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St Faith's
St Faith's
St Faith's
St Faith's
top 200
St Faith's Cambridge, Cambridgeshire Visit
school
St Faith's
Cambridge
571 pupils, ages 4-13
Mixed
Day

St Faith's

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Our view

Excellent in every area, this Cambridge prep has holistic education down to a tee with stellar academics (the STEM provision is ground-breaking), sports, performing arts and pastoral care. Even in a city where competition is stiff, it stands out from the crowd.

Where?

The historic university city of Cambridge is rapidly becoming a world-leading FinTech and bio-tech hub. St Faith’s is on the outskirts (which makes traffic more manageable), on one of the main arterial routes into the city centre. Founded in 1884 and initially made up of four large Victorian houses, the school now has various purpose-built add-ons across nine acres of land (plus there are a further 20 acres of sports grounds a few minutes’ walk away).

The spectacular space-age £2m STEM hub – which has a glass-roof observatory, six telescopes and virtual reality headsets for pupils to study astronomy – is used for science, maths, computing, engineering, art and design.

Around 25 per cent of pupils cycle to school, which is encouraged, while a school minibus service shuffles pupils from the Park & Ride locations scattered around the city.

Head

Crispin Hyde-Dunn took up the headship two years ago and has wasted no time in introducing the concept of Tailored Education, which is the antithesis of the usual one-size-fits-all approach. There is a deliberately broad curriculum here, with pupils given choice wherever possible to encourage active learning and taught active listening skills.

The very academic Dr Hyde-Dunn (he’s got a PhD in art history) was previously head of The Dragon in Oxford and Abingdon Prep School, so he is well versed in running a high-achieving prep. He’s rightly proud of the school and the pupils’ achievements, but knows a good school is more than its results; a sense of belonging is just as important. He’s gone above and beyond meeting and greeting at the school gate to create a strong bond with parents, setting up a fabulous breakfast club that around 80 families attend every morning, ‘international afternoons’ where parents set up stalls to showcase the more than 30 cultures represented at the school, and myriad coffee mornings, scavenger hunts and sports events. Unsurprisingly, he’s well liked – for his acuity and energy, as well as his charming manner.

Admissions

Unlike many prep schools, there is an almost 50:50 balance of girls and boys. The main entry points are at Reception, and Years 3, 5 and 7. Four-year-olds come in for a taster day, while the older children will sit tests in maths, English, spelling and creative writing. Register as early as possible for 4+ entry, because places are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis and demand is currently very high. In other year groups, the application deadline is 30 November in the year before entry.

Many children come from professional, academic and high-ability, high-achieving families based in Cambridge and the city’s wider surroundings; there’s also a steady stream of London exiles joining the school roll.

Academics and senior school destinations

St Faith’s stands head and shoulders above the competition when it comes to STEM, which has been embedded in the syllabus for years (we hear that it receives frequent feedback from senior schools on the benefits). The school is leading the way with engineering as a core curriculum subject from Year 3, taught by those whose first career was in the industry – including head of engineering Dr Nicola Hoyle, who came from a suitably cool F1 and commercial film background.

Rather brilliantly, St Faith’s has also pioneered national training courses for teachers that bring together what children have already learnt in maths, science and computing. Computing is a key subject and St Faith’s is the first prep school to appoint a director of digital development who has written his own syllabus for all age groups. Pupils start to learn programming age five, so they are all fluent by the time they leave, and are taught robotics from Year 1.

The school curriculum isn't based around Common Entrance, which frees up the timetable; staff teach ‘top-down excellence’, meaning they plan lessons for the highest ability of the class, not the middle as is more usual practice. Pupils have embraced this change and academic standards have risen. Personalised learning starts from Reception, where support and extension tasks are used to tailor the learning to the individual (extension tasks kick in from foundation and setting from Year 5), which helps pupils become active learners and develop flexible, creative minds.

Rather than an iPad for every child, state-of-the-art classrooms have large interactive screens and computers that rise up from the desks when required. The thinking is that this is less distracting for younger ones and they can type using a proper keyboard. Younger pupils have access to a shared bank of iPads, and pupils in Years 7 and 8 use one-to-one devices. The school's digital learning vision is for pupils to learn how to exploit technology to enhance their learning, communication and creativity. 

Languages are strong: Spanish is taught from Reception, Latin from Year 5 and French from Year 6. In Years 7 and 8, pupils embark on a 10-week carousel of Arabic, Russian and German.

About 90 per cent of the children get into their next school of choice and, as the Cambridge market is almost as competitive as London, this is impressive. Around half of pupils go to The Leys (down the road and part of the same foundation – pupils can sit a bespoke maths and English assessment in Year 6 to secure an early place), the rest to other sought-after Cambridge schools (The Perse, Stephen Perse and St Mary’s) and boarding schools such as Rugby, Uppingham, Eton and Oundle (around 10 to 15 per cent). An average of 28 scholarships are won each year. Tellingly, around 10 per cent of the parent body were once students here themselves.


Co-curricular

St Faith’s has invested heavily in sports coaches to ensure that all teams, not just those at the top, are taught by first-rate staff, including coaches from Cambridge United Football Club who teach both boys and girls. And it is really paying off: the school regularly reaches national and regional finals – they’re competing nationally in hockey and gymnastics at the moment and regionally for rugby and cricket. 

When it comes to the arts, the school is top-notch too. Almost everyone learns at least one musical instrument and there are ensembles and choirs to hone performance skills. Drama is a priority too, with two large productions a year, as well as smaller performances. Art has specialist teachers and a bespoke art and design curriculum, which includes ceramics, sculpture and print-making.  

One of the most in-demand clubs on offer (with both pupils and parents) is the Goblins, where boys and girls design, build and race electric go-karts called green goblins as part of a national competition.

School community

This is a wonderfully unpretentious, friendly school. And despite the impressive results, there’s absolutely no sense whatsoever of it being pushy. St Faith’s has 20 different mother-tongue languages and a large number of pupils are bilingual (some trilingual), making for a rich, multicultural mix.

Inclusivity is a key tenet of the school, with all Year 8 pupils becoming prefects and given some form of responsibility – there is no single head boy or girl. Certificates are handed out to children who show acts of kindness (holding a door open, say, or being supportive to others). In Years 3 to 8, everyone is allocated one of four houses, and between the teachers, tutors and heads of house, any issues that arise can be sorted out.

An excellent learning support department has two full-time SEN teachers, two learning support assistants and Ralph, a big gentle therapy dog that pupils can pop in and see. There are formal ties with six local primary schools, plus it’s a lead school in the network of computing excellence, working with 20 schools to develop their IT infrastructure.

Over the past 17 years, St Faith’s has also partnered with a township school in South Africa, where it has built up pupil numbers and introduced initiatives such as a hot-food programme to ensure the children are fed before they go home. Year 7 and 8 students visit every other year.

As a day school, there’s a strong sense of community here – and parents are hugely supportive, loyal and involved with the school.

And finally...

A self-assured school that knows how to deliver education innovatively and engagingly, St Faith’s feels like a school that never stops striving to be better, always rewriting and amending every aspect of the curriculum to ensure pupils get the absolute best. A real contender for the best prep in Cambridge.

Gallery See All

Boys standing arm in arm outside wearing white shirts and red striped ties
Boy and a girl reading together on a bench outside
St Faith's pupils sitting outside in white shirts and ties
Drama production at St Faith's
Boy in a pale blue polo shirt jumping over a white athletics hurdle
boy and a girl in red jumpers playing outside
Two smiling girls wearing white polo shirts and navy sweatshirts
Boy in a striped blazer playing a harp
  • Senior school destinations

    Senior school destinations

    50% to The Leys, The Perse, St Mary’s, Uppingham, Harrow, Eton, King's Ely, Culford, Haileybury, Bedford, Felsted, Rugby, Oakham, Framlingham

  • Scholarships for senior schools

    Scholarships

    Academic7 The Leys, The Perse, St Mary's, Stephen Perse Foundation
    Music7 The Leys, The Perse, St Mary's, Stephen Perse Foundation
    Drama2 The Leys, Stephen Perse Foundation
    Sport15 The Leys, The Perse, St Mary's, Stephen Perse Foundation, Harrow, King's Ely
    Art4 The Leys, St Mary's, King's Ely
    OtherSTEM (1) The Leys


  • Fees and bursaries

    Day fees per term

    Nursery-
    Reception£5,505
    Year 1£5,505
    Year 2£5,505
    Year 3£6,760
    Year 4£6,760
    Year 5£6,935
    Year 6£6,935
    Year 7£6,935
    Year 8 £6,935




    Bursaries
    St Faith’s offers a limited number of means-tested bursaries to support pupils where parental means would be insufficient to meet the fees in their entirety. Bursaries, on a sliding scale, are awarded to pupils who we believe will gain most from a St Faith’s education, and who will contribute fully to the life of the school. These Bursaries may apply to new applicants or to existing pupils whose financial circumstances have changed.

    Bursary contact:
    Bursar Mr Richard Brent
    bursarpa@stfaiths.co.uk
  • SEND

    This school currently supports the following kinds of learning needs, health needs and physical disabilities:
    The school's Learning Support Department is there to help children make the very best of their education and they are pleased to be able to offer this support to children with a variety of short-term or long-term learning needs from Pre Prep to Year 8.

    This school currently delivers the following interventions to pupils in class and outside class to support their learning, health and/or physical needs:
    Class based and 1:1 support

    This school currently provides the following support for pupils' mental health needs
    The school offers a dedicated School Counsellor and a substantial pastoral support system. Pupils can access the 'I need to talk' function remotely or via drop boxes and select an adult they would like to talk to either virtually or in person

    Co-ordinator: Mrs Sophie Buchanan sbuchanan@stfaiths.co.uk
  • Transport links

    School Transport
    School daily bus network

    Public Transport
    Nearest mainline train station: Cambridge
    Journey time to London by train: 48 minutes
    Nearest international airport: Stansted Airport (26 miles)


School Updates

  • WATCH: St Faith's School Video

    WATCH: St Faith's School Video
  • Talk Education's all-through schools focus: The Leys & St Faith's

    Talk Education's all-through schools focus: The Leys & St Faith's
  • See St Faith's in our Town and Country Preps Focus

    From bucolic country preps to schools on the edge of buzzy market towns or slap bang in the centre of a city, there are a myriad of prep school options up and down the UK and within a daily minibus-ride of the Big Smoke. Use our guide to help with your search.
    See St Faith's in our Town and Country Preps Focus
  • WATCH: Engineering at St Faith's

    WATCH: Engineering at St Faith's
  • WATCH: Science at St Faith's

    WATCH: Science at St Faith's
  • WATCH: Sport at St Faith's

    WATCH: Sport at St Faith's
  • WATCH: St Faith's Pre-Prep

    WATCH: St Faith's Pre-Prep

Essentials

Address
Trumpington Road, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire CB2 8AG

Contact
info@stfaiths.co.uk
01223 352073

Website
stfaiths.co.uk

ISI Report

Fees

Term Dates

Bursaries


Open Days

Open days and how to visit View Open Days



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