This week at St Faith's

10 May 2019

Barely a week goes by without drones hitting the headlines, both positively and negatively. In December, the experience of bringing our skiers back from Austria highlighted a negative aspect of the technology (when Gatwick Airport was closed). Yet last week, the BBC reported the potential lifesaving aspect of drones as the first transplanted organ was delivered to surgeons at a US hospital via an unmanned aircraft system (UAS). One of the surgeons who performed the operation commented, ‘As a result of the outstanding collaboration among surgeons, engineers, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), organ procurement specialists, pilots, nurses, and, ultimately, the patient, we were able to make a pioneering breakthrough in transplantation.’ The full article can be found here:

It was timely therefore, that a group of Year 6 pupils had the fortune of visiting the Amazon Drone Laboratory here in Cambridge to learn more about the engineering processes that goes into developing UAS technology. The children were given a tour of the working lab and shown examples of drone development both in terms of design and hardware engineering. The principles of flight were discussed and how factors such as the battery weight combined with the delivery package weight would affect the design of the drone. They saw a simulator built by Amazon software engineers, a 3d printer at work and even had the opportunity to fly a drone in the drone cage themselves. Not surprisingly, our pupils left feeling inspired and energised from their experience.

Foundation Trip to Paxton Pits Nature Reserve

On Wednesday, our Foundation pupils enjoyed a day splashing about in muddy puddles at Paxton Pits Nature Reserve. Under the watchful eye of the Foundation staff and a team of willing parents, the children spent the day learning more about nature, including pond dipping, bug hunting and bird watching. Their powers of observation and creativity were also extended as they produced wild art using nature as their paint brush. No one let the weather dampen their enjoyment of the trip and a marvellous and educational day was had by all. My thanks, as ever, to the Foundation team for organising such an enriching expedition for the children, and to the parents who kindly gave of their time to assist on the day.

School Council

Thanks to the idea being put forward by the pupils, through the School Council, two new water fountains have been installed, both of which enable water bottles to be filled. It is always nice when improvements in the School are made as a direct result of pupils’ suggestions.

Sports Round Up

Last Saturday four St Faith’s pupils participated in the IAPS Table Tennis Championships at Edge Grove School in Watford. Twenty schools took part in the competition. In the U11 category Ryan and Ethan each performed well in their qualifying groups but just missed out on quarter final places in a field of 57 competitors. In the U13 category Jack and Tom drew very tough group matches and both finished 3rd in their respective groups. Well done to our competitors and thank you to Miss Wacey who accompanied the boys at the event.

Watch all table tennis videos on our sports twitter

Also last weekend, our gymnasts were at the National BSGA Sports’ Acrobatics and Tumbling Finals in Stoke on Trent. Viraj S and James W performed superbly to win Bronze in the U13 Boys’ pairs. Max B won our first ever individual tumbling medal (Bronze). Hannah W and Max B just missed out on Bronze, finishing 4th in the U11 Mixed pairs, and Max and Harry G took Bronze with a polished performance in the U11 Boys’ pairs. It was a fantastic weekend and, as always, thanks go to Mr and Mrs North and Miss Butler for their time and expertise in coaching our many gymnasts.

On one of the wettest days this spring it was only fitting that fifteen of our triathletes travelled to Effingham, Surrey, for the Schools Aquathlon Championships. The race event started with a 50, 100 or 200m swim (according to year group and ability) followed by a transition phase during which competitors changed in to appropriate running attire and then ran either a 500, 1000 or 2000m cross country run. Congratulations to everyone who took part and especially to Reuben and George, 1st and 4th respectively in the U11s and Jacob 2nd in the U13s. Many thanks also to Mrs Hames, coach of the triathlon team, Mrs Critchley who assisted on the day and the parents who braved the unseasonable conditions and the M25 traffic to support our pupils.

We were more fortunate with the weather on Thursday when the storm clouds passed us by and the inter-schools athletics meeting at Latham Road was able to take place in dry conditions. It was a great to start to the athletics season with 7 schools participating and many outstanding performances.  Congratulations to the St Faith’s athletics team for finishing in first place.

Twenty seven of our athletes are competing in the Cambridgeshire Athletics Championships at Wilberforce Road on Saturday.  We wish them every success.

Duck Launch!

A fifth and final duckling safely hatched in Southfield late on Friday afternoon, much to the delight of all who were present. After a weekend with Mrs Bates, on her farm, the ducklings were back in school on Tuesday looking strong and robust and drawing lots of attention, not just from Pre-Prep but from many older year groups and teachers too! Mrs Bates and the Foundation children then introduced their ducklings to water for the first time on Tuesday afternoon in our now annual ‘St Faith’s Duck Launch’. With an eager audience watching, our five new feathered friends bravely waddled down their platforms and entered the water with great confidence; our swimming teachers would have been impressed.

Speaking of animals, it was the turn of Mollie, a Great Dane, to attend Mrs Walker’s ‘Animal Adventures’ after school club this week. As you can see, Mollie seemed quite at home amongst the admiring children.

Forthcoming Events

The SFPA invite you to join them at their next family fun event, Exploring Cambridge, which is being held on Saturday 18th May. This will be a great way to get to know the city even better and pick up some useful information to impress your family and friends on their next visit. The closing date to purchase tickets is Tuesday 14th May so please book now by emailing

Tickets for the SFPA Summer Party at the Fitzwilliam Museum on the evening of Saturday 29th June will be on sale soon.

Almost 200 parents have signed up for the E-Safety talk in the Ashburton Hall on Monday evening (19:00-20:15). If you haven’t signed up and would like to hear the talk, just turn up on the night and we will find you a seat. Parking will be available via Gate 1, Gate 4 or at Cambridge Football Stadium which will open until 21:00.

And Finally….

Some of our young Fidelians took the opportunity to have their photo taken with one of our esteemed Old Fidelians, Alex Goode, at the Saracens rugby match last weekend. Alex was being rested for the big match tomorrow, the European Cup Final against Leinster. We wish Alex good luck tomorrow and hope that he and Saracens will continue this week’s run of European success for English sports teams.

With all good wishes,

Nigel Helliwell