Rehearsals kick off for magical musical

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Rehearsals have kicked off for Highfields’ upcoming Lower School musical, Beauty And The Beast, which is set to wow crowds next year.

The magical musical will be staged by students from Years 7-9 between February 26th and 28th 2020.

The talented cast gathered for their first rehearsal ahead of the summer holidays, and performance staff said they got off to a great start.

Ms S Bishop, Highfields’ Head of Extra Curricular Performance, said: “We are delighted to bring the cast together to start rehearsals ahead of the summer holidays.

“Everyone involved thoroughly enjoyed a productive first rehearsal, and is very much looking forward to seeing the production take shape over the coming months.

“Beauty And The Beast is a firm family favourite and we’re excited to do it justice by bringing it to life in spectacular Highfields fashion.”

The show is one of two musical productions due to be staged in the next academic year.

Rehearsals are already well under way for a production of The Addams Family, which will be staged by students from Years 10 to 13 from November 6th-8th.

Summer Schools will be held for both casts, which will run during the first week of the holidays, from July 22nd-26th.

The Summer School, which will take place from 10am-3pm every day, promises to be a fun packed week during which students will rehearse for the upcoming shows whilst also making some props and costumes for both productions.

Posted on July 19, 2019 .

Out-of-this-world term ending to celebrate moon landing anniversary

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The 50th anniversary of the first moon landing is being celebrated with a range of activities and workshops to inspire students about hard work, perseverance and success.

On July 20th 1969, Neil Armstrong became the first person to step foot on the moon. The ‘Race To The Moon’ had triggered a huge surge in technological advances at the time, seeing more and more people inspired to make the move into STEM subjects – Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics – as they wanted to be a part of such an exciting enterprise.

Physics teacher, Miss L Prosser, said: “This makes it relevant to our students as we hope to inspire them in the same way. The ‘Race to Mars’ is now under way with more countries such as China, India and Israel now having the technological capabilities to be in the running, opening up new opportunities in STEM careers to our students.

“Earlier this year, President Donald Trump challenged NASA to ensure the USA are the first country to land a manned mission on Mars, echoing John F Kennedy’s vision in his ‘We choose to go to the Moon’ speech in 1962. Getting humans to Mars seems impossible but only as much as getting to the Moon was in 1969.

“The ‘Race to Mars’ will undoubtedly reinvigorate the Space industry and thus provide more diverse careers and opportunities for our students.”

As part of the celebrations to mark 50 years since the momentous moon landing, Highfields is staging a series of events and activities for students. As well as quizzes and competitions, all lessons will be specially designed to honour the amazing triumph, giving students the chance to design landers, investigate crater sizes, analyse poetry and bring to life drama pieces inspired by the event.

Miss Prosser added: “It is important that our students understand that hard work and perseverance can lead to great achievements.

“Setting themselves a goal and not resting until that goal is reached, then aiming even further is the only way to reach ‘infinity and beyond’.”

Posted on July 18, 2019 .

Sporting talent honoured at PE Legacy Awards

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Highfields’ sporting talent was honoured during a glittering awards ceremony, attended by inspirational Paralympic GB footballer Jack Rutter.

The school hosted its third PE Legacy Awards to celebrate the efforts and achievements of the school’s sporty students over the past academic year.

There was a total of 165 student nominations in 28 different categories on the night, including Captain/Leadership, Coaching, Effort, Attitude and Most Improved. Awards were also given out for Sports Person of the Year in each year group, as well as Dancer of the Year (for KS3 and KS4) and a Sixth Form Contribution Award. The awards were brought to a close in front of a sell-out crowd with the award for Sports Team of the Year, which went to the school’s Swim Squad.

Audience members were entertained with dance performances throughout the evening, whilst guest speaker, Jack Rutter, inspired the crowd with a motivational speech about overcoming adversity to succeed in sport. Having first been inspired to be a professional footballer by watching Eric Cantona on TV, Jack was signed to Birmingham City FC at the age of 18 and was on the verge of signing as a professional when he was knocked to the ground and suffered brain damage as a consequence. The incident forced his retirement from professional football in 2010.

A visit to the Headway charity in 2012 led to his discovery of football seven-a-side and Jack was inspired to get more involved after watching the London 2012 Paralympics. In acknowledgement of his leadership skills, Jack captained the England team at the 2014 CPISRA European Championships in Maia, Portugal where the team finished in 5th place. The following year, he led the England team to a 5th place finish which resulted in their qualification for Rio 2016. On his Paralympic debut Jack helped the Paralympics GB side to secure a fifth-place finish.

PE teacher, Ms L Stevenson, who organised the Legacy Awards event, said: “We are overwhelmed with superb commitment, strong leadership and outstanding personal performances at Highfields. We were delighted to stage our third PE Legacy Awards to celebrate students’ achievements, efforts and commitment to sport. It was another fantastic evening that ended the school term on a high. Congratulations to all of our nominees and students who won awards.”

Big winners on the night included Tilly McKenna-Fraser, Josh Climo, Sam Hipgrave, Georgia Derrick and Alice Gunning who each won the Sports Person of the Year award for their year group.

Posted on July 18, 2019 .

Budding engineers praised for innovative designs

Budding engineers have been praised for their innovative designs, which they created as part of a prestigious national scheme.

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Twelve talented Sixth Form students have spent months working with industry experts to bring their own designs to life as part of the national Engineering Education Scheme.

As part of the programme, which is run by the Engineering Development Trust, small teams of students from different schools work to design, build and present an engineering project that could be of significant use to a local engineering company.

This year, one team designed an Irradiated Fuel Cell Cutting System for nuclear waste, whilst the other group created a Prevention of Air Entrainment System for water treatment plants.

Both teams held weekly meetings with their sponsor engineers - Ansaldo Nuclear Engineering, based in Bilston, and Shifnal-based MMB Engineering - to make their designs a reality.

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As part of the programme, the teams also got to visit Loughborough University for a two-day residential, where they built prototypes of their projects using university facilities.

The teams worked towards an Assessment Day, which included the showcase of a completed prototype, a 40-page engineering report and also a 15-minute presentation.

In early May, the teams displayed their models at an event where over 300 students set up stands to display their projects and also made presentations which were assessed by a panel of judges comprising of business directors and engineers.

Physics teacher, Mr A Britton, who has supported the students throughout the programme, said: “The assessors commented on the excellent planning during the early stages, the quality of the well organised reports, and the very professional presentation and confident performance at the demonstration stand.

“The practicality and quality of the prototypes were judged to be excellent. Both teams were awarded with EES and Gold Industrial Cadets certificates.

“All of the students involved should feel very proud of their achievement.”

Posted on July 16, 2019 .

Students flying high at Spanish-themed RAF Cosford trip

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Languages students are flying high after putting their Spanish skills to the test to succeed in a series of team challenges.

A group of Year 9 students travelled to RAF Cosford for the Flying High in Languages Day.

As part of the event, the team had to design a model parachute, planning and budgeting the materials for their creation in Spanish.

Mrs A Darby, Highfields’ Head of Modern Foreign Languages, said: “The parachute had to be strong enough to carry a hard boiled egg and the groups all launched their parachutes at the end of the day.

“The Highfields parachute was fantastic and the egg remained in place.

“The students had to present in Spanish how they decided on the materials to use, and their thinking behind their design. Their presentation was most impressive and they spoke with confidence.”

The talented team also completed a survival task, which saw them listing 10 items in Spanish that they would take to a desert island and the reasons why, whilst their excellent teamwork skills saw them take first place in a code-breaking task.

As part of the day, which was attended by 15 schools, students also enjoyed talks and presentations by RAF staff about how languages are used in their working lives.

Mrs Darby added: “The students were a credit to the school. They were commended for their excellent team work, with student Callum McIntosh given a special mention. They also won the code-breaking task and were called up to the stage to collect a prize.

“All in all, it was a great day.

“The RAF are happy to come and talk to students in school and we hope to invite them into school early in the Spring Term ahead of Y8/Y9 options.”

Posted on July 16, 2019 .

Ghoulish musical stage show taking shape

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Rehearsals are well under way for Highfields’ upcoming showcase, The Addams Family - with talented cast members wowing crowds with a musical number from the production during the school’s Young Wolf Film Festival.

The Addams Family, which depicts a ghoulish American family with an affinity for all things macabre, will be staged from November 6th-8th and feature students from Years 10-13.

Performers have already been rehearsing for weeks to stage the show, and got the chance to test out one of the numbers on a live audience to kick off the Young Wolf Film Awards ceremony.

Ms S Bishop, Highfields’ Head of Extra Curricular Performance, said: “The rehearsals are going really well and the students are thoroughly enjoying being part of the production.

“They got the first chance to perform one of the numbers to a live audience as part of the Young Wolf Film Festival and they went down a storm. Everyone loved their performance, which is a great sign and a real boost for our fantastic cast.

“Putting together our shows takes a lot of work over a number of weeks, with the performers staying after school until 8pm every Thursday as well as some Saturdays. But the process is always such great fun and a wonderful experience for our students.

“They are all working incredibly hard to ensure The Addams Family is another amazing show.”

Another production, feel-good family favourite Beauty And The Beast, will be staged by students from Years 7-9 from February 26th-28th 2020.

Summer Schools will be held for both casts, which will run during the first week of the holidays, from July 22nd-26th.

The Summer School, which will take place from 10am-3pm every day, promises to be a fun packed week during which students will rehearse for the upcoming shows whilst also making some props and costumes for both productions.

Posted on July 12, 2019 .

Hollywood-style glitz and glamour on show at Highfields

The glitz and glamour - and even the gore - of Hollywood made its way to Highfields when the school hosted its second annual Young Wolf Film Festival.

The magic of the movies was brought to life during the week-long extravaganza, which celebrated all things film related whilst honouring the talents of budding directors, designers and performers from across the city.

The event kicked off on Monday 1st July with 'Movie Maker Monday'. Highfields welcomed dozens of students from City schools for a series of film-based practical workshops, including a professional make-up artist and special effects designer to create their own grotesque Hollywood-style injuries. They then used a green screen, along with digital and sound effects, to make their own short film, called Disasterquake 2, which paid homage to classic global disaster movies.

Day two of the festival saw 60 students experience the wonder of filmmaking first-hand with a trip to the Harry Potter Studio Tour.

The trip, which acted as a reward for members of Highfields Film Club from Years 9 and 10, gave students the chance to see the impact of the British film industry and the vast array of careers it offers, whilst taking part in active workshops entitled ‘Script to Screen’ and ‘Camera Choices’.

The third day of the event gave students and staff the chance to put their knowledge of the big screen to the test by taking part in a lunchtime movie quiz. Wolverhampton’s Lighthouse Cinema, a proud supporter of Highfields’ Film Studies department, donated tickets which were handed to the winners.

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The red carpet was rolled out on Thursday 4th July as the talents of budding young filmmakers was celebrated at the Young Wolf Awards. Students’ mini cinematic masterpieces that have been produced throughout the year were played to a sold-out audience in the school’s Lyceum, whilst crowds were entertained with a performance from the cast of this year’s Upper School musical production of The Addams Family.

Ian Francis, Director of Flatpack Film Festival, was special guest at the Oscars-style event. He handed out trophies and certificates to students in a range of categories, including Best Key Stage 3/4/5 film; Best Lone Wolf (awarded to students who had made films in their own time without help); Best written Film Review (picked by Simon Brew, Editor of Film Stories Magazine) and Best Silent Cinema film.

The night also acted as the world premiere of Disasterquake 2, with certificates given out to all of those who took part.

The festival was wrapped up in spectacular style on Friday 5th July as students used Hollywood soundtracks and themes to stage the annual Summer Song and Dance show in front of a packed audience. Following live performances of music, drama and dance, more than 100 visitors moved outside to watch a screening of Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse on a huge, inflatable outdoor cinema screen.

Crowds flocked with camping chairs and blankets for the Night At The Movies event, and were given hotdogs, burgers and popcorn to enjoy with the film.

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Film Studies teacher, Mr D Cooper, said: “The festival was another brilliant success. Students have got a lot out of the activities they have taken part in, and the guidance they have received from the experts.

“We have some incredibly talented students at Highfields who are very enthusiastic about the various elements of the filmmaking process.

“The festival brings hundreds of people together to celebrate the wonderful world of movies, whilst providing an excellent platform to celebrate the creativity of students.

“We look forward to seeing the filmmaking talents of our students develop even further over the next academic year so we can stage another successful festival in 2020.”

The Young Wolf Film Festival was first launched by Highfields in 2018 due to the success of the school’s award-winning Film Club.

Due to the increasing popularity of the subject in school, Film Studies was introduced to Year 9 students last year, whilst a GCSE course across Key Stage 4 was launched for the first time this academic year.

Posted on July 11, 2019 .

Summer Reading Challenge to nurture love of literature

Highfields is nurturing a love of literature by launching the school’s Summer Reading Challenge 2019.

The challenge, being run by the English department throughout the summer holidays, is open to all year groups and will involve students reading a range of different books from various categories. These could include a book that has been set in a foreign land or a fantasy world; a book that has been recommended by a friend or a family member, and a book that has been made into a film or TV programme.

Students taking part in the challenge will have to complete an electronic journal on the Show My Homework portal, to be sent back to Mrs Allen by Friday 27th September.

Everyone who takes part will receive a letter home, a certificate and a pin badge. They will also be entered into a prize draw for the chance of winning £25 worth of books, as well as getting the opportunity to take part in a workshop with award-winning author, Christopher Edge, at Highfields in October.

A list of selected books for each category are available to all students on Show my Homework. All of the listed books are available in the LRC.

Posted on July 11, 2019 .

Jude runner-up in City's Young Citizen of the Year award

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An inspirational Highfields student who refuses to let cerebral palsy get in the way of his sports journalism dreams made it to the final shortlist to be named the Wolverhampton Young Citizen of the Year.

Jude Aston (standing far right in the picture opposite - courtesy of Express & Star) was one of seven finalists for the award, which is run by the city’s Rotary Clubs and recognises the achievements of youngsters that go the extra mile to help others.

Football-mad Year 9 student Jude suffers from cerebral palsy but has refused to let the condition hold him back. He has made a name for himself as a prominent YouTube blogger and regular contributor on Highfields TV channel who gives motivational speeches encouraging others to overcome barriers in life. His blogging and vlogging skills are so highly regarded that he recently made it through to the final shortlist of the national Football Blogging Awards, which were held at a star-studded ceremony at Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium in May.

The 14-year-old was nominated for the title of Wolverhampton Citizen of the Year by Film Studies teacher, Mr D Cooper, and Meredith Teasdale, Wolverhampton City Council’s Director of Education.

He narrowly missed out on the award, coming runner-up to inspirational Samuel Iyawe, from Bilston, who arrived in the UK from Nigeria as a youngster and overcame a number of challenges to become the vice-chair of the city's Children in Care Council and a representative on the Youth Council.

A child in care himself, he helps to train social workers, leads staff interviews on the Children's Panel, and takes an active role in advising on issues affecting young people in the city, including knife crime.

Jude said he was overwhelmed to have even been nominated for the accolade.

He added: “I feel honoured to be nominated for such a prestigious award. It recognises people that make a difference within Wolverhampton so, as you can imagine, it is a privilege to have been in the final shortlist and recognised in this way.”

All seven finalists were presented with certificates by comic Gill Jordan, who plays Doreen Tipton and Wolverhampton Mayor, Claire Darke.

Now in its sixth year, the award is dedicated to former Wolverhampton Rotarian Tom Warren, who was the city's Director of Education for 25 years.

It is backed by the Express & Star, Wolverhampton Council, Waitrose, Wolverhampton Wanderers Trust, The Way Youth Zone, Wolverhampton West Magazine, Bilston Magazine and Wednesfield Magazine.

The achievements of all of the youngsters featured in the Express & Star article below:

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Posted on July 8, 2019 .

Induction days give students a taste of Highfields

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Primary school students due to join Highfields in September were given their first taste of life at the school during a two-day induction.

Year 6 pupils took part in a range of lessons, whilst meeting teachers, their Year Manager and fellow students from other primary schools.

Headteacher, Mr G Tate, said: “The induction period is a great opportunity for our new students to get a feel of Highfields before they start in September.

“During these days they enjoyed a range of lessons and activities, spent lunchtime with us and met their Year Manager and new classmates.

“The transition from primary to secondary school is a big step, but I am sure they will all be happy and successful at our school, and I was delighted welcome them for their induction.”

The induction period will be followed by a ‘New Parents Evening’ on Wednesday 10 July in the Lyceum. There will be two presentations at 5pm and 6:30pm from Mr Tate and Head of Lower School, Ms J Parker.

School uniform supplier, Lads & Lasses, will also be present during this evening and will be available from 4:30pm to 7pm to answer questions and take orders.

Mr Tate will also be available in school on Thursday 11 July between 11am and 12.30pm on a drop-in basis to answer any further questions.

Click here to learn more about Year 6 Transition.

Posted on July 3, 2019 .