This week at St Faith's

13 September 2019

‘Happy New Year!’ a cheerful mother said to me as she breezed in to breakfast this week.  It has indeed been a very happy start to the new academic year.  The children are fresh and eager, routines are becoming established and there is a real sense of energy and expectation around school.  As I said to the children in assembly, it is the same for our staff too. Schemes of work have been revised, facilities refurbished and ever more ingenious teaching methods devised to ensure we are continually improving the education we offer.  There is no standing still at St Faith’s!  I feel as excited now as I did when I started teaching thirty four years ago.

Here are some pictures of the children in action when I called in to lessons this week: Year 8s working with negative numbers in binary (in Computing), using their knowledge of the Reactivity Series to undertake a range of displacement reaction tests (in Science) and attempting the shelter challenge as part of the Desert Island project (in Engineering); Year 3s exploring primary and secondary colours in an Art lesson; Year 7s enjoying a football coaching session; Year 6s practising their core number skills and learning about triangular numbers (their challenge was to calculate the number of handshakes if 17 people met and each shook the hand of the others). There are also photos of the Foundation children enjoying their first full week and I couldn’t resist taking a photo of our glorious Copper Beech looking, as the children do, radiant and ready for another year at St Faith’s.

Introduction to the Year Evenings

Thank you to everyone who came to the ‘Meet the Tutor and Introduction to the Year’ evenings and for the most encouraging feedback about these events.  There was an impressive turn-out, even from our most experienced parents in Years 7 and 8, and many commented on how useful it was to receive information specific to their child’s year group and have the opportunity to touch base with the tutors at the beginning of the academic year.

Roald Dahl Day

Today, Miss Johnson and Mrs Warren, our wonderful librarians, hosted the annual Roald Dahl Day in the library to celebrate the famous author’s birthday. From a quiz to a Golden Ticket treasure hunt, word searches, party hat making and story telling the library was a buzz of literary activity. One of Dahl’s most famous quotes aptly sums up how our pupils embrace their time at St Faith’s, ‘I began to realise how important it was to be an enthusiast in life. If you are interested in something, no matter what it is, go at it full speed. Embrace it with both arms, hug it, love it and above all become passionate about it. LUKEWARM IS NO GOOD.’ Wise words indeed…

Art Awards Assessment

Over the past year, Year 7 (now Year 8) have been working towards the Trinity College London Bronze Arts Award.  This is a nationally recognised qualification for a project which requires around 40 hours work from each participant.  Every pupil produced a portfolio of work covering four sections: participating in an art form; being an audience member; arts inspiration – research of an artist; skills share – teach an arts skill to another person. All portfolios were assessed in school by Ms Allen and the top 35 were selected to go forward for external moderation. The moderator visited the school this week and was delighted with the standard of the children’s work.  All those submitted have been awarded the Bronze Arts Award, with the moderator commenting on the overall quality and individuality of the portfolios. As you can see from the snapshots below, the standard and breadth of work produced was most impressive.

Catering Accolade

Our Catering Manager, Peter Burt, and his Catering Team have been shortlisted (one of three) for Independent School Caterer of the Year in the 2019 Educatering Excellence Awards.  The Chartwells team work tirelessly to ensure that all pupils at St Faith’s receive a delicious and nutritious meal each and every day so this is much deserved recognition.  We wish Peter and his team the very best of luck at the Awards Evening in October, and hope that the dinner at the Awards is as good as the St Faith’s lunches!

Next Week

The many special events at school start to click in next week. Next Friday is Jeans for Genes Day  when children are invited to come to school in jeans, but otherwise in regular school uniform, paying £1 for the privilege and thereby raising money to help children with genetic disorders.  Next Saturday morning (21st), the annual SFPA Scavenger Hunt for all Pre Prep children and their families will take place here at school. This is always a lovely occasion when our new arrivals have the opportunity to explore the school grounds and their parents can chat and mingle in an informal setting.  We hope that as many Foundation families as possible will join us.  On Sunday (22nd), 24 of our staff will be running around the colleges in the annual Chariots of Fire relay race.  It begins at 9.30am and should end by approximately 11am.  As usual, the St Faith’s staff and supporters will congregate on Silver Street Bridge, to cheer along our runners (and those of the hundred or so other teams) and enjoy the convivial atmosphere of this unique Cambridge event.  So why not come along to encourage your brave members of staff? All families are most welcome – the more the merrier!  Later on Sunday our Senior Choir will be singing Harvest Evensong at St Margaret’s Church, Newton.

Old Fidelian Reunion

After a few sharp showers during the day, the weather was kind to us on Friday evening as Jane and I welcomed Old Fidelians of all ages back to the school for the annual barbecue reunion. Over fifty OFs mingled in the September sunlight over a delicious barbecue as they reminisced about their time at the school. It was particularly pleasing to see so many 2016 leavers return to the school to update us on their GCSE results and to look around the school. They were particularly impressed with the significant improvements to the science laboratories and the new Hub which, of course, did not exist when they left just three years ago.


Speaking of the former pupils, I thought you might be interested to see the latest OF magazine.  We receive many lovely messages from OFs and this one arrived from a former pupil who now lives in New Zealand and recently received the OF magazine.

Very nostalgic reading about St Faiths.  I loved my time there back in the 40’s – I am 83 now and still working part-time.  I remember Sir John Tusa (former Director of the BBC World Service) very well when he returned to Cambridge at the end of the war. Other names come to mind, especially my contemporaries who went on to the The Leys, where I also enjoyed my time from 1949 – 1953.  My headmaster at St Faiths was Mr English, who came out of retirement. Later, Mr White became headmaster and had some great teachers with him.  Mr Brand, Mr Royce, Mr Madge and so on.  They were happy days. John Scarr

Happy days indeed. I hope that your children continue to make the most of St Faith’s and will, in time, reminisce with the same fondness.

With all good wishes,

Nigel Helliwell