As we approach the half-term break, the energy and enthusiasm of St Faith’s pupils and staff remains extremely impressive – as observed in today’s Academic Enrichment Day (AcE day). In Years 3-8, children have stepped away from the timetable to take part in activities which both enhance and extend topic work. For example, as I walked around school today, I could see Year 3 and Year 4 dressed in an extraordinary array of costumes, whilst fully immersing themselves into the worlds of Ancient Egypt and Ancient Rome.
Year 3 had great fun designing hieroglyphics, making scarab beetles out of clay, building pyramids and making collages of Ancient Egyptian Gods and Goddesses.
Year 4 spent a wonderful day practising Roman legion battle formations, making mosaics and coins, and studying Roman fashion in more detail, as well as brandishing shields and wearing their togas!
Year 5 have been exploring the theme of the circus on their AcE Day. They have been working creatively in the Art rooms to create wire acrobats in the style of Alexander Calder and ‘paper cut outs’ in the style of Henri Matisse. In the Sports Hall, they have been working collaboratively on acrobatic gymnastic displays. They have been using hoops and ribbons, practising partner/group balances, and have been encouraged to use artistic and gymnastic skills to work on creating and developing their own circus-themed group sequence.
Year 6 enjoyed a ‘Rivers’ Day and collected some primary data at nearby Hobson’s Brook. Their aim in doing this was to help them answer the question “Does Hobson’s Brook behave like a normal stream?” As well as consolidating the pupils’ knowledge about river processes learnt in the classroom, the children worked in teams as they experienced geographical investigation at first-hand.
In Year 7, pupils considered their mental wellbeing by looking at the topics of music, food, social media, anxieties and ‘5 ways to mental wellbeing’. An expert in food sustainability from Chartwells also spoke to the pupils about themes including eating healthily, seasonally and locally, and reducing food waste for nutrition and the environment.
AcE days also challenge pupils to apply and develop some of the practical skills discussed in our PSCHE curriculum. The Year 8s welcomed Mr Rob Clift to school today – a double Olympian and a proud member of the Great Britain Men’s Hockey Team that won an Olympic Gold Medal in the 1988 Seoul Games. He built on his success at Seoul by being voted National Player of the Year in 1990 and by captaining the Great Britain team at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. Rob talked to our Year 8 pupils about the use of psychology in both sporting and non-sporting environments.
Pupils in Year 8 also began the process of gathering the information that will be used to compile a Yearbook to take with them when they leave St Faith’s at the end of the Summer Term. They had the opportunity to look back at photographs and videos taken over the years to inspire their memories and help create the Yearbook. If they wished to do so, the Year 8 pupils also brought in their own special photos from their time at St Faith’s and each pupil started to design a Yearbook page of their own, which will grow into their own personal testimony about what St Faith’s has meant to them.
Black History Month
October is Black History Month, which aims to help us to understand the present through our past. Pupils have been learning about Garrett Morgan, who patented the three-position traffic light system, Martin Luther King and Josephine Baker. In Pre Prep the children have enjoyed ‘Coming to Britain’ by Floella Benjamin and ‘Look Up’ by Nathan Bryon. They have also been hearing the ‘Anansi’ stories, by various authors, which began life as oral tradition tales. Making H’mbasha bread, a type of Ethiopian flat bread, was another highlight and along with exploration of art work by Jacob Armstead Lawrence, Joshua Johnson and Chris Ofili.
New ‘Creative Arts’ Twitter Account
I do hope that those of you who are active on social media are enjoying the new @StFaithsCreativeArts twitter account, which was successfully launched at the beginning of this academic year, to complement our main school and sports accounts. Not only does this new account feature pupils’ artwork, musical performances, arts curriculum extension, but we also aim to offer enrichment ideas for families. This includes listings of activities, concerts, arts exhibitions, productions, news of forthcoming and current Arts Faculty events, as well as bringing a wider awareness of arts related information to the St Faith’s community.
Portraiture in Art
Continuing with the artistic theme, our Year 8 pupils have been exploring portraiture in Art: learning how to draw facial features in graphite, finding out more about the proportions of the face and how artists have chosen to represent themselves in self-portraits. This week, the pupils have been encouraged to take some creative risks and produced some very colourful and creative dry-point etchings.
In the Classrooms
This week, I joined Year 5 in an English lesson where children were writing sentences using modal verbs as well as reading their class reader, ‘The Firework-Maker’s Daughter’ by Philip Pullman. Meanwhile, Year 7 pupils have been honing their speech writing skills in English. This has also involved analysis of the qualities which make a good speech – including eye contact and the power of a range of literary devices, such assonance, hyperbole, irony and repetition. In Mathematics, Year 7 have been practising percentages, fractions and long division, whilst Year 8 have focused on mental arithmetic. In Engineering, our Year 6 pupils have been designing trebuchets and learning how it is able launch projectiles of greater weights across further distances than a traditional catapult. Continuing on a scientific theme, our Year 5 children are continuing their topic on Magnetism, and enjoying the practical elements of exploring this theme.
This week we have also continued our series of Parent-Teacher Meetings across the Year groups. Parents of children in Pre Prep and Years 3, 4 and 8 had the opportunity to discuss their progress with their teachers and we are grateful for this important opportunity to build the partnership between home and school.
U11-U13 Boys’ and Girls’ Swimming Gala
Our first swimming gala of the year against King’s College School went extremely well, with no less than 26 personal best times being set by the 37 children who competed. Many St Faith’s swimmers finished in either 1st or 2nd place in their races, and there were several races in which the winning margin for St Faith’s swimmers was more than 5 seconds. It was a closely fought contest, but victory for St Faith’s was achieved with a score of 167 points to 139 points. Congratulations to all our swimmers.
Year 5 Science Sleepover
Today there has been a palpable air of excitement and anticipation amongst our Year 5 pupils as they look forward to their ‘Science Sleepover’ taking place this evening. The aims of the night are to give our pupils an opportunity to ‘sleep’ away from home, to have fun and to enjoy each other’s company at the end of what has been a busy half term. Activities on offer include experiments in the Science lab and a night-time treasure hunt around school. Tomorrow morning, the fun will continue with visits from ‘The Animal Experience’ who will be bringing reptiles and other unusual animals. In addition, members of Cambridge Community Circus will teach the children basic circus skills such as juggling and plate spinning ahead of their return home for their well-deserved half-term holiday.
It has been a tremendous effort by our staff to organise this very special event for our Year 5 pupils and I am very grateful to everyone involved.
Whole School Photograph
On Wednesday morning, all members of the St Faith’s community, whether pupil, teaching or support staff, moved into their positions on the school field for our whole school photograph. Normally an event which takes place once every three years, due to the pandemic, the last photo was actually taken in 2017. A great deal of planning went into coordinating the event, and we were blessed with good weather conditions, so we look forward to seeing the final result. An email about how to purchase the photo will be sent to parents in due course.
Our skilful Chartwells catering team are always inventing new ideas to encourage the children in their healthy eating and to promote sustainable food. On Wednesday, we enjoyed a special a climate friendly menu in collaboration with Cambridge Sustainable Food. Today, Year 7 met the Chartwells Lead for Sustainability, who spoke to them about the very important themes of sustainable food and waste reduction.
SFPA (St Faith’s Parents’ Association) Website
As mentioned in last week’s newsletter, the new SPFA website is now available to all parents via a link on the ‘School Information’ page of My School Portal. Your SFPA Committee would be delighted to receive feedback on the site as you use it and can be contacted by email at the following address: email@example.com. Please note in your diaries that shortly after our return to school for the second half of term, the fantastic SFPA Fireworks Event will be taking place – on the evening of Friday, 4th November.
Whether you will be enjoying the beautiful autumn leaves and October sunshine in Cambridge, or travelling further afield, I wish all our families a very restful and reinvigorating half-term. I look forward to seeing the children again for the start of term on Tuesday, 1st November – when, no doubt the sounds and sights of Christmas will soon be on their way!
With all best wishes,
Dr Crispin Hyde-Dunn