As you are no doubt aware it has been an unusual week at St Faith’s. On Monday morning Mr Helliwell took a long anticipated phone call from the Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) informing him of their intention to visit the school this week. Understandably therefore Mr Helliwell has not had time to pen this week’s newsletter and as such the dubious honour has fallen my way.
Firstly, it seems pertinent to provide you with a brief overview of the ISI. ISI is an independent, government-approved body which provides objective inspections to safeguard the quality and effectiveness of the education, care and welfare of children in schools. ISI is not an arm of the government, but an independent, not-for-profit inspectorate. ISI reports to the Department for Education on the extent to which schools meet statutory requirements. Inspections are for the benefit of the pupils and are intended to help schools recognise and build on their strengths and remedy any weaknesses. Our last inspection was in 2011, therefore we have been anticipating this visit for a while. The findings of the inspection are presented in an inspection report which will usually be issued to the school four working (term-time) weeks after the week of the inspection. We are then expected to provide a copy to the parents of current pupils, and the report will be made available on the ISI website. We look forward to sharing the outcomes of the inspection in due course.
Of course regardless of the ISI inspection our busy school life continues and this week has been no exception with a variety of trips, visits and activities across the year groups.
In Pre Prep this week the Foundation children received a letter to inform them that ‘The Evil Pea’ had kidnapped the carrots and frozen them in a bowl of water. Their task was to free the carrots (hopefully in time for lunch!). This apparently has nothing to do with our Head Chef Kevin but is related to the story ‘Supertato’ by Sue Hendra. Since their rescue attempts the children have been busy writing their own versions of the story, dressing up as superheroes themselves and making their own ‘Supertato’. As always, reports from Foundation are never dull.
Year 4 Trip to Marshalls
Yesterday Year 4 visited Marshalls as part of the LaunchPad Scholarship scheme. Their ‘Star’ program, the first tier in the Cambridge LaunchPad Scholarship, is aimed at children between 8 and 10 years of age. It aims to introduce engineering in its simplest form and to subtly get young children interested and enthusiastic for engineering and engineering related businesses. The program began with a brief presentation here at school several weeks ago to introduce the concept of the LaunchPad Scholarship. Our Year 4s then attended the Marshall ADG site for the ‘Star Festival’ yesterday and were able to experience hands-on engineering in activities such as building and testing parachutes, chariots and battery-driven cars as well as a tour of the facilities. Feedback from those who attended has been incredibly positive, so a very big thank you is due to Mrs Oxborough for organising the trip.
Moving away from Engineering and into to the world of Art you may recall that last year our ‘Artist in Residence’ was Paul Hobbs who exhibited his work here last summer and spent a week talking to pupils about his work, inspirations and life as an artist. He is now exhibiting his work at Christchurch College and was kind enough to join us at our whole school assembly to talk more about life as an artist. Furthermore, a number of our Year 7s visited him at his new exhibition on Thursday.
Year 4 Owls
It’s not just the Year 7s who have been keeping the Art department busy, over the past few months Year 4 have been studying sculpture and walked the Cambridge sculpture trail as part of their research. They then created their own sculptures based on Picasso’s ‘Owl’ using recycled materials and mod roc. If you look carefully as you move around the school you may see some in Tom’s garden! Here are some of our proud Year 4s showcasing their wonderful sculptures, I think it is fair to say that they have done Picasso proud!
Last weekend our Gymnasts did the school more than proud at the MISGA Gymnastics event held at Stamford Endowed Schools. Over 60 boys and girls took part in the two-day competition, and our haul of trophies from the event was more than impressive. Indeed, St Faith’s teams won all but two of the categories from Under 7 Novices to Open Advanced. Well done to all the teams and in particular to Harry G, Hetty B, Olivia R, Max B and Alex R who won individual awards in their categories, as well as the many others who were also individual medalists (see report from Mrs North for full results). These results demonstrate a “perfect storm” of amazing facilities, incredible commitment from highly capable coaching staff, as well as parents, highly talented children, and a culture and community of which we can all be proud.
OF vs Pupils Chess
At a slightly more sedate pace our chess players are getting plenty of competitive practice at the moment. Last week saw the St Faith’s team take on a number of Old Fidelians – well “old” maybe a little misleading – these former pupils are themselves pretty fresh out of St Faith’s being only in Years 9 and 10 themselves, though thanks to the inclusion of Dr Rodgers (OF Committee member) their average age was elevated to a mighty 19.7 years! Despite an age disadvantage our current pupils consisting of Dom O’L, Amer A, Aman B, James C-B, Alex D, Tom A and John H, continued their excellent record in this annual fixture by winning 4½ – 2½. See Mr Mitchells report for full fixture results.
Ashburton Hall will play host to two further chess fixtures this coming weekend. On Saturday our A-team will be aiming to finish in the top four of the Cambridge Chess League. The team need 8 ½ points to finish 2nd – best of luck to the team! On Sunday we will be hosting and participating in the East Anglia Chess Mega-Finals along with other qualifiers from across 3 counties. At stake will be places in the national Giga-Finals. We have many children entering and wish them all the very best of luck.
Future Schools Fair
Last night in Ashburton hall over 130 St Faith’s families congregated for our annual Future Schools Fair. Over 25 schools from across the country were here to promote their educational offerings including Eton, Repton, Stowe, Rugby and Oundle to name but a few. It was a wonderful evening and both attende
es and exhibitors seemed more than delighted with the organisation of the event. Very many thanks to Mr Davenport and Mrs Sandercock for organising.
Finally, I would like to pass on Mr Helliwell’s apologies for not being able to personally write this week’s newsletter, normal service will resume next week. All that remains is to wish you a wonderful Bank Holiday Weekend. As usual the weather forecast isn’t too promising but I am sure everyone in the St Faith’s community will enjoy an extra day of rest and family time after such a busy week.
With very best wishes,