I hope you had an enjoyable break and have settled back in to the rhythm of term.
I meet current and former St Faith’s families just about everywhere I go and half-term was no exception. Last Saturday, just as I stepped through the entrance of the Fitzwilliam Museum, I heard a cheerful voice call out, ‘Hello Mr Helliwell’. I looked over and saw a beaming St Faith’s pupil, proudly wearing her school uniform! ‘She loves wearing her uniform’, her mother explained, as her daughter grinned at me. ‘And she really enjoyed the class visit to the Egyptian Galleries before half-term, so when I asked her what she would like to do today, this is what she chose.’ As I discovered at the SFPA Committee meeting on Tuesday evening, this girl was not the only pupil to have been inspired by recent school work. One father explained to me that following a project on the Battle of Hastings his son had begged him to visit Battle during half-term, to see the site of the 1066 conflict between the Anglo Saxons and Normans, so off they went on a family trip to Sussex!
Old Fidelian Artist
Speaking of inspiration, William Garfit, a former pupil and professional artist, called in this week to donate generously, one of his paintings to the school. William spoke extremely warmly about how his Art teacher at St Faith’s, Mrs Lamb, who he said discovered his talent and inspired him to go on and devote his career to landscape paintings. He is indeed a successful artist and some of his paintings can be viewed on his impressive website – it’s worth a look if you have time. I hope William’s painting will help to inspire our current crop of budding artists.
The AcE Day on 19th October was inspirational for all involved. The Year 3s showed great enthusiasm learning about Ancient Egypt, including a visit to the Fitzwilliam Museum. The Year 4s enjoyed an outstanding day of team building exercises at The Leys, the Year 6s showed excellent focus during their fieldwork on Rivers, the Year 8s had a terrific session delivered by a sports psychologist and the Year 7s revelled in the opportunity to build racing cars powered by gunpowder! After the excitement of AcE day the Year 5s came back 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. 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 sleepover, and her large team of staff who gave up their holiday time to be with the children on this special occasion.
I haven’t got a great head for heights so when Mr Brent took me to the top floor of the STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths) Hub this week, I gripped firmly on to the ladders and scaffolding. When I did reach the top, the view from the second floor was stunning and showed the full extent of this wonderful new facility. As planned, the first phase of the Hub is now finished and there will be no further building work until next summer holiday, when the Science labs will be extended and refurbished and all three floors of the Hub completed. Over the coming weeks the children will begin to use the Hub and the ground floor will be available for use for the remainder of this academic year. The architect’s film of the Hub, once completed, can be viewed via this link.
This evening is the biggest SFPA event of the year – the annual fireworks display. Approximately 900 tickets have been sold so it should be, once again, a great St Faith’s family occasion. I look forward to seeing you there.
Congratulations to the girls who won the U13 Cambridgeshire County Hockey Cup in the week before half-term. Well done also to the U11 boys’ rugby team which won all their matches in this week’s county competition.
This week, we were informed that St Faith’s has been short-listed for the prestigious TES (Times Educational Supplement) Independent School Awards 2018, in two categories: ‘Strategic initiative of the year’ and ‘Prep School of the year’. The awards recognise excellence and innovation in independent schools across the UK and abroad. The strategic education category commends initiatives in improving learning outcomes for pupils and helping them to fulfil their potential. We have been shortlisted for our introduction of Engineering. The second category, ‘Prep School of the year’, is applicable to schools that have experienced rapid improvement as well as for those that are maintaining continued excellence. TES state that schools shortlisted demonstrate innovation, imagination and efforts to develop children in ways that go beyond the league tables. The expert panel of judges will review the shortlisted entries and the winners will be revealed on Thursday 8th February at an awards ceremony in central London. Further details of the TES Awards can be viewed via this link.
With all good wishes,