The end of the final week of the Michaelmas term is upon us and we have enjoyed a wide range of seasonal events. At the start of the week, the first snowfall of this winter in Cambridge transformed our school into a beautiful and picture-perfect snowscape, but it also led to some significant travel challenges. I am most grateful to all those involved in the delivery of online teaching for keeping our community connected. Meanwhile, those pupils who were able to travel to school safely were extremely excited about the opportunity to play in the snow and build snow sculptures in their breaktimes – as you can see from these pictures.
Salvation Army Gifts
This week the Pre Prep children have been donating small gifts for the Salvation Army to distribute to local children whose families are in financial difficulties this Christmas. Major Leanne Cordner came to collect the gifts and was very touched by the generosity of the children. The staff and parents also supported the Salvation Army by donating toiletries and essential clothing items for 11-14 year olds.
Celebrating Christmas in the Library
Festooned with Christmas decorations, including a pink Christmas tree, the Library has been looking even more inviting and welcoming during this Christmas season than usual. The Library team, together with the pupil librarians, have been running activities this week, including making Christmas cards, building a book tree to take home, wordsearches and quizzes.
Buddied Reading Time
On the theme of reading, 4L and 3L have recently shared some ‘buddy reading’ in tutor time. The Year 4s listened maturely, asked insightful questions and were so encouraging, while the Year 3s loved having an older friend to listen to them and to chat to about their book. Much enthusiasm for reading was shared and the session finished with a rousing chorus of our ‘Last House Standing’ song – an event described in more detail later in this newsletter!
Rotary Club Writing Competition
Year 5 and Year 7 pupils have been asked to enter a Rotary Club writing competition, and we have had many worthy entries exploring the title ‘Peace’. This is an open-ended challenge where writers can choose any form of prose, poetry or non-fiction writing. The teachers have certainly been delighted with the deep thinking evident and the wide range of entries submitted. It was also pleasing to see that some children chose to use the speech writing skills taught in September, applying them very effectively to this challenge. Here is a taster of what the Rotary Club will be sampling from the St Faith’s authors, poets, and philosophers in Year 7 and Year 5.
Yesterday was that special day requiring people to dig out their Christmas jumpers from the back of the wardrobe for their annual airing. Staff and pupils alike donned their festive knitwear with great panache, in return for donations to a range of local charities. Years 3 and 4 have been collecting for the Cambridge City Foodbank , Years 5 and 6 for Jimmy’s – providing support and housing to people who are rough sleeping in Cambridge, and Years 7 and 8 for the CHS group – offering housing, care and community services to young people in Cambridgeshire.
Our Christmas jumpers remained the dress code for the rest of the day on Thursday, including for our ever-popular House singing and performance competition, ‘Last House Standing’. This energetic and exciting event is among the noisiest of the whole school year! Loyalty to one’s House was on display for all to see, with some excellent individual and whole-House performances across Years 3-8, ending 2022 on a very high note.
Pre Prep Christmas Party and Christmas Service
Continuing the theme of Christmas clothes, Pre Prep children came to school in their party outfits on Tuesday for their Christmas Party. Games and activities were followed by a lovely festive feast in the dining room and all of Pre Prep sang ‘We Wish you a Merry Christmas!’ to the fabulous catering team who look after them so well.
And of course Christmas wouldn’t be complete without an early visit from Father Christmas, who put in his annual St Faith’s appearance on Wednesday in the dining hall. He handed out Christmas crackers, as well as encouraging the children to join in with more Christmas songs – the ideal ‘warm-up’ for Last House Standing!
On Thursday, Foundation had a ‘Snowman’ day, with the children wearing their winter pyjamas or other festive clothing and taking part in lots of activities inspired by ‘The Snowman’ film. Meanwhile for Years 1 and 2, the Christmas film of choice was ‘The Grinch’ and so there was a certain green hue to Southfield. During all of the activities, the children explored the seasonal themes of friendship and kindness. Finally, today, Pre Prep parents have enjoyed a traditional service of carols, as well as a presentation of the Nativity with a tableau and readings.
Christmas Carol Services
Parents of Year 3 and 4 children enjoyed a hearty fare of traditional Christmas carols and songs ‘around the Christmas Tree’ on Wednesday, as well as watching the children recount the Nativity story.
The term then came to a seasonal end with two more traditional carol services today, for Years 5 and 6 and Years 7 and 8, giving the school community an opportunity to celebrate the Christmas season before heading off for the holiday.
The rhythms of St Faith’s will continue next week with the Art and Design workshop and the Multi-Activity Course, both open to Years 3-8. I am very grateful to the staff who are supporting those courses.
I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all St Faith’s parents for their tremendous support of our school throughout 2022, and to thank our staff for all their hard work this year.
We look forward to 2023 with gratitude for all our blessings this year and optimism for an exciting year ahead. I hope you enjoy a well-earned and relaxing break, and I look forward to seeing you all again on the first day of the Lent term, Wednesday, 11th January.
Wishing you and your families peace and joy this Christmas,
Dr Crispin Hyde-Dunn