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ST PETER’S SCHOOL GOVERNORS

NEWSLETTER DECEMBER 2020

WHAT A YEAR

When I was much younger, I read Boswell’s “Life of Johnson”, celebrating the life and witticisms of the first English lexicographer, Dr Samuel Johnson. I recall that he said “a woman preaching is like a dog standing on its hind legs – it is not done well but one is surprised to find it done at all!” At the time I found that amusing but now I recognise it for what it is – misogynistic. I have spent most of my working life challenging stereotypes of this nature and am delighted that the School and Parish have moved so far in my time as Chair and over this past year in so many ways. That may seem a strange way to start my last Chair’s Christmas Newsletter but bear with me please, as I offer a couple of illustrations.

I am continually impressed as to how, at St Peter’s, we contrive both to maintain tradition but also to develop it. Thus, as to the woman preaching, we now have our Priest, Jane, finally confirmed as our Vicar and she does a very mean sermon – and she’s not too bad at “zooming” Facebook etc. Are you and your children following her daily Advent calendar offerings on Facebook? They are great fun.

Similarly, I was advised by Mr Gunn this week that we are at our highest ever % attendance at the School – 98.8% – another impossible achievement in these challenging times, which has certainly been “done well”! This is a tribute to the work put in by the whole School and by parents. I have received a number of written and oral thanks for the efforts made and I would, in turn, wish to record my thanks to all those parents who have cooperated so fully. I would need, though, to express my serious concerns at those parents who have thought it fit to allow “play dates” and “sleep overs” at such a dangerous time. Please stop this. Please think of the safety and health of others and your own older relations.

The swimming pool is reaching completion. There have been large delays with Planning and then with obtaining vital equipment but we are expecting completion during the Spring term. It will be a very substantial improvement on the previous facility. A further benefit is that the work force for the Pool will also be engaged in providing the basis for the final classroom that we will need when we are fully 2FE.

 

GOVERNOR UPDATES

We have had no new Governors this term but continue to meet monthly via Zoom. At this time, I would especially like to thank Lisa Christie, a parent Governor, for the work she has done, using her professional skills, to support work on mental health and well-being issues. I would also like to thank our Clerk and School Secretary, Carole Day, for her unceasing work for us. Another essential support has come from Lynsay and Melanie keeping our financial ship afloat. We have set Priorities again this year and continue to monitor how we are doing at each meeting.

All of our Priorities are supported by a careful Programme of Governor Visits and all Governors are involved in these. Do please contact Mr Gunn or myself if you want any further detail on our monitoring arrangements? They have, inevitably, had to be substantially altered in how they are carried out this year but Jane and myself managed a “virtual” visit a couple of weeks ago to look at how the School and Church continue to offer a “Christian distinctiveness” whilst still respecting other cultures.

 

SCHOOL ASSOCIATION (SPSWSA)

My continuing thanks to all of you who continue to support the wonderful School Association in raising the funds to allow us to remain an Outstanding School. I must retrospectively again pay tribute to the work of Vicky Dorrington (Chair) and Kim Johnson (Vice Chair) and their team. I am advised that over £78k was raised in the last academic year. This was a new record despite the fact that most activities had to be suspended after “lockdown” in April.  I am advised that the new Team of Becky, Claire and Carly are already doing a fantastic job in the existing very trying circumstances. THANK YOU.

 

PARKING

Matters are clearly improving and I continue to be clear that the vast majority of parents park really sensibly – and accurately! Still some do not!

A number of developments have improved things recently. Firstly, the double yellow markings have made it easier to keep Wigley Bush Lane flowing during pickup/drop off. Secondly, the height barriers in Weald Park have finally been installed. We all owe Stefan Reade and his team enormous tanks for their work in liaising with the Park. Finally, I have been recently made aware of further possible developments which might assist the parking situation as we move towards a full 2FE school from September 2022.

We are continuing to supply the Park with details of new parents who wish to use this facility at the end of this term.

Please continue to think carefully about the needs and safety of us all.

 

STAFFING

There was only one change in the teaching team at the start of this year, when Ms Stone joined us. I am advised that she has made an excellent start as have all the new children. A number of staff have changed their Year Groups and these also seem to be working well. Mrs Reynolds is now appointed formally as our Assistant Headteacher, whilst continuing as our SENCo and she has no direct class responsibilities as Mrs Edwards has returned to her Year 5/6 class working with Mrs Ledgerwood.

 

FINALLY – CHRISTMAS 2020 AND ON

As I write, on Friday December 17th, I am fresh from the Infant Nativity last night. What a delight this was, again fitting for the West End stage with sound and video enhancement again provided by a parent, Gary Mahone, and his team. We are really grateful to Gary as he has all the gear to enhance the Production with special effects etc. It was a quite extraordinary Performance by any standards but for it to come from every child, some of whom are still 4 and few are even as old as 7, was truly remarkable – especially given the Covid restrictions this year! I now look forward to some of the usual Christmas celebrations, albeit Covid modified. There will be Crib Services via Zoom on December 24th, (see the Church web site for details) and Midnight Communion and Christmas morning Communion – both requiring booking via Eventbrite and for limited numbers. Nine Lessons and Carols (20th) has been recorded – again see the web site.  I hope that you will all manage something of a break over the “festive season” and be able to spend some time with your families. Do keep safe and healthy.

It’s a wonderful school in which to have been involved! In a closing Christmas reference as Tiny Tim said “God bless us every one”.

 

Chris Luck Chair of Governors

December 18th   2020

 

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