Karen Frazer St Stephens CE Primary School

Talking Heads | Interview with Karen Frazer | St Peter’s CE Primary School

Tucked away on a quiet residential road off King Street, just moments from the sought-after residential area of St Peter’s Square and minutes’ walk from Ravenscourt Park, is one of W6’s most highly regarded primary schools – St Peter’s CE Primary School. We took the opportunity to learn more about the impressive Hammersmith primary school and its headteacher Karen Frazer.

Hosting 210 pupils and being one of the very few primary schools in the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham to have one form entry; St Peter’s CE Primary School offers a happy, stimulating, and secure environment for children to learn and thrive.

About Karen Frazer

Born and raised in Liverpool, teaching was something Karen Frazer knew she wanted to do from a very young age. Her passion for teaching and leadership unwavering, after completing her A Levels she completed a four-year Bachelor of Education degree at Homerton College, Cambridge University.

Karen’s first teaching position was in a village called Haddenham in Cambridgeshire, and she continued to work in the county for four more years before moving to London, where she joined the senior leadership team at St Stephen’s CE Primary School in Shepherds Bush. It was during this time that she successfully completed the National Professional Qualification for Headship (NPQH), her dedication to teaching and personal development steadfast.

Karen Frazer Headteacher St Peter's CE Primary School

Religion also plays an important role in Karen’s life. As a child, she attended a Church of England primary school and went on to be an active member of her church community for many years. She intends to raise her daughter in the Christian faith and recently had her christened at St Peter’s Church by Rev Charles Clapham. 

Headship of St Peter’s CE Primary School

After 13 years at St Stephen’s, 10 of which were as Deputy Headteacher, the opportunity arose to take over the Headship. Well-equipped for the role, in 2015 Karen took over the Headship of St Peter’s CE Primary School.

Karen is extremely proud of what has been achieved by the school and recognises the important part played by her team: “At St Peter’s we have an amazing staff team, all of whom go above and beyond in all of their roles and responsibilities for the benefit of our children.”

St Peter's CE Primary School

School values at St Peter’s CE Primary School

As a church school, the faith and belief in God underpins everything. To ensure this was applied in the best and most beneficial way the school community recently conducted a review of their Christian values as part of a wider review of the school’s vision and supporting bible verse. 

As a result, St Peter’s new vision statement is: Rooted in Christian values, which underpin the school’s ethos, pupils are inspired to strive for excellence within a thriving, inclusive community. We aim to enable every child to shine and aspire to reach their personal potential, whilst respecting and caring for one another and honouring God with their individual talents.

This vision statement is underpinned by the school values: courage, thankfulness, respect, service, kindness and perseverance and their bible verse: ‘Let your light shine before others, so they see your good works and give glory to God’ Matthew 5 v 16

St Peter's CE Primary School

Karen confirms the importance of faith at the school and the role it plays each day “Our Christian values are displayed in every classroom and around the school; they form the themes for our daily collective worship sessions, they are reflected in the way we treat one another and behave and also in our contributions to the local and wider communities. As a Christian school, we hold a daily act of collective worship. This gives us the opportunity to gather as a whole school and learn more about God, it is also a time for reflection and prayer.  Rev Charles Clapham, leads our collective worship session every Wednesday. He also supports the teaching of the RE curriculum across the school – he has christened many teddy bears over the years to demonstrate the act of baptism to the children!  As a school, we visit St Peter’s Church to celebrate key events in the Christian calendar.  We also hold a special service of celebration for our Year 6 leavers at the end of the academic year; this often proves a very emotional service as the children share their memories of their time at the school.” 

Enabling pupils to reach their potential

The school is clearly committed to ensuring that all children are supported to reach their academic potential and as part of the Government scheme for pupils to ‘Level Up’, the funding is used to run catch-up classes for targeted individuals. These run alongside the differentiation which is planned into all of the lessons and teacher-led class intervention support.  In addition, the school also runs challenge groups for those excelling in English and mathematics allowing those pupils to show mastery of these subjects.

Whilst academia is incredibly important St Peter’s strives to ensure every child reaches not only their academic potential but can feel success in other areas of the curriculum such as sports, drama and music. Karen explains; “In order to feel this success, they need to be given the experiences to develop and showcase their skills and talents.  We prioritise numerous events throughout the school year to allow the children to do this: whole school productions, entering sporting events, and music events and competitions.  Most recently the entire school came together to perform the musical Oliver Twist, it was a wonderful mix of singing, dancing and performing which allowed so many different individuals to shine upon the stage.”

St Peters CE Primary School Hammersmith

School trips and extra-curricular activities

“We are delighted that trips are now back on the school agenda,” Karen says when explaining that St Peter’s has a full calendar with two residential visits for the children during their time in Key Stage Two. 

In Year 5, the children spend three days at the PGL Centre, Marchants Hill in Surrey.  There, the children can experience a range of activities such a zip wire, abseiling, climbing and raft building, whilst also developing their independence by being away from home for two nights. 

Then in Year 6, children travel to Pembrokeshire to spend a week at Treginnis Farm.  This is one of the Michael Morpurgo Farms for City Children. Whilst there the children become fully immersed in the running of the farm, completing tasks such as chopping firewood, milking goats, digging vegetables, feeding the cattle and pigs and my favourite mucking out the stables!  The children attend to tasks on the farm before breakfast and then throughout the day; they eat food produced on the farm and are taken away from all technology. “It’s a complete lifestyle change, and they absolutely love it!” Karen adds.

St Peters CE Primary School Hammersmith PGL trip

Keen to enrich the learning experience of the children, teachers frequently take the children out of the classroom to support their work in class, most frequently to places in London that have included the National History and Science Museums, Art Galleries, Kew Gardens, Fulham Palace, the Lyric Theatre, the O2. On occasions, school trips have been slightly further afield such as the Year 2 pupils taking a trip to Brighton beach in the summer term as part of their work on the seaside.

Karen highlights the support the school has for passions outside of the classroom; “Last year, two of our Year 6 pupils were starring in the West End production of the Lion King (one playing the young Simba and the other the young Nala). To support them in their roles, we managed to arrange tickets to take the rest of the Year 6 class to watch the performance, it was a wonderful experience.” 

Friends of St Peter’s (FoSP)

St Peter’s has a very active PTA and supportive parent body.  Last year, the PTA raised £10,000 to fund the purchase of air purifiers for every classroom, to actively reduce the levels of pollution in and around the school.  In addition to this, the PTA has raised money to facilitate the redevelopment of the school library, and the school playground, fund school visits and purchase resources which support the learning of the children. 

Throughout the year the PTA organise a wide range of events, the main aim of these events is always to bring the community together, whilst also raising funds for the school.  This year in addition to the summer and Christmas fairs, the PTA plan to organise an auction evening, and a sponsored bike/walk/ scooter event to encourage everyone to become more active and they will also host two family supper events, whereby families bring and share food together.

In addition to the PTA, St Peter’s runs an Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) group and SEND Family Network, which is made up of parents, staff and Governors.  The aim of these groups is to create a whole school culture which actively promotes equality, diversity and inclusion for all and eliminates any conscious and unconscious bias among the school and broader community. On the importance of these groups, Karen adds “With the support of the EDI group and SEND Family network we plan events to celebrate diversity and challenge prejudices and stereotypes.  We want our children to know that there are no limits to what they can achieve.”

St Peter's CE Primary School Hammersmith

A popular local primary school

St Peter’s is a popular school, this year they had approximately 175 applicants for the 30 Reception age places available.

Children leave St Peter’s confident and well prepared to take the next step in their school careers.  The children transition to both the state and private sector to schools including Laytmer Upper School, Goldphin and Latymer, Harrodian, Notting Hill and Ealing, West London Free School, Lady Margaret’s and Twyford.

Moving to Hammersmith

With such a large number applying for the few entry places available at St Peter’s many parents often voice concern over being with catchment. Whilst the exact catchment area changes each year with the number of applications, our team of local estate agents can offer advice and guidance to help you make a well-informed decision when moving home with schooling in mind.

To talk to our team about moving to Hammersmith, get in touch.