This week at St Faith's

18 September 2020

‘I cannot endure to waste anything so precious as autumnal sunshine by staying in the house’.  (Nathaniel Hawthorne, The American Notebooks 1842)

It has been great to see our teachers making the most of the glorious autumnal weather by taking some of their lessons outside this week.  On my way past Tom’s Garden, I spotted Mrs Davis’ English class reading Philip Pullman’s ‘The Firework-Maker’s Daughter’ and later in the day, I spent time with Mrs Ankin’s Art class enjoying a sketching lesson on the theme of architecture.  Year 4 have also been busy learning to identify the trees on our site – what a lovely activity to be engaged in at this time of the year.  The fine weather and beautiful outdoor surroundings are uplifting for our pupils and can certainly enhance lessons, as I witnessed this week.

The wonderful weather has also been perfect for sport, with all year groups enjoying PE and Games in the sunshine.  I called in to see Year 2 children practising their rope and hoop skipping during a PE lesson yesterday.

With inter-school fixtures for the older children being off the agenda for the time being, the Sports Faculty have used the opportunity to modify the curriculum and place greater emphasis on athletic fitness, specifically speed, power, agility and reactions, as well as continuing to develop the core skills of our main team sports.  The aim of this approach is to create more efficient athletes of our pupils and also decrease their risk of sport-related injury now and in the future.  Here are a few photos of the Year 7 and 8s being put through their paces on Wednesday afternoon. Given the temperatures in which they were training, there were some rather red faces but it was clear that everyone was enjoying the challenges they faced.


Moving back inside the classrooms, Year 5 have enjoyed learning about West African drum beats this week.  As the pupils discovered, typical West African drum music containing different rhythms at the same time, requires a great deal of concentration and coordination!


In the first newsletter of the term I wrote about our Year 8 pupils receiving their Prefect ties and badges as they were appointed to their new levels of responsibility. One of these responsibilities is their role as a ‘Buddy’ to a group of younger pupils.  This involves leading sessions with pupils in younger year groups, which helps to develop their leadership skills and encourage a sense of community across the school.  To kick this off, this week our Year 8s spent time on Teams, beaming themselves into classrooms across the school to introduce themselves to their respective Buddies.  I spoke to a few Year 8s after the session who were delighted to be making virtual acquaintances and who expressed delight at finally having the honour of being a Buddy, having been inspired by their own Buddies when they were younger.


Our Activities program also started this week, albeit in a modified form. Activities on offer this term include Chess, Drama, STEM, Gym, Football, Hockey and Lego.  It is always good to see new clubs emerging and this week, an Ornithology club for Year 5 began, under the guidance of keen bird watcher, Mrs Burbridge.  I couldn’t resist calling in to see the clubs in action; here are a few photos I took along the way.

Drop-Off and Pick-Up

The drop-off and pick-up systems are bedding down well, despite the temporary traffic lights for gas replacement works on Trumpington Road.  I am grateful to both the staff for their hard work in designing and opertaing these systems and for the cooperation of parents, without which they would simply not work.  With this in mind, we ask you to note the following points that have emerged as important factors in the smooth operation of the systems.

For car drivers, please:

  • adhere to the informal one way system
  • do not block the road by the pedestrian crossing on Trumpington Road, preventing the traffic flow from Cambridge to Trumpington.  If there is no space to pull in to the bus lane then please proceed along Trumpington Road and back round via Newton Road. If cars are in line in the bus lane, please do not pull in in front of queued cars.  Again, please do another circuit around Newton Road if necessary
  • remain in your vehicles so that you are able to pull forwards in a timely manner

For pedestrians and cyclists, please:

  • maintain social distancing while waiting for your child
  • keep gate entrances clear of bikes
  • wait on the grass – keep the path as clear as possible for people to pass
  • remember that cycling is not permitted on the pavement on Trumpington Road in front of the school.  This is especially important given the number of people on the paths at peak times

Many thanks again for your assistance.


On a lighter note, I thought you would like to see this photo that was taken when Year 5 pupils were engrossed in an outdoor Art lesson, sketching the finer points of the entrance to our house.  Mollie appeared to see what was going on outside and ensure that she was on guard to defend her territory.  Anyone who has a Jack Russell will know the message Mollie is conveying to the children – ‘definitely no entry and come closer at your peril!’

With all good wishes,

Nigel Helliwell