This week at St Faith's

21 September 2018

Back in the Swing

As more than one parent remarked to me this week, it is great to be back in the swing of term, with routines now established and a full programme of lessons and activities up and running. On my tours of the school this week, I witnessed pupils studying diffusion (using tea bags!) in Science, discussing glaciation in Geography, writing about the Suffragette movement in History, tackling algebraic fractions in Maths (using GCSE textbooks), making clay pots in Art, developing arithmetic skills in a Year 3 class, reading with deep interest in the library and identifying texture, timbre and ostinato in Music. It was a delight to see the clear focus, engagement and enjoyment in each lesson.  When I called in to Engineering, the workshop was fizzing with excitement as the ‘project teams’ were tackling the ‘marble challenge’, an ingenious Rolls Royce engineering interview task which requires candidates to construct a run that carries a marble from top to bottom in exactly ten seconds. Not an easy task, to say the least, but after a few attempts, several of our young engineers achieved the magical ten second target.

School Council

The Year 7 and 8s have elected their School Council for the year, pictured here. Over the course of the next three terms, Harry (Chair) and his committee members will be seeking the views of the wider pupil body and meeting with me to discuss ways of improving the school.  I look forward to hearing their ideas.

Chariots of Fire

If you were in Cambridge on Sunday morning, you may have heard Mrs North, the most vocal of the St Faith’s entourage on Silver Street Bridge, cheering along the hundreds of runners who participated in the annual Chariots of Fire relay race. We had a record turn-out of 17 runners and I am pleased to report that my colleagues gave a very good account of themselves although the main achievement for some was just completing the course with their bodies reasonably intact.  The Pre Prep and Science Departments were very well represented and might even now claim to be the fittest departments of the school.  The Silver Street Bridge ‘roar’ certainly spurred on our runners and created a St Faith’s feel good factor. Thank you to all our supporters and well done to everyone who survived the challenge!

Forthcoming Events

Tomorrow morning, I will be joining many of the new Foundation families for the SFPA Scavenger Hunt in which the young children attempt to negotiate their way around the school grounds, following a planned course of activities and games. The real point of the morning is to enable the new families to meet, and the children to familiarise themselves with the school grounds. It is good to know that the weather is set fair for what should be a lovely occasion.

From Wednesday next week, I will be conspicuous by my absence, as I will be at the annual prep school Heads’ Conference, a gathering of over 300 school leaders from the UK and overseas.  This newsletter will be published on Friday, as usual.


Although we have no plans to introduce jeans to the school uniform, it was good to see the children enjoying ‘Jeans for Genes’ today, a charitable event to raise funds to help children with genetic diseases.

I am now off to a Poetry Recital, where Year 7s will be bravely performing in front of their parents and teachers. For many, this is a great confidence booster, and another step in their development to becoming accomplished public speakers and performers.

With all good wishes,

Nigel Helliwell