This week at St Faith's

02 October 2020

In the past two weeks, I have kicked-off my message with a quote, so I thought I would keep this habit going and start with a passage from a story that I read this week.  See if you can recognise the author.

‘The storm raged through the dark night sky. Lightning boomed in the darkness, thunder howled, waves crashed angrily on to the rocks…The seals were huddling in the corner, terrified.’

And the writer?  Jessica in Year 3JJ!  Not bad for a 7 year-old I thought, as I heard some of the children read out their impressive story openings when I called in to the Year 3 classrooms earlier this week.  To be honest, I was bowled over by the standard of creative writing.  Having recently read the popular children’s book, ‘The Storm Seal’, the children were exploring the use of descriptive writing to create powerful openings for their stories.  Here is one from Maggie that I managed to capture on film as she read it out to the class.

Sausage Maths

Creative writing wasn’t the only subject to capture my interest this week.  As a Maths teacher, I was intrigued and amused to see Mr Mageean’s ‘sausage’ method in action during a lesson on negative numbers with Year 7 this week.  By drawing a sausage around the two mathematical signs, pupils were able to deduce the operation to use, to find the answer to the question.  This gastronomic method was clearly working and by the end of the lesson I had the heard the word ‘sausage’ so many times that I left the classroom feeling hungry.


Year 5 Maths Puzzles

Staying on the subject of Maths, Year 5 pupils have been consolidating their knowledge of the 12 and 24 hour clocks this week, with a number of puzzles designed to test their understanding and problem solving skills, including this brain teaser.

Year 5 African Drumming

The Library, currently converted in to a Music classroom, was alive with the sound of West African drums as I passed by on Tuesday.  Here are the Year 5s in flow, practising some syncopated rhythms – well that’s what Mr Gorick called them, so I’ll take his word for it.


Moving from syncopated rhythms to Dalcroze Euryhthmics is not something I have ever done before, but I can’t write this week’s message without mentioning Ms Overman’s innovative and engaging method of teaching the concept of rhythm, structure and musical expression using movement.  Pupils gain a more physical awareness of music through training all their senses, particularly kinaesthetic as they match their body movements to the music.  As you can see from the video, the children were clearly enjoying the experience of learning about music in a physical way this week.

Creative Walking

Paul Klee once suggested that “A line is a dot that we take for a walk.”  This week, Year 2 let their pencils go for creative walks, and with some clever colouring, creatures emerged from the chaos!

Virtual Hugs

Last week, Foundation children were busy painting self-portraits, subsequently turning them into a painted ‘hug’ that they have taken home in an envelope with the intention of sending their ‘hug’ to a friend or family member.  Clearly the children were very pleased with their creations, as you can see from the photo.


Yesterday, Year 5 experienced the Islamic pilgrimage, ‘The Hajj’, in a virtual format as they followed the steps of this Muslim ritual virtually from their classrooms.

Harvest Festival Collection

On Monday, we will be holding a Harvest Festival Assembly, led (remotely) by the newly appointed Foundation Chaplain, Reverend Simon Coleman.  As pupils arrive at school, we will be collecting donations of food which we will give to the Salvation Army in Cambridge.  Collection boxes will be placed on each gate.  The Salvation Army has suggested a list of foodstuffs that would be particularly helpful – this is in the side bar of this newsletter.

Buddy Sessions

The first Buddy sessions began this week with Year 8 Bentley and Chaucer Prefects joining their respective Buddies in Years 3-6, via Teams. A range of ‘Getting to Know You’ games kicked off the year-long relationships as the Year 8s shared details about themselves before getting their younger buddies to reciprocate.  Games such as ‘Pass the Smile’ and ‘Finish the Sentence’ gave all involved a fun and light-hearted basis to the virtual sessions.  Next week, Latham and Newton Prefects will meet their Buddies and after half term, further virtual sessions will ensure that all pupils gain the most out of these relationships

House Assemblies

Many of the older pupils, particularly in Year 7, have been busy helping to prepare and deliver assemblies to their Houses this week.  Bentley and Newton focused on setting the BAR (Balance, Attitude and Relationships), Chaucer highlighted the importance of role models which linked nicely with their buddy session, and Latham looked at the values of kindness and how it affects others.  Thank you and well done to the teachers and pupils who created and presented these assemblies.


The Newton House assembly included the video below, which speaks about the use of our time through jelly beans.  It briefly mentions the amount of time we spend commuting during our lives, so this seems an appropriate moment for me to apologise for the disruption caused by the unexpected road works this week, and to thank the many parents who made ‘last-minute’ alternative plans in their commute to and from school – this really did help to relieve some of the traffic congestion.

I hope you enjoy your time over the weekend.

With all good wishes,

Nigel Helliwell