This week at St Faith's

9th June 2023

SFPA International Day

As reported in the final newsletter before half-term, we were delighted to be able to host the first St Faith’s Parents’ Association (SFPA) International Day just before the half-term break. The generous support and keen enthusiasm, from both parents and pupils, was clearly apparent in Ashburton Hall. We hope that you enjoy these photos taken on the day.

Lessons This week 

On my learning walks this week, I joined some pupils in Year 8 embarking upon their very first language lesson in German, beginning with names and counting in German from 1 to 20. Meanwhile pupils in Year 7 have been finding out about Hinduism as part of their studies of world faiths. In the Art Room, children in Year 6 have started painting inspired by the work of the famous artist David Hockney, while in Science, Year 5 pupils have been reviewing the labels on food, to evaluate how many kilojoules of energy different foodstuffs provide. Elsewhere in Year 3 Engineering lessons, the children have been tasked with building a model boat capable of carrying a Lego person across a pond. Time will tell whether our Lego passenger remains dry or takes the plunge!    

Year 6 Inter-School Maths Challenge

St Faith’s was delighted to host the annual Year 6 Inter-School Maths Challenge on Tuesday afternoon in Ashburton Hall. Pupils from over twenty schools in and around Cambridge attended and the Hall was alive with activity and friendly competition all afternoon. 

Working in pairs, pupils took part in a variety of mathematical challenges, with three rounds of questions and a final puzzle at the end. Every time they completed a question, they ran to the front to a panel of markers where they were either given a subsequent question or asked to have a go again. Each task involved a variety of problems with points awarded for each question; bonus marks were awarded if you completed all the questions in a particular round. After the competition ended, prizes were awarded to the top four schools. Around 50 pairs competed, and St Faith’s were delighted to be placed 2nd and 5th overall.

Visit by the Reverend Lowe


Reverend Chris Lowe, a local vicar, visited Year 8 on Thursday to answer their questions about Christianity. The questions were most thoughtful and wide-ranging and a lively and respectful debate ensued for the whole session. 

Year 2 Visit to Wicken Fen 

Year 2 couldn’t have asked for better weather when they visited Wicken Fen this week. Escorted through the day of outdoor learning by a team of volunteers, the children spent the day pond dipping, hunting for minibeasts and connecting with nature, engaging in a series of activities that brought to life the work they have been doing in class on life cycles and habitats. Wicken Fen was teeming with wildlife and the children engaged enthusiastically in activities, demonstrating their broad knowledge of the topic. The day simply didn’t feel long enough and they could have spent so much more time learning about the biodiversity of the fenlands and exploring nature. Thank you to the parent helpers for their support throughout the day.   

Rotary Young Writer’s Competition 

As highlighted in our newsletter of 19th May, several of our pupils enjoyed success in the recent Rotary Young Writer’s Competition regional stages. They received their certificates in the whole school assembly at the start of the week and the photograph includes some of the winners. 

Year 8 Charity Challenge

Parents may remember reading about the £5 Charity Challenge and the fund-raising event which took place before half-term. Year 8 pupils replicated that event this week and have each been given a £5 loan from school to start a small business, either on their own or in a group, with the aim of raising as much money as possible before the end of term. On Tuesday they gathered once more with stalls in Ashburton courtyard. There were lots of items on sale, including friendship bracelets, smoothies, tasty cupcakes and refreshing iced lollies. All this entrepreneurial activity was accompanied by the sound of an enterprising pupil busker playing the electronic keyboard.

In total 50 of our Year 8 pupils have chosen to take part in this year’s £5 Charity Challenge to raise money for the charity Farms for City Children, which was set up by the children’s author Michael Morpurgo and his wife Clare.  

Chartwells Training and Teambuilding Day

During a recent training and team-building day for all of the catering and housekeeping staff, they went litter picking for 2 hours around the local area, the causeway and into the centre of town. The team were also all issued with a packet of wild flower seeds to plant, as a way to help the bees and do their bit for the environment! 

Year 4 Parent Forum and Tours

On Tuesday evening we welcomed parents of Year 4 pupils to an information evening about the transition from Year 4 into Year 5. Our Year 8 tour guides showed families around the buildings in the central part of the school, so that parents could see the classrooms in which their children will be taught when they move up to Year 5 in September. The tours were followed by a presentation in Ashburton Hall given by Heads of Departments.  

Pre Prep Open Morning

We very much enjoyed meeting prospective families at our Pre Prep Open Morning, which was held on Wednesday. Following a presentation in Ashburton Hall, describing all that is special about a St Faith’s education, our visitors were shown around the school by Year 8 Prefect pupils. We received extremely positive parental feedback following the tours, saying how enjoyable and informative they had been, and our Year 8 pupil guides proved to be outstanding ambassadors for our school. 

Following the success of the Year 4 Parent forum and the Open Morning, I will meet with the Year 8 pupil helpers to thank them personally for the valuable part they have played in both event.

Year 7 and 8 Doubles’ Tennis Tournament 

On Monday at Latham Road, the Year 7 and 8 School Doubles Tennis tournaments were held. Mr North writes, “It didn’t rain for once and although it was a little cool, it was actually good conditions for tennis. There were 5 boys’ pairs in the Year U12 Doubles, 4 boys’ pairs in the U13 Doubles, 3 girls’ pairs in the U13 Doubles and 1 girl pair in the U12 Doubles”.  

Everyone had a great time and you will be able to see a full set of results in the sidebar of this newsletter. Thank you to our parents for coming out to support all of the competitors. 

U10 – U13 National IAPS Swimming Finals

It was an early start for the pupils as they went to compete in the National IAPS swimming finals last Saturday. The U12 girls’ medley relay team came a very respectable 16th in a time of 1.16.36, moving up two places from where they had qualified back in March. The U12 boys’ medley team came 14th in a time of 1.11.43, and the freestyle relay team 15th in a time of 1.02.47. Both the boys teams broke the school records which have stood since 2006.   

Individually, there were some fantastic swims, two of which resulted in new school records, one of which was in the 25m freestyle event, which had stood for 20 years. Full results can be found in the sidebar of this newsletter.

1500 pupils from across the country were in attendance throughout the day, and as always, the standard of swimming was exceptionally high. This is the largest number of qualifiers we have ever had from St Faith’s, so well done everybody on a superb day of racing after a year of hard training.

Miss North’s Wedding Day 

On the first Saturday of half-term, the wedding of Miss Ellie North to Mr James Parkinson took place at Stockbridge in Hampshire. Miss North will be fondly remembered by the school community, not only as the daughter of the Head of PE, Mr North, but also because she was first a teaching assistant in Pre Prep before going on to tutor 4B and teach Science to Year 5. Ellie left St Faith’s at the end of the Michaelmas Term to move to the South of England and carry on her teaching career there. Her husband James is a helicopter pilot in the Army Air Corps. We wish them every happiness in their life together. 

And Finally…

With Sports Day for Years 3 to 8 now barely a week away, the pupils are practising their track and field events with great commitment and determination. We look forward to as many of you as possible joining us at the University of Cambridge Sports ground on Wilberforce Road, where our pupil competitors will be hoping for some peak performances on the day.

With all best wishes,

Dr Crispin Hyde-Dunn