St Peter's School
I hope you and your families are safe and well as we all adapt to new ways of being St Peter’s. There are things we have all learned over the last week to improve even further next term and some great ideas being put into action to include the co-curricular programme and House Challenges and other activities. Mr Gillies will be in contact before the start of next term with some updates on the online academic programme. Please see below various notices and reports from Final Assembly which I have also recorded on video to be shared with pupils online.
Adversity often brings out creativity and I have been so impressed with the way that pupils and my colleagues have taken so calmly and quickly to the need to do things differently. For my own part, I have become a huge fan of video-conferencing and today recorded Final Assembly as a video to go to the pupils on the Teams platform which we are using for online learning. Partially to try something new and to see whether this might be a successful way to keep a sense of routine and being together.
I feel particularly for those in GCSE and A Level years and the uncertainty they are facing. Details of the grading process is expected next week and we will take the time to look at it carefully and discuss with colleagues in the sector to make sure it works to the absolute best for all. More information will follow when that is received.
I would also like to pay tribute to all who are working so hard across the country including many of you and my colleagues. It is so heart-warming to see people’s sense of community and generosity coming out. You may have seen that we were able to donate thousands of items of personal protection equipment to York Hospital including items given by pupils and I am grateful to all who helped with that. There have also been enquiries from pupils about volunteering in the community and we are collating a variety of opportunities to share with you.
We would always say thank you to the staff at the end of a term and this term that is particularly heartfelt. We began the planning for this some weeks ago but the amount colleagues have had to adapt in the last week has been incredible and I am sure you join with me in sending them thanks and best wishes for something of a break in the coming weeks.
We will, as a community, come through the current situation with success and I am convinced we will have grown and developed as a consequence. As I am fond of saying, ‘this too shall pass’ and, looking back to the origins of St Peter’s in 627AD, the school has faced challenges down the centuries. In 1957, there was another significant influenza outbreak which affected almost 80% of the school and, knowing that we have navigated through other difficulties, we can take calm confidence that, as our motto says, we travel ‘Over Ancient Ways’, with sure ground beneath our feet.
Finally, thank you for all your support to the school. It really is hugely appreciated and please be assured that we are here to do our very best to support you and your children. Attached to this newsletter is a booklet which I hope contains some useful ideas and advice.
My very best wishes to you all for a very Happy Easter.
Click here for a parent's guide to coping with school closures.
Pastoral and Boarding Updates (Mr Hall and Miss Mounter)
The new weekly pastoral newsletter, which is being emailed to pupils 13-18, contains articles, information, photographs and useful web links. Additionally, pupils are able to contribute news, ideas, recipes, and reviews (books, music, art). Microsoft Teams has been set-up as a hub for Housemasters/Tutors in order to communicate with year groups. Tutees will have a weekly timetabled event (Tuesday 8.30am) with their Housemaster/Housemistress/Tutor in which they will discuss topics from the current CPSHEE curriculum. House spirit is an essential part of life at St Peter’s, and we aim to launch House Challenges (albeit in the digital domain) after the Easter holiday period to take the place of current House competitions. The school’s Listening Space, a valuable wellbeing resource, is now fully online. Pupils can email appointment requests on Microsoft Teams, and the independent listener will respond the same day.
During the weeks leading up to the Easter holiday, extra provision was put in place to support our overseas boarders sitting external exams. For many boarders, had they gone home, the subsequent two week quarantine period may have compromised their opportunity to sit their GCSEs or A levels, so plans were put in place for them to stay at School throughout the Easter break.
However, following the announcement that all exams would be postponed or cancelled, our boarders opted to fly home to be with their families and await further instructions from there. Flights were changed and boarders left when they could.
Despite the School’s closure last Friday, the boarding houses stayed open to accommodate those whose flights were not due until this week. Whilst the atmosphere has been rather different, many boarders benefited from being in a familiar place, with the care and support they had been used to until their flights were due. Travel arrangements have changed daily and we have worked to maintain calm and consistency for our overseas pupils. Our last boarder left York home on Wednesday and, like all our pupils, can access our online academic and pastoral support remotely and therefore can work and keep in in good touch with their friends, house staff and teachers.
Co-Curricular Update (Mr Gwilliam)
This term has been a very busy on the co-curricular front with lots of successes and participation. Next term we hope to keep pupils just as involved and lots of work is going into putting together a full remote co-curricular programme for next term. To mention just a few, the PE department are uploading daily fitness challenges, coaching in rowing is continuing in “Teams”, Keystone magazine is being finalised and Radio627 is looking at putting together some time capsule audio diaries . There is lots more in the pipeline too and things will be added to the Co-Curricular section of iFawkes as they develop.
This term has been hugely enjoyable and incredibly busy for the girls. Despite the cancellation of some key events towards the close of term, they still managed to pack a punch in a number of ways;
The achievement of just reaching the National Finals was history making for a junior girls team; the U14 girls stepped up to the challenge and represented St Peter’s at the highest level for school hockey. Playing against the best hockey schools in the country the U14 squad impressed all who saw their matches. They lost only one game in the group stages; 2-0 to the eventual National Champions, Kingston Grammar School. A pulsating second game against Framlingham College on the Stadium pitch saw us take the lead, to then concede 2 quick goals. A quick equalizer to draw 2-2, led us through to the final game. The team finished with a 1-0 win against Loughborough High School. Goal difference separated us from the bronze medal match, but the sense of achievement from a cup run that lasted 6 months, remained high. Exciting times ahead for this young squad and also for the progression of the hockey programme as a whole. Congratulations once again girls.
At the same time, the netball programme was in full swing:
In terms of participation, alongside the ten competing teams, we have been running a senior internal intramural league and such strength in depth has allowed performance and participation to sit side by side.
In the National Schools competition the U14, U16 & U19 teams all won their respective area rounds and successfully progressed to the County round of the competition. The U14, and U16 sides reached the Regional Finals and with determination and steadfastness throughout the day, both teams secured 4th positions. An inspiring achievement, indicative of their promising future also.
In the school fixture list, the 1st Team have had an impressive season, winning 10 of their 11 matches, in some hard-fought victory's, against many highly motivated sides. Their culture of ‘never giving up’, ultimately lead to moments of brilliance with many end to end battles, often rewarded with commanding leads. This picture was reflected in the determination and skill level that the 2nd, 3rd and 4th teams presented, who identified strongly with the positive playing culture also. We would like to thank the U6th girls throughout the squads, who have played with passion and belief across the years, their contributions have been immense.
The junior teams are developing all the time, building upon the same principles as the seniors, making continuous improvements. A special mention should also go to the U15B team this year, who have remained unbeaten across the season, a fantastic achievement. Thank you to all 6 junior teams this season.
At the same time, the senior tennis team had been preparing for the North Finals:
Having practised so keenly over the winter months, both indoors and outdoors, our senior 1st team were showing good focus and commitment as they prepared for the North Finals, where they were representing the last 4 at this stage. Again real promise and commitment and our thanks go to this dedicated team who have remained so goal oriented throughout the year.
The swimming team have also reached the Finals of the Bath and Otter Cup, and I have a joint report later for both the boys and girls.
So in essence, at the interrupted close of play this season, the girls had reached a national final and 3 north finals, played in endless fixtures in a host of sports, in school and out, as individuals and as part of a team. The energy and enjoyment has been tangible and it will be fantastic when we can get back to playing together again.
It has been a successful and enjoyable hockey season for the boys. The decision to fully incorporate the Fifth Form into the senior hockey programme has resulted in the 2nd XI and 3rd XI having fantastic seasons, playing with intensity and defeating other school’s 1st XI and 2nd XI teams respectively. The national cup runs saw the 1st XI make the last 32 in the country and lose out narrowly to Manchester Grammar School in a game where we created more chances and played the more structured hockey. The U16 also bowed out at the last 32 stage with their highlight being a 3-2 away win at Manchester Grammar School. The U14 boys went all the way to the North of England Finals, fighting hard to qualify for the National Finals, but alas, fell just short.
The 1st XI had a fantastic season overall, winning 11 of their 14 games. It was the manner of the fast paced and attack minded hockey that they played which was so pleasing to see. The 15a also had a great season finishing unbeaten, with a number of the players gaining exposure to senior hockey during the season. Overall it has been a hockey season which has been busy, competitive, entertaining and enjoyable. When all teams playing statistics are combined we played 54, won 33, drew 11, lost 10. There is real quality and depth to the hockey programme and the future certainly looks bright. Thank you to all the boys who trained and represented the school with such passion and a willingness to learn. Also huge thanks to the staff for their unwavering passion and energy.
Despite the curtailing of the season there has been some excellent performances this sevens season – the 1st VII played two tournaments and reached the semi-finals at Mount St Mary’s and quarter finals at Ampleforth. The U16’s were runner’s up in the Plate at RGS Newcastle and Sedbergh , improving throughout. The U15’s were our most successful team and came away with two pieces of silverware, playing some great attacking sevens and balancing this with some effective defensive work. They won the Barnard Castle Sevens and followed this up with another win at the Ampleforth Sevens.
The U14’s managed only one tournament losing in the semi-finals at the Hymers Sevens and well done to our Sevens players, the future looks bright.
Swimming and Water Polo 2019/2020
This year saw the swim team go another season unbeaten in regular mixed fixtures (4 in a row). A particular highlight was a close fought victory over a very strong Ashville team, and a victory in a 3 way fixture with both GSAL and Hymers.
In one off, larger scale competitions, the St Peter's team had their most successful year in recent times at the John Parry relays. Claiming 1st place in the U18 boys freestyle, U15 boys medley, U15 girls medley and freestyle. With a close 2nd place finish for the U18 boys medley, and U15 boys freestyle. The U18 girls all improved from previous seasons.
At the English School Swimming Championship, the pinnacle of school swimming, an U18 boys freestyle relay team qualified for the national finals at the Olympic pool in London, finishing an outstanding 24th in the country, against over 250 schools.
At the recent Bath and Otter national HMC schools competition, the same boys managed a podium finish in freestyle relay (3rd) and 5th in the medley. The girls team made it to the final of the freestyle relay finishing a very credible 9th place.
This has been an outstanding season from both boys and girls, from domestic competition to national finals.
Our water polo team have continued to build on their success and at the North stage of the National Schools Championships they qualified for the Plate Competition. Travelling to Northampton for the finals the squad performed really well in the Plate finals finishing in fifth place.
My thanks to the swimmers and the coaches as we look forward to future success.
It has been a very busy and rewarding term for our musicians. We enjoyed a wonderful Whole Foundation Concert just before half-term, which was a real celebration of our Music across 3-18 with a wide variety of choral and instrumental ensembles involved and a range of music from Mozart to Glenn Miller and beyond!
Following half-term our Chapel Choir visited St Paul's Cathedral in London to sing Evensong. The choir sang very well, with notable solo singing as well as a warm sound from the full choir. We received a lovely message from the cathedral inviting us back to sing in the future and we will look forward to taking the next generation of Peterites on this trip in two years' time.
Our Senior Music Festival earlier this month showcased a number of our senior musicians playing and singing solos, with an external adjudicator providing feedback in the final. The standard was so high this year and congratulations to all the pupils involved. We heard around 90 performances from the 5th and 6th form musicians during the rounds before half-term.
Sadly our annual Choral and Orchestral concert in York Minster was postponed just before the end of term. We are hopeful that we will be able to perform these pieces at the end of next term, possibly in school on the evening of Wednesday 1 July.
A member of the Third Form continued his adventure as one of the BBC Radio 2 Young Choristers of the Year, recording at Maida Vale this month and in MediaCityUK with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra. He can be heard singing on Radio 2 on Friday 10 April in the programme 'At the foot of the Cross' hosted by Dan Walker, starting at 8p.m.