Well, the longest term of the year has come to end. It seems a very long time since the St Faith’s community was re-united, all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed after the summer holiday. It has been a very busy, productive and hugely enjoyable three months. The children, and school community as whole, should look back with pride and satisfaction on what has been achieved. I have to say, however, that despite all the remarkable achievements, both in and out of the classrooms, the most frequent feedback I receive from parents and visitors is about the happiness of the children and the positive community feel. Isn’t that wonderful! The many festive events this week highlighted that very special atmosphere and brought great joy as children, staff and parents joined together to celebrate the coming of Christmas, as you can read in this final newsletter of 2019.
Thank you to everyone who supported the SFPA Christmas Fair last Friday. It was great to see so many children and parents enjoying the stalls and activities on offer. Thank you to all parents who assisted with the running of the fair and/or donated prizes; we have never had so much chocolate, which delighted the children on the chocolate tombola! My sincere thanks to Dr Susana Monforte and Dr Daniel Thompson for all their time and work in coordinating the Christmas Fair this year.
Visit to the Alms Houses
On Monday morning a group of Senior Singers and brass players visited the Royal Albert Alms Homes on Hills Road to create some festive cheer for the elderly residents. The carols were lovely and very well received but for me, the golden moments were afterwards, when the residents and pupils mingled together. Our children had written a Christmas card for every resident and taken plenty of mince pies to share. I was so proud of how well our pupils engaged. I was also highly amused when one of the residents commented on the smart school uniform and asked if our pupils were wearing special Christmas blazers!
The Pre Prep were in full festive mood on Tuesday when the pupils enjoyed their Christmas party, including games and crafts followed by a delicious tea in the dining room. The children thanked the catering team in the best way they knew how, with a rousing rendition of ‘We Wish You a Merry Christmas’!
The Christmas theme continued unabated on Wednesday with the whole school Christmas lunch. Our hard working catering team prepared an impressive 85kgs of potatoes, 60kg of turkey breast and 20kg of Brussels Sprouts. Once again Father Christmas put in an appearance to hand out crackers. Embracing the Christmas spirit even further, Head Chef Kevin Johnson, ably supported by Aneta, also found time to create an animated and totally edible (except the train and track) winter wonderland that has wowed pupils, staff and parents this week.
Also on Wednesday the Year 3 and 4 pupils, staff, parents and grandparents gathered in the Hall for an afternoon of ‘Carols Around the Tree’. After a variety of festive musical pieces from the junior ensembles, carols from the Year 3 and 4 choirs and some hearty congregational singing, parents enjoyed mince pies and mulled wine, confident that Christmas was well under way.
No sooner than the Year 3 and 4 carols had finished, the Hall was transformed in to a disco for the pupils in Years 5 to 8 to let their hair down. Clearly everyone enjoyed themselves – even the staff couldn’t resist the temptation of the dance floor!
Last House Standing
Yesterday afternoon, pupils and staff in Years 3 to 8 joined together for ‘Last House Standing’, an almost indescribable blend of comedy acts, wildly-enthusiastic competitive singing and general mayhem. This year’s theme was ‘Pop Music’ and the four Houses belted out ‘Happy’ by Pharrell Williams (Bentley), ‘Roar’ by Katy Perry (Latham), ‘Counting Stars’ by OneRepublic (Chaucer) and ‘Wake Me Up’ by Avicii (Newton), and came together for a collaborative Christmas song, ‘Snow is Falling’ (Shakin Stevens). One surprise after the next kept us all hugely entertained. We had unpredictable comedy sketches from Mr Critchley, Mr Kite and Mr Day, impressive talent acts from the pupils (including magic tricks, solo instrumentalists, singing duets and rock bands) and several amusing videos of the pupils and staff, including one of Mr Kite performing a gymnastics floor routine which brought the house down. In a rather bizarre finalé, the Heads of House performed on operation on me behind a screen (please don’t ask!). In all the mayhem and laughter, Latham won, but the real winner was the event itself, which once again emphasised the unique atmosphere at St Faith’s.
Christmas Carol Services
After the frenetic excitement of the Christmas lunches, parties, discos, and variety shows we ended the term on a more traditional note today with our Carol Services. At St Faith’s we have much to be thankful for and these services provide a good opportunity for the school community to come together to reflect on the meaning of Christmas and consider those who are less fortunate than ourselves. Thank you to all the parents and grandparents who were able to join us for these special occasions.
In the very early hours of tomorrow morning, thirty five of our pupils will set off to the Austrian Alps for a week of skiing. I wish them all a wonderful adventure. If parents want to follow their progress, updates will be posted on Twitter and will also be visible via the VLE. Whether you are skiing down mountains, walking up hills or just relaxing at home, I hope you have a happy Christmas and wonderful holiday.
With all good wishes,