This week at St Faith's

10 May 2024

News from The Leys – announcement of the next Head

Our weekly newsletter begins with news from The Leys. Following a rigorous and highly competitive process, the Governors of The Leys and St Faith’s Schools Foundation are delighted to announce the appointment of Dr Clare Ives to succeed Martin Priestley as Head of The Leys when he retires after almost twelve years of dedicated service in September 2025. Please read the full announcement here. We offer Dr Ives our warm congratulations upon her appointment, and we very much look forward to welcoming Dr Ives to St Faith’s as part of The Leys and St Faith’s Foundation.

Year 1 Local Area Walk

As part of their transport topic this half-term, Year 1 put into practice what they had learnt about road safety and enjoyed a walk to and from the University Botanic Garden. Under the watchful eye of our staff, they carefully crossed roads, using pedestrian crossings and looked out for other road users. The children also tied this experience into their Science and Art studies, by naming and drawing different flowers in the Botanic Garden.

Elsewhere, Pre Prep children have been busy with their musical studies. When I visited the Pre Prep earlier this week, the children were listening to the beautiful music of Saint-Saëns and the Carnival of the Animals. They were particularly enjoying learning about rhythms and imagining the different animals represented by the music.

Foundation Familiarisation Visits 

Continuing with the Pre Prep, throughout this week, we have been welcoming all the new children who will be joining us in Foundation in September, for the first of their three familiarisation visits. As well as the children getting to know their future class friends, it has also been an excellent opportunity for parents to introduce themselves to one other. We look forward to the final two visits, which will take place in June.

Year 2 Little Inventor Day 

On Thursday, Year 2 came to the Engineering Workshop where they will be enjoying regular weekly classes as part of the academic curriculum in Year 3. The core of Engineering is problem solving and creating practical solutions to problems that are given or identified. Our Year 2 pupils were given a ‘Make It Move’ challenge to construct a vehicle that will travel the furthest only by wind power. They applied what they knew about aerodynamic shapes very effectively. Pupils discussed and explored how to catch the most wind for forward motion. Identification of further potential challenges, such as not travelling in a straight line due to weight bias or uneven axles, were important learning points too. Construction and testing was a flurry of focused and enthusiastic activity, and the diversity of creations was extremely impressive.

Growing and Changing

In PSHCE, Year 3 have been looking at Growing and Changing. The children started by sharing wonderful stories of themselves as babies. For their homework, they looked through old photos of themselves and made a timeline of pictures at four different stages of their lives so far, writing about what they were like and things they learnt at each age. One pupil even produced an impressive multi-photo cardboard cut-out to illustrate their growth!  The children have all shared lots of special pictures and memories. All the classes enjoyed looking at them and reading the wide range of anecdotes.

Independent Learning

As part of our tailored education approach, we help the children to learn to make decisions, and to understand their own skills and interests. This week, Year 3 were asked what they wanted to learn about for homework and they were allowed to choose their own topic. We have had a wonderful variety of homework submitted, ranging from experiments to fact files, videos and PowerPoint presentation. Some of the topics the children have chosen to learn about include: animals, dinosaurs, world flags, countries they have travelled to, dance, family history, chromatography, and a chemical reaction powered car. The Year 3 children have produced some highly imaginative and well-researched pieces of work. Their teachers have learnt a lot and have been very impressed by the children’s knowledge and skills in presenting all their facts.

Flying Frogs!

In English, Year 4 have been writing collaborative news transcripts linked to their English text, ‘Tuesday’ by David Wiesner. ‘Tuesday’ is a nearly wordless book, enabling the children to infer and create their own meaning, about flying frogs invading a town on a Tuesday night and the subsequent confusion of the residents the following morning as the town is strewn with lily pads. The end of the book hints to the reader that the following Tuesday evening, at the same time, pigs start flying!

Inspired by this ending, the children’s news transcripts were written to report the chaos found the following morning after the flying pigs had visited.

This week, some pupils recorded their transcripts. Their next aim will be to used iMovie to edit and add effects, to make their transcripts turn into a real news broadcast. We look forward to sharing the edited iMovies with you in next week’s newsletter.

Year 8 English: ‘Rebecca’ Exhibition

Year 8 have proudly displayed their work from their Lent Term English project. They have produced exhibits based on the novel ‘Rebecca’ by Daphne du Maurier. A book filled with beautiful imagery and sinister twists, ‘Rebecca’ is an ambitious and classic novel which the pupils have greatly enjoyed studying. When speaking to visitors at the exhibition, it was clear how impressed they were by the sheer breadth of the creative responses on display, which ranged from composed music, a handmade ‘VR Experience’, painting, poetry, films, descriptive writing and sewing. Year 8 should be very pleased with their endeavours.

In the Classrooms

The Year 7 pupils have finished their exams today and we have been very impressed with their maturity and application for these assessments. Meanwhile Year 8 have been continuing their Engineering studies by working on aspects of visual engineering – for example making adverts with a technical component, showing cereal being poured into a bowl. Year 5 have been working hard in English and I joined them this week as they learned about abbreviations and the use of the apostrophe, whilst our Year 3 scientists were very keen to share with me all they were learning about the optimal conditions necessary for growing watercress.

Year 3 & 4 Playground Committee Treasure Hunt

On Tuesday, Year 3 and 4 pupils had the opportunity to participate in a ‘Treasure Hunt’ around the school grounds. They followed a trail of photos to take them to different letters, spelling out a single word.  This was not a race, but a challenge, with treats for everyone and a draw made from all the correct answers for the main prizes. The Treasure Hunt was planned and organised by the children on the Playground Committee, who meet once a week.  The money raised by the entry fee will go towards maintaining playground supplies for Year 3 and 4 playtimes.  There is now £87 in the account which the committee are considering how to spend wisely.

Year 8 Charity Challenge

65 Year 8 pupils have chosen to take part in this year’s £5 charity challenge and have received a loan from school to start their small business. They will be running stalls in the courtyard at morning break on Tuesday to sell homemade cakes, cookies, brownies, keyrings, cards and other goods. The businesses will trade for five weeks, and all the profits will be donated to our two chosen charities, Meseret for Women and Power2Inspire. Children in Years 3-8 will be able to purchase items from the stalls so please send your child into school with some money if you would like them to take part.

Thank you for supporting our young entrepreneurs!

National Hockey Finals

Today our Year 8 qualifying hockey teams have travelled to Nottingham University to compete in the Boys’ and Girls’ National Hockey finals. We wish them all the best of luck and look forward to hearing how they perform.

Rowing Event – St Faith’s & St John’s

St Faith’s hosted St John’s for an indoor Rowing Regatta this week. All pupils showed fantastic resilience and strength in their performances. Not only did they compete individually, but they also took part in some particularly fast-paced relay events. There was a focus on sportsmanship, where all pupils were encouraged to support one other as well as encouraging our competitors from St John’s. It was a privilege for staff to see the children cheer each other on and applaud everyone’s best efforts. The results were close, but St Faith’s managed to seal a well-earned overall victory.

County Cricket Festival

On Wednesday 33 pupils from Year 6 took part in their respective county cricket festivals.

The format of the day was 5 matches v 5 other schools with the main focus on each pupil and team learning throughout the day as well as fast paced and enjoyable cricket. Each match was 10 overs long with every player bowling, except the wicket keeper which meant that every player was involved in every game.

An extra element that we were extremely proud of was that our girls’ B team also entered the competition and were competing with all other schools’ A teams. This was an amazing demonstration of the depth of girls cricket at St Faith’s, especially as the girls were competitive throughout the day, with some playing their first game of hardball cricket.

We must thank Nick Batcheler from King’s for organising the festival, Perse Prep for hosting the boys, and to our St Faith’s catering and ground staff who helped host the girls’ event so brilliantly.

We look forward to the U13 County Festivals taking place after half term!

SFPA Coffee Morning

The final SFPA coffee morning of the summer term was on Thursday for our Year 1 and 2 families. We appreciated some early summer sunshine as we enjoyed our coffee and some delicious pastries. As well as reminding parents of the forthcoming SFPA events – International Day on Friday 24th May and the SFPA summer party on Saturday, 29th June – this was also a moment to thank those members of the SFPA who will be stepping down at the end of the summer term. We owe them a huge debt of gratitude for all their hard work and dedication in building such a lively, happy community for our families.

And Finally….

Looking ahead to Saturday, we have teams competing in the U9 – U13 Boys’ and Girls’ National IAPS Trampolining Finals at Royal Russell School, and on the same day, the annual Cambridgeshire AA Track and Field Championships for Years 6, 7 & 8 will be taking place at Wilberforce Road. With best wishes to all our pupils competing and thank you to our staff involved.

With all best wishes,

Dr Crispin Hyde-Dunn