This week at St Faith's

11 May 2018

Art and Design

In a week when the personal art collection of David and Peggy Rockefeller was auctioned for hundreds of millions of dollars on the other side of the Atlantic, I thought it would be interesting to take a close look at our own art exhibits around the school.  We have flocks of ‘Picasso Owls’, which proudly perch in corners of rooms, keeping an eye on us all as we go about our daily lives.  I even have two in my study; ‘Geordie Owls’ as Mr Mageean calls them as their black and white coats resemble his home city’s football strip.  Those who have breakfast in the Dining Room will have noticed the Year 5 pineapple paintings and clay pots inspired by the English ceramicist Kate Malone, the Rousseau paintings by Year 3 and the Year 5 Batiks based on traditional Inuit art using wax and ink.  You don’t need to go much further to see the Year 6 Madagascan-style hats outside the Drama Room and even more Picasso Owls lurking outside the Maths rooms, no doubt eaves dropping on Mr Kite’s algebra lessons.  The Art and Design rooms are awash with the latest St Faith’s masterpieces: Year 6 watercolours based on the English landscape painter, Heaton Cooper, Year 4 Aboriginal paintings, Year 7 lino prints and the extravagant Gaudi pots made by Year 8. In the Pre Prep I discovered some lovely paintings of ‘Our World’ by the Foundation children; check out the portrait of Mr Gorick!  So sit back and enjoy this picture gallery.  It may not yet be worth millions of dollars, but given the age of the artists, we should be justly proud.

There will be an exhibition of Year 8 artwork, open to all families, on the evening of Wednesday 23rd May (18:30) before the performance of Shakespeare’s, ‘Midsummer Night’s Dream’.  On Thursday 24th May, Year 8 pupils and their families are invited to a Celebration of the Arts followed by the second performance of ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’.  More details can be found in the index of this newsletter.

History Competition

Many congratulations to Lucy and Dominic for being awarded ‘Runner Up Best Essay’ in the Ampleforth College Junior History Competition 2018.  As the letter from Ampleforth stated, ‘their work was outstanding.  They will be presented with their prizes in assembly on Monday.

Science Speakers

Yesterday, Science set 8.1 were visited by  Dr Ana Cerdeño-Tárraga and Dr Michael Norman from the Wellcome Genome Campus.  They started the session with an interesting talk all about work the of the Sanger Institute and the sequencing of the human genome. The group were able to extend their knowledge, reading articles in the Nature scientific paper and looking at the “minion” machine – a device the size of a mobile phone which can be used for DNA sequencing. They were then challenged with their own bioinformatics activity, deciphering amino acid codes from given base sequences. Using the Protblast website, the students were then able to find out which protein their sequence coded for and its role. Results ranged from the luciferase protein which causes fireflies to glow and snake venom toxin, to the antifreeze protein found in atlantic wolffish in the cold depths of the ocean! Thank you to our visitors for such an educational and informative talk and activity, and many thanks too for the positive feedback about our pupils which they tweeted afterwards: ‘Fantastic set of Y8 students! Very engaging and interested, a true credit to their teachers and the school.  I loved and enjoyed the opportunity.  Thanks!’

Year 4 Town and Village Enquiry Day

Also yesterday, Year 4 pupils enjoyed a day off-site, visiting St Ives and Houghton Mill, to extend and enhance their recent Humanities classwork.  As part of the day, the children conducted a traffic survey in St Ives, explored the working watermill at Houghton and looked closely at the main differences between a village and a town.  Fine weather and a busy, well-structured programme made for a stimulating and worthwhile trip.


At this time of the year, the athletics track is a hive of activity.  Barely a moment passes without the sight of children practising their sprint starts, relay changeovers and hurdling techniques, and the sound of our passionate sports staff providing encouragement and expert advice. Yesterday, we hosted an area athletics meeting on the Latham Road track which attracted six schools and lots of talented young athletes. St Faith’s literally, ran out as winners. Tomorrow, many of our top competitors will be in Peterborough, with Mr North and Mr Mageean, for the Cambridgeshire AA Track and Field Championships; I wish them every success. As you already know, our school athletics track will be busier than usual this year, as Sports Day for Years 3 to 8 will be held at St Faith’s rather than at the Cambridge University Athletics track, owing to the building work being carried out at Wilberforce Road.  We very much look forward to both Sports Days here at school; the Pre Prep event on 5th June and the Years 3 to 8 event on Friday 15th June. The presence of lots of families cheering along their children and revelling in the relaxed, sociable atmosphere makes these events very special.


You may be interested to see, by clicking this link, that St Faith’s features on the front page of this term’s Prep School Magazine and on page 40, which gives readers an insight in to our Engineering curriculum.

Good luck to our brave Pre Prep staff, Miss Greene, Mrs Harmsworth, Miss Hendry, Mrs O’Hanlon and Mrs Walker, who will be pounding the streets of London this weekend, as they take part in a 26.2 mile overnight ‘Moonwalk’, in aid of breast cancer charities.  If they are moving gingerly on Monday, you know why!

With all good wishes,

Nigel Helliwell