This week at St Faith's

27th May 2022

Pre Prep Sports Day

Initially the sun was shining on Tuesday as we welcomed Pre Prep families for an afternoon of sport. Keen participation, co-ordinated cheering and a host of ingenious races made for a most entertaining and convivial occasion. 

We were also very grateful to be joined at this event by our Year 8 pupil helpers, who spoke fondly of their own St Faith’s Pre Prep Sports Days; all of them could still remember their team and impressively, they could still name the events in which they took part. It was fantastic to see everyone able to enjoy the sense of occasion as we gathered for the event, and the children completed sprints and activity races with great gusto and determination. Even as thunder clapped, lightening flashed in the distance and the skies opened, the smiles continued and great resilience was shown! 

To complete a fine afternoon, in spite of the weather, we were also delighted to be able to enjoy the welcome return of the traditional St Faith’s picnic tea. 

My sincere thanks to the Pre Prep and sports staff for all their work and care in organising this occasion. 

Preparations for the Platinum Jubilee

There has been a palpable sense of excitement amongst pupils and staff this week as we have approached our celebration today, marking the Queen’s 70th year as our monarch.  

Pupils across all year groups decorated the school with red, white and blue bunting and flags, as well as making decorations especially for the occasion. 1JC painted portraits of the Queen and wrote their own diary entries – imagining what they would have recorded on the occasion of the Queen’s Coronation in 1953. Pre Prep joined together on Friday morning to ‘Dance through the Decades’. They explored music and dance styles from 1952 – 2022. Led by Mrs Wakefield, pupils and staff had great fun as they jived, twisted, and participated in party dances including YMCA, Macarena, Cha Cha Slide… and Baby Shark (doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo…) ! 

Pupils were also practising their singing of The National Anthem in preparation for a special whole school assembly, which took as its theme ‘The Queen and her Faith’, and at which we were honoured to be joined by Mrs Sue Freestone OBE, Vice-Lieutenant of Cambridgeshire. 

A further exciting opportunity was afforded to the children during the assembly. Their rendition of The National Anthem was filmed as part of a Choir for the Queen initiative by the music outreach department of St Paul’s Cathedral.  

Jubilee Crown

To quite literally “crown” the celebrations, the Year 8 pupils carefully constructed and sculpted an enormous crown from chicken wire. Pupils visiting the Art rooms this week then weaved colourful foil and ribbons into the crown and the Pre Prep pupils made the jewels! This school-wide Art project is being exhibited in the courtyard alongside Jubilee-inspired artwork from the Pre Prep, Years 3, 4 and 5 on Thursday evening and Friday. 

Soap Knapping

Year 3 has been studying The Stone Age this term in Humanities. As part of the project, the children have been designing and making their own Stone Age tools and trying their hand at ‘flint-knapping’. This involves shaping and sculpting a tool, such as an arrow-head, but substituting the piece of flint with an altogether more manageable bar of soap. The pupils had tremendous fun doing these activities and were delighted with their masterpieces! 

Year 4 Visit the University Botanic Garden

This week Year 4 rounded off their Extreme Environments topic with a trip to the University Botanic Garden. Thanks to the skill and foresight of 19th Century botanists, and all those who have cared for the gardens since the first tree was planted on the Trumpington Road site in 1846, we are now able to enjoy more than 8,000 plant species, growing right on our doorstep.  Luckily, the weather held out and the children had a wonderful time exploring the different environment houses and areas the gardens have to offer. The children used observational skills to draw sketches of different plants, whilst comparing and discussing their adaptations to each environment. They also undertook an ornithological observation study, where they recorded the number of species of bird they saw. Please enjoy looking through some of the photos from the day. 

Year 2 Wicken Fen Excursion 

Year 2 visited Wicken Fen, escorted through the day of outdoor learning by a team of volunteers including an old friend Mrs Gaastra, who used to work in the Pre Prep. The children spent the day pond dipping, hunting for minibeasts and connecting with nature, engaging in a series of activities that brought to life the work they have been doing in class on life cycles and habitats. Wicken Fen was teeming with wildlife and a highlight among the creepies and crawlies was seeing a Greater Crested Newt.  
Year 2 conducted themselves maturely and were great ambassadors for the school. They engaged enthusiastically in activities and demonstrated their broad knowledge of the topic. The day whizzed by but discussion on the coach return journey included descriptors such as surprising, excellent, sensational and amazing! Thank you to the parent helpers who supported us throughout the day and Mrs Smith, who returned from retirement to join the Pre Prep once more.  

IAPS National Tennis Finals

Two of our Year 6 pupils, Nathan and Mikhail, enjoyed great success at the IAPS National Tennis Finals held at Rugby School last weekend. They ended this prestigious national competition in third place after a hard-fought match against the Perse Prep. Many congratulations to both boys.

Finale to the Swimming Year

We saw a marvellous finale to this year’s swimming programme on Tuesday when 30 pupils from our school’s swim team competed against Bedford School. The points were even after the first four relay races. It looked like it was going to be a nail-biting and close-run finish, but following some strong performances across the whole team, and among Year 6 pupils in particular, St Faith’s pupils surged ahead, with a lead which saw us through to the end. The final score was Bedford 99, St Faith’s 127 which included three school records being broken.  More details can be found on this link. 

A Week of Chess

Last weekend saw a chess bonanza with two major annual events from the chess calendar taking place. 

Old Fidelians vs Current Pupils Chess Match

On Friday, and after a three year break, we welcomed back a number of former pupils to contest the Old Fidelians versus current pupils chess match.  For the first time in almost a decade, the Old Fidelians emerged victorious, snatching a 7-6 victory in a tense but highly enjoyable battle that came down to the final board, with excitement levels reaching a definite crescendo. 

West Anglia Megafinal

On Saturday, almost 200 pupils and their families gathered at St Bede’s School in Cambridge for the West Anglia Chess Megafinal. The event saw a staggering 32 entries from St Faith’s, although for this competition, pupils compete as individuals, rather than representing their school. 

In this all-day event, children play six games against others in their age group, with everyone who scores 4 or more out of 6 qualifying for the Gigafinal, which is the third, and penultimate, round of this competition. 

Congratulations to all our chess players for some excellent performances, and especially to the five pupils who secured enough points to advance to the Gigafinals in the summer. 

IAPS Fencing Championships 2022 

On Sunday, St Faith’s pupils travelled to Millfield School to compete in the IAPS Fencing Tournament, representing our school in the U11 foil category and the U13 foil category. All our pupils made it through to at least the last 16 of their competitions, with some very close bouts and one pupil reaching the final in their age group. Well done to our pupils for their strong performance and for showing such good sportsmanship on the day.

 Midlands Independent Schools Gym Championships

On Saturday and Sunday Stamford School hosted the Midlands Gymnastics Championships for boys and girls from Year 2 up to Year 13. 

Over the two days 79 gymnasts competed for St Faith’s and it was an enjoyable and exciting event, but for our Year 8 it was the last gymnastics competition ever for school. There were outstanding results both for teams and individuals, continuing the success that the School has enjoyed for many years in this sport. A full report of the event can be read here. 

Performances of Sister Act Jr. 

On Wednesday and Thursday evening we were treated to wonderful performances of Sister Act Jr. by Year 8 pupils. This was a truly uplifting and inspiring musical. There were some outstanding individual and group performances, and the story shared a positive message of friendship and redemption.  I am sure I am not the only person who found themselves tapping their feet in time to the music and humming one of the memorable tunes the following day. The pupils clearly relished the opportunity to perform together and I am very grateful to all the staff involved in staging this production. Year 8 delivered an extremely high quality and most entertaining show, earning a well-deserved standing ovation.  More photographs and a video of the production will be available soon.

And Finally ….. 

In our special Jubilee assembly today, it was a real privilege to hear memories of the 1953 Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II from St Faith’s families and friends, captured on video. The children were reminded that the 70th anniversary of the reign of a British monarch is an unprecedented and once-in-a-lifetime occasion, so they should make a special effort to capture their own memories in the days ahead. Whether you will be dressing in red, white and blue for a street party, watching the Red Arrows fly over Buckingham Palace balcony, or just quietly reflecting on times gone by, I wish you all a happy and enjoyable half-term and Jubilee weekend.  

With all best wishes, 

Dr Crispin Hyde-Dunn