I can’t believe that another three terms have flown by and I am now sitting down to write the final newsletter of the academic year. For me, time has never passed as quickly as it does at St Faith’s. I trust that as we near the end of another school year, you can look back and feel pleased with how your child has progressed. Over the past few weeks I have had the pleasure of reading the end of year reports and it is clear to me how well our pupils are doing and what busy, enjoyable and successful school lives they lead. They certainly pack a lot in, as this newsletter shows.
Pre Prep Summer Concert
‘Girls and Boys Come Out to Play’ was the theme of the delightful feast of music performed by Years 1 and 2 on Thursday afternoon. The audience were given a birds eye view of the school playground as all the classes, several choirs and even some instrumentalists performed songs and rhythms depicting playground life from around the world. It was a truly inclusive, charming and heart-warming afternoon, which showed us all why Music is thriving in the School. Thank you to every Year 1 and 2 pupil for entertaining us so beautifully and to Ms Overman and the teaching assistants for all their work in organising this splendid concert.
National General Knowledge Final
Having negotiated their way through local and regional rounds, our General Knowledge Team had a fantastic day at the National Final in London yesterday. In the splendid surroundings of the National Gallery, our team of Henry, Lanna, Oliver and Harris were outstanding ambassadors for St Faith’s, performing really well and showing a polite, positive and inquisitive approach throughout the day. In the end, we were placed 8th out of 12 schools and, as Miss Dow reported, the scores were so close that if our team had answered the last question correctly, we would have finished 4th. Many congratulations to our team – it has been an exciting journey and one they will never forget!
FCH Class Assembly
A teaspoon of hugs, a box of kind hands, a pint of sharing, a kilogram of kind words, a bottle of letting people join in, a sprinkle of kindness and a pinch of playfulness – stir it all up and what have you got? FCH’s recipe for friendship! Miss Hendry’s Foundation class has been thinking very carefully about friendship recently and delighted an audience of parents and grandparents on Wednesday morning. Thank you to all the children and staff in FCH for entertaining us with this charming assembly.
Year 6 pupils have been revelling in the Spanish sunshine as they put their language skills to the test in Salamanca this week. After mornings spent in a language school polishing their vocabulary and grammar, the children enjoyed a variety of activities from treasure hunts and sight-seeing to Salsa lessons and shopping, all with the aim of further building their confidence in the language.
Meanwhile in France, Year 7 pupils have been testing their team skills and courage as they embarked on a programme of outdoor adventure activities this week. On Monday they set off on the iconic Ardèche decent in canoes, including an overnight camp on the bank of the river. Other activities such as raft building, abseiling and mountain biking have provided challenging and hugely enjoyable team-building activities. Not surprisingly the children have had a fantastic time.
Colosseum – tick. Trevi Fountain – tick. The Forum, the Catacombs of San Sebastiano, Pompeii, Mount Vesuvius, Capri – tick, tick, tick. Year 8 have clearly had a very busy and cultured week on their tour of Rome and Pompeii this week. From boat trips and climbing volcanoes to exploring the ruins of Pompeii, this has certainly been a most enriching week for our Year 8 and a great extension to their study of the Classics.
Meanwhile, back here in Cambridge, it has been anything but business as usual as once again our committed and inspirational staff have developed a timetable full of unusual and highly uplifting activities.
Year 3 has explored our local area, visited BeWILDerwood for a day of fantasy adventure, enjoyed extension activities in Maths and Art, and developed short animation films during a Creative Media Day.
The ‘sorting hat’ reassigned our Year 4 pupils to Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw and Slytherin Houses on Monday as they immersed themselves in the world of Harry Potter. On Wednesday, a Police Investigation saw them become mini-detectives, complete with crime scenes to solve and a courtroom drama worthy of day-time TV. Later in the week, the children ventured in to the world of Mindfulness and enjoyed a session of Pilates.
Year 5 took full advantage of the sports facilities at The Leys on Monday, then enjoyed a day of Funky Foods (learning how to make healthy snacks) and Maths on Tuesday before a trip to Kew Gardens on Wednesday, to wrap up their work on rainforests. Yesterday, they visited the Centre for Computing History, immersing themselves in the evolution of technology, much of it driven from our vibrant city.
Year 6 pupils spent Monday with an architectural engineer building suspension bridges and sky-scrapers, taking full advantage of the space in the Hub. During a trip to Warwick Castle on Tuesday they furthered their historical knowledge and put their sword-fighting skills to practice, while on Wednesday they experienced the thrill of the Robot Olympics, building, coding and racing their Lego MindStorms, with Team Lightning Bolt declared the 2019 winners. Yesterday they visited Downing College and enjoyed punting on the River Cam.
Years 7 and 8 combined forces this week with so many of their classmates in France or Italy. Monday saw a visit to the Centre for Computing History. On Tuesday the rain had little impact on their enjoyment of the programme at the Nene Outdoor Activity centre. On Wednesday, an ecology trip to Rye Meads Nature Reserve focused their attention on British nature and yesterday, they enjoyed ‘Darwin Day’, learning about the science of evolution both on site and at the local Museum of Zoology.
End of Term
Despite the end of term being less than a week away, we still have a few major events to look forward to, particularly Speech Day next Friday morning, when Alistair Bruce-Ball, Old Fidelian and BBC Sports Commentator, will be our Guest of Honour. The Speech Day ceremony begins at 10.30am and ends at approximately 12 noon, and is the main event of the year when current and former pupils, staff, parents, governors and friends meet together to celebrate the success of the school. On this morning, Pre Prep pupils should wear summer uniform and children in Years 3 to 8 should come to school in winter uniform. All parents are welcome to attend the ceremony in the marquee.
Also next week, we have house and inter-school cricket fixtures, the final rowing regatta of the year, a theatre trip to ‘Matilda‘ in London, the national athletics finals in Birmingham (in which 14 of our athletes are competing), the final races of the season for our Green Goblins Racing Team and on Thursday afternoon, the keenly contested annual House Tug O’ War – who will win this year?!
Trip to South Africa and Makukhanye School
Makukhanye is a township school in Jeffrey’s Bay, South Africa that we have been supporting since 2003. We have funded school buildings, outdoor play sports areas and set up a hot food programme so that the children can have a daily meal at the school; this has been so successful (the school has more than doubled in size) that the Eastern Cape Government has introduced a hot food programme for other township schools in the region. Further details of our link with Makukhanye can be read here. In two weeks, Jane and I will be part of a St Faith’s party of 35 pupils, 7 staff and many parents who will be setting off to South Africa for our biennial visit to South Africa with the specific purpose of visiting Makukhanye School to meet the children and staff and see the result of our recent support. This year, the focus has been on refurbishing some of the classrooms; here are the ‘before’ and ‘after’ photos including a lovely one of the teachers celebrating the completion of the work outside their ‘new’ classrooms.
Makukhanye Fund Raising
As part of our fund raising for Makukhanye and with the purpose of developing the entrepreneurial skills of our pupils, Miss Kennerley set Year 8 a voluntary Charity Challenge this term. Using a £5 loan, pupils were tasked with setting up their own small businesses with the aim of making as much profit as possible. Of the 42 pupils who took part, the most successful team enterprise was that of Josh, Tom and Rory who collectively raised £557.56 by running a series of cake stalls at sporting events in their villages. Jacob raised the most individually with an impressive £489.95 by making and selling flapjacks. In total a staggering £3,068.97 was raised. Very well done indeed to all our young entrepreneurs for their terrific fundraising efforts.
In the past few weeks, you may have spotted pupils and parents walking and running laps of the athletics track each morning as they raised further funds for Makukhanye, by covering the kind of distances that most of the Makukhanye children need to travel on foot to get to school each day. Almost £200 was raised by our pupils and parents who gamely took part.
The lead up to Makukhanye day often incentivises our pupils towards acts of kindness and generosity. This term, I was very pleasantly surprised when Avani in Year 4 stopped me on the path to give a donation to Makukhanye School – money she had raised by selling cupcakes. What a wonderful and selfless act!
It’s not just pupils who are getting into the fundraising spirit for Makukhanye either. A number of parents, in collaboration with Head of Sport Mr Welch, are planning a South African Wine Tasting event to be held in the Ashburton Hall on Friday 27th September. Further details will follow, but for now, if the liquid form of philanthropy interests you, please save the date as I am sure this will be a wonderful evening.
The final day of Enrichment Week is always our annual Makukhanye Day, this year led by Miss Kennerley and Mr Johnson. Today the whole school focused on ‘giving back’ as we recognise those people who do so much for us and can often be taken for granted. From litter-picking both on site and in our surrounding residential roads and sorting lost property, to assisting with cleaning and setting up in the kitchens and dining room we have given our children the opportunity to reflect, appreciate and give back. In a Makukhanye-focused assembly this morning, the children learnt more about life in the township and school in South Africa and what we are doing to help. Finally, this afternoon saw School House field transformed into a colourful summer fair as classes created and ran stalls to sell activities and items, all with the purpose of raising further funds to help our friends in Makukhanye. From golf-putting and wet sponge throwing, name the teddy to apple bobbing, face painting to hook-a-duck there was no end of ingenious ways to raise money and have fun as these photos show.
Clearly a week of such breadth and variety takes a lot of planning and effort. I would like to extend my sincere thanks to all staff, teachers and those behind the scenes, and particularly to our Enrichment Coordinator, Mrs Yates, who together ensure the smooth running and ultimate enjoyment of the wonderful programme of enrichment activities and trips.
Thank you for your valuable support this year. In so many ways, it has been a fantastic year for the school and I am delighted with how well our community has worked together for the good of the children. Whether you are flying to distant places or just taking it easy in Cambridge, I wish you and your family an enjoyable and relaxing summer holiday when it arrives.
With all good wishes,