As we look forward to the beginning of the Advent season on Sunday, this week we held two Advent services – one for Foundation to Year 3 pupils and one for Years 4 to 8. In accordance with St Faith’s tradition, the two youngest members of the school at each service lit the first candle of our Advent wreath. We sang the advent carol, ‘O Come, O Come Emmanuel’ and listened to a New Testament reading from the Gospel of St Matthew. Reverend Coleman, our Foundation Chaplain, spoke about the season of Advent being special for Christians, anticipating Jesus’ birth and the light that he brought into the world. Reverend Coleman invited the children to consider how this season might inspire them to display kindness, care and hospitality to one other, as well as to those in their wider communities.
Art Enrichment Workshop
The Year 8 Art Enrichment Group have approached their scholarship preparation enthusiastically and rigorously this term. They have been encouraged to explore a given theme, to research, investigate and to prepare initial sketches in graphite and ink, and then embark on a colour study, before creating their final piece in a chosen medium. This has been a highly successful and enjoyable process, in line with elements of Art GSCE preparation – which we hope that many pupils will experience at their future schools.
On Tuesday, the Year 8 Art Enrichment Group took part in a fascinating fused-glass workshop which was led by local artist Jill Fordham. The pupils learnt how to work creatively with cut and powdered glass (frit) to create fused-glass tiles and pendants. Prior to their workshop, the pupils worked independently to produce preparatory work for their fused glass designs, in graphite, colour, and collage, before learning how to create their glass work which explored the theme of insects. In the afternoon, the pupils worked collaboratively, using their new skills, to produce beautiful stained glass tiles in a more abstract style, working with the colours of the four seasons.
As well as developing their artistic skills, some Year 8 children have been preparing pieces of written work for scholarship applications. Here is one particularly enjoyable entry written by a pupil for her Creative Writing portfolio. If you know the artists mentioned, then you maybe of a younger generation than some of our teachers, who had lots of catch-up work to do after reading this piece.
On Tuesday the Year 8 Drama Enrichment group delighted audiences with their energetic and clever presentation of ‘Twisted Tales’. In this devised project, the classic fairytales were all mixed up and not quite going to plan – making for a highly entertaining event!
Year 5 Drama
In Drama lessons this term, Year 5 pupils have been exploring the literary works of David Walliams. They devised four short plays based around some of his most iconic and joyful characters, who feature in his ‘The World’s Worst’ series of books, and families enjoyed seeing those characters brought to life on Thursday in Ashburton Hall. Can you imagine meeting the most deadly dinner lady of all time, Mrs Splatt, or Belinda Brag, a mother who can’t stop bragging about her child’s outstanding ability! Then there were the children Bertha the Blubberer, who had an insatiable love of pudding and finally Nigel Nit Boy. I think the name speaks for itself!
Prevent Plate Waste Day
At the beginning of the school year, when the new pupil members of the Eco Committee were elected, one of their chosen goals was the continued reduction of food plate waste. On Thursday, pupils took part in Prevent Plate Waste Day, when they had the opportunity to collect House points in the dining hall for finishing all the food on their plates, and collectively reduce the amount of food waste that we had at the end of the day. The target was to keep plate waste below 10kg that day and we achieved 12.7kg. The day before it was only 14.8kg, which was much lower than normal. Over the last two weeks the average has been 22.2kg. This is an improvement compared to the beginning of term, so we are heading in the right direction!
This event really helped to focus our minds on ensuring that we do not take more food than we are going to consume and this collective effort significantly reduced waste. Here are the results:
This gave a most encouraging total of 371 clean plates for Years 3-8.
In The Classrooms This Week
I have enjoyed visiting the pupils in their lessons this week, starting with Year 3. I joined the pupils as they were studying Religious Education as part of their Humanities curriculum. It was impressive to see their use of iPads to produce a presentation of the story of creation from the Book of Genesis. Meanwhile I joined Year 4 learning about Celtic houses in History, whilst Year 5 were enjoying some indoor football in their PE lessons. The Year 7 pupils have also been working hard across a wide breadth of subjects, ranging from looking at onion cells through a microscope, to using coding to create 3D images on a screen, to studying musicals and different styles of music to convey action and emotion.
Talk Education Review
Our Marketing Team are delighted to share an excellent school review which St Faith’s recently received in Talk Education, an online schools comparison website, featuring reviews written by a team of experts following a visit to the school. St Faith’s is rated as one of their top schools in the country and received a glowing endorsement from Talk Education, “A self-assured school that knows how to deliver education innovatively and engagingly, St Faith’s feels like a school that never stops striving to be better…. A real contender for the best prep in Cambridge”. Please read the full review here.
The Leys School: East Anglia Independent School of the Year 2024
We have been informed today that The Leys has been awarded East Anglia Independent School of the Year 2024 in this year’s Sunday Times Parent Power Schools Guide. This is a superb achievement, and we offer our warm congratulations to the community at The Leys upon their wonderful award. It also affirms the quality and strength of our Foundation. For more information about this exciting news, please visit The Leys website The Leys is Named East Anglia’s Independent School of the Year – The Leys
Foundation 2024 Play Sessions
On Wednesday, we welcomed more prospective families to St Faith’s, who hope will join our Foundation classes in September 2024. Whilst the children took part in a learning and discovery session with the Early Years team in one of the Foundation classrooms, the parents enjoyed some refreshments and conversations.
As in previous years, parents who have already accepted their offer of a place for Foundation next year will be invited to some of the school events taking place over the next six months, so that they start to feel part of the wider St Faith’s community. We look particularly forward to welcoming families to the dress rehearsal performances next week of the Foundation and Year 2 Christmas performances.
Please note that the admissions deadline for entry to Years 1-7 in 2024 has now passed. We will soon be writing to all applicants with the joining instructions for their assessment days, which will take place 11th-19th January 2024.
U12 Girls’ IAPS Hockey National Finals
At the time of writing, the Year 7 girls’ hockey team is taking part in the Year 7 Girls’ IAPS Hockey National Finals at Clifton College. We wish them the very best of luck and look forward to sharing their results in next week’s newsletter.
St Faith’s Badminton Tournament
On Thursday, 30th November, St Faith’s School proudly hosted its first-ever badminton tournament, where our students showcased their skills against Bedford School. The competition featured three separate tournaments—two doubles and one singles. In a unique twist, all students officiated their own games, highlighting not only their athletic abilities but also their commitment to fair play. The four courts buzzed with a high standard of play, creating an electrifying atmosphere throughout the tournament. To add a touch of camaraderie, at the conclusion of the event, students from both schools teamed up for some lighthearted doubles games. The afternoon was a perfect blend of competition, sportsmanship, and collaborative enjoyment, setting the stage for more exciting badminton events in the future at St Faith’s School.
Cambridgeshire Chess Championship
On Sunday, St Faith’s pupils will be taking part in the next round of the Cambridgeshire Chess Championship (CCC). Having finished 2nd in the league last season, St Faith’s A team is now at the top of the league after 4 matches, and we have a total of 3 teams competing this season. Good luck to all the players.
This time next week, on Friday 8th December, our SFPA Christmas Fair will be taking place at 3pm in Ashburton Hall. This keenly anticipated event is a real Christmas highlight for pupils, staff and parents alike – there will be an opportunity to visit a wide variety of stalls run by our pupils and visiting stallholders, to enjoy some seasonal refreshments, and perhaps to do some Christmas shopping. I look forward to seeing you there!
With all best wishes,
Dr Crispin Hyde-Dunn