Towards the end of every term I present the Governing Body with a report on the extra-curricular activities that have taken place during the term. It is always a pleasure to report on these activities many of which are featured in the news section on this website. The report always highlights the quality of provision at Highfields and the willingness of many of our students to engage in their education beyond the classroom. Reviewing this term’s activities leaves me in no doubt that society’s expectations of young people are increasing all the time and that schools are working ever harder to meet these rising expectations.
It is no wonder then, that as we come to the end of a very long and busy term, there are many tired staff and students but also a very strong feeling of purpose and achievement and a clear sense of direction:
- Years 11 to 13 are very focused on their forthcoming exams and the school will be open throughout the Easter holidays for revision classes and support;
- Year 10 are just completing mock examinations after two terms of GCSE and BTEC courses,
- Whilst Year 9 are close to completing their Course Choices.
Although public examinations begin very soon after we return from the Easter holidays I do hope that people will take time to rest and recharge their batteries.
There have been several highlights this term. Presentation Evening way back in January was really enjoyable with 2012 Year 11 celebrating our best ever GCSE results with Rear Admiral Steve Lloyd. ‘Oliver’ was a great success with each performance a sell-out; it is marvellous to see such inclusive productions with different students playing lead roles on different nights. The whole production was based around teamwork and it was a delight to see all the students being so supportive of each other. The Cue Zone event with Snooker World Champion Steve Davis was a huge event and well covered by BBC Midlands Today. Students taking part in the event will have a lasting memory which they will probably tell their own children about in years to come. Plan to Succeed Day was another great success with the Year 11 team introducing a new format this year. Year 11 were fully engaged in the event and parental support in the evening was tremendous with many parents signing up for future workshops designed to help them support their child’s revision and preparation for GCSE examinations.
A personal highlight for me has been meeting with groups of students over lunch as part of a Student Voices exercise. A key part of our self-evaluation as a school is gathering the views and opinions of students; much of this is done through surveys but I also like to meet personally with groups of students and discuss their experience of Highfields. This is always interesting and informative and the students are always candid in their views and remarkably positive about Highfields. I always encourage them to be constructively critical of the school but there seems to be little they would like to change. They are a credit to Highfields, their parents and young people in general.
We have launched a major initiative this term to tackle the issue of chewing gum in school or rather, to address the problem of its disposal. We are all familiar with the unpleasant and costly consequences when gum is thoughtlessly dropped; it is very unsightly, it damages carpets, clothes and fabrics and is expensive to remove.
The Gumdrop is a clever recycling scheme which provides special containers for the disposal of chewing gum; these containers are then collected and recycled into products such as wellies, chairs, sunglasses and the actual containers for collecting gum in the first place! Students from the Eco-group have planned the locations of gumdrop containers and presented the scheme in assemblies.
Our intention is not to stop people chewing but persuade them to dispose of their gum responsibly and contribute to the recycling agenda. We are grateful to the Eco–group for their work and thank them for launching such an innovative solution to a difficult problem.
We are now planning to host a special eco-seminar to showcase the scheme amongst our other eco-initiatives, which will be attended by Eco Schools from across the city and representatives from organisations such as ‘Keep Britain Tidy’.
In the meantime... Happy Easter!