This week at St Faith's

9th February 2024

Pre Prep Mental Health Day 

On Monday, in honour of Children’s Mental Health Week, Pre Prep delved into a day of self-reflection and mindful exploration. Throughout the day, the children explored various strategies for enhancing mental health, including open communication, healthy dietary choices, regular exercise, mindfulness and getting close to nature. The day began with a virtual assembly delivered by The School of Kindness, part of the 52lives charity. Year 1 and 2 joined 32,000 children from across the UK to engage in discussions centred around well-being and looking after our mental health. While Foundation enjoyed Forest School activities, Year 1 and 2 gathered in the Ashburton Hall to spend time with the Cultivating Change charity who spoke passionately to the children about the intricate links between nature and well-being. The children explored the ways in which spending time in nature can rejuvenate the spirit, soothe the mind, and foster a profound sense of connection to the world around them.

In addition, a member of the Chartwells catering team spent time with each class in Pre Prep to deliver the important message about nourishing their bodies with wholesome foods and understanding the importance of nutrition in maintaining their physical and mental health.
Then, under the gentle and encouraging guidance of Mrs Walker, children embraced various yoga poses.  

Japanese Lunar New Year 

1CSH were lucky enough to welcome a pupil’s mother to talk to them about how Lunar New Year is celebrated in Japan. The children then sought to prevent illness and injuries for the forthcoming year by using the traditional Japanese method of chasing away demons by throwing beans at them. As you can imagine great fun was had by all and the children thoroughly enjoyed this insight into Japanese traditions. 

2JC Class Assembly

This week, the pupils have been investigating the ways in which kindness is spreading throughout our school. The children have been out and about around the school interviewing pupils and staff to discover more about the acts of kindness that have been observed. For their class assembly this morning, 2JC presented their findings as a short movie ‘Breaking News’, delivered by some of the children acting as newsreaders.

Other children were dressed as scientists as they delivered facts about the positive impacts of kindness on the brain and heart; indeed, its contagion has been shown to slow down the process of aging. All of the children performed a song ‘You’ve got a friend in me’ and we also heard then read an acrostic poem (KINDNESS). The assembly finished with a prayer and a short video of the children in which they shared kind compliments with one another.  

Buddy Sessions

This week the Year 8 buddies have been visiting children in Years 3-6 and running activities in their classrooms. Our buddy system plays a very important role for both our senior pupils as role models, and for our younger children who thrive on the engagement and interactions across year groups.  

Year 7 & 8 Charity Tuck Shop 

At Thursday breaktime, the dining room was a hive of mercantile activity as pupils sold delicious snacks and warming hot chocolate to raise money for one of their chosen charities, Tom’s Trust. Tom Whiteley was a pupil at St Faith’s and ‘Tom’s Garden’ is a space which was dedicated to his memory by former pupils and staff. 

Macbeth Production for Year 7

On Thursday, Quantum Theatre Company came to St Faith’s to perform Macbeth to our Year 7 pupils. It was a dynamic and exciting performance, depicting Macbeth becoming consumed by political ambition. The pupils will now review the production as part of their Arts Award portfolio.  It is not only Year 7 studying Shakespeare this week, as when I visited a Year 6 English class, they were immersed in their analysis of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Playground Committee

The ten members of the Years 3 and 4 playground committee meet every Friday to discuss improvements to the playground. They are keen to ensure that Year 3 and 4 pupils have the best possible time during their breaktimes at school. The group worked hard last year to run a Teddy Tombola, which raised an impressive £156. This money has been used to buy some playground equipment for the pupils, and last Friday the playground committee members spoke in assembly and showed the new equipment. They also received their official Playground Committee badges. We look forward to their next venture – which will be a Treasure Hunt.

Year 8 Boys’ Hockey

With the midweek fixtures going well so far this term, excitement and expectations were high going into the boys’ tournaments. Our Year 8 boys’ hockey team was the first to venture out to the Independent Association of Prep Schools (IAPS) regional competition being held in Ipswich. After an uncertain start, our boys showed great resilience coupled with some fantastic hockey and they managed to qualify for the semi-finals. They scored a comfortable victory against Beeston Hall to face Langley and Taverham School in the final. An amazing game saw it end 2-2 and St Faith’s unfortunately lost out in sudden death penalty strokes. However, qualification for the National Finals was achieved!

Not to be outdone again, the Year 8 boys progressed through the pool matches and the semi-final at the County Cup tournament where they faced a very strong Perse Upper team in the final. We dominated the first half and led 2-1 at half-time, but the Perse came out strongly for the second half and controlled the game for long periods. Our boys dug deep and showed their resilience once again to hold on and become the County Champions for their third year running.  An amazing achievement.

Year 7 Boys’ Hockey

Last week the Year 7 boys were challenging for the Cambridgeshire County Cup. This age group is incredibly competitive, and they were under no illusion that it was going to be a difficult day, especially playing against the current National Champions. St Faith’s demonstrated fantastic hockey finishing 2nd to the Perse Upper, even though they drew against them. The boys learnt lots from playing in the County Cup and they can’t wait for the forthcoming East Regional and IAPS tournaments!

U13 Independent Association of Prep Schools (IAPS) Girls’ Netball

Last Friday, the U13A team travelled to Uppingham for the Netball IAPS Championships. The team started the day with a win, despite the setback of an injury in the first game. The girls continued to work hard as a team but lost the next group game by two goals. They then won their last group game and were performing well with a 15-2 win which put them through to the cup.

The girls played some very good netball, showing resilience, ambition and good teamwork but unfortunately got knocked out in the quarter finals to a formidable team and the winners of last year’s national championships. These girls were a credit to the school and show great talent in their sport. Despite not getting the result they wanted, Mrs Shaw (Head of Netball) said they should be proud of all they have achieved in netball at St Faith’s and she looks forward to the rest of the season.  Well done to all the girls who stepped up to play in their first IAPS netball tournament.

Years 3-5 House Netball Matches

You will find reports of the House netball matches in the sidebar of the newsletter, and I hope that you enjoy this medley of photos.

Year 3 and 4 Swimming Gala

The swimmers currently taking lessons at The Leys have enjoyed a swimming gala experience in their final lesson. Children participated in 25m swims in order to set their PB (personal best) and to discover how it feels to take part in a race. They followed official protocol for starts and finishes – including waiting patiently on the poolside between races, wrapped in their towels. Next week two more groups commence their four week block of swimming which will also culminate in a gala event.

Cross Country Success

We were delighted that three of our pupils participated in the East Anglia Cross Country Finals last Saturday. They competed against the best runners from across the region, after qualifying through two previous rounds. It was a challenging course, but they showed great determination and stamina. They finished with impressive times and positions and represented our school and indeed Cambridge with distinction. Well done to them upon their cross country success!

Milano Trios Regional Gymnastics

Congratulations to all gymnasts who participated in the Milano Trios Regional Gymnastics competition which was held in Chelmsford last Sunday. Everyone competed with style and spirit and made a great effort on behalf of the school. Well done to the four teams who have advanced to the National Finals on Friday, 8th March and Saturday, 9th March in Stoke on Trent. St Faith’s is proud to be represented by a team of U11 Boys, a team of U13 Boys, a Mixed U11 team and a Mixed U13 team. Now the training continues in earnest!

In The Classrooms

My learning walks this week took in a visit to Foundation, who were working hard on their ‘ure’ sounds in phonics. Elsewhere in the Pre Prep, I joined Year 2 as they were practising making measurements in centimetres. Year 4 were being very creative – both in Art, where they were making papier mâché owls, and in Engineering, where they were designing and constructing wildlife habitat boxes. Meanwhile in Year 5, I joined pupils as they continued to learn all about helpful and harmful microbes.

Life Education Centre

As part of our Personal, Social, Health and Citizenship Education (PSHCE) scheme of work, the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Life Education Centre has been visiting the school this week and will remain with us until next Friday. A key aspect of our school’s philosophy and practice in all areas of PSHCE relates to pupils developing the necessary skills, knowledge and understanding about the human body, as part of our approach to help pupils make healthy choices. Over the eight days, each class from Foundation to Year 6 will attend a lesson appropriate in length and content to the children’s age and understanding.

And Finally…

As we look ahead to the final week before half-term, we are really looking forward to our Academic Enrichment Day (AcE Day) on Tuesday, when the children will be ‘off curriculum’ for the day. Activities will include a day of exploration of Latin American culture for Year 4, activities relating to Careers and Public Speaking for Year 8 and a day of Middle Eastern culture for Year 5. Year 3 will be visiting Little St Mary’s Church in Cambridge and Year 7 will be travelling further afield to Ely for a local area study day. I am particularly grateful to parents who will be giving presentations in support of the Year 8 Careers morning.

Towards the end of the week, 45 of our senior musicians will be travelling to Liverpool for a 4-day music tour, which will include 2 concerts, as well as singing evensong in Liverpool cathedral. You may follow the tour on X (formerly known as Twitter) @StFaithsCreativeArts. We wish our performers, as well as their accompanying teachers and supporters, an enjoyable and successful trip!

With all best wishes,

Dr Crispin Hyde-Dunn