This week at St Faith's

23rd September 2022

Since September 8th, I have been highly impressed by the way that the whole school community has come together in such a respectful and dignified manner to remember the late Queen Elizabeth II. This week, following the end of the period of national mourning, I am delighted to share with you a more extensive school Newsletter and I do hope you enjoy the wide variety of photographs and highlights from the first two weeks of term.

Around the Site

I am very pleased to have the opportunity to thank our Grounds and Maintenance team for all their hard work over the summer in making sure our school was ready for the arrival of pupils in September. Alongside the activities on site throughout July and August – including the ‘Barracudas’ holiday club, Code Camp, Art & Design Workshop and our ever-popular Cookery School, staff have been hard at work behind the scenes.  The hands of the magnificent Callin Clock on the side of the sports hall came to a standstill as Covid struck, but thanks to our Maintenance team, the fine timepiece once again been restored it to its former glory, providing us with a beautiful and functional school clock.

In addition, many of you may have noticed a new access space at Gate 4, allowing the Pre Prep children quicker and easier access to the bicycle racks. As a school, we are committed to reducing our carbon footprint and I am grateful to parents who make the journey to school by walking or cycling if it is feasible and practical to do so.

Home to School Transport Service

Continuing the theme of sustainable travel, as part of our St Faith’s Environmental and Sustainability Policy, we are very keen to reduce local car traffic by encouraging ‘mode shift’ in journeys to and from school. Posts on the ‘Home Run’ sustainable travel app indicate a good level of support amongst our families, for the transport service as well as for car sharing and cycling or walking to school together in larger groups.

In addition, the new ‘Home to School’ Transport Service was introduced at the beginning of this school year, and we would like to encourage as many families as possible who currently travel by car to consider whether this service might be appropriate for their children.

Our Royston route is extremely popular, although there are still some places available. However, the Saffron Walden route is significantly under-subscribed and its future viability inevitably depends on demand. A review of this route is scheduled to take place before half term and if you are able to utilise it for your children, we warmly encourage you do so as soon as possible. We also offer a morning service from Babraham Park and Ride.

Further details of our Home to School Transport Service are available from Sustainable School Travel HomeRun.

Breakfast Service

The new school year has meant a very welcome return to our Breakfast provision. As well as being able to navigate some of the busyness of the Cambridge traffic in the morning, this also offers the opportunity for parents to enjoy a hearty and healthy breakfast, at a reasonable cost, with their children. To avoid traffic congestion for our neighbours, free parking for those attending breakfast is provided at Cambridge Football Stadium, just across the road from school. Breakfast is served from 0745 until 0815, with children needing to be in registration at 0815.

I can speak from experience that it is a very convivial way to start the day and I am delighted to see it becoming a regular routine for some families. I am also extremely grateful to the catering staff for making this possible. Details of days and Year groups are shown below.

Day                      Year Groups

Monday               7 & 8

Tuesday               5 & 6

Wednesday         3 & 4

Thursday             1 & 2

Friday                  Foundation

This is a cash or credit account service. If anyone wishes to set up an account, please contact our catering manager, Mr Peter Burt, in the first instance

Come Dine With Me

Continuing with a food theme, this Tuesday was the first ‘Come Dine With Me’ after school activity. The ten Year 2 children in attendance had great fun, whilst learning how to handle a sharp knife safely in order to cut up fruit and make a delicious kebab. They especially enjoyed eating the fruits of their labour!

SFPA ‘Welcome’ Coffee Mornings

In our final food themed item, this week it has been the turn of Foundation and Year 8 parents to join us for an early morning welcome coffee and pastry in Tom’s Garden. Next week we look forward to welcoming Year 1 and Year 4 parents on Wednesday and Thursday morning, with coffee beings served from 0830. Across all the year groups,  I do hope that, if you are new to the school, you will have found plenty of support from your SFPA class reps and buddies, as well as the wider St Faith’s community. These important opportunities for building our community would not be possible without the support and enthusiasm of SFPA as well as our catering team – thank you.

Parent Volunteers

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all our parent volunteers. Each year, we are extremely  fortunate to have a hugely supportive and committed cohort of volunteer parents who contribute to the smooth running of the school in very many ways. These include helping with the Pre Prep drop-off and also the running of the school second hand uniform shop. The whole St Faith’s community values and appreciates all the work of our parent volunteers and we are very grateful to them all.

In the Classrooms

Of course it is impossible to convey in a single newsletter all the activities taking place in school each week, however I would like to share with you a number of highlights from my visits to classrooms this week. Starting in Foundation, our youngest pupils are settling in very well and I joined them as they were exploring and learning about the outdoor spaces beside their classrooms. Year 1 pupils, meanwhile, have been enjoying our magnificent Sports Hall, and practising their short sprints. Higher up the school, our Year 5 children were very keen to show me the skills they are developing in Computing – using the computers to design their own personal folders ahead of starting to learn binary. In Art, our Year 6 children have been studying Da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man and considering themes such as perspective, proportion, angles and the Golden Ratio. Elsewhere, in the Library, our more senior pupils have been busy preparing for their upcoming poetry recitals as well as undertaking research on the English Civil War for their History studies.

Young Engineers

This week Year 2 put their engineering hats on and have been designing, building and evaluating model boats to escape the Fire of London across the river Thames. Children explored different propulsion methods and then designed their own vessel using one of the previously explored systems. Their design needed to be suitable to carry as many Duplo people as comfortable and be able to traverse the water tray. Children worked with confidence, handling simple tools and equipment and they followed their designs with great concentration. Several obstacles were encountered and children were encouraged to use their problem solving skills to find solutions. Meanwhile our Year 6 children have been putting their more advanced engineering skills to the test, designing and building a model trebuchet, including calculating angles and trajectories.

Junior Olympiad Maths

Last week, we received the results of the Junior Olympiad Maths Paper, the highest level of the follow-on rounds to the Junior Maths Challenge. This round is by invitation only and we are most proud to report on the outstanding performances of three St Faith’s pupils. Collectively, they were awarded a Distinction and a Gold medal, a Merit and a Qualification. Congratulations to all who took part in this highly challenging and prestigious Olympiad.

School Council Elections 2022

This week, twenty-one of our Year 7 and 8 pupils have worked tirelessly on the campaign trail, seeking to secure the votes of their peers for the School Council Elections. The School Council consists of two girls and two boys each from Years 7 and 8. All our candidates wrote, delivered and recorded short campaign speeches, outlining the attributes they would bring to the Council, if elected.

Voting took place earlier this week, with each Year 7 and 8 voter selecting one girl and one boy from their own year group. Results were announced on Thursday (and can be found in the sidebar) and the first meeting took place today.

In addition to the election results, we invite you to watch our School Council vlog, which you can see in the sidebar of this newsletter. The vlog is used by the elected pupils to give a video summary of the main points of the meeting.  We plan for the vlog to become a regular feature in our newsletter following School Council meetings.

My sincere thanks and warm congratulations go to all of our candidates for their excellent campaigns and their keenness to make a difference in our school.  It is inspiring to see so many pupils embracing the challenge of running for election, stepping out of their comfort zone, and delivering their compelling campaign speeches. You can watch the campaign videos by clicking below. Thank you to Mr Bond for his generous guidance and support of the School Council.

Year 7 School Council

Year 8 School Council

Year 8 Prefects

In addition to our School Council, another opportunity for our most senior pupils to develop their leadership skills is by becoming Prefects. On the first day of term Mr Critchley and I presented Year 8 children with their Prefect ties and badges. This role carries with it a significant level of responsibility and expectation on our part and we look forward to seeing our Year 8 pupils rise to this challenge, and act as excellent role models for our younger pupils.

Donning Denim

On Thursday, the School was awash with denim for our first charity event of the term – Jenes for Genes Day. All of the donations will go towards supporting the millions of individuals in the UK who live with life-altering genetic conditions. Thank you for reminding your children to wear their genes and for your generous support.

Bidding a Fond Farewell

This week we bid farewell to two long-standing and valued members of the support staff team. Catherine Quinn will be known to many parents throughout The Leys and St Faith’s Schools Foundation. Catherine undertook her role as the School Shop Manager with the utmost professionalism, as well as a great sense of humour and patience. Catherine managed all of the uniform stock for both schools, which was no small undertaking and we are very grateful for all of her good advice and support to families over the years. Catherine is moving to become the Matron of School House at The Leys and we wish her every success in her new role.

The role of School Shop Manager at The Leys is being taken over by Sarah Williams and she takes with her our very best wishes. Sarah is a familiar face to us, having been an integral part of the St Faith’s school office team for four years. In particular, Sarah played an invaluable role in ‘keeping the school open’ during the difficult days of Covid. As a keen and highly skilled baker, Sarah was also responsible for many of the delicious cakes that were enjoyed in School House, and beyond.

We are delighted that both Sarah and Catherine will be staying within the Foundation and we wish them both well in their new roles.

Year 3 Open Morning

Looking ahead, the school will open its doors to Year 3 prospective parents and children for the morning of Wednesday, 2nd November. This event will be specifically for those families with children currently in Year 2 at other schools who wish to apply for a Year 3 place for September 2023.

The closing date for Year 3 (and Year 7) applications for September 2023 entry is 30th November 2022. Our Year 3 entry assessments will take place during the week beginning 16th January 2023.

And Finally….

This evening when you are collecting your children, you might well notice the delicious smell of outdoor cooking as we prepare to welcome back many former pupils for the annual Old Fidelian reunion BBQ. Although slightly later in the year than usual, we are hoping for good weather, and we will certainly be guaranteed good food and good company.

Wishing you a happy weekend,

Dr Crispin Hyde-Dunn