On Monday, the children were wearing the colour yellow in support of Mental Health Awareness Day. First celebrated in 1992, it is an international day for global mental health education, awareness and advocacy against social stigma around mental health issues. Leading up to a themed special assembly, all year groups were involved in activities in their tutor groups, including making class paper chains to celebrate the wonderful qualities of their friends. They also considered all the positive activities they could do to help to reduce stress, such as sport, music, spending time outdoors or talking with friends and family.
In our whole school assembly, children in Years 1-8 learned about the importance of treating mental health in the same way we treat physical health. The pupils also thought about ways they could reach out and talk to trusted adults who will listen and help, as well as all the different ways that they can ask for help in school.
The whole school has also been thinking about the theme of ‘Innovation’ this week and considering the learning habits required to be an innovator. The historical timeline of technological developments of the past 3000 years, that was shared in assembly by our Director of Digital Development, Mr Hyde, proved to be a source of inspiration. Based on this timeline, pupils have been discussing what innovations the future may hold, as well as expressing their own thoughts about what inventions may be seen in their lifetimes.
Books and Biscuits
On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday this week, Foundation parents were welcomed to school for a visit to the Library. ‘Books and Biscuits’ is a new opportunity this year for parents to share their children’s favourite books, accompanied by a tasty biscuit or two. A perfect and very popular end to the day.
Form 1JC really enjoyed presenting the first Pre Prep class assembly of the year – all about ‘Friendship’. What an excellent and uplifting performance it was! The assembly included the following acrostic:
F is for fun and games together
R is for respecting each other
I is for including others in our games
E is for enjoying games together
N is for never leaving others out
D is for deciding what to play together
S is for sharing and caring
H is for happiness when we are together
I is for ice cream in the park together
P is for playing kindly together
The children also made a special ‘friendship’ soup with a recipe of honesty, smiles, love, laughter and kindness. Adults and children alike then joined in with a rousing rendition of the ‘Being our Best Selves’ song before everyone left Ashburton Hall beaming after enjoying such a positive start to their day.
Visit to the Scott Polar Museum
On Wednesday, as part of their topic on Ice, the Year 2 children spent some learning time at the Scott Polar Museum. Their behaviour was exemplary as they walked to and from the museum. Whilst there, they absorbed many amazing facts about Arctic and Antarctic expeditions and were inspired by tales of intrepid explorers.
Inauguration of the New Lunchtime Concert Series
The inaugural concert of the new Lunchtime Concert Series took place on Tuesday. Open to all performers (including pupils, teachers and parents), the 20-minute concert featured two members of staff and seven pupils. This was well attended and greatly appreciated by staff, parents and pupils.
Not only does this lunchtime series provide important live performance opportunities for pupils, it also allows children to experience a diverse range of live music making as an audience member. The links between mental health and enjoyment of music are well documented and it is fitting that the concert took place this week during Mental Health Awareness Week. Congratulations and a big thank you to all performers, as well as those involved behind the scenes.
Year 5 Learn About Forces
Year 5 have started their new topic on Forces this week and learned that force is measured in Newtons. They can now recognise that forces are a push, pull, twist or bending movement and have been exploring how forces can start/stop an object moving, change its direction or its shape. They also calculated the force associated with a range of different items, including a tripod, a cork, wood blocks and scissors. Looking ahead, they will soon explore the different types of forces, including gravity, magnetism, friction, up-thrust, surface tension and static. These are exciting times for our young scientists and engineers as they lay the foundations for their future studies.
Year 6 Auditions for Aladdin
Year 6 pupils will have auditions next week for the hugely anticipated Lent term production of Aladdin. An extremely impressive amount of ambition and creativity that has gone into preparing for the auditions, and the production promises to be a great success.
Year 6 Parent-Teacher Meetings
On Thursday the first parent-teacher meetings of the Michaelmas term took place, in person, in Ashburton Hall. Parent-Teacher Meetings are an opportunity for our parents to discuss the Learning Habits and Attainment Grades with their children’s teachers. Our aim is to ensure we tailor the education here at St Faith’s for every child. In particular, we are keen to share with parents, their child’s areas of particular strength, so that we can provide appropriate challenge, as well as highlighting those areas where we are seeking to provide more nurturing and support. Tailored education is an active process and we are very grateful for the partnership between home and school in supporting your chidren.
Under 12 Girls’ Hockey County Cup
The U12 girls’ hockey team were unbeaten at the County Cup this week. They worked tirelessly in defence and didn’t concede a goal all afternoon. In attack the girls scored 18 goals in five short 10-minute matches. Following this excellent team performance, our U12 girls have qualified for the East Regions which will take place at Redbridge Sports Centre on Monday 28th November. We wish them every success as they continue their impressive season.
Launch of SFPA (St Faith’s Parents’ Association) Website
I am delighted to announce the forthcoming launch of a new SFPA website. This website has been built by one of the SFPA members and is intended specifically for use by the St Faith’s parent community. It aims, in time, to provide insights into school life, as well as promoting SFPA events and activities. The website will be available to all parents from Monday 17th October, via a link on the ‘School Information’ page of My School Portal and you will be sent a dedicated email on Monday providing more information about accessing it.
On launch day, amongst other things, you will be able to read a summary of parents’ feedback from last term’s Summer Party, highlights of recent events, and some of my own reflections on my first year at St Faith’s. Please do take a good look around the website and feel free to provide feedback to the SPFA at: email@example.com.
News from the Admissions Team
Members of the Admissions team have been working on several projects over the summer to streamline the admissions process and look towards a more sustainable future. For example, applications can now be made online via the website, speeding up the process for our prospective parents. In addition, the school prospectus can be downloaded from the website and paper copies will no longer be printed, representing a considerable environmental saving. Finally, online tour booking will be available via the school website from 1st November, so that prospective families can book their own tours at a time convenient to them.
Next Wednesday, 19th October will be our Whole School Photograph, to be taken on the school field. A communication about this important occasion has been sent to all parents today and I would like to re-iterate my request for your kind support in encouraging your children to be particularly well presented on Wednesday. Not only will this photo capture a special memory for our families, but as you can see on the walls of ‘School House’ these images are an important part of our school history and archive. One of my earliest memories of arriving at St Faith’s was becoming acquainted with former Heads, teachers and pupils (and even school pets), by studying the range of photographs on the wall. It is remarkable and reassuring to see the characteristic smiling enthusiasm and ambition, as well as the distinctive red and black stripes, linking us all across the decades.
Wishing you all a happy weekend,
Dr Crispin Hyde-Dunn