Talented students named among country's academic elite

IMG_3201.JPG

Highfields is especially proud of three of its highest achieving students, who between them achieved a total of 29 Grade 9 grades, placing them among the country’s elite.

This year, 837 GCSE students taking at least seven GCSEs scored a clean sweep of Grade 9s in all subjects, making up just 0.1% of the 700,000 teenagers who took exams in England this summer.

This makes the achievement of Joseph Regan even more impressive - with a clean sweep of 11 Grade 9 GCSE grades in English Language; English Literature; Maths; Biology; Physics; Chemistry; History; Business Studies; Spanish; Design Technology and Citizenship.

IMG_3246.JPG

Joseph said he was delighted that all of his hard work had paid off.

He added: “I was confident that I had done well in my exams but I never imagined I would get a full set of Grade 9s, especially in Spanish because the exam was so difficult.”

Although he is still unsure which career path to pursue in the future, he is looking forward to studying for A-Levels at Highfields Sixth Form in Maths, Economics and English Literature.

Also joining this elite group of Grade 9 students are Sara Malik, who achieved 10 Grade 9s and one Grade 8 GCSE (in English Language; English Literature; Maths; Biology; Physics; Chemistry; Geography; History; Computer Science; Spanish and Citizenship) and Anika Patel, who achieved eight Grade 9s, two Grade 8s and one Grade 7 (in English Language; English Literature; Maths; Biology; Physics; Chemistry; Geography; Computer Science; Spanish; Business Studies and Citizenship). Both students will be continuing their studies in the Sixth Form. Sara - who dreams of one day studying medicine at University and becoming a doctor - will be taking her A-Levels in Biology, Chemistry and Maths, with Anika choosing to study Maths, Physics and Computer Science.

Sara said: “I was just so relieved and happy with my results. My family was very happy, and my mum couldn’t stop crying outside!”

Anika said she couldn’t believe she’d opened the right envelope.

“I was hoping for one or two Grade 9s but nothing like this,” she added. “Being among the national elite is quite surreal. My family are very proud.”

Mrs N Clifton, Head of Upper School, said she is absolutely delighted that their hard work and talent had been recognised and rewarded.

But she said she was equally delighted by the performances of all students this year, and that seeing the sheer joy on students’ faces when they opened envelopes to realise that they had got the Grade 4 or 5 in a subject they had worked so hard on was what made it all so worthwhile.

Find more details of our GCSE results here.

DSC_0334+edit+2.jpg

Posted on August 28, 2019 .

Celebrations for record-breaking GCSE results

Highfields is delighted to be celebrating another record-breaking set of GCSE results for the school.

DSC_0334 edit 2.jpg

Students raised the bar to attain higher grades than last year, with 80% of students achieving a standard pass (Grade 4 or above) in both English and Maths. In addition, 56% of students attained a strong pass (Grade 5 or above) in both English and Maths.

DSC_0297.JPG

A total of 51% of students achieved at least one 9-7 grade, with 31% of students attaining three or more 9-7 grades.

Special recognition goes to Sara Malik, Joseph Regan, Anika Patel, Louise Saul-Braddock, Preanna Patel, Dillan Sandhu, Adam Maltby and Arran Jakhu, who achieved an outstanding 48 Grade 9s between them.

In addition, Smile Singh, Jasmine Johal, Lucy Evans and Leighton Pugh also deserve special acknowledgment for their excellent set of GCSE results and for having made the most progress of all students this year.

Mrs N Clifton, Head of Upper School, said: “We are very proud and pleased that our students continue to achieve more, year on year.

“We would like to offer our congratulations to students, parents and staff for their fabulous achievements and fantastic progress made.”

Posted on August 22, 2019 .

Students celebrate A-Level success

IMG_8557.JPG

Students are celebrating positive AS and A-Level results, with record numbers of students now preparing to move on to university.

Sixth Form students achieved a 100% pass rate - 73% of them being A*-C grades.

Thirty per cent of students achieved A*-A grades in Science and Maths, 11 of them being the top A* grade.

IMG_8591.JPG

This year has been the most successful in the school’s history for university applications, with 123 students offered university places.

Special mention must also go to Summa Bains, who achieved three A*s in Biology, Chemistry and Mathematics, and Jacob Davis, who also got three A*s in Chemistry, Mathematics and Physics. Roshan Koli (pictured left) achieved an A* in Mathematics, A* in Physics and A in Further Mathematics.

Mr Steve Pycroft, Head of Sixth Form, said: “We are incredibly proud of our A-Level students. They have achieved fantastic results, with more students than ever before being successful with their university applications.

“The students have worked incredibly hard during their time at Highfields and fully deserve their rewards.

“I wish them the very best of luck for the future.”

Posted on August 15, 2019 .

Musical showcases in spotlight at Summer School

Talented young performers gave up some of their summer break to rehearse for the school’s two upcoming musical productions.

Dozens of students preparing to stage The Addams Family and Beauty And The Beast spent a week of their holiday at a performance Summer School.

IMG_3088.JPG

As part of their action-packed week, they continued to learn lines, perfect show-stopping musical numbers and make props.

Rehearsals for The Addams Family have been ongoing since Easter, with cast members wowing live audiences with teaser performances of some of the show’s hit songs during the school’s recent Summer Showcase and Young Wolf Film Awards.

The show will be staged by students from Years 10 to 13 from November 5th-8th.

Budding performers from Years 7-9 will then stage the magical musical, Beauty And The Beast, between February 26th and 28th 2020.

IMG_3111.JPG

Rehearsals for the production kicked off just ahead of the summer break.

Ms S Bishop, Highfields’ Head of Extra Curricular Performance, said: “Our musical productions are always a huge success, and that is down to the dedication of all of the students involved.

“Whilst the school broke up for summer, our talented performers gave up the first week of their holidays to continue working on our upcoming shows.

“They worked incredibly hard throughout the week, but also had lots of fun rehearsing and creating props.

“Both productions are firm family favourites and we are excited to be bringing them to life in spectacular Highfields fashion.”

Posted on August 13, 2019 .

Students learn about horrors of Hitler's Third Reich on history trip

Birkenau.jpg

The horrors of Hitler’s Third Reich were put into the spotlight for students, as they stepped back into the past to learn more about the brutality of the Second World War and the millions of innocent lives lost during an emotionally-charged trip to Germany and Poland.

The week-long coach trip to Berlin and Krakow is an established fixture on the school calendar which takes place every two years and allows students to reflect on the inhumanity and brutality of the Second World War.

The trip, which took place from July 16th - 23rd, allowed the 39 students from Years 10 and 11 to develop their knowledge of the rise of the Nazis, the Holocaust and The Cold War.

The students, who were accompanied by seven members of staff, spent three days in Berlin where they visited sites with dark memories of the Nazis. They also saw the remnants of the divided city, the eastern part of which was stranded in the Communist block until 1989 when the Berlin Wall came down, and visited other important landmarks including the DDR Museum, Wannsee and German Bundestag.

Miss J Tappenden, Highfields’ Head of History who organised the trip, said: “Whilst in Berlin, students embarked upon a walking tour of the city, investigating its deep and rich history, from its establishment as a medieval city right through to its significance in both World Wars, the rise of the Nazi Party, its hosting of the Olympics in 1936 and its division by the Berlin Wall in 1961 through to 1989.  

“Students were also able to walk along the East Side Gallery to see a preserved section of the Berlin Wall, visit the DDR museum dedicated to life under Communist rule and enjoy some free time exploring the heart of the city.

“On the second day, students visited Wannsee, a beautiful outer city location on a picturesque lake, frequented by Berliners in the first part of the 20th century as a holiday destination for those looking to escape the city for a few days. It was here that key members of the Nazi Party met in 1941 to finalise the plans for what they named 'The Final Solution', the systematic murder of European Jews in purpose-built gas chambers such as those at Auschwitz Birkenau.  

“The large idyllic house is now dedicated as a museum and information centre, featuring a large number of displays about the stages of The Holocaust. Later that day we headed back to the centre of Berlin where students toured the Reichstag building.”

Reichstag represents the heart of German democracy, and was famously burned in January 1933 within weeks of Hitler's appointment as Chancellor. Having used the event to secure emergency powers and the Enabling Act, in which freedom of press, freedoms of privacy and freedom of political choice were suppressed, this act is widely cited by historians as one of the events which led to Hitler's eventual rise as a dictator in August 1934.

The building was effectively abandoned from this point onwards, as Hitler never chose it to be the centre of his political power.  

The Soviets seized, damaged and graffitied the building after taking Berlin in 1945 and, after Berlin's subsequent division later that year during the Potsdam Conference, the building stood in the heart of the east, where again it was ignored as a centre of politics. Berlin lost its capital status with the west formally recognising Bonn as their capital.  

After the wall came down in 1989, and both Berlin and Germany began its reunification process, Berlin was finally recognised once again as the capital city of Germany in 1990. The Government began the process of reinstalling the Reichstag building as its political home. Renovations and repairs were finally completed in 1998, with British architect Norman Foster designing and building the famous glass dome as a sign of transparency in German politics after 70 years of turmoil and division.

Following the tour of Berlin, the group then travelled to Poland and the medieval city of Krakow where students got an insight into the tragic consequences of decisions taken at Wannsee. Students spent a sombre morning touring the vast and horrifying Auschwitz I and Birkenau death camps, set up in the Second World War by the Nazis with the express purpose of eliminating the Jews and other minorities.

Auschwitz I, the concentration or 'work' camp was the first stop on the tour. The group entered the site under the famous iron gates spelling out ‘Arbeit Macht Frei' (work makes you free), before being given a tour of the barracks to see for themselves the appalling conditions in which prisoners were kept.  

Miss Tappenden said: “There are deeply moving displays of shoes, human hair, suitcases, clothes and glasses, as well as a case full of empty Zyklon B canisters - the poison used by SS Guards to gas Jews. These displays were very hard hitting and moved students in different ways.

Auschwitz.jpg

“Students were also able to walk through the one gas chamber at this camp, where fingernail marks are still clearly visible on walls.”

Students then moved to Auschwitz II (Birkenau) ‘death camp’, where they saw the iconic watch tower and railway lines, frequently seen in films and documentaries about The Holocaust. Although its several gas chambers are no longer intact after being destroyed by the Nazis who blew them up in an attempt to hide the true horrors of Auschwitz one they realised the war was lost, students were able to soberly reflect on its tragic and brutal history as they walked the 1km length of railway track to the memorial now in place for the many innocent men, women and children who died.

It is estimated that the SS and police deported at least 1.3 million people to the Auschwitz camp complex between 1940 and 1945. Of these deportees, approximately 1.1 million people were murdered there.

Miss Tappenden added: “What struck me and the students most was that this is the largest cemetery in the world, yet there is not one single grave.”

Later in the day, students were given some free time to explore and visit the famous Salt Mines to show that there is more to the history of Krakow than just the Holocaust.

On the final day of the trip, staff led students on a walking tour of Krakow, including to Kazimierz, the 'Jewish Quarter' of the city. Back in 1939 when the Nazis invaded Poland, the Jewish population of Kazimierz was 70,000. Of those, 50,000 were ‘resettled’ within the first 12 months of occupation. In 1941, when the Nazis established the Podgorze Ghetto on the other side of the river, the remaining 20,000 Jews were forced to pack up all of their belongings and cross that river into the walls of the ghetto.  

Miss Tappenden said: “We made this journey ourselves, pausing to reflect on the significance of the bridge as we crossed. Almost immediately, we entered what is now named Ghetto Heroes Square, where a memorial featuring scattered chairs has been created.

“The chairs symbolise the many possessions the Jews took into the ghetto with them, many of which were thrown from buildings overlooking this square as the Nazis liquidated the ghetto between June 1942 and March 1943.  

“Students were also able to see the 'Eagle Pharmacy', where Tadeusz Pankiewicz - the only non-Jewish citizen to remain within the ghetto wall - lived and worked. His first-hand accounts of what happened within the ghetto were used to help Steven Speilberg film the iconic 'Schindler's List’.

“From here we made the short walk to Oskar Schindler's enamel factory. Between this site and a further factory in Czechoslovakia, Schindler was able to save the lives of 1,100 Krakow Jews. We visited one of two remaining sections of the ghetto wall just around the corner from here and then crossed back into Kazimierz, where we stopped our tour outside Poland's oldest surviving synagogue. The Nazis used this as a warehouse during the war, causing much damage as they left. Now restored and a museum dedicated to Jewish life in Krakow, we learned here that only 2,000 of the 20,000 Jews forced into the Podgorze Ghetto survived The Holocaust.”

Students finished the trip with some free time in Krakow's Old Square before heading home.

Miss Tappenden said: “Our students were exceptionally grateful to have been given this experience. I know they were moved in so many ways, and each of them individually has taken so much from the experience, witnessing evidence from the past that is just so important.  

“At Highfields, embracing diversity, promoting tolerance and challenging discrimination is at the very heart of our history curriculum. This visit offers students a wealth of opportunity to see for themselves the potentially tragic consequences of overlooking those values.”

Plans are already in place for the next visit to Berlin and Krakow in July 2021. The trip will be available to all students who are studying in Years 10-13 on that date.

Posted on August 1, 2019 .

School's out for summer!

School’s out for summer - and it broke up in spectacular style with an action-packed last few days of term, including a fun-filled Summer Showcase and end-of-term concert.

Highfields threw open its doors to families and members of the local community for the Summer Showcase, which incorporated this year’s Sports Day.

Crowds were entertained with a packed programme of events and activities, including dance and drama displays, performances by the school choir, arts & crafts stalls, enterprise challenges and showcases of students’ work.

IMG_2959.JPG

Staff got involved in a range of fun-filled challenges, including ‘Beat The Goalie’, Egg & Spoon Race, Welly Wanging, and a Tug of War competition.

Refreshments were served throughout the day, whilst money was raised for Guide Dogs through the sale of students’ crafts and cakes. Dozens of students competed in a range of disciplines in the Sports Day element of the event, breaking a number of school sporting records in the process.

Ms J Parker, Head of Lower School who organised the event, said: “Many thanks to everyone who came along and took part - students and staff in particular, but also members of the local community and partner organisations who work alongside us in school.

“We have received so many positive comments about the day. It was a wonderful way to mark the start of summer.”

The term was officially brought to a close in annual toe-tapping style with the end-of-term Summer Concert.

Dozens of musicians and singers took to the stage to entertain a sell-out crowd with musical numbers from a range of genres.

Ms S Bishop, Head of Extra Curricular Performance, said: “We have so many talented performers in school so it was great to have such an enthusiastic audience coming out to support them on stage.

“We had a range of performances to suit all musical tastes. It was great to end the school term on a high.”

Posted on July 22, 2019 .

Rehearsals kick off for magical musical

IMG-20190717-WA0002.jpg

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

IMG_3019.JPG

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

DSC_0342.jpg

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.

Watch: Our students leaving their legacy:

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.

DSC_8244.jpg

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.

DSC_8249.jpg

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 .