This week at St Faith's

15 March 2024

Sustainability Day

On Monday we celebrated ‘Sustainability Day’. Our whole school assembly was led by members of the Eco Committee as they posed some very insightful questions to our guest, Professor Hugh Hunt. Professor Hunt is a distinguished academic and researcher in the field of Engineering Dynamics and Vibration at the University of Cambridge. He is Deputy Director of the Centre for Climate Repair in the Department of Engineering and his research interests include Renewable Energy and Geoengineering. Professor Hunt was delighted to field a number of challenging and broad-ranging questions from the pupils, including whether electric cars are good for the planet and what is the impact of flying on the climate. Pupils were interested to hear Professor Hunt’s thoughts on whether the world will achieve its Paris Agreement climate goal to reach net zero by 2050. Professor Hunt was optimistic about our future for the planet, but reminded our whole community that there is still much work to do.

We Play For Ray

Last Sunday many friends and colleagues of Mr Pallister attended the 2024 Varsity Ice Hockey match – Oxford Vikings A vs Cambridge Narwhals. The players and spectators paid their respects to Ray and his family at the start of the match. The Cambridge Narwhals emerged victorious and returned the trophy to Cambridge. Our community also paid our respects to Mr Pallister at his funeral this week and we continue to remember Ray’s family and friends at this very sad time. We are very grateful for the support of staff from The Leys School who came across to assist with supervision duties at St Faith’s to enable staff members to attend Mr Pallister’s funeral.

SFPA Easter Community Day

As reported at the end of last week’s newsletter, we held the SFPA Easter Community Day on Saturday and I hope that you enjoy this photo montage of the day. As you will see, the weather was kind to us and many of our families joined us for the event. We were also delighted that representatives from the charity ‘Cultivating Change’ were able to join us again this year, offering a range of planting and wellbeing activity sessions. Of course, especially for our youngest pupils, the event would not have been complete without the greatly anticipated and keenly contested Easter Egg hunt.

Caring for the Environment

Continuing with the environmental and sustainability theme, on Monday we reminded the children in Year 2 of the importance of caring for the environment and the steps we can all take to do so. The children enjoyed sharing the story called ‘Somebody Swallowed Stanley’. This is a beautifully illustrated book with a powerful message about plastic pollution. The children felt very motivated to design their own posters conveying a message about plastic pollution. After discussing the dangers of plastic pollution to sea life, the children also enthusiastically crafted their own turtle models.

Year 3 and 4 were engaged enthusiastically in Sustainability Day and there was lots of talk about how we can pursue choices which are better for the planet. Pupils looked at the book, ‘A Planet Full of Plastic’, learning about when plastic was first created only 150 years ago, and thought about how different St Faith’s would have been in its early days. Children were amazed to learn how recently plastic toothbrushes were invented! When talking about the impact of plastic on the planet, particularly the oceans, the children could see the importance of reusing items and looking after their property and suggested having a (single-use) ‘plastic-free snack day’. This will be taking place next Wednesday. Below you can see the list of the eco-team’s suggestions for their favourite plastic free snacks.


Year 2 Moon Buggies

As well as caring for our own planet, last week, as part their Space topic, Year 2 children were given the challenge to use simple tools to build models of Moon Buggies. This gave them an ideal opportunity to explore and use mechanisms e.g. wheels and axles. They also evaluated the function of their finished articles against their original designs, so that they could suggest and incorporate improvements.

St Faith’s Welcomes Dominic Norrish, Chief Executive of IAPS

Last Friday, we welcomed to St Faith’s Dominic Norrish, the Chief Executive of IAPS – the Independent Association of Preparatory Schools, the Association of which St Faith’s is a member. Mr Norrish enjoyed his tour around St Faith’s and visited a range of different lessons, which included English, Maths, Science, Engineering, Art, Drama, Languages and PE. He was very impressed with our facilities as well as the keen enthusiasm of the pupils and the warm engagement of the staff he met during his visit.

Year 5 Narnia Guidebooks

Mrs Hudson’s Year 5 class have continued to work hard on their ‘Narnia Guidebooks’. They have chosen each word carefully to write vividly descriptive entries, designed to entice and hook in their reader. Combined with their beautiful illustrations, they can be extremely proud of the impressive final pieces they have created.

In the Classrooms  

One Year 8 English class has been studying ‘Lord of the Flies’ and exploring the theme of leadership in the novel. They analysed qualities of leaders in history and then created their own ‘political broadcasts’ using iMovie to promote their leadership plans and aspirations.

Lunchtime Concert

Upwards of seventy-five children chose to attend last week’s Lunchtime Concert in Ashburton Hall. The four soloists confidently embraced the concert platform each giving accomplished performances. ‘The Hippopotamus Song’ 🦛, ‘There is a Castle on a Cloud’, ‘The World in Union’ were sung sublimely and the audience were wowed by the performance of Norton’s funky ‘New Kid’, a piece currently set on the ABRSM Grade 7 piano syllabus. Whoops and cheers of acclaim rang around Ashburton Hall in this uplifting concert.

Parent Teacher Meetings

It was a pleasure to welcome our Year 8 families to their Parent Teacher meetings this week. I hope that parents found this to be a useful touchpoint for their child’s progress at this stage of the academic year. Next term for our Year 8 pupils represents an important and exciting time for our most senior pupils as they near the completion of their St Faith’s journey and make their final preparations for moving on to their chosen senior schools.

Year 7 IAPS National Hockey Finals

It has been a truly outstanding and memorable week for our hockey players.

Mr Welch writes, “On Tuesday the U12 Boys’ Hockey Team played at Hurstpierpoint School in the National Hockey Finals. It was a horribly wet day, but the boys were not to be deterred as they hit the ground running by beating New Beacon School 1-0 in their first game, with a solid display. They then went on to beat Bishop’s Stortford in their next group game, producing a highly composed defensive display and looking sharp in and around the D. This meant they were top of the group and were drawn to play Millfield in the Quarterfinals. The team produced an excellent performance. They were calm at the back, distributing well and then precise in attack, scoring 2 goals and going on to win 2-0. An excellent result.

In the semi-final they played the hosts, Hurstpierpoint, who had an excellent side. St Faith’s produced a remarkably strong performance, scoring early and dominating play from then on. At no stage where they under any real pressure due to their wonderful defensive shape and they managed to secure a 1-0 win. This all meant they met Hazlegrove School in the Final. Both teams started nervously and although St Faith’s had the majority of possession, they were unable to convert any chances. It was then on to Golden Goal. St Faith’s came out of the blocks fast and managed to create 2 or 3 chances but without being able to score. Then a turnover of possession from a 16, meant a short corner was won. A beautiful strike into the bottom right-hand corner secured the most memorable of victories for this brilliant team. A truly ‘Golden Goal’ & National Champions!

The boys were truly a credit to both the school and themselves throughout the day. Working tirelessly for each other and producing some outstanding play at times. We are very proud of you boys, amazing!”

Year 6 IAPS National Hockey Finals

Mr Thompson writes, “On Sunday, our Year 6 boys travelled down to Cheltenham College in preparation for their IAPS National Finals which they had qualified for the week before. They played so well at the qualifiers; we collectively were more than happy with that achievement. Our aim was to make sure we enjoyed the day and try to play some exciting hockey. We were placed in an extremely tough pool that went down to the wire. Resilience, determination and an abundance of skill put us in a position where if we won our last game, we were through to the quarter final placing us in the top eight in the country. We faced All Hallow School and from the first minute there was only going to be one winner. We were outstanding winning the game 4-0.

Onto St George’s Weybridge, one of the favourites for the title. We flew out of the blocks dominating the first half and went into the last five minutes of the game leading 2-0. Unfortunately, some fantastic team play by St George’s saw them claw their way back into the game, pipping us in the final minute 3-2. An amazing achievement, creating memories for life. Eighth in the country, and only losing to the team who went on to win the title. All the boys were a real credit to the school and should be very proud of themselves.”

IAPS Netball Regionals and National Finals

Last Friday, the Year 6 and Year 7 girls were both competing on the same day in IAPS Netball events. The Year 6 team had waited very patiently for the chance to compete in the regional tournament as the original event had been postponed due to rain. For the Year 7s, they were competing in the National Finals at Oundle School, where they played some excellent netball and progressed as far as the quarter finals. Please read Mrs Shaw’s reports with team photos in the sidebar.


Annually, late February and early March herald the culmination of the official gymnastics season and St Faith’s has been involved in competitions in Luton, Elstree, Chelmsford , Guildford and Stoke on Trent during the last three weekends. Incredibly, 42 gymnasts have competed over 4 different competitions, some of which are for qualification for a further national event in Stoke in April.

Some of the boys have participated in all four distinctly different events; Trios, Floor and Vault regionals, ISGA Nationals and Sports Acro and Tumbling regionals. More and more schools rely on gymnasts training at local clubs for multiple hours each week to bolster their team scores. It is important to remain focused on our St Faith’s philosophy, that primarily we are school based gymnasts training a maximum of 2 hours a week and participating for fun, enjoyment and to experience the camaraderie of teamwork. Please read the full report in the sidebar of this newsletter.

The Thompson Tournament

This term, for the Year 5 Boys, the ‘Caven Cup for Rugby’ was replaced by the ‘Thompson Tournament for Hockey’. During the final week of the tournament there have been some fantastic skills on display and the boys have made great progress in their game play since their first Hockey lessons in December. You can read a full report in the sidebar of this newsletter.

Inter-House Cross Country  

The Inter-House Cross Country events are taking place over the final two weeks of term. Cross Country is a sport which draws on the pupils’ stamina, resilience and dogged determination; qualities which St Faith’s pupils demonstrate in abundance. Not only did we see some excellent running but they also finished their races with smiles on their faces!

Foundation 2024 Breakfast

Today was our final breakfast of the Lent term for our new Foundation 2024 families, who will be joining us in September. As always, it provided a wonderful opportunity for new parents to meet some of the other families joining the school at the same time, as well as current parents with older siblings. Members of the SFPA were also on hand to answer questions and give friendly advice.

Filming and Photography  

Over the last two weeks, we have enjoyed being host to a BAFTA winning filmmaker and a professional photographer as the Marketing team continue to create content for the school’s new website. The pupils were, as always, wonderful ambassadors for St Faith’s. Whether it was being filmed in an interview, or enthusiastic participation in photo opportunities, the children were keenly engaged throughout and really enjoyed the whole experience.

Pre Prep Open Morning  

Our next Open Morning event on Thursday, 25th April will focus on entry to the Pre Prep. Registrations can be made via the home page of the school website. Even if you are a current parent and already have a child at St Faith’s, all our families with younger siblings wishing to join the Pre Prep in the future, are most welcome to join us for the morning.

And Finally….

With only one week to the end of term, next Friday we will be celebrating our Easter Service. On Saturday, the Year 8 pupils moving on to The Leys in September will begin their 24-hour familiarisation visit. Before these events, there is also great excitement about next week’s Year 6 Production of ‘Beauty and the Beast’, taking place on Wednesday and Thursday. We very much hope you will ‘Be Our Guest’ and will really enjoy this spectacular musical.

I wish you and your families a peaceful and relaxing weekend,

Dr Crispin Hyde-Dunn