I am delighted that so many families – over 80 – enjoyed last Friday’s Family Quiz. It has been great to receive such positive comments from pupils and parents this week and wonderful to hear that the St Faith’s-themed quiz created plenty of fun and banter on a Friday lockdown evening. Although nobody could see anyone else’s answers, the ingenious quiz program calculated the team scores after each question, taking in to account response times. As you can see from the screenshot below, the SuperGator team won, and thanks to the St Faith’s grapevine, I discovered that this team in reality is the Warren family, so many congratulations to them!
One of the 30 questions in the quiz asked, ‘Which famous author taught English at St Faith’s?’ The answer, as many of the teams knew, is Michael Morpugo, who worked here in the 1960s. He very kindly returned in 2005 to be our Guest of Honour at Speech Day, and inspired the children with these words about books: ‘Without the sunlight of literature, children cannot grow as they should. We know that from books come knowledge and understanding, that they are source of infinite joy and fun, that they stimulate imagination and creativity, that they open eyes and minds and hearts… that through books we can learn the mastery of words, the essential skill that will enable us to express ourselves well enough to achieve our potential in the classroom and beyond.’
I think Michael Morpurgo would be impressed by the love of reading amongst our pupils and the creative ways our librarians and teachers use to spread the joy of books. With the library having been re-purposed as a music room this term, Miss Johnson and Mrs Warren are joining English lessons virtually to discuss the latest books available and read stories together. I know from speaking to the children just how much they have enjoyed these online library sessions. In recognition of last week’s Remembrance events Miss Johnson compiled a recommended book list for all reading levels which covered World Wars I and II as well as modern conflicts. If you are looking for book inspirations for Christmas presents this could be a good place to start.
This week, Miss Johnson has produced this recommended book list, to complement National Anti-Bullying Week.
Reducing conflict was high on the agenda this week. ‘We’re all a piece in the puzzle, and together, we’re united against bullying’, was the common message in the Year 3 to 8 assemblies, in recognition of national Anti-Bullying Week. Tutor groups participated in interactive assemblies as they discussed the impact of bullying and the role each and every member of our community can play in coming together to make a difference. Pupils in Years 3 to 6 watched this video to conclude their assemblies, while those in Years 7 and 8 watched this video.
Multi Coloured Sock Swap
In support of Anti-Bullying Week, Latham kicked off the first of the house charity fundraisers on Thursday with the ever popular Multi Coloured Sock Swap. A wide range of bright and beautiful socks were on display across the school as pupils paid £2 to replace their normal uniform with bright, mismatched socks. The funds raised £711.65 and will be sent to support Blue Smile, a charity working across Cambridgeshire that supports the mental wellbeing of children.
On Wednesday morning it was the turn of 1DH to entertain their fellow pupils and parents via Teams with the story of Noah’s Ark. Their assembly wove speech, acting, music and dance to tell the story, including a hearty rendition of ‘The Animals Went in Two by Two’. Well done to 1DH for your confident presentation and for remembering all your lines and actions so well.
Pre Prep Activities
Lunchtime extra-curricular activities in Pre Prep have been very popular this term and include chess, netball, science, art, construction and maths to name but a few. During the Think, Create, Colour activity, children have been learning about Diwali, the Hindu festival of light, and designing Rangoli patterns using chalk and felt tips. Meanwhile in the Super Science club, wonderful structures have been constructed using spaghetti and marshmallows. The children have also made gliders and paper aeroplanes and tested the absorbency of various materials. In Maths Club, the children have enjoyed a variety of strategic challenges and number games, and in Construction Club on the Southfield deck the children collaborated creativity in building structures using a variety of materials including Lego, Meccano and much more!
Art Enrichment Day
The Year 8 Art Enrichment group have been busy preparing for their upcoming senior school scholarship assessments. They have focused on still life study in pencil, continued work on their self-portraits in oil paint, and learnt a new technique of dry-etch sketching. I always feel more relaxed after visiting the Art Department and seeing children absorbed in their work, with the sound of paintbrushes on paper as classical music wafts through the rooms.
Virtual Tour of David Parr House
To support their Art project on William Morris, Year 7 experienced a virtual tour of David Parr’s house, which according to Country Life magazine is, ‘A modest terrace house at 186 Gwydir Street, Cambridge which preserves an extraordinary series of interiors.’ David Parr was a working-class Victorian decorative artist who learnt his skills painting houses and churches with designs created by some of the best architects and designers in the country, including George Frederick Bodley, William Morris and Charles Eamer Kempe. Over 40 years, David Parr decorated his own terraced home in the style of the grand interiors he worked on every day. You can learn more about the works of David Parr here. The tour was a wonderful opportunity for Year 7 to see and experience a time capsule of the Arts and Craft movement.
Old Fidelian Watch-Maker
We were thrilled to introduce one of our Year 8 Engineering classes to Old Fidelian and co-founder of Bremont Watches, Giles English, on Thursday. Giles attended St Faith’s in the 1980s (he was in Bentley). He commented that he was shy and struggled when he joined but once dyslexia was diagnosed and the right assistance was provided, ‘the school made me’. Giles and his brother, Nick, founded Bremont Watches in 2002 when they combined their love and passion for engineering and aviation to set up a British watch-making firm. Their brand has grown to be a world-leader in the luxury watch market and with the release of a new limited edition range this week, Giles got in touch to share his love of Engineering with the school that kicked it all off for him. The Year 8 pupils were enthralled by Giles’ stories of aviation adventure and loved hearing about the intricacies and precision engineering of watch-making. Giles was bombarded by questions including, ‘Have you had to do any major re-designs if a watch doesn’t work?’ To which Giles answered, ‘Yes, every watch design goes through multiple design, build, test, redesign stages’. ‘How many parts are there in a watch?’ ‘Basic watch around 180 – watches with chronometers or dual time zone up to 300. There are 86400 sec in 1 day – Bremont watches are precise to +/- 4 seconds making watches the most accurate mechanical devices made’. ‘How long does it take to create a watch?’ ‘Hawking watch released this week took 3 years from concept to product’. ‘What is your proudest moment?’ ‘Seeing our first watch sold after 5 years of research, design and manufacture in the UK.’
It was a captivating session for our staff and pupils. We very much hope to welcome Giles onto site in the future so that more of our pupils can learn about this fascinating aspect of British engineering.
In the absence of inter-school fixtures, more preparation and playing time has been allocated to House matches this term. In the Year 6 ‘Ready for Rugby’ matches Newton and Latham House could not be separated and were crowned joint victors! In Year 7, Bentley managed to win the spoils and in Year 8 Latham won the bragging rights for the second successive year. With a round still to go, there is still all to play for in the House Football and Hockey tournaments (details in the side bar). As Mr Johnson remarked to me this week, “Looking across the Latham Road playing fields, seeing scores of children charging around having the most wonderful time, was a real tonic!” I couldn’t agree more.
As I was deep in concentration at my desk on Thursday afternoon, I heard from the corridor outside my office the Strictly Come Dancing theme tune being sung by the children as they walked to their next lesson. Not to miss the opportunity for a humorous exchange, I popped my head out of the door, only to see two boys dancing what looked like the Salsa, as their friends enthusiastically sang along. I couldn’t do anything else but join in (the singing that is, not the dancing) much to the amusement of the class. A lovely moment in what has been another busy and successful week.
Whether or not you will be watching ‘Strictly’, I wish you a pleasant weekend.