It may have been a damp and drizzly morning, but it didn’t deter the Year 2 parents from turning out in force to see their children’s outdoor Pre Prep finale. Given the disruptions to school over the past year, this event felt quite emotional, with the children celebrating their happy Pre Prep years and the parents relishing the opportunity to be on site again after such a long absence. There was plenty of humour too as the three Year 2 classes paid tribute to their teachers. As with many events this week, the programme had to be adapted to follow the current Covid guidance, but there was enough normality to create a good-feel factor and a glimpse of how school life will hopefully return next year.
Goblins at Goodwood
Another sign of normality returning was the resumption of the Green Goblin races last weekend. Our 3 teams travelled to the historic Goodwood race circuit, to be tested on their engineering knowledge, team work in pit stop conditions and of course, driving skills. Mrs Oxborough was delighted with the performances of all pupils and would like to extend her sincere thanks to all the St Faith’s parents who volunteered and without whose help the event would not have been possible. As way of a reward there was a specially organised ‘Parents Race’ at the end of the day, which by all accounts was keenly contested!
Enrichment Week commenced on Monday and despite the unseasonably cool weather, it has been a terrific experience for pupils in Years 3 to 8, as you can see from the examples shown in this newsletter. These off-timetable days provide a wonderful opportunity for pupils to take deep dives into specific topics, extend their skills and knowledge and have lots of fun along the way. I extend my deepest thanks to Mrs Seve, our Enrichment Co-ordinator, and all members of staff who spent time planning and delivering these wonderful experiences for the children.
Chaucer Choose Day formed part of the programme, with pupils, and indeed staff, donating £2 to Chaucer’s chosen charity, Arthur Rank Hospice, in return for wearing non-uniform to school for the day. I am delighted that over £800 was raised and will be passed on to Arthur Rank in memory of former teacher, Mrs Allanson.
There were costumes aplenty on Monday morning as I stood at the gates welcoming pupils to school. In celebration of all things Roald Dahl, Year 3 came dressed as some of children’s literature most well-known characters, including Oompa Loompas, Willy Wonka, Fantastic Mr Fox and The B.F.G. On Wednesday, the children enjoyed a local area walk where they put newly found map reading skills to the test.
Not to be out done, Year 4 also embraced the dressing-up theme on Monday as they celebrated Harry Potter Day. Witches and wizards, Dumbledore and even a model Dobby were to be found on School House field practising their spells with dramatic wand flourishes. The children loved the magical-themed activities throughout the day. For their STEM day on Wednesday, Year 4 made 3D shapes using art straws, blu tac and pipe cleaners as well as creating non-Newtonian liquids using cornflour and water.
On Tuesday, Year 5 enjoyed a STEM Day, building machines such as cranes and lifts in the Engineering Workshop, constructing and coding Lego robots in the Computer Suite and burning various reagents in the Science Labs. On Wednesday, they enjoyed a morning of golf, with skill development games at Latham Road fields and for those with some experience, a 9-hole round at our local course, Cambridge Lakes.
For their Oceans of the World day on Tuesday, Year 6 studied poetry about the oceans. They then considered human impact on the oceans and what we can do to reverse the damage caused. As an extra treat, each class was able to spend time in the Library with our wonderful librarians, browsing books and selecting a few to take home to read during the summer. Just how much the children have missed the Library was evident when one child lay on the carpet and exclaimed, ‘I’m home!’
On Monday, Year 7 enjoyed a leisurely punt on the River Cam, to learn more about the history of Cambridge. A day later they experienced the joys of Indian dancing, with uplifting music, hypnotic dance moves and colourful Indian accessories. In the Art rooms, pupils had the chance to paint their own lotus flowers on silk, while in the Britten room other pupils learned to sing and beat out Indian music on the drums.
Year 8 honed their life skills on Monday with a series of activities designed to develop independence. Activities included frying bacon to make bacon butties, sewing buttons onto shirts, changing a bicycle inner tube, learning to a wire a plug and how to set a table for dinner. On Tuesday, the overlapping themes of Spanish and Arabic culture were their focus, when they learnt to make Moorish mosaic tiles and castanets and were introduced to the exotic world of Flamenco dancing (I couldn’t resist joining in). On Wednesday morning, the children were joined by John Willis from Power2Inspire. John was born without fully formed arms and legs and set up Power2Inspire with the mission of encouraging Inclusion through Sport. Also on Wednesday, they prepared and took part in two debates under the adjudication of Mr Day. The first motion was ‘War is inevitable and necessary’, followed by ‘Money=Success / Success=Money’. Mr Day and Ms Allen could not have been more impressed with how the pupils rose to the challenge.
Year 1 Knights
Year 1 enjoyed a series of activities on Tuesday, wrapping up this term’s topic of castles. Wearing tabards and helmets complete with brightly coloured plumes, and brandishing home-made paper swords, Year 1 entertained each other in the way jesters of old would have done. This included joke telling and magic tricks, before embarking on a sword fight!
Sports Day with a difference took place on School House field yesterday. Years 6, 7 and 8 competed in a number of track events in the morning and it was lovely to welcome Year 8 parents to the event. In the afternoon it was the turn of Years 3, 4 and 5. Whilst not quite the normal Sports Day at The Cambridge University track, it was nevertheless, a super day with plenty of healthy competition and fun.
Year 8 Picnic
After a morning of exertions on the athletics track, Year 8 enjoyed a picnic lunch in my garden, a small nod to the traditional highlight of a normal Sports Day picnic at Wilberforce Road. Sitting together in the garden, sharing stories of their time at St Faith’s and making the most of their final days in each other’s company, it was an emotional experience for pupils and staff alike. As has become the tradition, pupils took the opportunity to sign each other’s shirts, a lasting memento of their times at St Faith’s.
Year 8 Music Video
On the theme of lasting mementos, this term Year 8 were challenged with choreographing their own music/dance video in the absence of a full drama production. This entirely pupil-led activity saw the children first select a music track to accompany their video, before planning their individual and collective dance moves and actions. As you will see from the video, much fun was had in creating the film.
Mr Men Stories
Mrs Davis’s Year 8 English class has been exploring issues that concern them, by writing their own Mr Men and Little Miss stories and then reading them to Year 3. Among the stories and themes covered were Mr Spill (he tips water over dry land and makes it green again), Mr Karma (who brings peace to a war-torn land), Mr Idea (who helps Mr Clueless and the people of Puzzled Land to solve their problems collaboratively), Little Miss Art (who paints everything in bright colours) and Mr Earth (who cares deeply about the destruction of the environment around him).
This week, we have been thinking about our partner school, Makukhanye in Jeffreys Bay, South Africa. More information on our special relationship can be found here. On Monday pupils in Pre Prep took part in a ‘Miles for Makukhanye’ walk around the school site and over to Vicar’s Brook where they found lots to look at and raised an impressive £1545. This morning, a number of events took place for Years 3 to 8, including year group Tug-o-Wars, code-breaking activities and laying a path of donated coins across the school site. The children also watched a recorded assembly that focused on our friends at Makukhanye.
I am off now to this year’s special Year 8 Speech Day event in the marquee. I am delighted that Year 8 parents are able to join us in small group socially distanced bubbles and that other parents will hopefully be joining via a live link. We will be celebrating the achievements of all the Year 8 pupils and looking back on an eventful year. You might enjoy this photo montage of the past year.
As I sign off my last St Faith’s newsletter, Jane and I would like to express our heartfelt thanks to everyone for the many kind messages and generous gifts over the past few weeks. We have loved our time here and greatly valued the support and encouragement we have received over the past 10 years. It has been a privilege to lead this great school. Under Dr Hyde-Dunn’s headship, I believe St Faith’s will go from strength to strength. We wish you and your family an enjoyable summer and every happiness and success in the future.
With all good wishes,