As we complete the first full week of the new school year, it is very pleasing to see how well our new joiners – pupils, parents and staff alike – have settled into our school community. The rhythm of the school week is now taking shape, as pupils become more familiar with timetables and locations, and many new friendships are flourishing. Our youngest pupils, in Foundation, having started with half-days, are now enjoying their full days at school and have made an excellent start to their time at St Faith’s.
Our Year 8 pupils have spent their first week as Prefects, working together in their House groups to undertake various duties in the school. They have performed their duties with great enthusiasm and maturity. This week for example, our Prefects have been guiding and helping younger pupils during lunchtimes and will also soon be meeting their Year 3 ‘buddies’.
National SATIPS Handwriting Competition
In the Summer Term, pupils from Years 3 – 8 took part in the National SATIPS handwriting competition with one of our pupils receiving 2nd place in their age group. In recognition of this truly excellent achievement, they were awarded a certificate in assembly at the beginning of this term.
Beauty and the Beast
The Lent term production for Year 6 this academic year will be the much-loved story of Beauty and the Beast. Initial rehearsals have already begun, and our Year 6 pupils are eagerly awaiting the opportunity to audition for different roles. It is certain to be a fantastic production, involving input from our whole Creative Arts team.
The Greenhouse Effect
In Year 8 Geography, pupils created a visual representation of The Greenhouse Effect using a basketball to represent the sun, and duvets of differing thickness to represent the layer of Greenhouse gases. We noted that whilst we need these gases to keep our atmosphere at a suitable temperature, the concern is the rapid increase in such gases leading to global warming.
iPad Training for Year 7 Pupils
Following a successful pilot scheme for Year 7 last year, we are delighted that this year’s Year 7 pupils will also now have access to individual iPads. Our new Head of Digital Development and Apple Professional Learning Specialist, Mr Richard Poth, is committed to enhancing the learning experience for the children through technology. The introduction of iPads will provide new opportunities for interactive, creative and innovative learning experiences across the curriculum.
In addition to using iPads in Year 7, we also have class sets of iPads available in Pre Prep and in Years 3 and 4 for use in lessons and activities. These iPads play a crucial role in our teaching and learning approach, helping to build confidence and providing students with valuable digital resources to aid their education.
Seesaw for Enhanced Communication
One of the key digital applications for both our pupils and parents from Foundation to Year 4 is Seesaw and we encourage all parents with children in these Year groups to set up a Seesaw parent account. This ‘window on the classroom’ will allow you to see what your child has been doing in class and is another way in which you can be involved in their educational journey. We have found it very beneficial for enhancing communication and we also hope it will enable you to understand your child’s progress, as well as being able to see examples of their work and homework tasks.
Meet the Tutors and Introduction to the New School Year
Following on from similar events for other year groups last week, on Tuesday night, parents of children in Foundation and Years 4, 7 and 8 attended presentations about arrangements for the forthcoming year. These covered a range of academic and pastoral topics and were followed by refreshments in Ashburton Hall and the opportunity to meet tutors. I also very much enjoyed the opportunity to meet many of you, and I was delighted to hear how well your children are settling in to their new Year groups. For those unable to attend, the presentations are available on MSP via this link.
Dr Bike Workshops
As one of our sustainable travel initiatives, we have hosted ‘Dr Bike’ workshops for staff and pupils on Tuesday and Thursday of this week. These highly popular workshops, run by skilled bicycle mechanics, ensure that bikes are safe to ride and operate. As the nights become darker and colder, may we also remind parents to ensure that pupils have suitable high visibility clothing, lights and cycle helmets for their journeys to and from school.
For those using cars to travel to and from school, we would recommend exploring the HomeRun app for journey sharing and connecting with other parents who live close to you. Not only are journey sharing arrangements more eco-friendly, but they allow pupils to form new friendships and help improve safety by reducing the number of vehicles arriving and leaving each day. If you have not yet signed up, please could we ask that you do so at your earliest convenience by following this link.
SFPA Coffee Mornings
The first coffee mornings of this term took place on Thursday for parents in Years 1 & 2 and on Friday for new parents to the school across Years 1 to 8. The coffee mornings are a very relaxed way for parents to meet their Year group representatives, as well as other parents in their Year and to find out more about how they can become involved in supporting the work of the SFPA, on an occasional or more regular basis. They were extremely well attended and we enjoyed some delicious coffee and pastries as well as an opportunity to meet informally.
In the Classrooms
Academic pursuits are busily underway and I have had the pleasure of visiting lessons in a number of Year groups this week. It is clear that the children are really enjoying the exploration of new topics and being inspired by their new teachers. In Year 6, river formation was being studied in Humanities, whilst in Science, pupils were learning about evaporation and condensation. Pupils in Year 8 have been exploring the topic of the Industrial Revolution, while pupils in Year 3 have really enjoyed their visits to the library and the opportunity to choose new books to read. In Spanish, pupils are expanding their vocabulary and practising their pronunciation, as well as learning about different Spanish cities, including Barcelona and Madrid.
Old Fidelian BBQ
Last week’s newsletter went to press just before the Old Fidelian BBQ, which took place last Friday. It was a beautiful balmy, late summer’s evening when we welcomed more than 40 Old Fidelians and former teaching staff to the Headmaster’s garden. It was a delightful event, and we hope that you enjoy this selection of photos from the evening.
If you are an Old Fidelian and would like to register for updates on news and events, please do contact the marketing team at email@example.com, who would be delighted to hear from you.
Open Morning 1st November 2023
On Wednesday, 1st November (11:00-13:00) we will open our doors to prospective families looking to join St Faith’s in Years 3-7. The closing date for applications for September 2024 entry is 30th November 2023 and entry assessments will take place in January 2024. Please spread the word amongst friends and colleagues who can register for the Open Morning at www.stfaiths.co.uk.
St Faith’s in the Press
Continuing the theme of Open Mornings, St Faith’s, together with its Foundation partner, The Leys, has featured in the October Cambridge Edition, in an article about Open Mornings and how they have evolved in recent years.
Asking Your Opinion
We are always keen to hear parents’ opinions, and in particular this term, the Marketing team would like to hear what you think of St Faith’s. We are evaluating our school website, so we are particularly keen to understand the features that you would have found useful before joining the school, as well as features you would like to see. In the Michaelmas term, the Marketing team will run small focus groups of parents to explore opinions and ambitions regarding the website and they would be very grateful for your input. If you have an hour to spare this term to join a focus group, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
As the sports fixtures calendar has now resumed, with Rugby, Football and Hockey featuring strongly this term, we wish good luck to our Year 6 Girls’ Hockey teams who have been competing today in the County Cup. We would like to encourage all parents, friends and family members to come and support all our games – encouragement from the touchline is very welcome and the pupils really respond well to enthusiastic support!
With all best wishes,
Dr Crispin Hyde-Dunn