This week has seen a focus at school on kindness. The children have been considering the ways in which being kind can improve our own wellbeing and the wellbeing of those around us. I continue to be impressed by the care and appreciation shown to others by St Faith’s pupils – whether it is enthusiastic thanks for the staff who diligently prepare and serve their lunch each day or making an ‘away’ team feel welcome at a Sports fixture.
One visitor who was made to feel particularly welcome at St Faith’s this week was Major Martin Cordner, from the Salvation Army in Cambridge. Major Cordner led our Harvest Festival services on Monday. He talked to us about how our donations have been used in the past, and showed some pictures of volunteers in the Salvation Army kitchens preparing meals that were made from donations.
Earlier that morning, pupils from across the school had brought in non-perishable food items to donate to the Salvation Army foodbank. From cereal to biscuits, pasta to sauces, our generous community provided enough items of food for the boxes to fill the entire floor of the lorry sent to collect it all. Many thanks to all of our St Faith’s families for their wonderful generosity, which will certainly make a difference to those in need in the local area.
The Sounds of Music
As I moved around the school this week I was struck by how often I overheard the delightful sounds of children of all ages enjoying their Music lessons and participating in choirs and ensembles. A number of different choirs from Pre Prep to Senior Choir and Chamber Choir were being put through their paces by staff and were sounding superb. Meanwhile, I thoroughly enjoyed the upbeat rhythms from the Jazz ensembles as well as the pulsating beats from the Percussion ensembles. On Thursday afternoon both the Concert band and the String orchestra came together as they prepare for concerts later in the term. Mr Gorick, Director of Music, commented “It is like starting completely afresh in a new Music Department … I am tremendously encouraged that pupils are demonstrating resilience and determination to get ‘the show back on the road’.”
On the theme of Music, Mr Gorick was delighted when he was sent an audio clip of Lily in Year 7 who had asked for a recording session for her birthday! Lily recorded all the vocals (including the backing vocals, echoes and doubling) for a cover of a popular song, having learned how to define the sound and effects she wanted for her recording in the studio. Inspired by her day in the studio, as well as singing covers, Lily is going to work on writing her own songs with the help and support of our visiting singing teacher, Mr Lepage.
Year 5 Humanities Study of Islam
Continuing their in depth study of Islam as part of their current Humanities topic, Year 5 have been learning about the annual Islamic holy pilgrimage to Mecca, the Hajj. This pilgrimage has various stages, with each holding specific importance to Muslims. In class groups this week, the children have been learning more about these stages to embed their knowledge of Hajj and expand their understanding of the Islamic faith.
The Science of Diffusion
In the Science Department, Mrs Price, Head of Science, was delighted with the homework on the science of diffusion by pupils in Year 7. Tasked with creating models to explain the process of diffusion, which pupils had studied in the school laboratory, the children turned to a number of common kitchen staples such as food dye, rice krispies, tea bags and even chocolates for their homework to demonstrate clearly their understanding of the process. The Year 8 pupils are also finding their studies of chemical reactions in Science very inspiring, and I enjoyed an animated conversation with them on this topic as they lined up for lunch.
Free Writing Task
Meanwhile in the English Department, pupils in Year 7 were recently set a free writing challenge to respond to the image of a delicate sea-horse tangled up in the strap of a disposable face mask. Two of the responses, written in verse, reflect the remarkable power of this image. These very striking pieces of poetry perfectly summarise the impact that current human lives are having on the natural world, and remind us all of our responsibilities to our planet.
The Sports Department were delighted that many of our scheduled fixtures were able to take place this week and it was a real pleasure to be able to watch some of our teams in action. Our U10 and U11 Girls were delighted to be back playing competitive Hockey, with fixtures against St John’s, while the U11 and U12 Boys’ Rugby teams were out in force against Bedford. Yesterday our U9 Boys’ Football teams were in action against the Perse Prep and today our U13 Boys competed in an IAPS Football match versus Bishop’s Stortford College, while the U11 Girls competed in an IAPS Hockey match at Haileybury. Last and by no means least, our U12 Girls were at the County Cup Hockey event at Wilberforce Road today. The results from these matches can be found in the side-bar of this newsletter.
Today, pupils across the school took part in activities designed to focus their attention on the importance of mental health. The past eighteen months have been challenging for everyone, and the #HelloYellow campaign is designed to show young people that they are not alone in managing their mental health. During registration and tutor time, children from Foundation to Year 8 made yellow smile badges which they then wore for the rest of the day along with any yellow accessories they had chosen to wear to school, including hats, scarves, socks etc. I have enjoyed wearing a yellow tie for the occasion, and have noted a number of more exciting yellow accessories being worn by staff!
In recognition of #HelloYellow day, the newly formed School Council have also made a donation of £500 to the charity ‘Young Minds’, to help fund their vital work in supporting young people’s mental health and well-being.
May I please draw your attention to our Pastoral Section this week. Specifically, the Cambridge Constabulary Safer Schools newsletter which focuses on a range of topical matters including ensuring children are visible in the winter months, care with parking near schools and reminders about online safety. These issues are all vitally important in our school and local community.
Wishing you a very happy and safe weekend,
Dr Crispin Hyde-Dunn