Head’s blog

Autumn term 2021 – Week 2

Michaelmas - Week 2

I have been spending time in the classrooms this week, seeing our new Maths Curriculum, ‘White Rose’, in action.  I have been impressed by the stretch and depth level  at which the children are being taught and the real ‘mastery’ skills the curriculum develops.  

It has been lovely to see the children skip past my office after swimming over the last couple of weeks.  We are so lucky to be able to have our outside swimming pool up and running, following some difficulties last term.  I know Years 1 and 2 are looking forward to their swimming lessons offsite over the next two terms, as well.   

Year 4 went on the first ‘Beach Trip’ this week.  As part of the new ‘Learning Beyond the Classroom’ initiative, every year group will visit the beach at one point over the year.  Year 4 visited Seaton and went on the tramline, to great excitement. There was pebble art on the beach and study of the rocks and the Jurassic Coast. We want to enjoy and understand the fantastic local environment and Year 4 were the first to take on that challenge.  Year 7 has also started their Friday activity sessions at the beach and Year 6 has begun their Wild Woods activities every Friday.  Each year group from Year 3 to Year 8 will have an activity session at some point over the year exploring Learning Beyond the Classroom.  If you would like to know more about this new initiative please watch this presentation.  

It was super to see parents onsite for the academic presentations on the Baccalaureate and the EYFS, as well as socially on Thursday evening.  The first matches took place for the U9s and the place is buzzing, as it should be.  

I am sending out a Parent Survey this week, which I would be grateful if you could take the time to complete.

Charlotte Johnston


Autumn Term 2021 – Week 1

Michaelmas - Week 1

This has been a very full week, the first week back of the Autumn term. On Monday, we had our first Assembly in the Wessex Hall for 18 months. It was wonderful to see all the faces, to feel the energy and positivity amongst the children and staff and to share in singing ‘One More Step Along the World I Go’ together.

The first Pre-prep assembly in 18 months also took place in the Performing Arts Room and it was very special to hear the celebration certificates read out and to see which class was awarded Tidy Tim this week. The excitement of the children in Year 5 to Year 8 going off to Mount Kelly on Wednesday for their first away rugby and hockey matches in months was just brilliant. The children loved the whole experience and it feels like we are all BACK to prep school life! I have been impressed with the purposeful start to teaching and learning in all of the classrooms. Thank you to parents for their support at home and well done to all the teaching staff for getting cracking with the most important part of what we do.

Thank you all for being so patient with the new drop-off and pick-up routines. It has been super seeing parents onsite and catching up. I know that Pre-prep parents have loved the soft pick-up option in the afternoon. We will be sending out a survey at the end of next week.
Do take a browse through the Harefield Magazine, which should have come home with your child in their bookbag.

A couple of reminders:
● Drive-by pickup is at 16:15 now (rather than 16:00 last year) to allow for the Pre-prep to be
● All parents are welcome to the PTA drinks, next week. We are putting on a film in the Wessex Hall
for the children and look forward to welcoming you all.
● We have sent a separate reminder on what to do if your child has symptoms or a positive test. If
you are unsure, call school or email at hmoffice@stpetersprepschool.co.uk and we will talk you
through it!
● Girls wearing summer dresses should wear white socks, rather than blue ones.

Charlotte Johnston

Trinity term 2021 – Week 9

Trinity - Week 9

It has been all about the residentials for the older children this week. Year 5 has visited Roadford Lake spending, from what I can understand, two days on the water, with Mrs C surprising everyone by being an incredible windsurfer!  Year 7 had the most wonderful couple of days of adventuring, with rock climbing and river running being highlights. (I don’t really know what this is but the children said it was absolutely awesome). They all spoke to me at once for about half an hour and these were the main takeaways! Year 8 has been surviving on Dartmoor and Year 6 adventuring in Somerset. I am just thrilled that they were able to go as, obviously, these were all cancelled last year. We have great plans for residentials in the pipeline for next year and a Sports Tour booked in for Year 7 and Year 8 in October half-term – 15 to 17 October 2021 (save the date, more details to come). Years 3 and 4 depart for their residential next week, following their performances.

The marquee has arrived and next week is all about the performances, which are taking place, for
the first time, in the marquee, meaning that parents of that year group can come and watch
(socially-distanced). Next week will feature Years 3, 4, 5 and 6, and the following week will be
Years 7 and 8. We will also be using the space for our Pre-prep Presentation Assembly and Speech

We have heard of Covid-19 cases rising locally and some schools in the area, as well as a cricket club, have been affected, with bubbles being sent home. Do, please, be vigilant and thank you for making sure the older children continue testing twice a week.

Today, we say goodbye and good luck to Miss Atkins, who leaves us to have her baby. She is ready to put her feet up and have a rest before becoming a Mummy!

Have a super weekend with your families.
Mrs Charlotte Johnston

Trinity Term 2021 – Week 7

Trinity - Week 7

It has been a fantastic first week back after half term, with the new Sea Swimming sessions for the older children a resounding success. Some brave souls deciding to go without wetsuits too! The new Edge Watersports venue on the waterfront in Exmouth has been brilliant and we have made the most of the facilities with changing rooms and hot showers being particularly welcome! Junior and Syncapeters Choirs (our Pre-prep choir) have sung together for the first time in 14 months. It was really quite an emotional experience to hear them sing again and we had our first Music Assembly with Lower School. Wonderful stuff!

We continue with frustrating delays onsite with the swimming pool and I apologise wholeheartedly for this.  Progress, albeit slowly, is being made. We will let you know when we are ready for the big splash and I have promised the grounds team that, when it is done, I will jump in fully clothed with joy. We are also planning to keep the pool open in the Autumn term with swimming for all, as well as some fun with the new Water Polo set in the first half term. Years 1 and 2 will recommence with their offsite swimming lessons in the next academic year
as well.

Next week, we start our transition meetings for parents. These have been brought forward to allow for ‘Expedition’ week, commencing on the 21 June, which is why they feel a little early. We will send details of the Google Meet to join and confirmation of timings. These will all be recorded for those who are not able to attend. At these transition meetings, you will find out the form teachers for next year. The form lists (which class your child is actually in) are still being worked on. These will be sent out to parents, as usual, on Transition Day on Monday 5 July.

There have been some questions with regards to pick-up and drop-off for September. We will be moving towards the following:

Morning Drop-off
Remains as it is currently as a very efficient ‘Drive by’. No parking on-site unless for a pre arranged appointment.

Afternoon Pick-up
15:30-15:55 Pre-prep only. Optional park and pick up at classrooms (Nursery up to Year 2).
16:15-16:30 Whole school drive-by pick-up for Nursery up to Year 8 for those not staying for Prep or activities.
17:00 Park and pick-up for all parents at Pre-prep classrooms or flagpole.
17:10-18:00 Late stayers park and pick-up from Harefield main house.

A note on events for the end of term. We are planning to go full steam ahead, as previously shared, unless there is a serious change to guidance from the Government on Monday 14 June. We wait, as you do, for further information and will communicate as necessary. All fingers and toes are crossed.

Please do read Mrs Ball’s blog detailing our latest standardised data for the school, showing quite exceptional progress and achievement over the year, despite the pandemic and lockdown. Congratulations to all.

Mrs Charlotte Johnston