This week at St Faith's

01 March 2024

Mr Pallister

The St Faith’s school community has been deeply saddened by the death of Mr Pallister, who was a highly valued and respected Pre Prep teacher and colleague. He will be very greatly missed. We offer our sincere condolences to Mr Pallister’s family and friends at this extremely sad time. On Monday, we were joined by Reverend Simon Coleman, Chaplain of the Leys and St Faith’s Foundation, as our community gathered in a special assembly for Years 3 to 8, to reflect upon this news and hear words of comfort. In the coming days, family, friends and colleagues of Mr Pallister are taking part in two events in honour of his memory – the Cambridge Half Marathon this Sunday 3rd March and an ice hockey match the following Sunday 10th March. Details of both these events have been circulated across our school community via the SFPA.

We have carefully collated kind messages of condolence to pass on to Mr Pallister’s family. In liaison with his family and in line with their wishes, we hope to share an obituary and in due course details of how we plan to acknowledge Mr Pallister’s most generous and dedicated contribution to our school community.

In the Classrooms

I joined Year 6 this week for some quiet time in the library, where they were writing book reviews, considering plots and character development, and choosing new books to read. Continuing on the theme of reading, when I visited their English class, Year 8 pupils were studying Michael Morpugo’s ‘Private Peaceful’ and writing a description of life in the trenches from the perspective of Thomas ‘Tommo’ Peaceful. Meanwhile, Year 5 have been studying the writing of Gaius Valerius Catullus in Latin, whilst in Engineering they have been building bridges from K’nex and considering the forces of tension and compression. In Mathematics, Year 8 have been working on some very challenging numerical crosswords whilst Year 4 were practising dividing numbers by 9 when I visited their lesson. In Year 7 Computing, pupils were learning about the difference between RAM and ROM and exploring computer inputs and outputs.

Intermediate Maths Challenge

In February, 33 pupils in Year 8 chose to take the Intermediate Maths Challenge and there were some superb results which were shared with pupils this week. Congratulations to all the pupils who participated: they demonstrated great ambition and perseverance as they worked through this challenging paper, actually aimed at older pupils in Year 9 to Year 11. Congratulations to the 4 pupils who achieved Gold certificates, 6 who achieved Silver certificates and the 12 who achieved Bronze. These are all truly outstanding results. The highest performing pupils, including 5 pupils from St Faith’s, have been invited to the next round, the ‘Kangaroo Round’, which will take place in March.

Parent-Teacher Meetings

It was a pleasure to welcome our families from Years 3, 4 and 7 to their Parent-Teacher meetings this week. I do hope that parents have found these evenings useful in being able to discuss their children’s progress at this stage of the academic year.

Instrumental Soloists Festival

On Thursday twenty-eight soloists took to the stage in Ashburton Hall as part of the Soloists Festival. This event runs in tandem with the Class Concerts series which traditionally runs during the weeks after half-term. Mr David Revels, Uppingham School’s newly appointed Head of Singing, adjudicated the festival and provided encouraging and constructive feedback to the soloists after their performance. His focus was very much on how performers communicate with their audience and expression. Mr Revels’ expertise as a professional musician and teacher was of great value and he was highly impressed by the standard of the music making at St Faith’s. The two events were a celebration of all the soloists’ achievements as musicians and Mr Revels highlighted the number of hours required for pupils to reach such high standards.

U13 Girls’ Indoor Cricket Competition

On Wednesday afternoon the U13 Girls’ cricket team made the short trip to The Perse Upper to take part in a triangular indoor cricket tournament versus Perse Upper and Stephen Perse. To qualify for the indoor finals day, the girls had to come at least second out of the three.

It took the team a bit of time to get used to the nuances of indoor cricket. 3 runs for an extra, being caught off the walls, 2 runs for a run between wickets and the use of a softball meant that the team quickest to adjust and adapt would be successful. Luckily, the girls did just that and after a few cagey opening overs our bowlers began to get used to the new conditions and then batters began to understand how to score more consistently.

After beating Stephen Perse in the first game, all Mr Clayton-Smith asked from the girls was to learn from the game and improve, and they did just that! A much tighter bowling performance and smarter batting strategy, and the team executed almost the perfect game plan beating the Perse Upper with overs to spare. They now move forward to the Finals Day on 21st March at Cambridge University Sports Centre and we wish them the best of luck.

Year 6 Boys’ Hockey Cambridgeshire County Cup

On Tuesday, the Year 6 boys travelled down the road to the Perse Prep for their County Cup tournament. Confidence was high along with our expectation. The boys were unbeaten going into the tournament and they were aware of the importance of taking chances in the shorter game format. The team remained unbeaten throughout the day, but finished third having drawn too many matches. The boys will go into the IAPS Regional Tournament this Friday confident that they can create chances against any team, whilst recognising the technical elements required when tired and under pressure.

Year 6 Girls’ IAPS Netball Regionals

The U11A netball team travelled to Brentwood for a very wet game of netball, playing brilliantly in tough conditions and winning the first game 7-5. Unfortunately, the tournament was then cancelled due to the weather and is to due be continued next week.

Year 5 House Table Tennis Competition

Last year was the inaugural competition for House Table Tennis. Due to the popularity of the sport, the competition has continued this year and is a hugely popular event in the school calendar, with plenty of outdoor practice taking place at break times. Following close on the Year 6 event before half-term, it was the turn of the Year 5s this week to give some impressive performances. The results can be found in the side-bar of this newsletter.

Foundation 2024 Breakfasts

This morning, it was our pleasure to welcome some of the new St Faith’s families who will be joining the school for Foundation 2024. A delicious breakfast was the perfect opportunity to sample St Faith’s catering and hospitality, as well as for parents to meet one another, and for members of the SFPA to introduce themselves.

This is a continuation of the series of ‘Friday Foundation Breakfasts’ taking place over this term – thank you for making the newest members of our community feel welcome.

Gymnastics This Weekend

This weekend our gymnastics teams will be very busy competing in the U9, U11, U14 Boys’ ISGA Four-Piece National Gymnastics Championships, as well as the U10 and U13 Girls’ ISGA Five-Piece Premier National Gymnastics Championships, both being held at Haberdashers’ Aske’s Boys’ School.

The BSGA U11 & U14 Boys’ Floor and Vault Regional Finals will be held at Chelmsford Gymnastics Club on Sunday. We wish all of the pupils the very best of luck!

And finally…

It has been a sad and difficult week and we will continue to keep Mr Pallister, his family and friends in our thoughts and prayers. The children have been really inspiring in their kindness and compassion towards one another, and we draw strength from our sense of community.

I wish you all a peaceful weekend,

Dr Crispin Hyde-Dunn