With a distinct feeling of Summer being well on its way, we welcomed the children back to school on Wednesday. We were delighted that Years 2 to 8 inclusive were able to gather together in the Ashburton Hall for the first time this academic year for our start-of-term assembly. In preparation for the term, we reflected on all the different ways in which we can learn, and we thought about examples of learning and working together in different species of the animal kingdom. Relating these to our St Faith’s Learning Habits, we considered a range of animals, including the wise, listening owl, the collaborative bumble bee, and the curious cat.
Although many pupils and teachers were taking a well-deserved Easter break, there were still lots of activities going on at school during the holidays – from Bikeability to Trampolining. I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to the many members of staff who helped to run these events.
Our administrative staff, as well as our grounds and maintenance team were also hard at work during the Easter break, preparing the school site for the summer term, and we are most grateful to them too. The cricket square is looking particularly fine and enticing.
Marketing Department Update
This term, we welcome two new members of staff to the Marketing Department.
Helen Spurgeon is our new Marketing & Admissions Assistant. Helen is very well acquainted with St Faith’s already as her father, Mr Richard Dyson, was Headmaster at the school from 1989-2002, and Helen has many fond childhood memories of living on site.
We are also very pleased that Diane Goddard, has joined us from Cambridge Judge Business School as Head of Marketing & Admissions. Diane has also previously worked as the Marketing Manager at The Leys, and Diane’s three eldest sons came to St Faith’s, so she is delighted to be back.
Raspberry Pi Competition
During the Easter holidays, I received impressive news that two of our Year 8 pupils, William and Ryan, have been selected as finalists for the PA Consulting Raspberry Pi competition.
The competition was open to school children between the ages of 8 and 18 and challenged them to invent systems that could benefit society using their engineering and coding skills, as well as a Raspberry Pi computer. The boys invented ‘ElectroPi’, a remotely controlled robot that allows the user to make small holes in soil, dispense seeds into the holes, and water the soil based on its moisture levels.
In their feedback the judges said:
“This is a really impressive project. There has been a lot of work gone into this project and you’ve produced a very polished final product. The video brings across your passion and knowledge of your project and clearly shows it working.”
The boys will go to the Science Museum in London with Mr Mitchell on Thursday 5th May to showcase their work.
Future Schools Meeting for Year 5 Parents
On Wednesday evening our Year 5 parents had an opportunity to hear about the range of senior schools to which our pupils move on at the end of Year 8. It was a particular pleasure to welcome Mr Martin Priestly, Headmaster of The Leys School to explain in more detail all that is offered within our Foundation for pupils beyond the age of 13. Parents were also able to hear more about The Leys Preliminary Assessment (PA), which can be taken by St Faith’s pupils in Year 6 for entry to Year 9 of The Leys, as well as to understand how St Faith’s pupils are supported in their choice of senior school and their preparation for senior school assessments.
Year 8 Parent Briefing
On Thursday, it was the turn of the Year 8 pupils and their parents to gather in Ashburton Hall for an information session about their upcoming residential trip to Kinver in Staffordshire. This highly-anticipated trip will take place in late June, during the Enrichment Week, with the children taking part in a range of outdoor activities with their friends. With St Faith’s teachers having already visited the site to help with their planning, I know the pupils will enjoy some really exciting opportunities. This residential trip will be a well-deserved highlight for the Year 8 pupils after all their hard work this year and it was clear at the meeting that keen anticipation and excitement is building already.
SFPA Coffee Morning
On Thursday morning, shortly after school drop off, several parents from Year 4 were able to gather at school in Tom’s Garden for tea, coffee and some delicious pastries. Over the next few weeks, coffee mornings for other year groups will continue to take place on Thursday mornings. I do hope you will be able to join us, and I am very grateful to the St Faith’s Parents’ Association for their tremendous support of these events.
On a similar theme, the Chair of the St Faith’s Parents’ Association, Gerlin Moses, would be delighted to hear from parents who wish to get involved with the work of the SFPA (firstname.lastname@example.org). It really is an excellent opportunity to meet parents from a range of year groups and to get involved in planning and organising events.
PSHCE: Food and Exams
This week Year 7 enjoyed listening to a fascinating presentation by Nutritionist, Zoë Kirby, as part of their PSHCE (Personal, Social, Health and Citizenship Education) curriculum. Mrs Kirby, a nutritional therapist by profession, is also a St Faith’s parent, and she delivered important advice to the children on how to look after their minds and bodies ahead of the upcoming Year 7 exams.
Pupils began by learning about neurons and how they connect in the brain to help absorb facts and make memories. Eight lucky pupils had great fun getting on their feet to demonstrate how neurons interact to strengthen knowledge held in the brain.
The importance of eating a good breakfast, essential fats and rainbow foods was emphasised next, along with the need to stay properly hydrated by drinking lots of water throughout the day. Establishing a healthy night-time routine was also explained to pupils, as this leads to quality sleep, improved memory and helps us to make sensible food choices.
Our Year 7 pupils and their tutors left the session feeling very well informed and greatly inspired about how to look after themselves, and how to make healthy choices.
Year 1 and Van Gogh
In other news, I hope that you will enjoy seeing the results of some of Year 1’s studies of Van Gogh at the end of last term. When admiring his paintings, the children of 1JC were inspired to create their own sunflower pictures in the style of Van Gogh. During this process they have learned to develop a wide range of art and design techniques using pattern, line, shape, form, and space and have produced some beautiful artwork.
And Finally …..
Our Pre Prep and pupils from Years 3 and 4 are looking forward to an egg-stra special Saturday morning visit to school this weekend, for the long-awaited return of the SFPA Easter Egg Hunt. I look forward to seeing you there!
Dr Crispin Hyde-Dunn