This week at St Faith's

06 November 2020

Welcome back! The evenings may be darker, the temperatures lower, but the excitement of our pupils was heart-warming when I welcomed them back to school at the school gate on Tuesday morning.  It is great to be back in the swing of term and I hope that over the coming weeks, school life will feel like an oasis of normality and familiarity.

Academic Extension Day

On the last day before half term, Years 3-8 enjoyed the first Academic Extension (AcE) Day of the school year. These ‘off-timetable’ days provide extended activities and projects which enrich our pupils’ understanding both within and beyond the set curriculum.

Year 3 arrived at school dressed as Egyptians and spent the day immersed in the world of Ancient Egypt. They crafted their own scarab beetles from clay, learnt to communicate using hieroglyphics and created Egyptian themed collages.

Not be outdone, Year 4 arrived at school dressed as Romans brandishing their home-made Roman battle shields! (show my photo). During the day, pupils planned a traditional Roman banquet, writing their own menus.  They also made Roman coins and took part in a Roman army training camp that included (foam) javelin throwing, marching skills and long jumping!


Year 5 meanwhile spent the day in the science laboratories, gaining a deeper understanding of science and climate change. They also combined their knowledge of the climate with creative skills in the art rooms, where they were influenced by the works of Dutch graphic artist Maurtis Escher who made mathematically inspired woodcuts, lithographs and mezzotints.

Year 6 pupils have been studying rivers as their topic in Humanities this term.  They spent AcE Day welly-deep in Hobson’s brook, our local historic water course that changed the fortunes of Cambridge with its delivery of clean water to the city in the 16th century. From water depth to flow measurements, the children took to their geography field work like ducks to water (pun intended).

Year 7 enjoyed a day of two parts. Time was spent gaining a better understanding of their physical and mental wellbeing, including the influence of social media on mental health and the beneficial effects of exercise and mindfulness on managing mood. They also spent part of their day in the engineering workshop and outside, learning more about the workings of the Goblin go-karts, and having the opportunity to drive the cars.


Year 8 reflected on their time at St Faith’s as they prepared their individual pages for the Leavers’ Book – a photographic memory of their St Faith’s journey – which will be presented to each Year 8 at the end of the Summer Term. They also had a session with our nursing staff, learning a range of highly useful first aid strategies including resuscitation and CPR. They rounded off their day with a talk from a former England Hockey player on the psychology of sports and how to develop a winning mentality.

The next AcE Day for Years 3 to 8 is on 10th November – a summary of the programme is in the side bar of this newsletter.

1JC Class Assembly

Mrs Clarke’s Year 1 class re-told the biblical story of the Feeding of the Five Thousand during the live- streamed Teams assembly on Wednesday morning. It was lovely to see parent faces peering back via the magic of video messaging so that eager performers in the Britten room could still wave cheerily at Mum or Dad before launching into their confident assembly. Clearly spoken lines, songs and even a human fishing boat surrounded by billowing fabric waves provided a delightful start to such a chilly morning. Well done 1JC and thank you to parents for joining in and supporting from your homes and offices!


The highland bagpipes have arrived at St Faith’s, thanks to Mr Carnegie who is now teaching two pupils, Lochie and Hamish.  Hamish recently entered the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association online solo competition, gaining a Silver Certificate for his ‘very good performance’.  Meanwhile, Lochie has been rehearsing for his performance at the School Remembrance Day service on 9th November.  To prepare, he has been practising in the courtyard at break times, much to the entertainment of his class mates!

Quiz Club – The Results

The results of the National Quiz Club Final arrived just before half-term. Team 1 was placed a very commendable 24th and Team 2, 32nd out of the 47 teams who had qualified for the final. With over 180 total competitors I am delighted to say that two pupils, Oliver T and Lanna T finished in the top 20 with very impressive scores.  Well done to all the members of our two teams.

Talk Education – Top 200 Independent Schools

I am delighted to announce that we have been included in the Talk Education Top 200 UK schools. Talk Education is a new online schools guide showcasing the best of UK independent education. Their highly experienced researchers have spent time visiting schools nationally over the past 18 months, and came to St Faith’s back in January 2020.  This is what they have written about us. Please note that we had no influence whatsoever on this report.

Speaking of independent schools, Charlotte Avery, Head of St Mary’s has kindly offered to speak with any parents of girls who might be interested in moving on to her school at the end of Year 8.  Details of St Mary’s Open Events and an opportunity for a Zoom meeting call with Mrs Avery can be found in the side bar of this newsletter.

And Finally…

In the final week before the half-term break, we said a socially-distanced farewell to two long-standing, respected members of staff.  Diana Johnson worked as Head of Humanities, Computing Teacher and more recently, as our Health and Safety Officer.  Helen Gaastra has been a member of the Pre Prep staff team, working as a Teaching Assistant across all year groups. Both have been highly valued, loyal servants to the school over the past 20 years and fully deserved their happy and emotional farewells from our staff and pupils!

With all good wishes,

Nigel Helliwell