The week began with our Advent Service in which our speaker, Reverend Dr Mandy Maxwell, encouraged us to reflect on the theme of ‘waiting’ and consider all the positive actions we can take during Advent, including helping others. We also lit the first candle of our Advent Crown, representing hope, and we considered the symbolism of the 5 candles, mounted on an evergreen wreath.
This week we have been treated to an impressive range of dramatic end of term productions and you can read about these performances below – including pictures of some splendid costumes! I have thoroughly enjoyed attending these events, which are the result of weeks of dedicated preparation by staff and pupils. It is clear that the children have relished the opportunity to share the results of their hard work with friends and family online.
In the Pre Prep, there was a very special atmosphere on Wednesday morning as Angels, Shepherds and Wise Men streamed across Ashburton Courtyard brimming with excitement for the Foundation Nativity – this year in the form of the play ‘Whoops-a-Daisy Angel’. Broadcast live to parents, the performance brought to life the joy and delight of the Christmas story. Confident acting, clear delivery of lines and charming costumes, combined with traditional Christmas songs certainly invoked a sense that Christmas has arrived at St Faith’s!
The Snow Queen
The Year 6-8 ‘Drama Works’ after-school Drama group put on a memorable production of ‘The Snow Queen’ which was broadcast live via Teams on Tuesday evening. Having worked hard on their acting and mime skills over the term, the pupils performed with pose and assurance as they retold this classic tale.
Faust & Furious
A number of our budding Year 8 actors, including those who are applying for Drama Scholarships to senior school, have enjoyed an after school activity this term studying the legend of Faust. They have choreographed a unique play about the legend of Faust, called ‘Faust & Furious’. Focused around the theme of the Seven Deadly Sins and Faust’s relationship with them, the pupils delivered a polished performance of dance, mime and action.
It’s All Greek to Me!
On Thursday afternoon, Year 5 performed live their versions of four classic Greek plays in ‘It’s All Greek To Me!’. During the term, Year 5 have been looking at the varying styles of Greek play, from Comedy to Tragedy, as well as the types of props and staging that would have been available to the Ancient Greeks. We heard four stories in total – Pandora’s Box, Echo and Narcissus, Perseus and Medusa, and Daedalus and Icarus. The short performances from each group were truly excellent – well done everyone.
New Era Exams
Continuing the Drama theme, today 35 pupils took their New Era Speech and Drama exams in a range of topics from Interview Technique to Mime, Acting and Public Speaking. We look forward to learning their outcomes very soon.
In the Pre Prep this week, Year 2 have shifted their topic focus to ‘Ice’. The children have been working hard researching information about animals that live in the extreme cold environments of the Arctic and Antarctic. Using information books and the Internet, Year 2 have been finding facts and making notes on these animals, using ‘mind maps’ under various headings, including ‘habitat’, ‘diet’ and ‘interesting facts’. From these they created their own polar animal fact files and posters.
Year 8 Art Enrichment
The Art enrichment group spent Tuesday immersed in detailed work in the Art studios under the watchful eye of Head of Art, Mrs Ankin. In preparation for the Art Scholarship assessments, which many of the pupils will be taking in the New Year, the children developed a new skill of glass art work. They used powdered coloured glass on clear glass tiles, to blend colours and create images of birds and flowers. Visiting artist, Jill Fordham, has now taken the pupils’ work away with her to ‘fire’ in a special kiln and will return the finished pieces before the end of term. It was a truly inspirational experience for our pupils and you can learn more about Jill’s art on her website https://hurdy-gurdyglass.co.uk
In the Classrooms
In lessons this week, Year 1 pupils have been writing sentences on the Nativity story, complete with illustrations. Meanwhile, in Music, Year 4 have been listening to extracts from Prokofiev’s famous ‘Peter and the Wolf’. Year 7 pupils have extended their skills of analysis with their discussion of the character evolution of Lady Macbeth in the famous Shakespearean play. Meanwhile another class of Year 7 pupils were hard at work designing their own letter illustrations, in the style of illuminated manuscripts, and other Year 7 pupils have been learning about electromagnetism in our Science laboratories. Elsewhere in Science, Year 8 botanists have been studying photosynthesis and aspiring physicists exploring the topic of light refraction.
It is remarkable to consider the breadth and ambition of teaching and learning which spans the curricular and wider curricular opportunities here at St Faith’s.
You will recall that a few weeks ago the School Council launched a competition to draw attention to the important matter of bicycle safety, especially during the winter months with dark nights and poor weather conditions. The School Council were delighted to receive over 75 entries and earlier this week they met to review and select the winners. In Pre Prep the joint winners were Tomás, for his original use of materials and clear labels, and Lottie, for using bright colours, clearly stated information and eye catching photos. The School Council pupil representatives also declared Alyssa, Célia and Matilda’s posters as Highly Commended.
From the Year 3 and 4 entrants, Freddie’s poster was chosen by the School Council as the overall winner; they really liked his carefully planned photo clearly showing lights, reflective clothing and a helmet, and also including the school logo. In addition, Elliot, Boris, Marielle, Dolly, Idhaant and Katie’s posters, were all recognised as Highly Commended.
In Years 5 and 6, the overall winner was Annie who composed her own original poem to ‘stay bright’ to describe how to be seen. Highly Commended awards go to Ella, Emily and Harry. In Years 7 and 8, Lauren’s poster was chosen as the overall winner, with Highly Commended awards going to Angus, Lily and Emilia.
Prizes will be delivered via tutors early next week and the School Council is looking forward to displaying the winning posters around the school grounds over the next half term.
As we approach the final week of this term, the children continue to display their characteristic energy and enthusiasm, perhaps buoyed by the approaching Christmas holiday. Whether you are staying warmly indoors or hoping to enjoy a bracing winter walk, I wish you a peaceful and relaxing weekend.
With all best wishes,
Dr Crispin Hyde-Dunn