Head’s blog

Week 3 – Michaelmas 2020

Michaelmas - Week 3

Story time and bubble parties in the sunshine are the theme of this week’s newsletter. Every class and tutor received a surprise on Monday morning to
celebrate such a tremendous start to the term. The tutors had Wispa bars and the children bubble fans, which were received with much glee, jumping, clapping and popping!

I have loved visiting all the bubbles and reading stories, this week, starting with Nursery on Monday and then Reception on Tuesday, Year 1 on Wednesday and Year 2 on Thursday. I am so impressed with how all these Pre-prep children have got back into the swing of school life. They are making the most of the opportunities and learning, learning, learning.

The weather has been just glorious, a ‘golden’ September, which has meant news writing on a Monday is filled with stories of sandcastles, boating, fishing and crabbing. What a lucky lot they are! The games’ fields have been filled with much energy as the children have loved getting stuck into rugby, hockey and
fitness again. Lunches have begun again in the Dining Hall, a process of reintroduction which will take time as we adapt to the new cleaning/bubble regime. But, overall, this has started well.

Thank you to those of you who have taken your child for a haircut. I have definitely seen some improvements!

Mrs Charlotte Johnston

Week 2 – Michaelmas 2020

Michaelmas - Week 2

I have spent lots of time with the children this week: a leaders’ lunch today; admiring the Queen Victoria portraits in Year 2; listening to the drumming in Year
3; chatting to the pupils at drop-off and pick-up and talking to lots of children (a lot) about Benji the puppy, who I introduced to them all at break times this week. Although still rather frightened of any children (I had to carry him over my shoulder during dog walking club last year as he refused to move), there is progress being made and it is true that school dogs are wonderful for the children. I now know an enormous amount about all of your dogs at home!

Progress has been made on lunches and we trialled the use of the Dining Room, this week, for Pre-prep and Lower School. All pupils will be having proper lunch in the Dining Room from Monday, with Nursery in a slightly more temporary arrangement. But, all children will eat at tables with proper cutlery and more
hot food will be introduced into the menu as we work through the COVID-19 procedures. The children will be organised into super bubbles (Pre-prep, Lower School and Upper School) for lunch times. Thank you to the catering team and the staff for getting this in place by week 3. I know that the cleaning staff,
in particular, are very pleased!

Schools across the country are now open, with their new operating procedures, and it is interesting how interpretation of the guidelines differs depending on the location, size and organisational structure of each school. Difficulties this week have been in the speed of getting tests done if anyone displays symptoms but, hopefully, this is being addressed by the government. To reiterate, if a child does present with symptoms (a fever, a new persistent cough or lack of smell/taste), we will be contacting parents to take their children (and siblings) home for a test. We do understand the inconvenience of this for families; however, we must ensure that we keep the community safe. We would not inform parents if another child in the year group has symptoms, but we would if there was a positive test, as per our policy.

A final word on HAIRCUTS! Some of the children are looking very ‘Devon wild’ with long hair hanging in their eyes. Boys and Girls need to have hair out of their eyes for learning. Please do take your children to the hairdressers this weekend and tutors will be following up in the next couple of weeks. I will be buying a
supply of clips and Alice Bands over the weekend for boys and girls alike, if they can’t see their work because of their hair!

I wish you all a super weekend with your families.

Mrs Charlotte Johnston

Week 1 – Michaelmas 2020

Michaelmas - Week 1

Welcome back everyone. The start of term has gone brilliantly. Thank you for keeping to slick drop-off and pick-up arrangements and for working hard at home
so the children are all back in school in their uniform. The welly racks are filling up and I liked seeing some of the girls in the shorts option and Charlie sporting the new ‘tank top’ jumper option available for both boys and girls. I think they must be much more comfy under a blazer.

I have spent lots of time in and out of classrooms today, learning all the new names and chatting to the children. One new nursery child (day 2) was asked ‘How do you feel today on your second day in Nursery?’ and then he looked up and answered ‘Loved’. So special! It has been wonderful to hear the children around the school site and to witness, in particular, how pleased they are to see each other. New pupils have sailed in comfortably, from our new little ones to our new Year
8s. I feel very proud of the whole community.

I know that there has been some waiting in traffic at pick-up. We will keep arrangements as they are until they bed down for a few days before we look to make changes. Thank you for your patience. A note on early drop off (08:00). Please drop at the usual drop-off place. Staff will be waiting from 08:00. Please do
not park and walk children up. Thank you.

Finally, a note on lunches. As you know, school is not back to normal, as we are operating in a pandemic and this has been reflected in the 5% fee discount offered to all parents this term. We are following strict government guidelines and working hard to keep our community safe. We are introducing hot lunches from
next week, as well as healthier extras in the packed lunches. Thank you for understanding that we are working tirelessly behind the scenes to open up the dining room and resume normal lunch service, at the earliest opportunity. We are well aware that other schools are doing things differently: some have opened
up their sports’ halls as dining rooms (which we didn’t want to do as the children love their PE and sport so much), others are starting lunch at 11:00 and finishing at 14:30, which is just not manageable and eats into academic time. We are looking at various options, such as ‘super-bubbles’ being introduced for lunchtime service. Our new term has only just begun and we appreciate all feedback we have received so far; we will be sending out a questionnaire to parents at the end of Week 3. I would like to ask that you bear with us as we run through a full week next week and can publish our plans on this moving forward. We very much appreciate your patience and support. Thank you.

We move to a full week back next week.

Mrs Charlotte Johnston

Image of St Peter's Preparatory School

Welcome Back to Years 7 & 8

Lent - Week

We’ve done it!  All children at St Peter’s Preparatory School are back on site with Year 7 & Year 8 joining today! 

St Peter’s Preparatory School has welcomed back Nursery and primary school age children in a phased return since 1 June 2020.  Our pupils were delighted to see their friends again after so long away and return to a sense of normality (albeit in ‘bubbles’).  The school has felt more full again.

We are delighted to announce that from 1 July are welcoming back Years 7 and 8, for the last week of term.  Our Year 8 leavers will have the opportunity to say goodbye to their teachers and friends, celebrating their time with us.  

A number of measures have been introduced in order to ensure that our pupils can return to school safely.

  • ‘Bubble’ system: all pupils have been allocated to a bubble of 15, who work, play, eat and exercise together with their allocated adults, in specific segregated locations.  Social distancing has been adhered to at all times if bubbles require access to communal spaces (such as toilets).
  • Drop off and pick up times are coordinated in bubbles, with parents asked to remain in their vehicles as members of staff help children out of and into cars.
  • St Peter’s has increased its cleaning routine, with all communal surfaces cleaned frequently throughout the day.  Disinfectant wipes and hand sanitisers have been issued to all rooms and communal areas in use.  
  • Staff and pupils wash their hands upon arrival and frequently throughout the day, assisted by the introduction of outdoor sinks, next to classrooms.
  • Pupils have been able to wear their own clothes, to ensure that clean clothes are worn every day.  
  • Learning is taken outdoors whenever possible, a feat made possible by St Peter’s extensive grounds.  Specialist subject teachers stay with their allocated bubble and teach other pupils through Google Classroom, which the children access on Google Chromebooks.  

Mrs Charlotte Johnston, Head, says: “It is a pleasure to be able to have all year groups back on site, here at St Peter’s Preparatory School.  During lockdown, our teaching staff did a fantastic job of delivering learning online to pupils at home.  This has enabled our pupils to benefit from regular contact with their tutors and make progress with their school work.  From 1 July 2020 we will have pupils from all year groups back on site.  It is a testament to the hard work of our Senior Leadership Team, teaching staff and operations/maintenance team that is possible.  As a school community we look forward to celebrating the end of the school year together. Furthermore, we have now trialled having our whole school community back on site and we know that we can make this work for September.”

St Peter’s Preparatory School’s Admissions team is very busy with many families coming for socially distanced tours in these last two weeks of term. Whilst we are running a waiting list in a number of year groups, we do have availability in others so do contact our Director of Admissions & Marketing, Ms Rachel Elliott, on 01395 272148 or email rachel.elliott@stpetersprepschool.co.uk if you would like to book a tour or inquire about availability.