What a dramatic week it has been at St Faith’s! And no, before you get too worried, I am not referring to any accidents on the sports pitches, explosions in the Science labs or spillages in the art studios. I am of course talking about the dramatic, musical and singing talents that have been on show across the school this week.
The Musicians of Bremen
On Wednesday afternoon, Year 1 performed an uplifting and memorable performance of Grimms’ fairy tale, The Musicians of Bremen, to the delight of the many parents, grandparents and friends who came to watch. The play followed the fortunes of a donkey, dog, cat and rooster, who decided to become musicians and join a band as they were no longer wanted by their owners. From colourful costumes and vibrant music to exuberant dancing and jubilant singing, this was a production that lifted the spirits of all those fortunate enough to attend. To put on such a slick and well-choreographed production takes considerable dedication and effort. Many congratulations to the Year 1 teaching team and of course, to the stars of the show, the children. This was a production we will remember for a very long time.
At the end of this week and over the weekend, over 30 of Miss Tucker’s Speech and Drama pupils are performing at the Sudbury Festival of Performing Arts. Acting, mime, prose and verse recitals will be performed over four days as Drama enthusiasts of all ages meet to gain stage experience and receive constructive feedback from professional adjudicators. I would like to wish all those taking part the very best of luck.
Continuing on the dramatic theme, Year 6 pupils are in the final stages of rehearsals for Mary Poppins. The all-singing, all-dancing production of this family favourite will see every Year 6 on stage on the 27th and 28th March in the Ashburton Hall. Only a few tickets remain therefore if you wish to attend please click on the link below to make a booking.
Performing hasn’t been limited to the Drama department this week. Monday’s House Music Competition involved over four hours of music by 43 soloists which saw everything from harps and horns to violas and voices. Mr Kenworthy, Director of Music at The Leys, provided encouraging advice on each performance in his role as adjudicator. Despite its ‘competition’ status, the event had more of a feeling of a celebration of music, with one Year 6 pupil commenting afterwards, “It didn’t feel like a competition because the atmosphere was so relaxed.” The support the musicians gave each other was truly heart-warming, with the children themselves often starting the applause as the next competitor took to the stage.
Many congratulations to the winners: Juniors – Alexander B (Harry G, Charlie S and Lily C-B highly commended); Intermediate – Winner: Hope H (Frank J, Ryan S and Matilda W highly commended); Seniors – Winners: Alex R and Oscar S (Charlotte B, William M, Connie T and Harry C-B highly commended).
Clearly music at St Faith’s really is thriving, with 240 pupils playing at least one musical instrument in school, and a significant number who play a second instrument either in school or externally. As always my sincere thanks to Mr Gorrick, Miss Kennerley and Ms Overman as well as the many highly talented peripatetic music teachers who inspire our musicians each week.
As part of our Personal, Social, Health and Citizenship Education (PSHCE) programme, we are hosting the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Life Education Centre this week and next. The so-called ‘Lifebus’ can be seen parked in Ashburton Courtyard. Each class from Foundation to Year 6 will visit the high-tech classroom and have a lesson appropriate in length and content to the children’s age and understanding. Pre Prep children are being taught about their bodies and how to keep them healthy as well as how to manage and understand feelings. Older pupils will receive age-appropriate lessons about friendships, pressures and have the opportunity to discuss the effects of drugs on the body, attitudes to drugs and choices relating to drug use and peer influences. The Lifebus allows children to explore more deeply factors relating to their personal development and well-being.
On Tuesday afternoon, the Year 5s took part in a Jewish Passover Experience, exploring different aspects of this important festival, including the account of Moses’ rescue of the Hebrew slaves from Egypt. Our visitor, Debbie Thain, explained how Passover is celebrated today and the children made and tasted the different components of the Passover meal. They left with a greater understanding of the symbolism of the meal and the key role children take in the story-telling. Clearly bringing such celebrations to life in this way aids our pupils learning of major world religions.
I am delighted to report that both the U12A and U13A boys’ hockey teams won their respective East Region age group competition this week, both teams beating The Perse in their final. These are terrific results and a great credit to the talent of the boys and the quality of coaching they receive.
Today sees a number of Year 4 netball players participate in an U9 netball rally at New Hall School and 13 children are competing at the Milano Trios National Gymnastics Championships in Stoke-on-Trent. I wish everyone the very best of luck in their given disciplines.
If you have seen scientific information cards tied to trees and benches this week, that is because Mrs Parker in the Science department has devised a quirky way to celebrate 150 years since Dimitri Mendeleev first published his Periodic Table of the Elements. Ninety-nine cards showing the different chemical elements of the modern periodic table have been hidden around the school grounds. Pupils in Years 5-8 have been set a week to find as many of these cards as possible and record the name, state (solid, liquid or gas) and use of each element. The winners will be announced on Monday!
Recently, I have had the pleasure of meeting many Old Fidelians. Alistair Bruce-Ball, BBC Radio sports commentator, returned to St Faith’s last week, to tour the school and meet pupils and staff in preparation for his role as Guest of Honour at Speech Day on 5th July. It didn’t take him long to spot himself on the front row of the 1981 school photo!
Yesterday, Jane and I hosted the first of several OF lunches to raise funds for Makukhanye School in South Africa. Amongst our distinguished guests were the daughter and son of Mr ‘Chalky’ White, Headmaster from 1946 to 1966. Most of our visitors had not been back to the school since they left as pupils, so you won’t be surprised to know that there were gasps of amazement when they saw the facilities we now have.
On the topic of Makukhanye, I was very impressed and delighted that two of our Year 8 girls, Connie and Charlotte, arrived at my office yesterday to donate their birthday present money to our partnership township school in South Africa. What a lovely act of kindness. Both girls will be in the touring party to Makukhanye this summer, when they will be able to see for themselves just how valuable this donation is.
With all good wishes,