This week at St Faith's

08 March 2024

World Book Day

In our whole school assembly on Monday, we began by congratulating the eight House Captains who have been most recently appointed. We look forward to the Year 8 House Captains developing their leadership skills in these important roles, as they encourage and support pupils in their Houses.

The theme of the assembly was World Book Day, which took place on Thursday this week. Pupil librarians, together with our librarian Miss Johnson, imbued us with a sense of the joy and the importance of reading for pleasure and the chance to “lose oneself in a good book”. Staff House tutors and pupils put their book knowledge to the test with a series of questions to match the quote to the correct book. It was a very close contest, with Latham emerging as the eventual winners.

Chaucer Choose Day was merged this year with World Book Day and so all the children across the school were invited to dress up as their favourite book character for the day or wear home clothes and make a £2 donation in support of the Arthur Rank Hospice Charity. Pupils really enjoyed the opportunity to come to school dressed as literary characters with some extremely imaginative and creative costumes in evidence. We hope that you enjoy the photos from the day.

Pupils also enjoyed two author visits from A.M. Howell and Kate Winter. Ms Howell is known for her thrilling historical mysteries including ‘Peril on the Atlantic’ and ‘The Secret of the Treasure Keepers’, whilst Kate Winter’s ‘The Fossil Hunter’ will be familiar to many of our younger readers.

Year 1 Production ‘Zog and the Flying Doctors’

Princess Pearl, Gadabout the Great and Zog the Dragon, their trusty ‘air ambulance’, are now a flying doctor trio. They are called to look after a sunburnt mermaid, a distressed unicorn and a sneezy lion. However, when bad weather forces them to land at the Palace, Pearl is locked up by her uncle, the King. He doesn’t think that princesses should be doctors, until he falls ill himself and Pearl is able to save him.

Animated songs and dances, as well as vibrant and colourful costumes were at the heart of this Year 1 production.  Families showed their warm appreciation of all of the hard work that the Year 1 pupils and staff had put into their preparations for this memorable performance and everyone thoroughly enjoyed the afternoon.

The Castle Fine Art Young Artist Competition

One of our Year 8 pupils was named winner of the ‘The Castle Fine Art Young Artist Competition of 2024 on Tuesday afternoon. The competition challenged pupils to produce ‘creative responses’ in the style of their favourite artist from the gallery, or to respond imaginatively to a thought-provoking theme which they encountered in a previous visit.

The winning artwork was influenced by Nic Joly, whose 3D Wall Sculptures play with the idea of minute depictions of everyday life. The winning artwork ‘Work Your Way Up’ will be box-framed and displayed in the gallery for the summer. Further to that, two pupils were placed as runners-up and were highly commended for their intelligent and carefully observed interpretations of paintings by Peter Smith and local artist Paul Corfield.

Stacy Bodkin, gallery manager for Castle Fine Art, Cambridge, said: “It is always wonderful to welcome the children from St Faith’s to the gallery to learn more about our artists. It’s clear to see how the pupils have been encouraged to be creative and independent in their approach to this challenge. All pupils have given time and thought to their original entries to the competition; the range of work was so varied and carefully executed. I’m sure Nic Joly would be thrilled to see the winning interpretation of his art and we look forward to displaying it in the gallery in a few months’ time.”

Year 5 Astronomy Presentation

Last Friday, Year 5 pupils were taken on an exciting trip through our Solar System by Mr Kevin Reid, a keen astronomer and grandfather to one of our Year 1 children. A selection of photographs taken by Mr Reid supported his very clear explanation of star trails, eclipses and transits of Mercury and Jupiter’s Moons. Pupils placed carefully chosen objects across the school laboratory, to gain a better understanding of their relative size and distances from the Sun.

One of the highlights was watching a video clip of Mr Reid’s inspiring home-made observatory – he adapted the roof of his garage to slide open, enabling him to view our Solar System with his range of telescopes.

The number and variety of thoughtful questions posed by Year 5 at the end of the presentation were testament to how much they enjoyed and learned from Mr Reid’s visit.

Year 5 Torah Museum Lesson

In their Humanities lessons, Year 5 have been learning about Judaism. In particular, they have been understanding how special care is taken of handwritten Torah scrolls.  During their lessons they were able to see at first hand a range of objects that are used in services at a synagogue such as the yad (metal hand pointer), torah scrolls and the tallit prayer shawls.

Year 8 World War One Poetry

Year 8 have been studying the First World War in their English lessons, and they have been considering the poetry of young men who fought and died in the trenches. Year 8 pupils have studied the poem Dulce Et Decorum Est, written by Wilfred Owen.  This inspired discussion on a range of topics, including propaganda surrounding the First World War, such as the idea that it was sweet and fitting to die for your country. Pupils then drew on their experience of writing and discussing the poetry to write poems of their own.

In the Classrooms

The Year 3 children have been learning all about weather in their Humanities lessons, and this week I joined them in their studies of precipitation and humidity. Year 3 have also been busy in Maths, discovering more about denominators and fractions. In the creative arts, Year 7 have made some excellent lino prints on a fish theme, whilst our creative writers have been exploring homophones in Year 6, and the subordinate clause in Year 4. Finally, our Year 8 engineers were working on practical design projects such as headphone stands when I visited their lesson, whilst in Science, Year 8 were carefully performing experiments in the laboratory, related to carbonate compounds.

Quiz Club General Knowledge Area Heat

Last week, our enthusiastic ‘quiz club’ team competed online against over 80 teams from across the country. The questions were challenging – for example, pupils were asked about the composer of ‘Land of Hope and Glory’, they had to name the least dense planet in our solar system and they had to identify the flag of Algeria.  We had two teams competing, made up of pupils in Years 3 to 6. Both teams performed very well and are to be congratulated.

Under 13 Boys’ Hockey

On Tuesday, the U13 Boys’ Hockey team overcame Gresham’s in the final to become East Area champions. Some superb hockey was played, with a couple of truly outstanding team goals along the way. They will now join the U13 Girls’ team at the England Hockey National Finals on 10th May!

One of our Year 8 pupils gave a wonderfully appreciative speech at the end thanking all for the opportunity of the day. This underlined how fantastic the children were as ambassadors for our school community, and we were delighted to hear such positive remarks for their conduct on and off the field. Many congratulations to our girls and boys hockey players upon their highly impressive achievements and we look forward to the England Hockey National Finals in May.

IAPS National Swimming Qualifying Round  

It was a fantastic day of racing at Bishop’s Stortford School on Monday when 35 of our pupils attended the IAPS National Swimming Qualifying Round. There were many exceptional performances across our Year 5 to 8 team, and some impressive swims from Year 5 particularly who were taking part in their first big gala. The standard was very high, as we expected, and almost all of our individual swimmers finished either first or second in their respective individual races (times achieved are available in the sidebar). The top 20 individual, medley and freestyle relay teams from across the country will progress through to the National Finals, which will be held at the Aquatics Centre in London on 8th June. We won’t know these details until the middle of April, but based on the times of previous year, we can see that around 12 of our children have a chance of qualifying. Watch this space!

Year 5 Caven Cup

This term the Caven Cup is back. After the Year 5 boys competed in Rugby to win the self-made trophy by Mr Caven himself, it was now the Year 5 girls turn to compete to win the trophy! Please see the sidebar for a full report.

Gymnastics this Weekend

Our gymnastics teams continue to be very busy over this weekend as the season culminates with a number of national competitions at this time of the year. On Saturday, the U11 Boys’ & U11 Mixed Team will be competing in the Milano Trio National Gymnastics Finals in Stoke on Trent, and then on Sunday, it will be the turn of the U11 & U14 Boys’ and Girls’ teams in the Mixed Sports Acro and Tumbling BSGA East Regional Round in Luton.

And Finally….

I do hope that I will see many of you at the SFPA Easter Community Day on Saturday. Similar to last year’s event, we will joined again by the charity ‘Cultivating Change’, who will be offering a range of planting and wellbeing activity sessions. There will be seedlings to plant, as well as opportunities for Ukulele Beginners and Yoga enthusiasts. I am also very sure that younger members of our families will enjoy searching for some carefully concealed Easter eggs and we hope that the dry weather forecast is accurate!

With all best wishes,

Dr Crispin Hyde-Dunn