The final two weeks of term have much to offer and will be a busy and exciting time for the children. With Christmas now on the horizon, on Monday, our whole school community gathered in Ashburton Hall for our Advent Service. In the Christian faith, this important season gives time for reflection and quiet anticipation of Christmas. We continued our long-standing tradition of the youngest boy and girl in the school the lighting the first candle on our Advent wreath and undertaking this special task with great care.
In the classrooms this week, Year 5 pupils have been busy learning how to measure a perimeter in Maths and honing their Spanish numeracy skills with a game of Bingo in Spanish. I also joined some Year 7 pupils in a fascinating lesson on inorganic chemistry, and Year 3 as they explored the use of commas and conjunctions in sentences. In their Engineering lessons, the children have been examining the design and history of rockets, and in Computing, Year 6 have been designing and coding their own maze-based computer games in Python.
Pre Prep Rehearsals for Christmas
Although the Foundation and Year 2 Christmas productions will not take place until next Wednesday, there was a notable buzz of excitement in Ashburton Hall this week for the dress rehearsals. As well as fine tuning lines and coordinating the movements on and off the stage, it also gave the Foundation and Year 2 pupils the chance to perform in front of a ‘live’ audience. Our families with very young siblings have the option of attending the dress rehearsal and this year, for the first time, we also welcomed our prospective families with children who are intending to join Foundation in September 2023.
U13 Girls’ IAPS National Hockey Finals
Last Friday, our U13 Girls competed at the IAPS National Finals at Haileybury School. To reach the finals was an incredible achievement, and this demonstrated their progression since the County tournament earlier in the season. Every player showed great character and resilience to reach the Quarter Final where our team came up against Dean Close School, who went on to win the competition. For our girls to be placed 7th overall in the national hockey finals was a testament to their application and impressive team spirit. Well done to all the girls who took part.
U12 Girls’ Regional Hockey Finals
Staying with hockey, having recently won the Cambridgeshire County Tournament, on Monday our U12 Girls played in the East Regional Final at Redbridge Sports Centre. So far the season has gone extremely well, so expectations were high. However, experience has taught us that with this short game format, an element of luck is often needed to win the tournament!
Despite almost half of the team struggling with illness, the girls were emphatic winners of the East Regional Final tournament, scoring 26 goals in seven games, whilst not conceding a single goal. This was an extraordinary performance and great preparation for the IAPS National Finals which will take place at Clifton College. Many congratulations to the team on their fine success at regional level and we look forward to reporting on their progress at the national competition in next week’s newsletter.
U10-U13 Boys’ and Girls’ Swimming Gala v Bedford
Switching to swimming, our swim teams travelled to Bedford on Tuesday to compete in their second gala of the academic year. Although illness and injury prevented many of our team from taking part, several pupils rose to the challenge and swam in events which ordinarily might not be their preferred stroke or distance. Nonetheless all the pupils did themselves proud, especially the U10 boys and girls, given this was the first time they had competed for the school.
Understanding that in a swimming gala the lowest score wins, I am delighted to report that St Faith’s won by 191 points to 216. In doing so, 27 new personal best times were achieved, and three school records were very close to being broken. Maybe those records will be beaten at our next gala against Culford School in February. Well done to all the members of the team!
Lunchtime Music Concert
Today the final Lunchtime Music Concert of the Michaelmas term took place. This featured fine performances from pupils across Years 3-8 on a wide variety of instruments, including cornet, trumpet, flute, clarinets, violin and piano and we enjoyed music from a wide range of composers. The pieces performed spanned from the Baroque up to contemporary composers.
The Smeds and the Smoos
On Tuesday 29th November the Year 8 Enrichment Group and DramaWorks after-school club treated us to a performance evening of children’s poetry and literature. They delighted the audience with polished and dynamic comic poetry and a joyful devised re-telling of Julia Donaldson’s ‘The Smeds and The Smoos’ complete with songs they had written themselves. Congratulations to all the pupils involved.
Year 5 Showcase ‘The World’s Worst’
On Thursday it was the turn of Year 5 pupils to showcase their acting talents. In their form House classes, the children performed their interpretations of ‘The World’s Worst Children’ by David Walliams, with characters such as ‘Mrs Splatt’ bursting onto the stage. Each of the productions was extremely well delivered, with great expression and skillful choreography.
News from the Art Department
It is the stage of the Michaelmas term when pupils are completing a range of projects. Pupils in Year 3 have been exploring colour and have produced a splash of spring with their flower meadows. Meanwhile, Year 6 have worked in the style of the sculptor Giacometti to create their own rather fine shadow-like statues. The Art extension group in Year 8 have been stretching their 3D skills, modelling lizard eyes and wire creatures.
Year 8 Art Enrichment Workshop
Continuing with the artistic theme, on Tuesday the Year 8 Art Enrichment Group enjoyed their Art workshop with local artist Laura Pearson-Clark. Laura is a Cambridge Open Studio artist, and she has recently joined the committee of Ely Arts Festival. She is working towards a new body of artwork to be exhibited at the Babylon Gallery in Ely in June next year.
The pupils heard how Laura was inspired by winter walks during lockdown, as well as learning about Japanese art – especially origami and indigenous Australian art. Each pupil began the session by observing details and art forms in nature and then they built up their own composition using a mix of materials including diluted coffee granules, acrylic paint, and pen, finishing off with decorative areas of collage and gold leaf.
Pupils even had the opportunity to learn the art of mindful origami and made their own paper cranes.
St Faith’s in the News
You may have come across recent educational articles about St Faith’s in the Cambridge Education Guide, as well as the popular consumer magazine, Cambridge Edition. In both articles, we have been keen to convey the aspects of ‘Precision Learning’ which are embedded into our tailored educational approach at St Faith’s. You can find links to the articles here:
Next week we have a real feast of festive events to enjoy. On Monday evening, by special invitation, pupils in our Senior Voices Choir will sing at a Charity Carol Concert at Great St Mary’s Church in Cambridge. Then on Tuesday morning the Chamber Choir will have the rare opportunity to listen to Carols in King’s College Chapel, which promises to be a very memorable experience. On Wednesday the festive focus switches to our younger pupils, first with our Foundation Christmas production, followed by our Year 2 Christmas performance.
With our Christmas decorations in the dining hall and a fine Christmas tree adorning Ashburton Hall, there is plenty of excitement and seasonal cheer in the air.
I wish you and your families a peaceful Advent season and a very happy weekend.
With all best wishes,
Dr Crispin Hyde-Dunn