With the term now well underway, the pupils have been continuing to discover talents and develop their skills in an impressive array of areas. I am greatly enjoying getting to know the children – whether they are telling me all about their lessons or offering me lunchtime menu recommendations, it is very pleasing to see such tremendous enthusiasm and energy.
Sharing The Love of Reading
From Foundation to Year 8, St Faith’s pupils are encouraged to develop their reading skills and enjoy a wide variety of books. I was delighted to hear that during the summer holidays Lara, a Year 8 pupil, very kindly volunteered to assist staff at Cambridge Central Library with the promotion and delivery of their Summer Reading Challenge: ‘Wild World Heroes’. This national reading campaign took place over the school summer holidays and it inspired almost 5,000 children to read more books, with those reading six books being rewarded with a certificate and medal. The Cambridgeshire Library Manager wrote to St Faith’s to inform me that they were “very impressed with the enthusiasm, commitment and maturity shown by Lara”, and described her support over the summer as “invaluable”. Commenting on her time volunteering Lara said, “I have always wanted to do some volunteer work, and as I love reading and small children this was an obvious opportunity. I really loved the time I spent at the library.”
Back in school in our Science laboratories, our Year 5 pupils have been spending their lessons understanding how to use a variety of specialist Science equipment safely. Mrs Price was most impressed with the way Year 5 were developing their knowledge and skills, which will be invaluable in their Science lessons as they progress through the school. Last week, under the watchful eye of their teachers, pupils learnt the theory of the Bunsen Burner flame, before lighting a flame themselves and achieving their Bunsen Burner Licences. The keen scientists have also been busy measuring mass and volume using the electric balances to calculate the mass of a range of items. The pupils also used measuring cylinders to calculate the volume of water that standard test tubes and boiling tubes can hold. I know that Year 5 are greatly looking forward to using these skills and tools in their future scientific experiments.
Year 3 Hockey
On the theme of discovering new skills, over the past couple of weeks, our Olympic Hockey heroes, Mr and Mrs Thompson, have been introducing Year 3 to the game of Hockey. Pupils have been working on their basic movements and starting to perfect their stick and ball control. Yesterday afternoon the Year 3 children were thoroughly enjoying their lesson in the Sports Hall as they got to play against each other in teams.
Developing skills in an expressive way is a key focus for our Year 8 Art Enrichment pupils this term, many of whom are busy preparing their portfolios for Art Scholarship applications. Since the start of term, the pupils have been creating wire sculptures of chameleons and seahorses. Once made, they have been spraying them in various colours and embellishing them with brightly coloured threads, making a truly impressive sight. Following this, our talented artists will be making studies of their creatures in alternative mediums, and indeed they have already been experimenting with intense inks and coloured crystals.
Our extensive after-school Activities programme is another way in which we are able to discover, develop and nurture a wide variety of talents in our pupils across the school. Children in Pre Prep, Years 3-5 and Year 8 all commenced their activities this week and we look forward to pupils in Years 6 and 7 being able to join our Activities programme in the near future too. Once everyone is safely underway, I look forward to sharing with you some highlights from the wide range of activities on offer. Speaking to the children, I know that the activities programme is a real highlight for them.
Across our school children and staff alike have revelled in the late summer, early autumn sunshine. Many classes took the opportunity to enjoy our beautiful outdoor environment. Mr Day took his tutor group to the Ashburton courtyard for their PSCHE lesson, while Foundation children were busy playing and learning in their dedicated playground in Southfield. Meanwhile over at Latham Road, our older pupils were pleased to be practising their Hockey and Rugby skills in the sunshine on the specialist sports pitches.
I will close by saying that it has been a pleasure to award the first Kindness certificates of the academic year to a number of pupils this week, who have shown acts of kindness and goodwill towards others. We encourage all the children to be ‘their best selves’ and our Kindness certificates recognise those occasions when children express particular generosity and consideration towards others. On a similar theme I should also like thank the anonymous person who very kindly left a cheerful note and some chocolate biscuits in my pigeon hole this week. The sense of community at St Faith’s is extremely strong, and the many day to day acts of kindness and support in evidence around the school are an excellent example to us all.
Wishing you a very happy and safe weekend,
Dr Crispin Hyde-Dunn