Great British Nature Day
Although we have experienced chilly temperatures and a dusting of snow this week, there are still many signs of Spring all around us. In anticipation of the opportunity to spend more time outside, in the coming months, on Monday the whole school took part in the ‘Great British Nature Day’ event. The purpose of this annual event is to raise pupils’ awareness of nature and the value it has in our lives as well as appreciating the importance of protecting nature and our own roles in doing so. By remembering that we are part of nature, and that nature is all around us, pupils thought of the simple everyday things they can do to look after our natural world, whether it be reducing journeys taken by car, considering their food choices or supporting organisations such as the RSPB and National Trust.
We were kindly supported in this memorable event by Mrs Zurita, CEO of Birdlife International, and a Year 8 parent. The day was greatly appreciated by all the pupils and a selection of thank you letters written to Mrs Zurita afterwards, are shown below. During the day, Mrs Zurita led a range of workshops, as well as an inspirational whole school assembly where she highlighted the connections between different places on our planet. We learned about the ways in which decisions made here in the UK, can have an impact on plants and animals in other parts of the world.
In the Years 5 and 6 workshop, the pupils were encouraged to reflect and notice how and where they interact with nature, and also how this makes them feel. Pupils’ responses were wide and varied. The children talked about the nature noticed during their daily bike rides into school, as well as feeding birds in the garden and interacting with flora and fauna whilst on holiday. Regardless of how they interact with nature, pupils were unanimous in saying that doing so makes them feel uplifted.
The workshops for Year 7 and Year 8 challenged pupils to explore the attitudes of different stakeholders when it comes to interacting with the natural world. Pupils were assigned roles either as leaders in timber and fishing businesses, or as leaders of environmental groups. In these roles, they were tasked to explore how organisations can work together to devise solutions which look after the environment while also meeting economic needs.
In other year groups, pupils spent the day looking at nature through the lens of different curriculum areas, following their normal timetables, but with a nature theme. Foundation pupils enjoyed using modelling clay to create their own birds, whilst in Maths lessons, Year 8 pupils used trigonometry, Pythagoras’ theorem and circle formulae to estimate the height and age of the trees on the school site. Meanwhile in Spanish, Year 4 pupils learnt the words for 14 different bird species that migrate from Britain to Spain each year, including the garza (heron), urraca (magpie) and petirrojo (robin). In Humanities, Year 5 pupils explored the migratory journeys taken by the Canadian Goose, Little Owl, Mandarin Duck and Red-legged Partridge on route to the UK, where they reside for part of the year.
Continuing with the nature theme, Year 3 and 4 enjoyed a fascinating ‘flight of the bumblebees’ workshop presented by Molly Bolton, Chartwell’s sustainability lead teacher. The workshop was designed in collaboration with The Bumblebee Trust and covered how bumblebees help grow our food, how to protect bumblebees, why we should choose seasonal produce and how to reduce our environmental footprint. We ended the workshop by preparing a healthy snack using yoghurt, crackers and fresh fruit.
Year 1 ‘The Smartest Giant in Town’
This week, Year 1 presented their bespoke performance of Julia Donaldson’s ‘The Smartest Giant in Town’ to a most appreciative audience. With songs, music and memorable costumes, all the hard work of the children, the Pre Prep team and parents certainly paid off. With each class taking their turn to perform one third of the show, we saw George transform from the scruffiest giant in town to the kindest, helping many friends in need along the way.
For families who were unable to attend the performance, a video will be made available through ‘My School Portal’ in the usual way, in due course.
2RB Class Assembly
Had you walked by Ashburton Hall on Wednesday morning, you may have thought that the 160 million year reign of the dinosaurs had returned, all because of 2RB’s dinosaur assembly. We learned that a Gigantosaurus weighed about 8,000 kgs and that Micropachycephalosaurus is the longest dinosaur name. As well as many of these “dino-facts” there were also were lots of ‘laugh-o-saurus’ and a remarkable range of ‘dinopuns’, including the ‘Try Try Try Ceratops’ and the ‘Ankylo-snorus’.
We also enjoyed hearing about the recent trip to the Sedgewick Museum and there was even time for a poetry recital. What a fantastic assembly!
Library Competition for Years 5 & 6
Following the visit of Julian Sedgwick during our Book Week in February, Year 5 and 6 pupils now have the opportunity to enter the creative writing and handwriting competitions that were set by the author. If you have a child in Year 5 or 6 who would like to try and win a prize of £50 worth of books, or a fine new pen and £25 worth of books, why not encourage them to have a go?
Year 8 Visit the Museum of Zoology
On Tuesday afternoon, the Year 8 Art & Design Group visited the Museum of Zoology. The pupils listened attentively to a talk given by a researcher at the University, Ellie Bladon, who spoke about her fascinating research on burying beetles and the parenting behaviour of other species. Following this, the pupils toured the galleries and studied the iridescent colour on butterfly wings and the shiny carapaces of beetles. The trip added an extra dimension to the students’ visual understanding of insects, and it encouraged them to consider how colour may, or may not, play a part in their behaviour. The pupils will use the visual images which they collected in the galleries as a starting point for their planning and design work for forthcoming 2D and 3D Art projects.
National Quiz Club Area Heat
On Tuesday, two St Faith’s teams hosted and competed in the National Quiz Club Area Heat. Both teams collaborated brilliantly, competed with spirit and determination, and showed generosity and kindness to the visiting teams. Team 1 was placed third overall – an impressive achievement in a very competitive field, and will now progress to the semi-final stage.
Year 6 Parent-Teacher Meetings
This week it was the turn of Year 6 parents to join us for their Parent-Teacher meetings and it was a pleasure to meet many of you in Ashburton Hall. It was an excellent opportunity for staff to continue the important dialogue between home and school and for parents to discuss progress across a range of subjects.
U13 and U10 Girls’ 5 Piece ISGA National Championships
Last Saturday the U13 and U10 girls took part in their first 5 Piece ISGA National Championships, hosted this year by Haberdashers’ Boys’ school.
The U10 Girls’ team put in an outstanding performance to finish 2nd in the Group sequence and were then placed 5th overall (out of 12 teams) in the Team positions, being awarded medals for their hard work. To cap off a fantastic morning, one of our pupils was placed 4th individually out of approximately 65 and found herself standing on the podium for the third time that day.
Our U13 girls delivered some excellent performances on the day, finishing just out of the medal positions, and 8th out of 12 for both Group sequence and Team position. The pupils behaved impeccably as ever and should be proud of their performances against an extremely competitive field in this age category.
U11 and U14 Boys’, Girls’ and Mixed Sports Acro and Tumbling BSGA East Regional Round
On Sunday the St Faith’s Sports Acrobatics teams took part in the BSGA East Regional Round. Both the U11 and U14 boys’ pairs came 1st to qualify for the National Finals at Stoke in May. The girls’ pairs featured some children in their first ever major regional competition and they performed superbly with no dropped balances.
The children really enjoyed the day, especially getting to perform on a sprung floor. As well as participating in the competition, they were given plenty of practice time to experiment with new balances and ideas. It was a lovely day and the members of staff in attendance commended the pupils on being such fantastic company.
U13 Boys’ East Regional Hockey Finals
As mentioned in last week’s newsletter, our U13 Boys’ hockey team was competing last Friday to try and replicate the fantastic achievement of winning the East Regional Finals last year as an U12 team. The team played a total of 8 pool matches with every match being tightly fought, but St Faith’s topped the pool and earned the right to play Beeston Hall in the semi-final. Our pupils played extremely well to beat a very strong team 2-1 and went on to face The Perse Upper in the final. The final was closely contested, and proved to be an exceptional advert for U13 boys’ school hockey. Although St Faith’s lost 2-0 on this occasion, the next challenge, which the team will relish, will be to compete for the IAPS National Title later this month.
Golf Competition at Kingsway
Last Saturday morning children from Years 4 to 8 played a 9-hole ‘stroke play’ golf tournament at Kingsway Cambridge Lakes. It was the second Lakes competition to be held this year and the excellent turn out and the standard of play in grey, chilly conditions was most impressive. Many thanks to all the parents who got up very early, supported, caddied, and played. We now have around 50 active players at school and our PE golf lessons in Year 6-8 have proved a very successful way to introduce lots of newcomers to the game.
The overall winner of the boys’ competition made a fantastic par 3 on the last hole and won by one shot! The same pupil has been selected to train with the county golf squad this year. More results can be found in the sidebar of this newsletter. The next Lakes tournament open to Years 4-8 will be on Saturday 13th May and we look forward to playing in warmer and sunnier conditions.
U10-U13 Boys’ and Girls’ IAPS Regional Swimming Round
On Monday, a team of 36 St Faith’s swimmers from Years 5-8 went to the qualifying rounds for the IAPS Swimming at Bishop’s Stortford School. There were 6 other schools in attendance, each with pupils trying to achieve the fastest time possible in their respective strokes. It was a superb afternoon of swimming with many personal best times being set. There was a great atmosphere and everyone seemed to enjoy their racing. Any pupils who achieve a time that places them in the top 20 in the country will progress to the National Finals in June. We will know the results by early April, and based on previous years, we have 7 swimmers with a chance of qualifying. Well done team!
Year 8 Inter-house Badminton
After school today, the Year 8 pupils will be playing their inter-house badminton matches. Look out for the results @StFaithsSports and the full report will be included in next week’s newsletter.
Foundation 2024 Play Sessions
This week and next we are welcoming prospective families who have applied for Foundation 2024 places. The children attend a short play session with members of the Early Years team and once the visits are completed, the Admissions team will be making offers by the end of March. Meanwhile, our ‘Friday Foundation Breakfasts’ continue for new families joining St Faith’s for Foundation in September 2023. I am very grateful to the warm welcome to our visitors by those current families also enjoying a St Faith’s breakfast on a Friday.
St Faith’s Social Media
In addition to the weekly newsletter, members of staff share snapshots of school life throughout the week on our social media accounts. We invite all parents to follow us on Twitter and Facebook for a close-up view of daily life at St Faith’s. Our Twitter handles are @St_Faiths, @StFaithsSport, @StFaithsARTS, @StFaithsKitchen and @stfaithslibrary. If you enjoy what you read, please do like and retweet our posts. You can also let us know what you would like to see more of by direct messaging, or emailing us firstname.lastname@example.org.
SFPA Easter Community Day
The St Faith’s Parents’ Association have partnered with Cultivating Change and the St Faith’s Eco Committee to deliver an enjoyable event for the whole family on Saturday. Tickets are now sold out and it promises to be a wonderful day. The current forecast is dry and bright – although warm layers are recommended! I look forward to seeing many of you there.
I wish you all a happy weekend.
With all best wishes,
Dr Crispin Hyde-Dunn