Last Friday evening it was a great pleasure for me to welcome members of our Old Fidelian (OF) community back to school for the annual Old Fidelian BBQ. It has been two years since we have been able to hold the event. Tom’s Garden came alive to the backdrop of the wonderful music provided by professional pianist, OF Victoria Royce. The warmth with which OFs remember their school days and the strengths of friendships formed were clearly apparent. There were many interesting anecdotes of historic St Faith’s, both as a boarding school, and an all-boys school, and as a prep school pioneer in co-education. There were OFs in attendance who had not been on to the school site for several decades, so were fascinated to see our new facilities alongside our original ‘School House’.
I am also very grateful to the catering staff for providing such wonderful food and refreshments for the evening and I would warmly invite all Old Fidelian parents amongst you to join the Old Fidelian Network and enjoy some of the many events that take place throughout the year.
This week, our Pre Prep pupils have participated in the TCS Mini London Marathon for schools. The aim is to inspire children and young people of all ages and abilities to be physically active. This initiative recognises that regular exercise has a positive impact on children’s physical health and mental wellbeing and can help start a healthy lifetime habit. Throughout the week, pupils have engaged enthusiastically in completing a run, jog, or walk of a total of 2.6 miles. Families came along today to cheer the final stage in our fun Friday finale! And Mrs Wakefield will no doubt be feeling inspired as she prepares to run the full 26.2 miles of the iconic London Marathon this Sunday – carried along by our very best wishes.
The Great Fire of London
Year 2 enjoyed a truly immersive history experience with the arrival at school of ‘History Off the Page’. In this workshop, the children were transported to the bustling streets of 1666 London and the bakery in Pudding Lane where the fire started. Learning to be apprentices in a number of jobs from that period, from weaving to embroidery, pottery to ink making, leather work to metal work, and even making potions as apothecaries, the children gained experiences of what life was like in the 17th century city of London. This hands on learning experience clearly delighted the children and they have been sharing their accounts of the workshop with great enthusiasm.
Henri Rousseau and the Colour Green
In their Art lessons this week, Year 3 have been exploring and investigating colour theory. They have discovered how Henri Rousseau created over 50 different types of green for his jungle paintings and have been inspired to be both creative and ambitious when creating their own tones of green – even giving their creations special names. Later this term, they will apply their knowledge, planning and preparation work to create a large-scale meadow painting in the Impressionist style.
On Tuesday some of our Year 4 children learned all about the Jewish festival of Rosh Hashanah which means ‘Head of the Year’ and is commonly known as Jewish New Year. One of the children explained to their class friends that at this time of year, in the Jewish faith, sweet things are eaten – to represent a sweet new year. The children thoroughly enjoyed the traditional symbolic celebratory treat of apple dipped in honey, whilst wishing one another Shana tova.
Outreach Project with Cambridgeshire Music
St Faith’s has recently completed an exciting project with Cambridgeshire Music to design and install a piece of large-scale art in their new centre in Histon. Last term, as part of their Oceans Day in Enrichment Week, Year 7 designed a beautiful array of fish, plants and other sea creatures. These designs have been used to transform a plain glass-block wall into an interactive aquarium. With the help of our school Engineering team, the children’s designs were turned into translucent vinyl artwork which was then applied to the glass blocks. The children also selected music that had been inspired by the sea and with the help of QR codes, visitors to the artwork can choose which music to listen to whilst looking at the aquarium.
The project was installed last week in time for the formal opening of the new Cambridgeshire Music base and will be seen by young people from across the County who are part of music ensembles, as well as community groups who use the building. We were also delighted to be invited to display work from the Art department in the corridors and teaching spaces.
Last Friday, we were joined by parents of Year 7 pupils for a special poetry recital. Each pupil in Year 7 had spent time selecting and memorising a poem, and rehearsing its performance.
This process gives the children the opportunity to discuss the meaning and expression of different poems, along with examining the use of punctuation in poetry. Preparations for recitals themselves enable pupils to practise skills such as pronunciation, projection and use of pace. Valuable lessons are also learned about the importance of rehearsal and confidence.
Having performed singly or in pairs to their peers and teachers ahead of the full recital, I am very pleased to report that the performances on the day were excellent. Parents and staff were both impressed and entertained by a mixture of more reflective poems, including some original poems written by the pupils, alongside some poems which were designed to make us laugh. The children should be delighted with their efforts, and should have a real sense of achievement.
Rowing is a rapidly growing sport at St Faith’s with twelve Year 7 and 8 pupils taking part in regular sessions on the river, and another twelve using the rowing machines at school.
The children going to the river are developing their basic technique in a single scull and the video below shows a Year 8 pupil demonstrating great technique and impressive balance – for week 3 of the school year, this is quite an achievement. The children will progress into coxed quads in the coming weeks and are looking forward to developing their timing and teamwork. Our rowers often continue rowing at their senior schools and have gone on to compete at Henley and at National regattas.
Tomorrow morning we hope for good weather as the school grounds will be full of young ‘scavengers’, or as we know them better, Foundation pupils. Early on in the Michaelmas term, the youngest arrivals to the St Faith’s community are invited on a ‘treasure hunt’ around the school. As well as being a cause of great excitement, our youngest children are able to demonstrate to their parents how much they have learnt about their new surroundings, both in and beyond the Southfield Pre Prep playground.
I understand from the hard-working SFPA Committee, who once again are at the heart of this highly popular event, that there will be prizes on offer for the lucky winners. Whilst I have also been given to understand that I am not allowed to help with any of the clues directly, I am looking forward to providing enthusiastic encouragement and support!
Wishing you all a happy weekend,
Dr Crispin Hyde-Dunn