Last Saturday saw our Pre Prep community school in the grips of some keen scavenging under sunny blue skies. Our Foundation children took great delight in being able to demonstrate to their parents how well they know the school grounds. As a reward for their efforts, there were some delicious cookies on offer – enjoyed by adults and children alike. I am very grateful to all the parents and pupils who supported the event, as well as to the SPFA Committee members for their excellent organisation.
On Monday we gathered in a whole school assembly to give thanks and to show our appreciation of the importance of harvest time. Children and parents donated an impressive array of wonderful non-perishable food items. The boxes of donations were so heavy that they had to be collected by buggy and transported to Ashburton Hall! It was also a great pleasure to welcome Major Martin Cordnor from The Salvation Army in Cambridge who led our assembly. Afterwards, Year 8 pupils and I helped Major Cordnor to load all of the food donations into the Salvation Army van, ready for onward distribution to those most in need in our local community.
Early Years Curriculum Presentation
In Ashburton Hall on Monday evening, the Foundation staff presented the Early Years Curriculum to the parents of children who joined the school this September. For those who were unable to attend, the information will be shared on My School Portal on the Pre Prep Information Page. As a reminder, we also include useful tips and information each week in the Foundation newsletter (please see the sidebar of this newsletter). In addition, Parent-Teacher meetings, in the week before half-term, will provide an opportunity to speak with your child’s class teacher to discuss their progress individually.
The Beauty of Autumn
With the weather turning autumnal and the trees showing their beautiful tones of yellow, orange and red, the Year 3 children used these inspiring natural resources, gathered from their gardens and local parks, to make pictures of their own forest friends. As part of a science topic learning all about trees, pupils have also been learning to identify different species of tree from their nuts, seeds and leaves. We have some very creative children bringing in some delightful homework creations!
The World of Ancient Egypt
As part of their Ancient Egyptian studies, Year 3 has visited the Egyptian Galleries at the Fitzwilliam Museum this week. They were fascinated as they were shown around by a Museum expert and thoroughly enjoyed hearing stories about the artefacts. Highlights included a mummified cat, exploration of the sarcophagus lid of Rameses III and learning about the contents of canopic jars!
Hockey County Cup
On Tuesday our under 13 girls took part in the Hockey County Cup. Some excellent hockey was played and the pupils enjoyed some challenging matches. Our younger pupils have also been practising their hockey skills, and this week I joined Year 3 in the sports hall as they developed their hand-eye co-ordination with hockey sticks and balls.
‘Here at Last’ tackle Online Safety, Mental Health and Cyberbullying
This morning, the boy band ‘Here at Last’ visited St Faith’s to perform to our Year 7 and 8 pupils. The group was formed in 2020 and now have over 2.5 million followers. They sold out their first UK tour and will be headlining another tour next year.
Their performance included cover versions of songs by Niall Horan and Shawn Mendes. In addition to their excellent singing ‘Here at last’ also passed on very important messages to the pupils about online safety, bullying and cyber bullying. Their talk included personal reflections from their own experiences and the messages were thought provoking and positive.
The session ended with a Q and A session and the band answered questions ranging from their favourite singers and football teams to the jobs which they aspired to before turning to singing.
This was an entertaining, informative and inspiring session for our oldest pupils.
In The Classrooms
I joined our budding Year 7 scientists this week in their chemistry lesson, learning about the actions of enzymes. On to Engineering, and it was Newton’s laws of motion that were under the spotlight, as the children explored the concepts of forces and momentum.
Year 8 children have been busy too – writing book reviews in their English library lesson, and in an Eco committee lunchtime activity, supporting Year 3 pupils in their ‘Eco school’ initiatives. This included discussion of low carbon food choices, recycling, as well as making full use of bird boxes and insect hotels to support the local habit around school.
I also spoke to Year 2 pupils this week, as they shared with me their learning about Scott of the Antarctic ahead of their eagerly anticipated visit to the Scott Polar Research Institute.
School Travel and the Greater Cambridgeshire Partnership Proposals
Now that the ‘Home Run’ sustainable travel app has been in use for a few weeks, we have been able to evaluate in more detail the variety of modes of transport by which St Faith’s pupils arrive at school each day. This information is very important as we strive to promote sustainable travel choices, reduce local congestion and support parents on the daily school run. It is very encouraging to see how many pupils walk and cycle school, and also the increase in use of car pooling.
In addition, recent enhancements to our popular new ‘Home to School’ Transport Service mean that we can now offer journeys to siblings who are not at St Faith’s (although they must be able to walk independently to and from St Faith’s in order to use the service). We can also now accommodate ad hoc bookings, which can be paid for at the time of booking, as well as regular journeys paid for termly. For any queries relating to the service or the app, please contact the Deputy Bursar in the first instance.
On the theme of travel, many of you may already be aware of the City Access Programme, which is part of the Greater Cambridge Partnership’s (GCP) Sustainable Travel programme. This scheme seeks to promote ways to improve access to the city centre and key employment sites by sustainable transport, and to reduce congestion by encouraging commuters away from cars. A period of consultation is ongoing, but it has been proposed that as part of the programme, the GCP will introduce a Sustainable Travel Zone around the outskirts of the city and linking the five P&R sites. All car, motorbike and moped journeys will be charged a fee of £5 per weekday 07:00am to 07:00pm and this will come into effect in 2026. Although this is still some years away, it is another compelling reason for encouraging mode-shift of school transport for our pupils away from individual car journeys wherever possible.
Next week we look forward to parents joining us for House football, a lunch time music concert, Foundation Books and Biscuits, and the SFPA coffee mornings. Full details can be found in the school calendar on My School Portal. I look forward to seeing you at the various events.
Wishing you all a happy weekend,
Dr Crispin Hyde-Dunn