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Head’s blog

Trinity term 2021 – Week 2

Trinity - Week 2

What a great week! We had a wonderful Founders Day service on the grass last Friday and it was lovely to have the whole community back together. This week
has seen tours for prospective families back in my diary and it has been wonderful to see the school and the children through new parents’ eyes for the first time in a year. What a buzzy, happy school this is, with children embracing their learning and staff enjoying teaching them. At our service, we all took some
time to reflect on how lucky we are to be part of this community and to have spent this pandemic year in Devon, with sea, moor, land and space aplenty.

I have also spent the week recruiting new teaching staff for September, as well as interviewing for a new Site Manager and SENCO. Sadly, we will be saying goodbye to Mr Edmunds from Year 2 at the end of this term. Although he has only been with us for a year, Mr Edmunds has made a great impact and dealt
brilliantly with teaching during a pandemic. We will miss him and wish him well. Mrs Colwill from Year 5 is also moving on to other exciting opportunities at the end of this academic year. She has been a wonderful form teacher and tremendous drama teacher, in particular, and we will miss her hugely. We will, of
course, thank them at Speech Day for their wonderful service to the school.

I am delighted to let you know that we have appointed Miss Georgie Scott and Mr Rob Evans as new form teachers from September. Miss Scott came to us as a GAP student and has since then taken her teaching qualification with us here and we are delighted to appoint her as a ‘real’ teacher moving forward and offer
her our congratulations. Mr Rob Evans (Mrs Deborah Evans’ husband) brings a wealth of Primary experience with him to St Peter’s and we are all thrilled to welcome him to the team.

Have a wonderful weekend with your families. Things do feel as if they are getting back to ‘normal’ don’t they?

Mrs Charlotte Johnston
Head

Trinity term 2021 – Week 1

Trinity - Week 1

It has been a week of glorious sunshine. Welcome back everyone to St Peter’s.

Unfortunately, we have had a slight delay with the swimming pool due to it not being in use for two years, but all is in hand and it should not be too long now.
Today, we enjoyed being altogether for the Harefield Run, in bubbles this year.  This is an event much missed last year (although everyone did brilliantly at
home). The school is alive with life, laughter, running and playing, as it should be. Well done to Mrs White and the team for a truly wonderful event. We also
celebrated Founders Day and there will be more on this next week.

Our new starters are well settled and we are all looking forward to the term ahead. For pupils in Year 7 and Year 8, please may I remind you to continue testing twice a week. It is hugely important. Thank you.

A note on haircuts. There are a few ‘flowing locks’ around, particularly from the boys. Out of the eyes and off the face, please, is a must. A trip to the barbers is necessary for some. I will be providing Alice bands and clips if not. Thank you.

Enjoy the weekend!

Mrs Charlotte Johnston
Head

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