Dear Parents,

As we end the week, today alone has been one that demonstrates all that makes Fairstead special – an open day, fixtures, trips, and a wanted wolf!

This morning we held our second Open Morning event of the academic year, which delighted visitors with musical performances from the Lion King Jr as well as Harry on the piano.  The children in Year 6 then took the visitors on a tour of the school, to see all the exciting learning that was taken place.  The feedback about the tour guides was glowing, with compliments on confidence, knowledge of the school and pride.

This afternoon, the U9 boys took part in a tag rugby fixture against Brookes on the Severals; the girls played hockey at South Lee and earlier in the week there was an athletics event. This highlights the range of sports events on offer, please read below to read more about the sports this week.  Details of future fixtures to allow parents to continue their support on the touchline will be emailed this week.

Sport

I am thrilled to share the highlights from an action-packed week of sports at Fairstead. Children showed determination, skill, and sportsmanship in a series of competitive fixtures.

Wednesday: U11 Girls Netball and Boys Hockey

Our U11 girls’ netball teams played against teams from South Lee, Barnardiston, and Culford. The results varied, with some wins and losses, but the focus remained on learning and growth. The ‘A’ team is eagerly anticipating another festival at Old Buckenham Hall this Saturday, and we send them our best wishes. Meanwhile, the boys travelled to King’s Ely for hockey matches against Stephen Perse, creating memorable moments of camaraderie and sportsmanship.

Thursday: Year 4 Indoor Athletics

Thursday evening saw our Year 4 pupils shine in an indoor athletics competition. From hurdles to running, throwing, and jumping, our students embraced the challenge. In an impressive feat, the girls, along with Octavia from Year 3, secured 2nd place out of 16 schools. Overall, Fairstead claimed the 4th position, emphasising the enjoyment and competitive spirit that characterised the event.

Friday: U9 Rugby and Hockey

The developmental journey of our U9 rugby and hockey teams continued on Friday with exciting fixtures against Brookes (Rugby), South Lee, and St Margaret’s (Hockey). Hosting the rugby fixtures, our boys showcased exceptional sportsmanship, welcoming our guests with pride. These fixtures provided valuable experiences, contributing to the ongoing growth and development of our young athletes in these sports.

Congratulations to all the students who participated for their dedication, enthusiasm, and sportsmanship. As we celebrate these achievements, we eagerly anticipate more thrilling sports events in the weeks to come.

Assembly

In assembly this week, we shared a digital version of the Community Links booklet showing trips, visits and fundraising efforts from the start of the academic year.  The children discussed the meaning of the word ‘community’ and enjoyed seeing how Fairstead House has been part of both local communities and larger ones too, especially when visiting different locations.  If parents would like to see the booklets, they are available from the School Office.

On Friday, a number of children were awarded certificates for their achievements throughout the week.  It was wonderful to see classes awarded with certificates for their excellent effort in music lessons and also for superb exemplar behaviour on trips.

Class Music

Year 1

In class music we use stories and fairy tales as a starting point for composition and improvisation. In the story of Jack and the Beanstalk we used the gathering drums for the giant’s footsteps and his roar, and the chime bar ladder to represent the ascending and descending scale when Jack climbed up and down the beanstalk.

Year 2

In class music this term, our first project started with listening to Paula Dukas’ ‘The Sorcerer’s Apprentice’ and watching Walt Disney’s animated film – Fantasia. Ted Dewan retells the story but uses an inventor and robot instead of a wizard and Mickey Mouse (the apprentice). Pupils were keen to use Ted Dewan’s version. Pupils were organised into groups to compose and select percussion instruments to represent the main parts for the story – the chaos in the inventor’s workshop, the creation of little robot, then lots of robots multiplying and finally an explosion at the end. Lots of fun was had and everyone worked so well together. Well done.

Lion King Rehearsals

Years 3-6 – The Lion King

Pupils having been working hard to memorise song lyrics and scripts as well as choreographed dances for our school production – The Lion King. They even performed a couple of the songs at the Open Morning. Keep up the great work.

Reception

The focus in Reception this week has been all about birds and a big bad wolf! 

The children have had great fun preparing for the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch which is taking place this weekend. They enjoyed listening to a story called ‘The Big Bird Boost’ and were super ‘Thinkasauruses’, as they discussed some very effective ways to protect the birds in their local area. 

The children made bird feeders in school, and they are very excited to add them to their gardens this weekend, to see which birds they attract. They also decided that binoculars would be useful to help them with all their bird spotting, and so they soon got to work in the creative area too! 

It is not only the birds which have had some help from the children in Reception this week. Everyone has been very kind in helping the police to try and find the wolf, by making some super ‘Wanted’ posters. Working as a team and building the Three Little Pigs a new home in the forest was another very kind gesture. Testing it to see if it was ‘wolf proof’ was great fun! Thankfully, it was such a super structure, nothing could blow it down! Not even Mr Rix and his leaf blower!  

A big thank you to Year 1 for being such fabulous Surprise Readers this week. It was a super treat to hear the children independently reading animal stories to their friends in Reception.  

Have a wonderful weekend everyone and happy bird spotting!  

Year 1

In RE this term, we have been learning about Judaism. It has been fascinating learning about Jewish beliefs, culture and some of their festivals! On Monday, we visited Beth Shalom Reform Synagogue in Cambridge where we met Liz. Liz taught us all about her Jewish faith and showed us what a typical Shabbat service would look like. We wore kippah hats and used a yad to read part of the Torah. Our favourite part of the morning was putting the Torah back into the Ark. What a wonderful learning experience!

Year 2

Year 2 have been learning all about the Arctic and its main predator – the polar bear! In English we have been reading ‘The Ice Bear’ by Jackie Morris. It is a wonderful tale set ‘in the beginning of time’ and has polar bears, ravens (the trickster) and humans at its heart. We have been learning all about simile, making predictions and working on our descriptive language trying to match the amazing vocabulary in the book. We have read almost all the way to the end… we will be making predictions about the ending – it was a huge cliff-hanger! In maths, we have started learning about equal groups and repeated addition in preparation for multiplication and division, which we will begin next week. Remember to keep up the TT Rockstars practice! In humanities and science, we have been learning about habitats, temperature zones and the animal adaptations. We have been trying hard to develop our collaborative and teamworking skills with our group activities to support our PSHE learning. Well done for a wonderful week!

Year 3

This week, Year 3 have been so excited to find out about Mary Anning’s life and contribution to palaeontology. We have been finding out about Mary Anning to support our science lessons on fossils. The children were so inspired by her story and created the most beautiful double-page spread information pages. They plotted timelines of her discoveries and found out about her childhood. As a class, we couldn’t believe that Mary didn’t receive the recognition and credit at the time for her amazing work. In topic, we plotted and analysed line graphs and bar graphs to show the rainfall and temperature of the rainforest. We also completed our diagrams showing the layers of the rainforest with text boxes to explain what plants and animals are found in each layer. We are thoroughly enjoying our topic, ‘Rainforest Calling’. 

Year 4

Having thought about writing persuasive pieces with the aim of convincing people whether it is better to live in a burrow or The Store, we are now turning our attentions to the characters themselves.  However, this time, the children will be writing and performing a speech.  In order to help this, we had a session based on the riddle “As I was going to St. Ives”.  We used this to develop the children’s diction and enunciation as well as their ability to project their voice when outside and inside without shouting.  Then, in class, we looked at different techniques to persuade people including the power of three, rhetorical questions and repetition.  Next week, we will continue to develop the skills as well as think about the language we could use in our speech before writing and performing them.

Year 5

The Year 5s have been working hard in so many areas this week.  Whether they were using formulas in spreadsheets to calculate area and volume of shapes or writing balanced essays about whether computer games could be good for us, or improving their skills in division methods to solve problems, they enjoyed their learning and were successful.  Their effort has been incredible and many have received headteacher’s awards as a result, from many teachers.

Today they conducted an investigation into the best conductors to use in a circuit, using data loggers to measure light.  Then they had to report their finding in a short presentation to say which conductor would be best to use in a circuit.  They even got to test some silver-though we discovered that the purity of a certain teacher’s wedding ring was perhaps less than what they had been led to believe.  So a great learning day for science; not such a great one for family heirlooms!

Year 6

Year 5-6 had a very exciting start to the week when they spent Tuesday morning at Wagamama in Bury St Edmund’s. We were warmly welcomed by the whole team – especially Izzy, Isaac and Evie – who had prepared some interesting and well-organised activities. Once sat down at the restaurant tables, the children decorated and added their name to a mini chef’s hat before being put into three groups. The first activity was to juice their own healthy drink; the children chose from eight bowls containing lime, lemon, ginger, cucumber, spinach, melon, apple and pineapple. There were some very green and frothy concoctions! The second activity was to follow a Wagamama menu and weigh out several ingredients – noodles, mangetout, pepper and sweetcorn; once bagged up, the dish was sent to the kitchen for the chefs to add further ingredients – sauce, chicken etc – all of which were cooked there and then and served up as a delicious, early lunch! The chefs were very keen for Mr Peace and Mrs Meyer to choose from the menu, encouraging us to pick any dish! Finally, the children were given chopsticks and taken to a table with a dozen or so ramekins of Wagamama ingredients, including pickled ginger, udon noodles, kimchi and bamboo shoots. The team at Bury St Edmund’s were truly outstanding and topped off the morning by sending us all home with a tote bag of goodies. What a wonderful school trip and a truly memorable celebration of Asian cuisine!

Have a lovely weekend!

Michael Radford