This week at St Faith's

20 March 2020

It must seem as strange for you to read this newsletter as it was for me to write it. This has been the most unpredictable week, ending on a distinctly sombre note as term was cut short and the St Faith’s community parted this afternoon. School is not closing for all but life in the near future is going to feel very different.

Despite the upheaval and uncertainty that Coronavirus has brought, I still have plenty of heartening news to report from the school this week.

The Lion King

Year 6 performed The Lion King to a small group of pupils and teachers yesterday. We are delighted to say that local BAFTA award winning film company, OH! Films were able to record the performance in all its technicolour glory. The pupils, though disappointed not to be performing to their parents and grandparents, and despite a number of leading roles being delivered by understudies with less rehearsal time under their belts, delivered slick and confident performances. The quality of the chorus singing was particularly impressive and at times the African songs reverberating around the hall brought back memories of our visits to Makukhanye. Thank you so much to Ms Allen and Miss Kennerley for producing such a vibrant production despite recent challenges, and also Miss Smith for yet another impressive stage set. We look forward to sharing the recorded version of the production with you as soon as it is ready.


School Life

While life in general was anything other than business as usual this week, the children have still enjoyed a busy and productive time in lessons.

Children in Year 4 invented locations and creatures to star in their own fantasy stories. As you can see from the photos the children demonstrated great imagination in creating their own fantasy islands.

Inspired no doubt by Valentine’s Day, Mrs Switsur recently challenged her Year 8 English class to write poems on the theme of love. Using analogies such as the ocean and Venus fly traps, the pupils displayed great depth and insight in writing their poems.


‘Ordinary’ Art

You may recall an article in the Guardian a few years ago about two teenagers who deliberately left a pair of spectacles on the floor in the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Of course the public fell for it and many photographed and shared via social media the so called ‘art’ . Mrs Greaves recently challenged her Year 7 class to ‘sell’ something ‘ordinary’ as art. The work she received has been wonderful and I thought you would appreciate a few moments of light hearted relief in reading their work.

Where the Wild Things Are

In Drama lessons, the wonderfully expressive Year 4s have been exploring the world of Maurice Sendak’s Where The Wild Things Are. Physical theatre was used to tell the story of The Night Max Wore His Wolf Suit. I always find it uplifting to see our pupils lose their inhibitions and throw themselves in to their Drama lessons.


Last weekend our gymnasts were in action in Stoke at the Milano Trio National Gymnastics Finals. On Friday our U13 Mixed team (James, Viraj, Elizabeth and Luciana) gave a commanding performance and finished a very commendable 3rd out of 14 teams. Our U11 Boys’ team (actually under 9s but competing two years ahead of themselves) performed for the first time in this type of discipline and were placed an impressive 2nd out of 14 teams. Finally our U11 Mixed team also put in impressive performances and, not to be outdone by the other St Faith’s teams, also finished 2nd out of 15 teams. Mr North was keen to praise the pupils for their efforts and sportsmanship over the weekend.

Despite the conspicuous absence of inter-school, regional and national sports fixtures, this week saw a large number of house matches played in a wonderful spirit. Chaucer dominated the hockey matches while on the netball courts there was a more even distribution of results. In the cross-country races Newton showed strength, and indeed stamina, winning an impressive 6 out of 10 events. This delightful picture taken by the sports staff shows the high spirits of the Year 3 boys at their hockey matches.

And Finally…

On Tuesday afternoon, as the sun shone brightly in to my office, I rose from my desk and opened the window to cool the room down. It was my very first office window opening in 2020, and although it went unnoticed to the outside world, it was a small and positive moment in what has otherwise been a difficult and uncertain week.

It sounds rather bizarre to say, but this will be the last newsletter for a while. Just how long for, we don’t know, but we look forward to keeping in touch either through our home-based learning programme or the school care facility for the children of key workers. Thank you most sincerely for all your kind comments and encouragement to me and my staff over the past few weeks. We are most grateful for your support and wish you and your families a very safe and healthy Easter when it arrives.

With all good wishes,

Nigel Helliwell