With February now here, we are starting to see early signs of Spring in the school grounds, including some beautiful snowdrops. The mornings and evenings are now noticeably lighter and we have enjoyed some spectacular sunrises this week.
Patterns and Pastries
Following on from the success of last term’s ‘Books and Biscuits’, this week Foundation parents have enjoyed ‘Patterns and Pastries’ after the morning drop-off. As part of the Early Years Foundation Stage, children develop a deep understanding of the numbers one to ten, the relationships among them and the formation of patterns within those numbers. The use of practical resources really helps the children develop the knowledge and vocabulary to build maths mastery. A variety of maths activities, games, puzzles, problem solving tasks and other resources were played with during our ‘Patterns and Pastries’ sessions, inspiring many pattern and number related conversations!
And on a similar theme, did you know that today is the NSPCC Number Day 2023? In the Pre Prep, children took part in fun-filled Maths activities and games and members of staff wore the colours of their favourite numbers.
National Storytelling Week
Continuing in the Pre Prep, in celebration of National Storytelling week, pupils have been enjoying a vast array of stories from all areas of the curriculum.
“Stories teach us about the world, they allow us to step into someone else’s shoes and feel empathy, they help us to relax and escape and they can help develop essential literacy skills” (National Literacy Trust).
Foundation children have been counting in ‘Six Dinner Sid’ and ‘Anno’s Counting Book’, and Year 2 have been listening to chapter books as well as using fiction and non-fiction texts to support their learning about Space. Year 1’s topic this term is the stories of Julia Donaldson – favourites so far include ‘Room on the Broom’, ‘The Smartest Giant in Town’ and ‘A Squash and a Squeeze’.
The children in the Foundation classes started learning Spanish this term and they are continuing to enjoy their lessons; sometimes they are speaking, sometimes singing and perhaps even occasionally dancing!
2RP Class Assembly
In their class assembly this week, 2RP presented the Pre Prep with what they have been learning about how to learn and shared many different sources of factual information including non-fiction texts, documentary films, songs, expert knowledge, museums, experiments and first hand experiences. They have been practising their skills finding out about our solar system and imparted many interesting facts about the planets including a mnemonic to help remember the order of the planets. ‘My Very Easy Method, Just Speeds Up Naming planets’ – Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune. Did you know that the sun is more than 100 times the diameter of Earth and at its centre the temperature of the sun is about 15 million degrees Celsius? Even to scale, Ashburton Hall was too small to show just how spaced out the planets were, and the children representing Uranus and Neptune ended up out on the field.
Our series of lunchtime informal music concerts are continuing this term and on Monday, pupils from Years 4, 5, 7 and 8 took part. It requires confidence and skill to stand in front of an audience as a soloist and so all our pupils rising to this challenge are to be congratulated. At St Faith’s, the children are learning a very diverse range of individual instruments, perfectly illustrated by Monday’s concert, where one of our Year 8 pupils played the goose bagpipes.
New Era Exams
Continuing with the performance theme, eighteen Speech and Drama pupils, ranging from Year 3 to Year 8 took their examinations last Friday. Pupils presented themselves for examinations across a diverse range of subjects including public speaking, interview technique, mime, Shakespeare and the speaking of verse and prose, and we look forward to hearing the outcomes.
On Tuesday, Quantum Theatre Company came to St Faith’s to perform Macbeth to our Year 7 pupils. It was a dynamic and exciting performance, depicting Macbeth becoming consumed by political ambition. The pupils will now review the production as part of their Arts Award portfolio.
Bentley Brownie Sale
Pupils in Bentley House have been busy baking and selling brownies this week. Break times have seen children eagerly heading towards stalls of the enticing treats. Bentley’s chosen charity for this year is the British Red Cross, and specifically the Ukraine Crisis Appeal. Many thanks to all of our families for supporting each House charity.
Quiet Area for Year 6
At lunchtimes, we have been trialling a ‘quiet area’ for Year 6 pupils. This is a space where children can enjoy quiet activities, for example reading and drawing, chess or quiet games, provided by the pupils themselves. It is not intended to be an area for homework, but specifically a relaxing and reflective space. This arrangement may be extended to other Year groups if it proves popular.
In The Classrooms
Year 7 have been studying electrical circuits in Science, and I also visited a Year 6 Engineering class in which pupils were learning about gears. In Year 7 the children have been undertaking a local traffic survey, and I also joined a fascinating Year 3 lesson on countries, continents and oceans.
U11 and U13 Boys’ Hockey IAPS Regional Finals
Turning to sport, on Monday our U13 Boys’ hockey team travelled to Culford School to compete in the Regional IAPS finals. Having won the National Competition as an U12 side the expectation was extremely high. Unlike last year, the boys had to qualify for the Finals and with 20 very strong sides at the Regionals, the task at hand was extremely tough.
The boys progressed convincingly through the pool stages having played six games, winning five and drawing one. They scored 16 goals and conceded none. Against Framlingham College in the semi-finals, having dominated the game, St Faith’s failed to score, so the game went to penalties. An outstanding performance by Framlingham’s goalkeeper meant we lost in sudden death, so only a win in the third/ fourth playoff would do. The boys showed excellent resilience to come back from a goal down to win 2-1 and qualify for the National Competition held at Charterhouse School in March.
The U11 boys’ team went to their regional final today at Haileybury School and a full match report will be included in next week’s newsletter.
U11 and U13 Girls’ IAPS Netball Regional Finals
The girls travelled to Rugby School for the U11 Netball IAPS qualifier. The day saw the girls play some good netball with excellent collaboration and work on court to win the ball, gaining many interceptions throughout the day. Netball at Under 11 level has changed dramatically recently with a position rotation dictated by a central plan after each period of play. Every participant plays every position and no player gets to specialise, so the most versatile teams with the largest proportion of excellent shooters triumph on the day. Each of our squad members demonstrated excellent skills as the day progressed. It is a real testament to our players that, in the three games they won they did not concede a goal.
We finished second in our group with three wins and only one loss, taking us through to the top tier of the knockout referred to as the Cup. Top ranking teams in the Cup knock out were promised places at National Finals. The first half of the quarter final finished as a goalless draw but after the compulsory position shuffle we conceded 5 goals in the second half. Unfortunately, we were knocked out in the quarter finals but left feeling proud of our achievements. It was a great effort from the girls showing resilience and determination. Well done!
The U13 girls’ team went to their regional final today at the Rushmere Sports Centre and a full match report will be included in next week’s newsletter.
Looking ahead to Sunday, our U11 & U13 Boys’, Girls’ and Mixed teams will compete at the British Schools Gymnastics Association (BSGA) ‘Milano Team Trio’ and ‘Floor & Vault’ Gymnastics Regional Round. They will be travelling to Haberdashers’ Aske’s Boys’ School and we wish the teams the best of luck in their competitions.
Year 3 & 4 Inter-House Netball Matches
On Thursday, our Year 3 and 4 girls took to the netball courts for their House matches. It is always a pleasure to see families by the courtside supporting their children and they were treated to an afternoon of excellent netball.
New Table Tennis Tournament
Last Friday, a new inter-house sports competition took place for our Year 7 & 8 pupils. Due to its popularity, both in PE lessons, at morning break and during lunchtimes, the idea for a Table Tennis competition was born. From the ‘group stages’, the top 2 teams competed in a final to decide the winners. That wasn’t the end of the matter though – the overall winners of the inter-house event were decided by combining all of the results from the girls’ and the boys’ competitions. The overall winner is revealed in the tournament report below!
Over the past few weeks, our catering team have excelled themselves with some delicious international dishes – and ‘Pininyahang Manok’ proved very popular on the menu for World Food Wednesday this week. For those of you keen to see the range of dishes on offer, please follow the St Faith’s Kitchen Twitter feed @StFaithsKitchen. You may even find some culinary inspiration for the weekend, which is I hope is a relaxing one for you and your families.
With all best wishes,
Dr Crispin Hyde-Dunn