsletter.

The news of the 8 March as a date for possible reopening of schools is good. We can plan for this and it gives us all something to work towards, even though it is much further off than we might wish. Many schools across the world are shut as Governments respond in different ways to the pandemic. The news of the vaccine means that we know this will be over; we must just be patient. A wonderful cartoon by Charlie Macksey (pictured) reminds us of the light at the end of the tunnel.

Thank you to those who have sent in their entries to the Head’s Challenge. I loved the Lego models of your rooms; some were rather fantastical. Pictured above is Rose’s (Year 4), showing her kitchen and her garden. Next week sees a momentous ‘Dress-up your Pet’ challenge. If you haven’t got a pet, dress up your teddy.  Information on the activity programmes and how to upload your completed tasks can be found on the Activity Google Classrooms. Well done all! Thank you also for the Lip Sync Videos – what fun!

Wellington School has offered us an hour of ‘radio time’, so we will be having our own St Peter’s radio for an hour each week. Send in requests/dedications/jokes etc. and you can enjoy the music and have a Family Kitchen Disco!

And finally, something to make you smile! My attempt at Mr Budget’s Lip Sync Challenge…HELP! Don’t forget the Big Garden Bird Watch. Have a lovely weekend.

Mrs Charlotte Johnston
Head