This week at St Faith's

02 November 2018

Academic Enrichment Day

As I was working at my desk on the final day of last half-term, the bell rang for the end of morning break and the Year 3 and 4 children, all dressed as Egyptians and Romans, came marching past my office. One boy stopped, peered through my open door and grinned widely. “Did you enjoy your visit to the Fitzwilliam?” I enquired. “Yes” he replied, succinctly; clearly there were other things on his mind as his eyes lit up. “We won” he blurted out, “The Egyptians have just beaten the Romans at football!”

I trust that the Year 3 boy, and his peers in Years 3 and 4 learnt some of the finer details of ancient history as well, of course, as enjoying a game of football at break time during AcE (Academic Enrichment) Day. I never discovered whether the Romans gained revenge at lunch time, but in any case, it was lovely to see the children so animated in their learning and clearly revelling in the many practical history activities designed to extend and enrich regular classwork.

The Year 5s also had a great day, visiting the Ghousia Mosque in Peterborough as an extension to their work in Humanities whilst the Year 6s spent a day studying rivers, including undertaking some outdoor fieldwork. The Year 7s clearly loved the opportunity to build racing cars powered by gunpowder and the Year 8s studied sports psychology, first aid and began the process of putting together their Yearbook. All in all, a great day was had by everyone.

As the bell rang again for the end of the school day and parents came to collect their children, the excitement was just beginning for the Year 5s.  A couple of hours later they returned to school for an evening of science experiments, trampolining and night-time orienteering before having a pizza supper, a late-night film and an overnight stay in Ashburton Hall. The following morning, after an early breakfast, the children learnt circus skills and came face to face with some exotic animals. For some children, it was their first experience of a night away from home and for many, it was a night they will remember for the rest of their lives.  It was terrific fun at the end of a busy half-term. Thank you so much to Mrs Price, the coordinator of the Year 5 Science Sleepover, and the team of staff who gave up their holiday time to be with the children on this special occasion.

Jesus College Intellectual Forum

Yesterday Mrs White (Deputy Head Academic) hosted an educational conference at the Jesus College Educational Forum on the theme of ‘What should children learn?’ The Conference attracted 150 delegates from educational institutions across the UK, who came to hear a range of eminent speakers focus on the school curriculum and the purpose of education. As part of the Conference, Mrs White presented the four dimensional model of education, as described in her recently published book, ‘A Good Education’. She was also able to outline how this model explains and informs curriculum innovation at St Faith’s. The event programme is included in the Academic section of this newsletter for your information.

The Powers of Persuasion

Having started the term with a Poetry Recital, the Year 7 English lessons have moved on to developing oral skills and powers of persuasion through a unit of work on speeches and speech writing. The pupils have looked at everything from the rhetorical techniques of the Greeks to speeches that have marked key moments in history, from Elizabeth I addressing her troops at Tilbury, to the war time oratory of Winston Churchill and Kevin Rudd’s Apology to the Aboriginal Peoples. The classes were also inspired by Malala and her impassioned desire to make education the right of every child. In response, the children have written speeches about serious issues which they feel are relevant to our world today. In the Academic section of this newsletter are two (unedited) speeches for you to see.


In my effort to use powers of persuasion, please may I remind all St Faith’s families who cycle to and from school, not to cycle on the pavement along the school side of Trumpington Road.  We have received complaints from a neighbour about our families ignoring the ‘no cycling’ signs and there is a genuine fear that someone will be seriously hurt if people continue to cycle on this pavement. Thank you.

Food, Glorious Food!

Over half-term we heard that St Faith’s has been shortlisted for the FreeFrom Eating Out Awards in the category of ‘Focus on Gluten’. We are the only school in the country to have been shortlisted. Congratulations to Peter Burt, the Catering Manager, and his team. This link provides details of the awards.

On the subject of food, it was lovely to receive this message from the parents of James in Year 6, who wrote, ‘James made Katsu Curry in half term having really loved it at school and he wanted to show Mr Burt his efforts’. Each lunchtime, it is lovely to see the children genuinely enjoying their meals and engaged with the catering staff in talking about the various foods on offer.


The girls’ hockey teams have been in fine form.  Both the U11 and U12 sides have qualified for the Eastern Region finals and the U13 team has gone one step further by qualifying for the national finals, which will be played at Millfield School on 13th November.

The rugby players have also enjoyed success recently. Here are a few photos of the U13 team playing at the Framlingham festival and then, a week later, hosting Thorngrove School, a touring side from Newbury. Many congratulations to the U11 team which won the County Cup on Wednesday, winning all three matches against King’s College, St John’s and The Perse.

Thank you to every parent and child who entered the St Faith’s family golf event at Cambridge Lakes on 13th October and many congratulations to Harry (pictured here) and his father for winning the competition.

Speaking of sport, and in case you haven’t seen it already, here is the link to the new St Faith’s sports film which was released over half-term.  This week, we heard that Old Fidelian, Tess Howard, who is shown in the film as playing for the GB U23 side, has been selected for the main GB hockey squad – many congratulations to Tess.

This week, one Year 3 girl epitomised our ‘sport for all’ ethos when she told her mother that she won her hockey match 0-0! “Are you sure that you won?” her mother responded. “Oh yes”. She continued, “Our teacher said that both teams played so well that we all won!” That’s the spirit we like.


I look forward to seeing many of you at the annual fireworks display this evening – the largest SFPA event of the year. Approximately 900 tickets have been sold so it should, once again, be a great St Faith’s family occasion.  Here is some lovely firework shape poems which were being written as I delivered a birthday card to a Year 2 class today.

With all good wishes.

Nigel Helliwell