We were delighted this week to be able to share the report from our recent Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) Inspection with our community. The Inspection has a particular focus on pupils’ achievements and pupils’ personal development, and the Inspectors spent several days at the school observing lessons and activities, as well as speaking to pupils and staff. It is a real testament to the hard work of the children and their teachers to have gained the highest possible accolade of ‘Excellent’ in both categories.
On Tuesday pupils in Years 3-8 enjoyed an Academic Enrichment (AcE) Day, giving them the opportunity to spend a whole day off-timetable, with a focus on exploring subjects and developing skills in more depth. The details, by Year group, can be found below:
Years 3 and 4
Year 3 spent Tuesday getting to know Mrs Armitage very well indeed! Mrs Armitage is a Quentin Blake character, encountered in the book, ‘Mrs Armitage on Wheels’. After listening to the audio story at the start of the day, Year 3 embraced the opportunity to learn more about bicycle gears, designed their own bikes for Mrs Armitage, created a picnic menu for Mrs Armitage to carry with her on her journeys and finally enjoyed an interactive role-play and read-along to ‘Mrs Armitage Goes Surfing’.
Meanwhile, our Year 4 pupils immersed themselves in Spanish for the day. They used music, poetry, arts and crafts to further their linguistic skills, as well as to understand the famous Spanish story ‘Los Peces en el Río’ – translated as ‘The Fish in the River’.
Years 5 and 6
Years 5 and 6
Year 5 pupils enjoyed their first opportunity to become Goblins for the day as they spent their AcE Day experiencing what it means to be a Goblin, exploring the world of kit cars. Their activities included team building, driving the cars, designing bodywork for the cars and considering what makes a successful racing team. At the end of the day, all Year 5 pupils were invited to complete an application to join the Goblins should they wish to be considered for the ‘Goblins’ after school club.
Study skills were the focus for our Year 6 pupil AcE day, with many pupils sitting The Leys Preliminary Assessment in January. The children took part part in a number of activities including problem solving, internet searching and mind mapping, helping them to explore the different ways in which challenges can be approached. They also worked on their time management by practising Maths questions under test conditions. They showed excellent engagement with all the activities and can look forward to applying their skills in future senior school assessments.
Years 7 and 8
Year 7 enjoyed an Arts focused morning where they worked on the ‘skills sharing’ aspect of their Arts Awards, which they are developing throughout this year. Pupils could be found in various locations around the school, demonstrating and teaching skills to fellow Year 7 children. For example in the Music rooms pupils were teaching their friends how to play specific musical instruments, while in the Drama Studio, stage acting skills were being demonstrated and shared. An impressive array of art techniques were also being shared in the Art studio. I am sure all pupils will have plenty to include as they write up their Arts Award portfolios.
Year 8, like Year 6, spent their AcE day on Tuesday focusing on their Senior School entry assessments. Not only did they complete practice assessments in Maths and English, but they also learned about improving their exam techniques, as well as developing and following their own revision plans. These skills will help with forthcoming assessments, and will stand St Faith’s pupils in excellent stead for their senior schools and beyond.
Continuing with the Art theme, Year 6 have been busy in the Art studios, with a focus on sculpture and specifically the works of Giacometti. After researching his work and making sketches of the human shape, the children have enjoyed making their own figures out of plaster. Their next task will be to apply colour to make the statues look as if they are made of bronze. From the work in progress currently on display in the Art studios I am looking forward to seeing some excellent completed pieces of sculpture at the end of the term.
Mrs Burbridge’s Year 1 class charmed their peers and parents alike on Wednesday morning with a class assembly focused on hedgehogs. Wearing delightful animal hats made by the pupils themselves and proudly showing off their animal pictures made from autumn leaves, the children talked about how to look after hedgehogs. This included what they can and importantly cannot eat, and how to check wood piles before lighting a bonfire. The children also sang a creative version of ‘I’m a Little Hedgehog’ before all pupils joined in with the popular hymn, ‘Who Put the Colours in the Rainbow’. Very well done indeed to everyone in 1HB for a wonderful assembly.
Music and Mental Health
On Wednesday, Stella and Chris Newman visited us to talk to the Year 7 pupils about music and mental wellbeing. Stella and Chris are a Blues duo who perform throughout Cambridgeshire and write many of their own songs, as well as performing with other local bands. The children were encouraged to think about how they engage with music and how music can boost our mood. Stella and Chris invited the children to listen to specific songs and then talked to them about the backstory of each song. Chris shared how music helped him when he was at school, whilst Stella talked about the ways that writing, singing and playing music can help people to express feelings and boost their mood. The children ended the live music session with ‘ Walking on Sunshine’ by Katrina and the Waves. They joined Stella in singing the song and dancing – a truly uplifting way to begin lunchtime and an afternoon of sports matches!
One Kind Word
This week has been National Anti-bullying Week, with themed assemblies for different Year groups, discussions and surveys during tutor time, and reminders to pupils of how they can raise any concerns. Pupils in Years 3 to 8 in particular have been considering the ways in which speaking one kind word (the National Anti-bullying Week theme for this year) can have a hugely positive impact on the recipient, creating a ripple effect of kindness across the community. In the Year 3 and 4 assembly, pupils were invited to consider how they can show kindness by being inclusive and broadening their friendship group. They also played a game in which they had to form kind and positive words as a team.
In the Year 5 and 6 assembly, the pupils explored how they can make people smile through kind words and actions. They took part in an audience “wave” to demonstrate how kindness can spread quickly. Meanwhile in the Year 7 and 8 assemblies, the children reflected on a memorable quote from Mother Teresa that ‘Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless’. Our senior aged pupils thought about the way in which one simple act of kindness can change the course of a conversation, perhaps from something negative to something positive, change someone’s day or even change a cycle of behaviour.
It has been yet another very busy week for the Sports department. You may recall that last Friday the U11 Girls were at Gresham’s for the East Region finals. I am truly delighted to report that the girls played 8 games, won 8 games, scored 21 goals and conceded none to be crowned East Region champions. Very well done indeed!
Last weekend our gymnasts were also in action at Lady Eleanor Holles School for the IAPS Nationals. The full results are available in the website side bar and it is a great pleasure to report that four of our seven teams finished in first place; U9 Boys, U11 Boys, U13 Boys, and U13 Girls. Furthermore Hannah, Max, Jake and Owen finished as individual champions in their respective categories. Congratulations to all who took part.
Our U13 Boys took part in the IAPS Rugby festival at Rugby School on Monday, and our U12 girls’ Hockey team set off very early this morning to travel to Repton for the IAPS National Hockey Finals. Plenty of other Year groups have also been in action on the hockey and rugby pitches this week, and I encourage you to look at the side bar for the full round up of results.
Speech and Drama Tea-Time Recital
Later today, our Speech and Drama Tea-time Recital will be broadcasting from the Drama studio on Teams. Miss Tucker, our visiting Speech and Drama teacher has been working very hard with pupils from Years 3-8 throughout this term to prepare them for their upcoming New Era examinations. I am greatly looking forward to seeing how the pupils’ preparations have been coming along and the Recital gives them an excellent opportunity to perform to an audience.
As the nights are well and truly drawing in, the School Council would like to highlight the importance of cycle safety to our community. This includes reflective clothing and working front and rear bicycle lights. They have launched a poster competition to draw attention to this important matter. Entries are encouraged from all Year groups and can be hand-made or computer generated. Please see the side bar for full details and information about how to enter. The deadline for entries is Monday 29th November at 15:40.
Whether you are designing your cycling safety poster, making a start on Christmas cards, or simply relaxing after a very busy week, I wish you a safe and happy weekend.
With all best wishes,
Dr Crispin Hyde-Dunn