Following the Christmas and New Year break, on Wednesday we were delighted to welcome our pupils back to school. Accompanying the pupils’ return, was a sense of expectancy and excitement about the new term and the new year and all the opportunities it will bring.
Reflections on the Festive Season
Although Christmas has now passed, I do hope you have enjoyed the opportunity to watch the live streams of our carol concerts which took place at the end of last term. Amongst the traditional lessons and carols, we enjoyed some excellent performances by the Senior and Chamber Choirs, and Senior Brass Bands. These recordings are still available to view on My School Portal and are highly recommended.
Our Wednesday morning assemblies considered the celebration of Epiphany and its meaning. We enjoyed looking at a range of representations of the Three Wise Men from different centuries and countries, from a restored 6th century mosaic in Ravenna Italy, to a 21st century nativity scene outside a church in West Sussex. We also considered the ways in which we can use a new year, and particularly the occasion of Epiphany, to count all our blessings and also think of ways to help others. On this theme, I was most pleased to award the first kindness certificate of 2022 to one of our Year 5 pupils.
During assembly, I presented the Newton House captains, Oscar and Phoebe, with the House Point Shield following Newton House’s success in the Michaelmas term House Competition. The result was a very close run affair, with just a point separating the Houses in second and third place. House points were awarded for good Learning Habits and also for the Inter-House Hockey, Football and Rugby fixtures.
In the Classrooms
In History this week, our senior pupils have been learning about the Restoration period and the reign of Charles II. Meanwhile in Computing lessons, the Year 5 children have been developing their programming skills using Scratch and making excellent progress. For those Year 8 pupils who are taking their Year 9 entrance tests at The Leys tomorrow, we wish them every success. In addition on Monday, many of our Year 6 children will take The Leys Preliminary Assessments here at St Faith’s, in the familiar school surroundings of Ashburton Hall. I know the Year 8 and Year 6 pupils, supported and encouraged by their teachers, have been preparing diligently for these assessments and that they are ready to do their very best.
In the Pre Prep, Foundation got the new year ‘rolling’ by practising their hand-eye coordination; a fundamentally important life skill. Controlling a ball with their hands and feet, each pupil practised bouncing their ball in and around a hula hoop ring, as well as rolling, throwing and catching it. Movement skills underpin a range of areas of learning, and are helpful in so many areas – from handwriting to hockey. The pupils also really enjoyed the opportunity to encourage and help one another and clearly relished being back at school with their friends.
One of the highlights of this school year will be the senior pupils’ production of Sister Act 2 early in the Summer term. With the auditions and casting completed, rehearsals are already underway. Under the expert guidance of our Art Department the children will be producing the scenery and backdrops too.
Turning to Sport, during this Lent term, the pupils enjoy netball and hockey as their main team sports, and despite some rather chilly weather, they are already building up their skills ahead of the first fixtures of the season.
Next week I am looking forward to a virtual meeting with our ‘Old Fidelians’, which is always a real privilege. Whilst I hope it will not be too long until we can meet in person, it is deeply inspiring to hear the tremendous affection in which our school is held by those here before us, and the genuine gratitude for the start in life provided by St Faith’s.
Wishing all Fidelians – past and present – and their families, a very happy, safe and inspiring 2022.
With all best wishes,
Dr Crispin Hyde-Dunn