Dear Parents and Guardians,
RE: FROM THE RECTOR’S DESK
The Michaelmas holiday is now a distant memory and we have had a good start to the term. Obviously, the Cambridge examinations now loom large. This has added to a sense of academic urgency around the school. For the “top end” of the school it is about putting the finishing touches to their preparations for the examinations so as to ensure that they finish strongly. There is a very encouraging tone in the school which we hope will translate into some solid results in January 2024.
The Michaelmas Term is always an interesting time as we look to bring closure to another academic year and all that is attached to that process, but equally, it is also a time where invest time into planning for next year (2024). To this end, I would like to extend my sincere thanks to the 2023 Parents Association for their support of the school this year. I would like to remind all parents that the Parents Association Committee provides a valuable conduit for discussion between parents and the school. To this end please note that the Annual General Meeting for the Association will be in Harare on Thursday 9 November.
More detail for this meeting will be circulated through the Parent Association network. There are a number of positions on the Committee that are available for 2024 given the “retirement” of current members whose children leave Peterhouse at the end of the year. Should you be available to work on the Committee please can you contact the Parent Association Chair, Michelle Exton, on firstname.lastname@example.org or 0772855444. Earlier this term we had a very constructive meeting with representatives of the Parents Association in response to the academic survey circulated last term. Firstly, can I extend my thanks to all those who participated. Secondly, the feedback we received was invaluable and incredibly well represented and presented by the Parent Association to the school. Many of the points emerging from the survey resonated with our internal review of the school’s academic programmes. From the school’s perspective we recognized that, in the post Covid environment, we needed to interrogate and evaluate what we have been doing in the classroom. Under the guidance of the Directors of Studies and the Director of Academic Advancement we have, over the last eight months, invested a considerable amount of time into looking at best practice and how we need to ensure that our academic offering continues to fulfill our desire for a rigorous and high quality learning environment. Interestingly, the findings of the survey were very much in line with the discussion we have been having here at school.
Notwithstanding this synergy we greatly valued the time committed to completing this survey and the feedback it has provided the school. Under the guidance of Mrs Scott Elliott (Director of Academic Advancement) there are number of strategies being adopted to facilitate further consolidation and growth in our academic offerings. Part of the feedback from the Trinity Term survey spoke to the role of tutors in the school. The tutoring system is double edged in that it provides the pupil’s in the school with support both from an academic and pastoral perspective.
Primarily, a tutor is responsible for the oversight of academic progress, but, they will engage tutees in a number of pastoral matters which are designed to support the well – being of pupils in the school. Tutors have responsibilities to Housemasters in so much as they will provide them with key information with regard to a pupil’s progress at school. From a parental perspective it is important to know from your son/daughter who his/her tutor is, for this is the best conduit for you to discuss any concerns (particularly academic) you might have with regard to your child. Obviously, your son/daughter’s Housemaster/mistress are ultimately responsible for ensuring the overall well-being of your children at school.
This week marked an incredible milestone for the school. Early on Thursday morning (21 September) the new pool reached the point where we could run the filtration system. It took 12 days and approximately 1.8 million litres of water to fill the pool. This new addition to our facilities will add a significant boost to our aquatics programme in the school. This week’s inter-house gala was the last in the old pool (33 yards). This means the records set in this pool will now go unchallenged as we move into our new 25m short course facility. The new pool has been built to FINA specifications for both international swimming
and waterpolo. We hope that the new facility will be available for use after the weekend but, this largely depends on the successful testing and functioning of the filtration system over the next couple of days.
Like the completion of the Astroturf, earlier this year, there is still a lot of landscaping work to be done but this should not hinder the use of the pool facility. It must also be noted that the new pool is 2.1m deep which means that it cannot be used without the supervision of a member of staff. The old pool will continue to be used as a training and recreational facility.
The completion of the two projects major building projects (astroturf and pool) are the result of some very hard work done by the Project team under the guidance of Matt Dove, the Building and Estates Committee under the Chairmanship of Graeme Webb and Simon Arnold as well as the support and vision of the Group’s Executive Committee and Board of Governors. We are indeed incredibly fortunate to have had such invested groups in seeing these projects to their conclusion.
Earlier this week both the boys’ and girls’ school hosted large groups of visitors as we opened up our campuses to Grade 6 parents and pupils for our Open Days’. Potentially, as the 2025 D Block intake, it was very encouraging to note the level of interest in both schools. In terms of entry to the schools please can I ask current parents to share with any prospective parents the importance of getting applications into the school early. For the 2024 intake both D Blocks are full and we have substantial “waiting lists”. The situation is very similar for other year groups in the school. Springvale House is also under pressure for places, all of which, highlights the importance of initiating an application process early.
It has been an encouraging and positive start to the term, however, for our examination classes the real work now lies ahead of them. By the time my next letter reaches your inbox we will be well into the Cambridge October/November examination cycle. We wish all our candidates every success in their examination endeavours.
With warm regards,