We began the second half of term on Monday with an assembly on the theme of kindness, and we considered the impact that our words can have on those around us. In listening to an adaptation of the story of the White Lily by Jane Tyson Clement, we reflected on the way in which all our actions have a legacy. We also heard descriptions of some of the actions that had led to the award of kindness certificates this term, and we thought about ways in which we could be kind to those around us.
Year 7 Science
In Science, Year 7 have been finishing their topic on Elements, Compounds and Mixtures. Pupils have enjoyed the practical tasks designed to reinforce their learning. Here are a few examples:
- To demonstrate the change in properties when elements form compounds, pupils used iron and sulfur to make iron sulfide. They were intrigued to find that, despite containing iron, it was not magnetic.
- To appreciate that compounds contain elements in fixed proportions, our Hoffman Voltameter was used to split water by electrolysis, producing double the volume of hydrogen gas compared to oxygen.
- Pupils have also considered how the melting and boiling points of a mixture vary with composition. The pupils found the temperature of salt-water ice cubes was well below 0°C and were able to apply this knowledge to explain why salt is used on roads in the winter.
- In preparation for their assessments, some pupils have been tackling some complex GCSE-level questions to challenge their knowledge and to apply it to new situations. As an example, they have calculated the number of protons and neutrons of different isotopes to test their understanding of atomic structure.
Year 5 Humanities
Year 5 have been studying the tropical rainforests. Having learned about their vulnerability and unique features, pupils have discussed the threats to the forest posed by a growing world population and deforestation. Pupils finished the topic with some lessons on what we can do to protect and save them and the children in 5K produced some impressive posters, two of which can be seen below.
Year 6 English
Continuing the rainforest theme, Year 6 have been reading ‘Journey to the River Sea’ by Eva Ibbotson, a wonderful story set largely in the Amazon Rainforest. As part of their writing, they had to create an informational PowerPoint (mentioned in the newsletter on 11.2.22) about animals, plants and people of their choice, and then they presented these to each other in class, and peer assessed each other’s work.
Part of the challenge was, firstly, to use the relative clauses and other subordinate clauses they had been learning about. They also set out to find the most original creatures in the rainforest. The results have been enjoyed by all, and the final step was to create a display board with a selection of their best slides. As they began to run out of tissue paper ‘trees’, they realised that this, in itself, was a very real problem in the rainforest – so they then created special ‘logging’ areas as well. A reminder that this stunning place is seriously in danger of disappearing.
Year 2 Visit to the Sedgwick Museum
This week, Year 2 classes took it in turns to visit the University of Cambridge’s Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences. The fascinating sessions, led by Sedgwick Museum staff, focused on fossilised teeth and feet and what we learn about dinosaurs from the fossils. The children asked lots of interesting questions and even got to hold a fossilised T-Rex tooth and brain. Staff and pupils alike thought that it was remarkable that the tooth was the larger of the two! Additionally they were excited to discover that Hippos were once found just down the road in Barrington. The children were excellent ambassadors for St Faith’s and their teachers were proud of how maturely they engaged and behaved on their visits.
Year 8 Computing Challenge
Ten talented Year 8 pupils took part in the Oxford University Computing Challenge (OUCC) earlier this month, a competition which is open to the top 10% of entrants from the previous round. The OUCC is a coding competition where pupils solve problems against the clock. Of the 6,659 entrants in the age category, one St Faith’s pupil finished in the top 20 nationally and will compete in the final on 15th March. He was one of 13 children in the country to achieve a perfect score in the challenge, which is a truly outstanding achievement!
The Class Concerts series has begun in most class music lessons this week. This is a relaxed opportunity for pupils to perform to their class and a good opportunity for those preparing for instrumental exams and performances to place themselves under some gentle and supportive performance pressure.
The distinctive tones of the steel pans have been heard during Year 7 lessons this week, playing ‘All That Jazz’ from the musical ‘Chicago’. Meanwhile Chamber Choir and Senior Voices are exploring sacred repertoire for Easter alongside the Benjamin Britten’s secular set of 12 songs ‘Friday Afternoons’.
Year 4 Pantomime Performance
Slap-stick comedy and perfectly delivered one-liners were the name of the game this afternoon when all Year 4 pupils performed a hugely entertaining series of pantomime sketches of Jack and the Beanstalk, Captain Hook, Dick Whittington and Snow White. The children delivered a feast of entertainment. The quality of acting, slick stage craft and great humour were a testament to the talent of the pupils and expertise of our Drama teacher, Ms Allen. Clearly everyone took great pleasure and pride in their involvement in these mini-productions and had lots of fun along the way. Oh yes they did!
To support the safe use of cycles, this week we ran our termly Dr Bike sessions for staff and pupils. We are grateful to Alex, the engineer from Outspoken who worked in wind, rain and sunshine to give our bikes a health check.
During the week before half term, the U11 boys’ hockey team had a double success. On Monday 7th February they qualified for the IAPS National finals in a hard fought competition at Framlingham College. This was closely followed by the County Cup hosted at Wilberforce Road on the Friday. Some exceptional team performances and highly impressive resilience resulted in the team being crowned champions in what was a highly competitive tournament. Many thanks to the very supportive parents who attended pitch-side and congratulations to the boys who were expertly coached by our Sports Department. We wish them all good luck in the IAPS Finals which are taking place on Wednesday at Rugby School.
Yesterday our U11 netball team competed with 16 other schools in the IAPS Netball Qualification round. After a full day of excellent team play, back up with strong self-belief, St Faith’s secured a place in the IAPS National Finals. Congratulations to the girls on a great team effort and we look forward to hearing how they get on next week when they travel to Bryanston School for the finals. More details can be found on the link below.
It was really wonderful for our pupils to return to swimming competitively again on Tuesday, as St Faith’s U10, U11, U12 and U13 teams travelled to Bedford for the first swimming gala in nearly two years. Over half of the team were racing for the very first time, and they should all be proud of their performance, working hard and encouraging one other along the way. There was an abundance of ‘personal best’ performances across all year groups, with several pupils improving their personal best times by 3 seconds or more in at least one of their races. Excitingly, a new school record was also set in the U13 50m butterfly, in an incredible time of 33.09 seconds.
Gymnastics continues to highly popular, with pupils enjoying a variety of opportunities to represent the school. Good luck to the U9 girls taking part in the national gymnastics Championships at Guilford and the U11 and U14 Boys’, Girls’ and Mixed Sports Acro and Tumbling at Milton Keynes, all taking place this weekend.
Today it has been wonderful to host the return of a live audience at our Year 4 Pantomime. Next week with a Year 5 Parents’ Forum on Tuesday and a SFPA Coffee Morning for Year 8 parents on Thursday, there will be further opportunities for community building and I very much look forward to parents joining us for these occasions.
With all best wishes,
Dr Crispin Hyde-Dunn