As we returned to school after the half-term break, we have been appreciating the early signs of Spring, which are increasingly apparent around us. Many daffodils, snowdrops and crocuses are adding bright colour to our grounds and the new leaves are starting to appear on our magnificent trees. Mornings and evenings are ever lighter – although warm coats, gloves, hats and scarves may be required for a while yet!
In the whole school assembly on Monday, I spoke to the pupils about the season of Lent in the Christian tradition, including the significance of Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday. We talked about how the ashes for Ash Wednesday are made by burning the palm crosses from the previous year’s Palm Sunday and we also looked at some images of 16th century paintings. We reflected on the ways in which many religions, as well as Christianity, encourage a period of reflection, prayerfulness, kindness and charitable giving each year.
In particular, I reminded the children that as a school community, we have agreed that any collections made after school performances during the second half of this term will be donated to the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) Turkey-Syria Earthquake Appeal, and our pupil-led School Council will also be raising funds and making their own donation. May I also please remind you that personal donations can be made at Home | Disasters Emergency Committee (dec.org.uk).
Year 2 Visit the Sedgwick Museum
Year 2 roared into their new topic this week, visiting the Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences in central Cambridge. Here they learned why fossilised teeth, feet and footprints are so important to palaeontologists and how they have transformed our understanding of the dinosaurs. Children compared the sizes of different dinosaurs, held teeth that were millions of years old and thoroughly enjoyed exploring the many artefacts the museum has on offer. They used their looking, listening and reading skills to learn new facts and were surprised to find out about some of the species that had been found locally in Cambridge.
I am sure you are very pleased to hear that the children were wonderful ambassadors for St Faith’s, conducting themselves maturely and asking imaginative questions at the museum. Having walked to and from the Museum, some of their follow up work has included drawing a map using symbols to cover the route.
School Council Meeting
The School Council met on Tuesday this week, with many items on their agenda. First of all, the council members agreed to increase the frequency of meeting to every two weeks to ensure that more discussion points can be covered. The suggestion to provide school council notebooks for council members is also being taken forward. During the meeting the children set a number of specific tasks for themselves to complete ahead of the next meeting. This includes the collaboration of small groups of school council members to update the notice board outside the dining room and also the design of an Easter quiz. Another ongoing initiative is to collect feedback from tutor groups which will help with the design of a new playground charter for Years 5-8.
Looking ahead to upcoming events, the School Council and Eco-Committee will be supporting upcoming Cycle Safety Days and arranging a charity cookie sale next term. The School Council was pleased to receive positive feedback about the Year 6 Quiet Area and it will investigate whether this could be extended to other year groups. Thank you also to Mr Burt who attended the meeting and gave the school council members the opportunity to feedback on matters relating to food and the dining hall.
BRIT Awards 2023
Continuing on the food theme, in a week that has seen our community enjoying delicious food ranging from pancakes to sweet potato and carrot falafel, we were proud to learn that during the half-term break one member of the team was helping to deliver delicious food at the BRIT Awards 2023.
We also learned this week that St Faith’s has retained our Gluten Free Accreditation, which shows commitment to the preparation and service of food which meets the needs and expectations of customers with coeliac disease and those following a gluten free diet.
Year 4 Rhyming Pantomimes
It’s Panto time! ‘Oh, no it isn’t’ ‘Oh Yes, it is’
Year 4 took to the stage today with some highly entertaining rhyming pantomimes from a range of famous stories. We saw brave Jack scale the beanstalk, Cinderella finally go to the ball, Peter Pan getting his revenge on the dastardly Captain Hook, and Snow White taking a taste of a poison apple. The hard work by Year 4 and their teachers clearly paid off. All performers were confident on stage and the audience were treated to a truly magical adventure.
Parent-Teacher Meetings Years 3, 4 and 5
It was a pleasure to welcome our families from Years 3, 4 and 5 to their Parent-Teacher meetings this week. I do hope that parents found these evenings useful in understanding and being able to discuss their children’s progress at this stage of the academic year.
Intermediate Maths Challenge
In February, 22 pupils in Year 8 chose to take the Intermediate Maths Challenge, which is a very challenging paper, aimed at pupils in Years 9 to Year 11. The children demonstrated real ambition and perseverance as they worked through this rigorous assessment and all those taking part should be congratulated. We received the results during half term and were delighted to learn that 6 pupils achieved Gold certificates, 7 achieved Silver certificates and 4 achieved Bronze. These are truly impressive results. The highest performing pupils in the competition, including 7 pupils from St Faith’s, have been invited to the next round. This is known as the Kangaroo Round, in which children will participate during March.
On Thursday, we continued our popular series of lunchtime Music concerts. The programme this week featured three pianists, a guitarist and a cellist and included pieces by Borodin and Bartok. The concerts are open to all of our families and I do encourage you to join us if you can, with each concert lasting around 20 minutes.
Year 7 & 8 Trip to the London Symphony Orchestra
Today members of our Year 7 & 8 Concert Band, Chamber Choir and String Orchestra travelled to the Barbican Centre in London for a concert given by the London Symphony Orchestra, one of the world’s leading orchestras. We also invited twenty pupils from Shirley Community Primary School, Chesterton, to join us for this unique experience. These concerts are designed for pupils in Key Stage 3, and we are very grateful to have been allocated tickets. The repertoire included extracts from film scores including Harry Potter, Back to the Future, Star Wars, Indiana Jones, The Moomins, Pirates of the Caribbean and James Bond.
The concert was led by LSO Discovery Animateur, Tim Redmond. He guided the audience carefully through the concert helping them to appreciate a range of different topics. These included the role of music in drama, the history of music in movies, how to set a mood and signify a character, animated films and their use of music, how to record and create a score, the use of voice (choral & solo), as well as talking about the LSO’s history of involvement in film music. The pupils were lucky enough to meet Tim Redmond after the concert in a dynamic and exclusive Q&A session. It was a really memorable and enjoyable day for all.
Inter-house Table Tennis
The popularity of the sport of table tennis continues unabated at St Faith’s, as pupils have shown exceptional keenness to take part in the first inter-house competition being held today after school. It will involve the Year 5 & 6 girls and the Year 6 boys. Whilst the results will not be available in time for the publication of this week’s newsletter, we will be sure to publish them on our school Twitter feeds (@St_Faiths and @StFaithsSport). Do please follow us on social media for regular updates and photographs of what is happening at school.
Reducing our carbon footprint continues to be an important school and Foundation priority. In support of those families who are able to cycle to and from school, we are delighted to provide a Dr Bike service from a local company called Outspoken Cycles. They can both service and repair pupil and staff bicycles free of charge and have been working busily on site for two days this week – despite the inclement weather.
New School Video
At the end of last year (9th December newsletter), we featured the BAFTA-winning filmmaker Oggi Tomic, who spent two days in school filming footage for our new school video. I am delighted to announce the launch of the finished video which is available on the link below and also on our website and social media channels. I do hope that you enjoy it.
We wish all of the pupils representing the school in various competitions this weekend the very best of luck. Our chess players will be in action in the Cambridgeshire Chess League, whilst our gymnasts will be competing in the Four and Five Piece National Gymnastics Championships at Tormead School.
However you are spending this weekend, I hope that you are able to enjoy some early Spring sunshine,
With all best wishes,
Dr Crispin Hyde-Dunn