St Faith's School

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St Faith's School
St faiths logo.svg
Motto In fide fiducia
Established 1884
Type Independent preparatory school[1]
Headmaster Nigel Helliwell
Chair of Governors Sir A R Brenton KCMG
Location Trumpington Road
England England
Coordinates: 52°11′18″N 0°07′23″E / 52.1883°N 0.1230°E / 52.1883; 0.1230
Students c. 530
Gender co-educational
Ages 4–13
Houses Bentley, Chaucer, Latham, Newton
Staff 135, Teaching and Support [2]
Alumni Old Fidelians

St Faith's School is an independent preparatory day school on Trumpington Road, Cambridge, England, for boys and girls aged four to thirteen.[1] The present headmaster is Nigel Helliwell,[2] and the school has in excess of five hundred children. St Faith's is part of The Leys School and St Faith's Schools Foundation.


The school was founded by Ralph Shilleto Goodchild, a graduate of Christ’s College, around 1884.[3] It features under that name in Gwen Raverat's autobiographical account of her childhood, Period Piece.[4]

The Leys and St Faith's Foundation share the motto (In fide fiducia) and coat of arms.[5]

Until the 1990s, most classrooms were in converted Victorian houses. Since then, the school has built Ashburton, opened in 1999, a large red brick building. This contains the School Hall, where assemblies and plays take place, two purpose-built, fully equipped science laboratories, and other classrooms. The naming of the school's Ashburton Hall commemorates the evacuation of some of the boarders during the Second World War to the Golden Lion Hotel in Ashburton, on Dartmoor in Devon.

In June 2006, the school opened a new building for Music and Technology, named The Keynes Building in honour of old boys Maynard and Geoffrey Keynes.

In May 2011 a state of the art Sports Centre was opened by Geoffrey Windsor-Lewis, a prominent Old Fidelian.


The Pre Prep School[edit]

The Pre Prep school is for children aged 4 to 7 and is mainly based in Southfield House. Children are placed in Foundation, Year 1 or Year 2, according to their age. There is an average class size of fifteen to sixteen children in each of the classes with three classes in each year group from Foundation to Year 2. In 2012, construction of a new Foundation classroom was completed. The design of the classroom was supported by a £100,000 grant made to the school from the Technology Strategy Board as part of an innovative project involving Cambridge University and leading local building design engineers. The classroom, believed to be the first of its kind in Cambridge, is designed to a European building standard called Passivhaus, which means it will have excellent thermal performance, air-tightness and mechanical ventilation.

The Preparatory School[edit]

Years 3 and 4 are accommodated in the Newton and School House buildings, both adjacent to Newton Road. Each class has a form room where it remains for the year. There are four classrooms for each year. By this time the children have been formally introduced to a modern language, Spanish, which they continue to learn until they leave. Children are mostly taught by their class teacher, but there is subject specialist teaching in Spanish, Music, Engineering, Art, Drama, PE & Games and Computing.

Years 5 - 8 use the Firwood, Edenfield, Keynes, Leyspring and Ashburton buildings. Pupils have a tutor room which is used for registration and tutorials, but for lessons they move around to different classrooms. From Years 5 to 8, subject specialist teaching is increasingly deployed and children are grouped by ability in many subjects. Spanish is taught from the age of four and is integrated into school life with Spanish messages, displays, poems and prose widely displayed. Latin is introduced in Year 5 and French in Year 7. From Year 3 to 8 there are normally four classes in each year group.

School site[edit]

The School has a large site (9 acre site on Trupington Road with 20 acres of playing fields a minute's walk away on Latham Road), compared to other schools for children of prep school age in and around Cambridge. Ashburton contains the School Hall, the science laboratories, and other classrooms. The school office is on the ground floor of School House. The Keynes Building contains the music department, an ICT suite and the Engineering department. The school has a significant area of grass, used mainly for recreation during break times but also for some schools sports. Most formal games are played at Latham Road, a large grass sports field shared with The Leys School and laid out as rugby, hockey or cricket pitches, depending on the term. A sports hall has been constructed on the site of the demolished old gymnasium, adjacent to Newton Road. It opened on 27 May 2011 and its opening featured a special guest, the Mayor of Cambridge.

House system[edit]

On entering the prep school, Year 3 children are placed in one of the four houses and remain in that house group throughout their time at St Faith’s. The houses are named after four roads close to the school; these roads are named after famous British people and therefore indirectly so are the houses. The house groups provide pastoral and academic supervision, gentle competition, charity fund-raising and other activities. Pupils wear ties and polo shirts of their house's colour.

House Named After Colour
Bentley Richard Bentley, Master of Trinity College Dark Blue
Chaucer Geoffrey Chaucer Green
Latham Rev Henry Latham Light Blue
Newton Sir Isaac Newton Yellow

Latham's house colour was traditionally red, but was changed to a light blue colour so it could be seen when the house colour for each student was added to the tie. The school tie traditionally consisted of red and black diagonal stripes with a thin white line below each black line.

Admission, fees and scholarships[edit]

Fees for 2015-16 are between £3,815 and £4,810 a term, depending on age.[6]

An Independent Schools Inspection of St Faith's, in June 2011, reported the following ‘St Faith’s is highly and conspicuously successful in meeting its stated aims, especially those aspiring to achieve high academic standards, and provides an inspiring education and a stimulating curriculum’. Pupils’ achievement is ‘excellent’. Teaching across the school is ‘excellent’, as is pupils’ personal development and cultural and spiritual awareness. Pupils’ social development was also judged ‘outstanding’ with the pastoral support a major strength of the school.

The school's profile from The Good School Guide is highly complimentary and speaks of 'a child-centred educational philosophy that turns out sparky individuals with high all-round expectations and skills to meet them' and that 'St Faith's does well for all but can really extend those at the top, encouraging them to achieve at a national level'.

There is an open morning in the Autumn Term. Most admissions are at the ages of 4 and 7, but entry is also possible at other ages, while places are available. For the youngest children, places are offered by The Headmaster after a visit by the parents. From Year 3 onwards, admission to the school follows an assessment and interview.[7] In 2014, a record twenty-eight scholarships were achieved to Senior Schools.

Old Fidelians[edit]

Former pupils are called "Old Fidelians", and there is an Old Fidelian Society which helps the school, plays the school at sports, and holds events, including an annual dinner.

Old Fidelians include John Maynard Keynes, 1st Baron Keynes, the economist, his brother Sir Geoffrey Keynes, surgeon, biographer and bibliographer, and Charlie Darwin, the brother of Gwen Raverat, who wrote about the school in her book Period Piece.[4] They lived at Newnham Grange, now part of Darwin College, Cambridge, and their sister Margaret Darwin married Geoffrey Keynes. So the Darwins and the Keyneses, two important Cambridge families, have close links with St Faith's.


  1. ^ a b St Faith's is a member of the Incorporated Association of Preparatory Schools (IAPS).
  2. ^ a b >"Staff". St Faith's. Retrieved 17 November 2015. 
  3. ^ Trumpington Local History Group (2010). "The History of St Faith's School, Trumpington". Retrieved 2014-01-25. 
  4. ^ a b Period Piece: A Cambridge Childhood by Gwen Raverat (Faber & Faber, London, 1952) ISBN 1-904555-12-8 (hardback) ISBN 0-571-06742-5 (paperback)
  5. ^ Charity Commission. The Leys and St Faith's Foundation, registered charity no. 311436. 
  6. ^ Admissions page at (accessed 28 April 2014)
  7. ^ After St Faith's at (accessed 28 April 2014)
  8. ^ HARTREE, Douglas Rayner in Who Was Who 1897-2006 online (accessed 22 October 2007)
  9. ^ PEARCE-HIGGINS, Rev. Canon John Denis in Who Was Who 1897-2006 online (accessed 22 October 2007)
  10. ^ BROGAN, Prof. (Denis) Hugh (Vercingetorix) in Who's Who 2007 online (accessed 22 October 2007)
  11. ^ Contributors for Ascent at (accessed 22 October 2007)
  12. ^ TANZER, John Brian Camille (His Honour Judge Tanzer) in Who's Who 2007 online (accessed 22 October 2007)
  13. ^ "Jamie Murray lives in the shadow of his record-breaking kid brother Andy... but he's still his biggest fan and desperate to get a British Davis Cup triumph on their CVs". Mail Online. 10 October 2014. 

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