This week at St Faith's

26 June 2020

With five year groups of pupils, most staff and the key worker children on site this week, the St Faith’s buzz has returned and it feels great!  Sunshine, laughter and the busy chatter of pupils and staff coming back together after months apart has brought the site back to life.  Daily routines might be very different but it is clear to me that pupils and staff alike have loved being at school again.  I have particularly enjoyed talking to the children again at break times and seeing parents briefly at drop-off and pick-up times.  Thank you for all the positive feedback and support – so many of you have commented on the efficiency of the drop-off and pick-up systems. It has certainly been a complex logistical exercise to plan but Mr Brent (Bursar), Mrs Moore (Operations Manager) have risen to the challenge and we are very grateful to them and all the support staff in ensuring the systems are working so well.

The Year 4 pick-up on Tuesday provided one of the amusing moments of the week.  As I was on duty on Newton Road, pointing my phone at car windscreens so that the displays of family names could be seen on the classroom screens and children knew when their parents had arrived, our friendly Ice Cream Van arrived and joined the queue of traffic!  Even better, the van had a display in its windscreen, but instead of showing the family name, it said ‘cash only’!  As Mrs Moore said to the van’s driver, we don’t have a child called ‘cash only’ at St Faith’s. With social distancing in place and parents advised not to leave their cars, this was not the sales opportunity the ice cream vendor was hoping for and he quietly and happily moved on.  Nice try though.

Years 2 and 4

This week, Year 2s have settled very well in to their bubbles and have thrived in their new surroundings of School House and Newton buildings.

Year 4s were busy in an extraordinary range of lessons on Thursday morning when I called in. Two groups were engrossed in Ms Allen’s live-streamed Drama lesson on the history of puppetry, which brought back vivid childhood memories of Punch and Judy, Sooty and Sweep and Rod Hull’s Emu! Another two groups were developing their programming skills via Mrs Bucklow’s live streamed lesson whilst others were revelling in the sunshine, playing tennis ball bowling and golf in a PE lesson.

Home Learning Programme

As you can from the examples in this newsletter, the work produced by our pupils following the Home Learning programme continues to be of a high standard.

This week Year 8 pupils have continued to present (remotely) their STEM Fair projects, all of which can be found here. Of particular interest to tea drinkers might be Connor’s research into which biscuit is best for ‘dunking’, while those wanting to encourage younger children to pick up litter will enjoy James’s Plastic Pick-up computer game.  Beleaguered parents might welcome an early prototype of Hansel’s laundry folding invention!  A lot has been made of the beneficial effects of lock down on the environment and air pollution – Ewan’s well-timed research highlights the issue within our own city.

OF News

This week, we heard that Old Fidelian (OF) Hugo B, has just been named School Captain (Head Boy) at Uppingham for the forthcoming academic year.  This is the second consecutive year that an OF has been appointed to this prestigious role. Furthermore, another OF, Lucy B, has been appointed as a House Captain at Uppingham.  Many congratulations to Lucy and Hugo – we are so proud of you and know you will be brilliant in your new roles.

National Swimming

We have just received the results of the national heats and we are delighted to say that 10 of our swimmers had qualified for the National Finals, which would have been held at the Olympic pool, London, this month. To qualify, a swimmer must record one of the top 20 times in the country, for their respective event.  Details of the results are in the index.  It is a shame that the Finals weren’t able to take place but nevertheless, we congratulate the 10 finalists: Zac J, Frank J, Reuben C, Mateo V-N, Ava B, Daisy H, James R, Jeremy P, Phoebe B and Polina F.

SATIPS National Handwriting Competition

This week, we heard that three pupils have won National Handwriting awards. Very well done to Hope and Tanisha who came 2nd and 3rd in the Age 12 category and Zac who won the Age 13 category. You may remember that St Faith’s won the overall schools category last year.  Despite the advancement of technology, we believe handwriting is an important skill for the children to learn which is why we promote a cursive style of handwriting from the youngest ages.

Engineering the Socially Distanced Picnic

Mrs Oxborough recently set her Year 5 pupils a very relevant challenge: You are meeting another family for a socially-distanced picnic in a park.  Each person takes one part of the picnic (drinks are not shared).  How can the food be moved between families whilst maintaining the 2m social distance?  Mrs Oxborough contacted me this week to show me the first design and prototype solution which she had received.  An ingenious system don’t you think?

Speech Day Video

Next Friday marks what will be the end of a very unusual school year – one I am sure we will always remember.  Traditionally we mark this occasion with a Speech Day event in the marquee.  Unfortunately this year we will not be able to celebrate in the usual style but we will still be marking the occasion with a commemorative film which we will share with the whole school community next Friday at 10:30am.  Do look out for the arrival of the video link in your in-boxes and, if you can, please join us as we all come together, virtually, to celebrate the achievements of our pupils.

Year 8

We are very much looking forward to welcoming back Year 8 on Monday.  Throughout lockdown it has been our aim to be able to send them off with a proper farewell, so we were delighted when we received the green light from the government to be able to invite them back.


At lunchtime on Thursday, the children were mesmerised by a small plane overhead that ‘drew’ this heart picture in the sky!  It certainly stimulated our imagination about the story behind it.  Perhaps a thank you to the NHS or even a romantic gesture?!


Regular readers of this newsletter will know that we have eagle-eyed Fidelians on high alert for any surprise appearance of a St Faith’s blazer in the wider world. Over the years, the red, white and black striped jacket has been seen in the most unusual places, including a Portobello Road antique shop and the European Rugby Cup Final! Well, this latest sighting, which was reported to me this week, takes some beating.  I was sent this link to a film of the 1985 Live Aid Concert and specifically, The Style Council’s performance.  Look closely around the 40 second point, particularly at the attire of keyboard player, Mick Talbot.  If you have any idea why such a prominent pop star came to be wearing our school blazer, we would very much like to know!

Have a lovely weekend.

Nigel Helliwell