This week at St Faith's

22 March 2019

As well as the wonderful success our pupils achieve in regional and national competitions, and there is plenty to report about that in this newsletter, it is the day to day life in school that so often gives me the greatest pleasure.  This week, I witnessed an inspirational Science lesson on electromagnetism (picture below), I visited a Year 7 English lesson to present certificates to pupils who scored 50 out of 50 in a spelling test, I spent time with the Year 8s as they prepared for the STEM Fair (on 30th April), I watched the House netball matches, took part in a singing assembly and managed to become involved in the filming of the Year 8 Lip Sync video which will be ‘released’ next term.  The unpredictability and talents of the children and the ingenuity of our staff make every day different and stimulating.  I trust that this newsletter will give a you a flavour of life at St Faith’s this week.

It’s All About Chemistry

Year 6 were enthralled by the power of chemistry when they attended ‘Table Talk’ on Monday, a lecture given by Dr Peter Wothers to celebrate the 150th Anniversary of Mendeleev’s Periodic Table.  During his lecture, Dr Wothers explored how the iconic arrangement of chemical elements in the table came about, what it means and how it works.  Dr Wothers used practical demonstrations to show the diverse range of chemical properties including metals which explode in water and elements which enable things to burn. The pre-lecture warning of loud bangs and explosions was certainly needed – our pupils’ ‘oooos’ and ‘aahhhhhs’ at times were more reminiscent of bonfire night than a chemistry lesson.  Those who wish to brush up on their knowledge of the elements may enjoy the following link to TED talks on every element of the periodic table.

On Thursday a team of four Year 7 pupils represented St Faith’s at this year’s Salters’ Festival of Chemistry Challenge. Hansel, Noah, Eloise and Louisa undertook two extended practical tasks, set against other teams of Year 7 & 8 pupils from across the region. Working alongside post-graduate students, our team confidently completed their challenge in the Cambridge University Chemistry Department laboratories on Lensfield Road.  Judged on their ability to carry out practical scientific tests in a logical, accurate and careful manner alongside the team’s logical thinking skills powers of deduction, our team was delighted to be awarded 3rd Prize in The University Challenge.

The Salters’ Festivals of Chemistry, run in partnership with the Royal Society of Chemistry, are one-day events held at universities throughout the UK. The Festivals provide the opportunity for enthusiastic young students to spend a day in a university department and take part in practical chemistry activities. Our pupils clearly learned lots from the experience and Mrs Parker, who accompanied them, was delighted at how well they did in their challenges.

Maths Team Challenge

I am delighted to announce that our Maths Team has made it to the final of this year’s UK Team Maths Challenge.  The team of Kuankuan, Daniel, Amelia and Juliette finished in first place at the Regional Final held at the Centre for Mathematical Sciences at Cambridge University on Monday.  Winning this highly competitive final was even more difficult as our team comprised Year 8 pupils (most schools in attendance had Year 9 pupils competing).  The National Final is at Lindley Hall in London on Monday 17th June. Over 1600 schools entered the competition and 80 have qualified to take part in the National Final so this really is a very significant success.  The Team Maths Challenge is run by the UK Mathematics Trust and involves teams of four pupils from Years 8 and 9.  Many congratulations to our mathematicians and we wish them the very best of luck at the finals in June.

For more details click here

Foundation Drama Workshop

‘Calling all eco-warriors – save the world and reduce plastic!’  That was the cry to our Foundation pupils this week when ‘Perform for Schools’ came to visit.  The 25 minute workshop, led by an actor/Drama teacher appearing in role as superhero Supa Dupa, tied perfectly into this term’s topic of Superheroes as well as our on-going focus as an eco-school.  Supa Dupa’s mission was to find brave children to train as Superheroes to help save Planet Earth, and, in particular, to stop us using so much plastic!  Fortunately she found plenty of eager volunteers at St Faith’s!  Using dance, drama and singing, the children participated in a high-energy, interactive mission to help solve the crisis.  They learned how to Reduce, Re-use, Recycle and understand the important role we all have in preserving the Earth’s resources.  As you can see from the photos, our willing superheroes thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience.

Year 8 CPR Training

A group of Year 8 pupils participated in CPR training on Thursday with cardiologist and parent Dr Braganza. The Sports Hall rang out to the Bee Gees ‘Stayin’ Alive’ as the children performed CPR on resuscitation dolls to the timing of the music and then practised putting each other into the recovery position.  All critical skills that one day may save a life.  Further sessions will run next week for the remaining Year 8 pupils.

Quiz Team

The St Faith’s General Knowledge Quiz Team was in action at the semi-finals of the ‘Quiz Club General Knowledge Competition’ on Wednesday afternoon, hosted by The Perse Prep.  Our team were on outstanding form and finished first, thereby qualifying for the National Final which will take place at the National Gallery in London.  Many congratulations to Henry, Lanna, Oliver and Harris, pictured here and thank you to Miss Dow, Head of Humanities, for preparing the team so well.

National Champions!

The U11 Hockey team were on great form on Wednesday at Rugby School at the IAPS National Finals. In total 135 schools entered the competition, competing in 9 regional qualifying competitions, with 24 teams qualifying for the National Final. In the group stages our team won four of their five matches, and drew one. They then went on to convincingly beat Ardingly in the quarter final, 3-0. Their semi-final match against Foremark Hall, Repton was a tighter match finishing 1-1 at full time, with our boys winning on penalty strokes. Ironically having travelled all the way to Rugby, the final was a local derby of St Faith’s v The Perse, a poignant reflection of the ever growing sporting talent in Cambridge. After a tense match at full-time the score was 1-1 but in the early stages of extra time, our side scored a ‘Golden Goal’ to clinch the title for St Faith’s!  On the way home, one of the boys announced “it was without doubt the best day of my life!”  We are so proud of the team and their coaches, Mr Thompson and Mr Johnson, for this fantastic achievement.  Well done to everyone!

You will recall that last weekend we sent four teams to the BSGA National Team Trio Finals in Stoke-on-Trent.  I am delighted to report that our U13 Boys, U13 Mixed and U11 Boys were crowned National Champions and the U11 Mixed finished runners-up.  Once again this is a wonderful reflection of both the talent and dedication of our pupils and staff, as well as the great support from parents who stoically transport their children across the country for many of these events.  Many congratulations to our gymnasts on these amazing results – by far the best for St Faith’s at this event according to Mr and Mrs North.

Science Festival

This weekend will mark one of the busiest for the annual Cambridge Science Festival and our Green Goblins will be in action as they show off their cars and describe the engineering behind them.  If you are in the area you might like to drop by the Schools zone at the Hauser Forum;  Mrs Oxborough, Mr Hassel and our pupils will be there between 10:30 and 15:00.

And Finally….

The St Faith’s Parents’ Association Committee is looking to recruit two new members and all St Faith’s parents are invited to apply.  The SFPA is a vibrant and enthusiastic committee, made up of parents and staff, which organises some of our main events, such as the Fireworks Evening and Christmas Fair.   For more information, or to submit an application to join, please email with details about yourself, your background and skills, and why you would like to join.   Emma Gervasio, the current SFPA Chair, will then be in touch with you directly.  The closing date for applications is Friday 29th March.

With all good wishes,

Nigel Helliwell