Highfields raises hundreds for Children in Need

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Students and staff wore fancy dress and battled it out in Tug of War competitions to raise hundreds of pounds for Children in Need.

More than 200 fundraisers gathered in the Sports Hall to take part in the charity challenges. Students also donated £1 to the charity to wear official Children in Need merchandise or spotty t-shirts and ties.

Their efforts have raised almost £800 for the campaign.

Ms J Parker, Head of Lower School who organised the fundraising activities, said: “We wanted to do something fun that would get lots of our students and staff involved to raise hundreds of pounds for the Children in Need campaign.

“I was overwhelmed by the response. It was wonderful to see so many people taking part, having a great time and raising so much money for this worthy cause.”

Highfields throws its weight behind the Children in Need campaign every year and has staged a Mannequin Challenge and danceathon in the past.

Children in Need is the BBC’s charity which works to change the lives of disabled children and young people in the UK. It has raised more than £972 million since it was launched in 1980.

Posted on November 16, 2018 .

Musical classic brought to life with a bang

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Talented young stars put on sparkling performances to wow audiences when they brought classic musical, The Wizard of Oz, to life on stage.

The toe-tapping production featured students from Years 7-9 and was performed over four nights following weeks of rehearsals.

The first show, on November 7th, included the school’s annual fireworks display, which wowed the crowds and kicked off the run of performances with a bang.

Ms S Bishop, Head of Extra Curricular Performance, said: “The cast delivered some fantastic performances.

“We had four students taking on the role of Dorothy to allow us to showcase the wealth of talent we have at Highfields, whilst the supporting cast changed each night too. Each of the students playing Dorothy brought different qualities to the iconic role and all of the students involved have been an absolute credit to the school. Their teamwork and focus throughout the entire process has shown a maturity far beyond their years.

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“It was a very technical show, and the first time we used back projection and pyrotechnics in the Lyceum, which was a huge success.

“The audience feedback has been incredibly positive and I am proud of the entire cast for doing such an amazing job bringing this heart-warming and funny show to life, and leaving our audience clicking their heels together and saying, ‘there’s no place like Highfields!”

The show is one of two huge productions being staged by the school this academic year for the first time. The school’s older students are already rehearsing for their version of rock musical, Little Shop of Horrors, which will be staged over three nights in 2019.

Posted on November 14, 2018 .

Ofsted inspectors full of praise for Highfields

Highfields has retained its overall ‘good’ rating following our recent short Ofsted inspection - with recommendations for a further full inspection due to marked improvements that indicate our overall rating could increase to ‘outstanding’.

From the quality of teaching, curriculum and leadership to safeguarding, ‘exemplary’ student behaviour and attitudes to learning - Ofsted inspectors were full of praise for the school.

Ofsted visited Highfields to carry out the Section 8 inspection on Wednesday 10th October. The visit was the first short inspection carried out since the school was judged to be ‘Good’ in March 2011.

As we were only inspected under the Section 8 framework, this means it was not possible for us to improve our current OFSTED judgement and that we will have to wait a year or two to see whether we really are outstanding. However, the inspection team were clearly of the view that we may well be or else they would not have recommended that our next inspection be under the Section 5 framework.

In an official inspection letter, Ofsted Inspector Mark Howes, said: “The leadership team has maintained the good quality of education in the school since the last inspection. Based on the evidence gathered during this short inspection, I am of the opinion that the school has demonstrated strong practice and marked improvement in specific areas. This may indicate that the school has improved significantly overall. Therefore, I am recommending that the school’s next inspection be a section 5 inspection.

"The school is calm and orderly with exemplary pupil behaviour. The positive relationships between staff and pupils are a key strength of the school and help promote a strong culture of mutual respect. Pupils have excellent attitudes to learning. Parents and carers are overwhelmingly positive about the school and are proud to be members of its community. One parent, who responded to Parent View, summed up the views of many when they wrote, ’This is a fantastic school with superb facilities and great teachers.’

“Outcomes for pupils have been consistently high for several years. Your focus on the quality of teaching, learning and assessment has meant that pupils make substantial and sustained progress in the vast majority of subjects. Your leadership team has a strong understanding of the quality of teaching, learning and assessment across the school and has created a culture where staff routinely reflect on their own practice.

“Governors are extremely passionate about the school. They speak proudly about the school’s achievements and constantly strive for further improvement. The governors have an accurate understanding of the school’s strengths and provide strong challenge to the leadership team in how to enhance their performance further.

“The school has a happy and harmonious atmosphere which puts safeguarding and pupil welfare at the heart of its core purpose. Staff know their pupils exceptionally well and understand their needs. Year managers work closely as a team and meet regularly to discuss concerns that are raised. Consequently, staff are swift in dealing with referrals using their strong links with external agencies to ensure that pupils get the right support.

“Pupils feel well cared for at the school. When speaking with the inspection team, all pupils stated that they feel safe in all parts of the school and that bullying is very rare. They expressed great confidence in staff dealing with any problems they might face. The curriculum provides pupils with information on how to stay safe. For example, pupils are taught how to use the internet safely and its potential risks. Almost all parents who responded to Parent View said that pupils are safe in school, as did all staff who completed their inspection questionnaire.”

Headteacher, Mr G Tate, said: “We are delighted that inspectors were able to recognise the work that goes on at Highfields every day. We feel that the report captures the ethos and spirit of the school very well and the high expectations that we have for all of our students.

“The outcome of this inspection is the best that could be achieved under the short inspection framework as the inspection team confirmed that the school’s Governing Body and Leadership and Management Team have ensured that that the school continues to improve in all areas.

“Our broad and balanced curriculum, alongside consistently high quality teaching, learning and assessment, mean that students receive rich and diverse learning experiences across the curriculum and beyond.

“All of the students were an absolute credit to the school and their families; their behaviour and conduct were exemplary at all times. Their pride in their school was evident; they were confident, articulate and eager to share their experiences of their time at Highfields.

“Parents’ survey feedback was overwhelmingly positive and supported our view of the school as one in which every child really does matter. Students were equally positive in their view of the school in which they feel safe, well supported and challenged to do their very best.

“We were, if truth be known, slightly disappointed that after seven years without an inspection we were only inspected under the Section 8 framework. This does mean that it was not possible for us to improve our current OFSTED judgement and that we will have to wait a year or two to see whether we really are outstanding. The inspection team were clearly of the view that we may well be or else they would not have recommended that our next inspection be under the Section 5 framework.

“I would like to take this opportunity to extend our very sincere thanks to all of the staff who work so hard every day to make Highfields the school that it is. “Likewise, we really appreciate the tremendous contribution made by our students on a daily basis and the extraordinary support that they receive at home.

“As ever, despite the very positive outcome of the inspection, please be assured that we shall not be resting on our laurels and will continue to do our very utmost to provide the best possible quality of education for all of our students.”

Download a copy of the full inspection letter (PDF)

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Posted on November 12, 2018 .

Curtain-up on Wizard Of Oz

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Talented young performers are preparing for curtain-up on Highfields’ latest stage spectacular, The Wizard of Oz.

After weeks of rehearsals, the cast are delighted to be celebrating the first performance of the musical classic tonight (Wednesday 7th November) - with theatre fans urged to get their hands on the last remaining tickets.

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The toe-tapping production features students from Years 7-9 and will be performed over the next four nights. (November 7th-10th)

Tonight’s show starts at 6.30pm and includes a firework finale and food. Tickets for this performance are all £5. Tickets for the remaining shows, which start at 7.30pm, cost £5 for adults and £3 concessions.

Ms S Bishop, Head of Extra Curricular Performance, said: “We are delighted that it’s finally showtime after weeks of rehearsals.

“Our students have worked extremely hard since the start of term to perfect their performances ready for curtain-up.

“They have shown real commitment and dedication, coming along to after-school rehearsals every week, as well as giving up some of their Saturdays.

“The cast were very focused, energetic and enthusiastic at the technical rehearsal, even after running the show through four times with each different Dorothy!

“It is a very technical show, and the first time we have used back projection and pyrotechnics in the Lyceum, so fingers crossed for a smooth run with no technical difficulties. The show is running at approximately one hour with no interval.

'We hope to see you at one of the shows. Please come along to support our fantastic students. There are some great performances, some great tunes and some real Highfields comedy moments!”

Tickets are available from the Humanities LRC.

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Posted on November 7, 2018 .

Highfields remembers sacrifices made in Great War

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Students travelled to Belgium to pay tribute to those who fought and died in the First World War - and are now preparing to create a spectacular display of poppies outside school to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of the conflict.

Forty students from Years 10-13 visited Ypres - the location of three significant and devastating battles between 1914 and 1918 - to honour those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.

During the three-day trip, students visited a number of important landmarks, including Lijssenthoek Cemetery, Talbot House, the In Flanders Fields Museum, Langemark German Cemetery, Sanctuary Wood and Hill 62, The Peace Tower and the ‘Trenches of Death’ - the last line of Belgian defence.

They also visited Tyne Cot, the largest Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemetery in the world, as well as Essex Farm Cemetery - the site where John McCrae wrote his famous poem, ‘In Flanders Field’.

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The highlight of the excursion was the Menin Gate Last Post ceremony, which saw four Year 11 students - Jordh Sidhu, Jack Bladon, Elise Savannah and Courtney Brice - lay a wreath on behalf of Highfields School in front of hundreds of visitors.

After returning from the trip, staff from the school’s History department have now planned a number of activities to mark the Great War, including the creation of a sea of poppies at the front of school, based on the stunning display at the Tower of London.

Students, parents/carers and staff are being encouraged to create their own poppies from plastic bottles to form part of the display to mark Armistice Day, using the instructions in this link:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oVcsBo-VT5A

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Miss Tappenden said: “This Armistice Day marks 100 years since the end of the First World War and to mark the occasion we are planning a spectacular display of poppies, similar to that at the Tower of London, at the front of the school building.

“We hope to get as many students, parents/carers and staff involved in the project; the more poppies we have, the more spectacular the display!

“We shall be asking students to make their poppies from plastic bottles using instructions from the link.

“With half term approaching it is a fantastic opportunity for students to get making their poppies. The deadline for the completion of poppies will be the morning of Friday 9th November so that construction of the display can begin on Friday afternoon and be completed in time for Remembrance Sunday and for students’ arrival at school the following Monday morning.

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“It is hoped this will be a lasting legacy of the visit and a reminder for many years to come of the significance of the war, the sacrifices made by so many, and the eventual peace which arose from it. Thank you in advance for all of your support!”

In addition to the poppy display, Highfields will also be hosting a week of special assemblies dedicated to the Great War from November 5th, whilst a screening of Peter Jackson’s ‘They Shall Not Grow Old’ will be held in the lecture theatre the week after Remembrance Sunday. Please find a full schedule of activities below.

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Posted on October 24, 2018 .

Parliament visit for budding politicians

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Budding politicians got the chance to see UK democracy in action during a trip to the capital to witness MPs debating the issue of Universal Credit in the Houses of Parliament.

Twenty-seven students from Year 8 watched a live debate in the House of Commons, toured the landmark Palace of Westminster, and took part in a workshop about the Suffragette movement and the importance of  voting in the UK. 

They also got the chance to quiz Wolverhampton South East MP, Eleanor Smith, about her role.

Citizenship teacher, Ms C Hartshorne, said: “It was a great opportunity for our students to get a better insight into the voting system in the UK and see democracy in action.

“Not everybody gets the opportunity to watch live debates in the House of Commons or sit down with an MP in the Palace of Westminster to discuss politics.

“All of the students were delightful and a credit to the school. They thoroughly enjoyed the experience.”

As part of the trip, students also took a step back in time to get a glimpse of 1,000 years of history at the famous London Dungeon tourist attraction, which brings to life macabre historical events.

Posted on October 22, 2018 .

Tickets on sale for Wizard of Oz

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Tickets have gone on sale for the school’s upcoming stage show, The Wizard of Oz.

Talented students from Years 7-9 have been rehearsing for weeks to bring the much-loved musical classic to life on stage.

They are due to wow audiences over four nights from November 7-10.

Ms S Bishop, Head of Extra Curricular Performance, said: “Our students have worked extremely hard since the start of term to perfect their performances ready for curtain up.

“They have shown real commitment and dedication, coming along to after-school rehearsals every week, as well as giving up some of their Saturdays.

“We have four students playing the part of Dorothy so we can showcase the wealth of talent we have in school, and the cast are so excited that they’re even running a little light-hearted competition between themselves to see who can sell the most tickets!

“Our tech team are also working incredibly hard with special effects and back projection being used for the first time. It promises to be a real treat for audiences.

“We cannot wait for show time.”

The first show, on Wednesday 7th November, starts at 6.30pm and includes a firework finale and food. Tickets for this performance are £5.

All other shows start at 7.30pm. Tickets cost £5 for adults and £3 concessions.

They are available from the Humanities LRC.

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Posted on October 19, 2018 .

Textbooks donated to orphaned African youngsters

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A batch of Science and Maths textbooks have been donated to charity to support the education of poverty-stricken African youngsters.

Dozens of books which have been become out of date due to recent changes to GCSE specifications were handed over to the Penny Appeal charity, which Highfields’ Teaching Assistant, Mr A Hasib has links with.

The books have been distributed through the charity’s Gambia office to the Chow School of Excellence.

The school has 309 students, the majority of which are orphans that are under the custodianship of Penny Appeal and its donors. 

Charity spokesman, Mr Nazim Ali Tasadiq, said: “Since its inception, the school has been faced with problem of inadequate availability of both teaching and learning materials such as textbooks.

“The subject areas most affected are Mathematics and Science, which can lead to poor performances of students in these subject areas.

“Learning is a multifaceted activity that puts students’ motivation and physical condition to the test. Effective learning cannot take place in an school environment where teaching and learning materials are grossly inadequate.

“The majority of the students are from very poor families who would typically have very little access to a relevant and quality education. As a result, their chances of transiting to higher levels of education in the future can be jeopardised attributed to this problem if it is not addressed. Many of them may drop out of the educational system thus becoming liabilities for their families and country at large. 

“Considering this context, it shows the importance of the distribution of the books that have been donated. We are hopeful the books will increase the level of performance of the students now that they will have adequate resources.”

Penny Appeal is an Islamic charity that helps a number of causes throughout the world, including feeding people in more than 30 crisis-hit countries, providing emergency response to war and natural disasters, and providing safe, clean drinking water to the world’s poorest people.

Posted on October 19, 2018 .

Ofsted inspectors visit Highfields

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Staff and students were delighted to be able to showcase the school to Ofsted inspectors.

Ofsted visited the school to carry out a Section 8 inspection on Wednesday 10th October.

Although we are unable to share the results of the inspection at this stage, Highfields Headteacher, Mr G Tate, has praised students for being such a credit to the school.

He said: “Although at this point we are unable to share with you the judgement of the inspection until Ofsted have been through the full process of quality assurance, I would just like to give you a flavour of the day.

“We were absolutely delighted to be able to showcase the work of the school to the inspection team. Students were an absolute credit to the school and their families; their behaviour and conduct were exemplary at all times. During the inspection the students’ pride in their school was evident; they were confident, articulate and eager to share their experiences of their time at Highfields.

“Could I take this opportunity to thank you for your overwhelming support through your survey responses and to those of you who took the time to personally comment on the work of the school. I am very pleased to say that the inspection team were able to recognise and appreciate the strengths of the school and the broad and balanced curriculum that allows our students to be so successful.

“Please be assured that as soon as the judgement has been validated by Ofsted we will issue a letter from them with the full outcomes from the inspection.”

Posted on October 12, 2018 .

Students to honour WW1 heroes during Ypres visit

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Students will honour those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom during an emotionally-charged visit to Belgium to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War.

The trip is one of a number of activities lined up by the school to mark the centenary and remember those who fought, and those who lost their lives.

On Thursday 18th October, 40 students from Years 10-13 will visit the area of Ypres - the location of three significant and devastating battles between 1914 and 1918.

Miss J Tappenden, Highfields’ Head of History, will lead the visit, which is one of many the school has organised to Ypres over the past 15 years.

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This year’s visit is made all the more significant as it gives students the chance to witness, and be part of, huge wider international efforts to commemorate the war.

During the three-day trip, students will visit a number of important landmarks including commonwealth war grave sites, the In Flanders Fields Museum, as well as preserved trenches and battlefield sites. 

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The highlight of the excursion is sure to be the Menin Gate Last Post ceremony, in which four students in full school uniform will lay a wreath on behalf of Highfields in front of hundreds of visitors.

Following the trip, staff from the school’s History department have planned to run a number of special assemblies dedicated to the Great War, whilst students will be encouraged to create memorial pieces in school to mark the anniversary of the end of the war on November 11th.

Miss Tappenden said: “Students who are visiting Ypres will use their experiences to be part of, and lead, other students in the creation of a memorial in school. 

“It is hoped this will be a lasting legacy of the visit and a reminder for many years to come of the significance of the war, the sacrifices made by so many, and the eventual peace which arose from it.”

Follow the progress of the Ypres visit on Twitter @HistoryHSWV

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Posted on October 10, 2018 .