The Spring Term is always a rather hectic one, and this one has certainly lived up to expectations. It is at this time of year that the pressure really starts to mount on our students; as they enter that cycle of school exams, revision, intervention, and final preparation before examinations in the summer. Added to this, the school has been a hive of activity with the fantastic school production, a number of appearances in the media and a visit from a government minister.
It was very pleasing to see us doing so well in the School Performance Tables this year at both Key Stages 4 and 5. I do wonder whether this has perhaps attracted some additional attention to the school and placed us a little in the media spotlight this term. It has certainly been a great opportunity to showcase some of the excellent work that goes on at Highfields on a daily basis, and a great privilege to welcome so many visitors to the school.
Both Nick Gibb MP, Minister for School Reform, and Paul Uppal MP were both very impressed with the quality of the work that is going on within STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and equally with how clearly the students they met from STEM Club and Digital Leaders were able to articulate their ambitions for the future.
We also made the press for our work on apprenticeships, with the focus this term on supporting Year 9s in considering their next steps for making their Key Stage Course Choices. These very important decisions are part of the foundation for Further Education and the world of work, especially with a growing number of apprenticeships now available to school leavers.
There has been some excellent additional work in providing a real life context to their learning for students involved in hosting a national ‘Kick it Out’ event in school. This national organisation selected our school for its outstanding facilities and diverse community. Also Economics, Business and Computing students have been successfully competing in a national competition to develop a digital technology business concept. Although many Highfields teams were successful in reaching the second stage of the iDEAS competition, hosted in the Barclays Headquarters at Canary Wharf, one group has now reached the competition final. The challenge now is to develop their concept further, with support from a team of business ‘dragons’ – we wish them every success.
We, of course, also featured on Midlands Today last week as part of a story on the issue of school admissions. It is great news that we are so popular as a first choice for parents: what is clear is that an ever-increasing number of parents are wanting a place for their child at Highfields. I think that the school looked fantastic and although I won’t be applying for my Equity card any time soon, I do feel that Highfields came over in a really positive light.
If we ever needed reminding of just how talented and committed a group of youngsters we have, for those of you who were fortunate enough to see this year’s school production of ‘Hairspray’, I am sure you will join me in congratulating everyone involved on an amazing set of performances.
The overwhelming view is that this was the best school performance yet, and one which has really raised the bar for future shows. It really did have it all; superb music and sound, amazing choreography, a huge and inclusive cast, an incredibly committed backstage crew, some spectacular individual performances and, more than anything, an overriding sense of fun!
The students looked so confident and self-assured in their performances, there is no doubt that they thoroughly enjoyed those opportunities. This high quality production was the result of undoubted hard work and commitment - rehearsals after school, on weekends and during holidays.
I am sure that they, and the audiences they thrilled, would want me to thank all of those staff who supported them but particularly Mrs Bishop, Mrs Jevon, Ms Ross, Mrs Staunton and Vickie Nash, without whom the performance would not have been possible.