This week at St Faith's

25th November 2022

Foundation Story Sack Workshop

Last Friday Pre Prep parents were invited to come along to a Story Sack Workshop to learn more about story sacks. Story sacks are a wonderful resource to use with children in the classroom as they are a collection of items in a bag, box or container that can be used to support and extend the telling of a story. Story sacks have the power to spark children’s imaginations and make stories more accessible to everyone, including children for whom English is not their first language.

The workshop showed how story sacks can be made by using toys and everyday objects from our homes that are no longer used, or by being creative and making handmade objects like knitting or sewing animals, or perhaps making a singing bag and adding five little plastic ducks plus a mother duck.

Using story sacks in our Early Years Foundation setting will help to encourage interactions and communication, enhance children’s vocabulary and language, and support children with their own storytelling and role play.

2D and 3D Shapes

In other class news, 1HB have been learning about 2D and 3D shapes. They focused on drawing some shapes with a ruler, with the aim of being accurate, as well as using the squares as a unit of measurement. The children also made 3D shapes, which despite being a more challenging task, proved to be extremely popular.

Year 4 Turns The Lights On

As part of the Year 4 Science curriculum on Electricity, the children have been designing, making and testing their own switches. Experimenting with different configurations, they produced some innovative switches which all eventually worked by lighting up a bulb in their circuit.

Tea-time Recitals

Our tea-time recitals are always popular events in which the children have the opportunity to perform in front of their friends and parents. We have been fortunate to have two tea-time recitals over the past week.

Last Friday over 20 Speech and Drama pupils from Year 3 through to Year 8 took the opportunity to perform in the Drama Room. Pupils shared poetry speaking, mime, prose speaking, Shakespeare, and public speaking in front of an appreciative audience of parents in preparation for their New Era Academy exams which will take place on Monday 12th December.

Then on Monday, parents joined us after school in Ashburton Hall, as many of our musicians performed the pieces that they have been learning over the last term. Having the confidence to perform in front of a live audience is an important skill which pupils are encouraged to develop early as they start to learn a musical instrument. The Tea-time Recital also acted as a ‘practice’ stage for some of the pupils ahead of the larger annual event of our Autumn Concert.

Autumn Concert

Yesterday evening two hundred pupils, staff and parents assembled in Ashburton to enjoy performances from eleven senior music ensembles. The ambitious breadth of repertoire, from Henry Purcell’s Funeral March (Senior Brass Ensemble), Mendessohn’s setting of a verse from Psalm 37 (Chamber Choir), to ‘Cellos Olé!’ (String Orchestra), Chuck Rio’s ‘Tequila’ (Flutissimo) and ‘The Jungle Book’ (Concert Band) ensured all were in collective rapture for Concert Band’s final rendition of Meghan Trainor’s ‘All about that bass.’  

Ashburton Hall was transformed into a ‘Later with Jools Holland’ style studio with no less than four stages! The evening had begun with the Highland Bagpipes with pupils performing from both balconies and two main stage areas on the floor. Most evident on the night was the extraordinary calibre of musicianship heard across all ensembles. That pupils choose to employ their free time for rehearsals throughout the academic year is testament to the value they place upon making music together.  

At St Faith’s, we are indebted to Mr Gorick, Miss Kennerley and Ms Overman and a dedicated team of Visiting Music Teachers, each of whom imparts their passion and professional performing experience. The final word and thanks must go to the performers themselves who summoned the energy at the end of a long day to showcase their musical talent ensuring nobody left Ashburton in any doubt that music is thriving at St Faith’s.

Primary Maths Challenge

Last week, some Year 6 pupils took the Primary Maths Challenge. This comprised 25 questions which required lateral thinking and problem-solving skills. Five pupils, scoring exceptionally high marks, gained Gold awards; seven pupils gained Silver; and a further nine were awarded Bronze. The next stage, called the Bonus Round, will take place next term and we look forward to finding out who will be selected.


Having recently learnt about diffusion in their Science lessons, Year 7 pupils were tasked with making a short video presentation, using a simple model, to explain the concept of diffusion. This sample of their superb videos shows our pupils’ clear understanding of the science behind their models, together with their creativity.

Diffusion 1

Diffusion 2

Books and Puzzles for a Good Cause

This week pupils have been collecting books and puzzles for the Eco-Committee and School Council second-hand sale. The event is designed to encourage sustainability by passing on puzzles and books. The book sale is scheduled to take place in the week beginning 5th December and surplus books will be donated to Children’s Book Project Money raised from the sale will help fund future projects for the Eco-Committee and School Council.

U11 Girls’ IAPS Hockey National Championships

On the 11th November our U11 Girls competed at the Hockey National Finals at Cheltenham College. With teams from 24 schools, the girls performed extremely well, qualifying for the quarter finals where they faced the eventual winners of the competition, St Michael’s School. To finish in the top eight schools in the country was an amazing achievement, but more importantly, the girls’ collective improvement over the season was fantastic. Well done to the team.

Continuing the sporting theme, I would like to wish our U13 Girls the very best of luck today as they are competing in the IAPS Hockey National Finals being held at Haileybury School.

IAPS National Gymnastics Championships & U14 ISGA Championships

Last Saturday, an impressive total of 7 teams competed in the National IAPS Gymnastics competition and U14 ISGA Two Piece Championships at Kent College in Pembury, near Tunbridge Wells. St Faith’s has earned a deserved reputation as a Centre of Excellence for Gymnastics and it is a reputation we are certainly very keen to maintain.

Our elite gymnasts train extremely hard and in a very disciplined way, and this is reflected in the number of national competitions in which they participate. On this occasion, there were two competitions in one day and the results were extremely impressive.

Overall, there were 7 team trophies and 6 individual trophies for our pupils as winners of their categories. In addition to these remarkable successes, there were many performances for which the children were placed in the top three.  For the full report and results, please see the side bar of the newsletter.

And Finally

Following last week’s very successful Road Safety Week, we are able share the results of the ‘Our Journey to School’ survey, which members of the School Council and the Eco-Committee carried out at the school gates. The summary of our findings can be found in the sidebar of this newsletter and thank you for supporting our ongoing Road Safety initiatives.

I wish you and your families a happy and restful weekend,

With all best wishes,

Dr Crispin Hyde-Dunn