Christmas cake creations to take centre stage in contest

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Sweet-toothed students have been dusting up on their cake-making skills as part of an annual Christmas Bake-Off competition.

Highfields has given Year 9 students the chance of whisking up their own cake creations based on the theme of Christmas.

Weekly after-school cake-making and cake decorating classes have now kicked off ahead of the competition, which will also feature students from four other city schools.

The semi-final of the contest is due to be held on December 12th, with the final taking place on December 19th.

The cake creations will be judged with the help of a professional baker from The Nuthouse Bakery, in Brierley Hill, with a host of prizes up for grabs.

Food Technology teacher, Miss E Williams, said: “Students enjoy learning new skills and being creative.

“Each week they learn a new cake decorating technique and then they can show off what they have learnt by designing their own Christmas Cake for the Bake Off Competition.

“They get to make new friends and will be working alongside students of the same age from different schools.

“There is a lot of culinary talent in the school and we're really looking forward to another fantastic event.”

Posted on November 28, 2018 .

Fantasy film inspires budding movie directors

Young movie fans visited a city cinema for the launch of a national film festival.

Around 50 students travelled to Cineworld, in Bentley Bridge, to attend the opening of the Into Film Festival, an annual national celebration of film and education for 5 to 19-year-olds.

The group, all members of Highfields’ Film Club from Years 7-10, watched Ready Player One, a fantasy adventure by Steven Spielberg that features scenes filmed in Birmingham.

The aim of the trip was to inspire their critical thinking and film analysis. They will each now write a film review which will be submitted to Into Film’s website for the chance of winning a prize.

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Posted on November 28, 2018 .

Highfields hosts Sixth Form Open Evening

Around 200 prospective students attended an Open Evening to get a glimpse of what is on offer at Highfields Sixth Form.

Students flocked to the event with their parents and carers, where they got the chance to speak to current Sixth Form students and staff about their work, curriculum, examination results and ‘life at Highfields’. They also got the chance to learn more about the extensive range of A-Level and Applied courses we offer and tour the school’s facilities.

Presentations were made by Head of Sixth Form, Mr S Pycroft, and members of the Student Leadership Team. Representatives from a number of universities were also on hand to provide advice about life after Highfields.

Mr Pycroft said: “Making your decision about Post 16 education is very important.

“It is always pleasing that so many of our Year 11 students choose to stay on to study at our Sixth Form and we were delighted to host this Open Evening so other students could get a feel of what we have to offer.

“Highfields is proud of its thriving Sixth Form, which offers an extensive range of courses. We have a reputation for providing high quality teaching in a supportive, friendly and challenging environment, giving our students the best possible foundations to succeed on whatever life path they choose after Sixth Form. We have extensive links with Higher Education institutions and a fantastic record of our students joining universities, including Oxford, Cambridge and the Russell Group.

“Our ethos is about having high expectations within a supportive and friendly environment.

“Our Open Evening was a great success and it was wonderful to welcome so many people through the doors to give them a flavour of our Sixth Form."

For more information about our Sixth Form, please email spycroft@hswv.co.uk

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Posted on November 21, 2018 .

Students take their seats on Wolverhampton Youth Council

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Budding politicians have stepped up to become the voice of their peers and will now represent Highfields on Wolverhampton’s Youth Council.

Anna Tabner and Samantha Hughes, both from Year 11, along with Shaan Bahia, from Year 8, attended a presentation evening celebrating their elections to the Youth Council. They were presented with certificates by the City’s Mayor, Councillor Phil Page, during the event.

The Youth Council, which formed in 2001, has evolved into a group for young people to make sure their views are considered by decision makers in Wolverhampton, as well as providing extra scrutiny for councillors.

Anna, Samantha and Shaan are among dozens of students from across Wolverhampton who will represent the views of all of the city’s young people as they confront decision makers about issues affecting their communities.

Shaan said: “I have always had an interest in politics; I enjoyed seeing MPs on the TV debating and putting their arguments across for what they believe is right. Then I thought about how much I would like to get involved with the Youth Council, especially after having an assembly for our year group about this topic.

“I feel honoured to be selected and it means a lot to me. I cannot wait to become part of a team, and put my views across to help young people in Wolverhampton.

“I am hoping to ensure that the young voices of Wolverhampton are heard, and to support them to hopefully make a difference; to gain new and unforgettable experiences, and make new friends.”

Samantha said: “I want to make a difference to young people in Wolverhampton in coming years and make the next generation of Wolverhampton a better one.

“It means a lot to be elected on to the Youth Council because I now get the opportunity to get my opinion across to the people that can change things in Wolverhampton.

“I'm hoping to improve the lives of young people in Wolverhampton.”

Posted on November 21, 2018 .

Lest We Forget

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Students and staff hosted a packed programme of Remembrance activities to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War, and honour those who fought and died for our freedom.

As part of the week-long programme of Remembrance, special assemblies were held to teach students more about the Great War, whilst there was also a poetry competition and poppy sales, which have raised around £160 for the Royal British Legion. A further £42 was raised for the Poppy Appeal in a raffle for a commemorative ‘Tommy’ figurine.

Lectures were held during lunchtimes highlighting lesser-known facts about the war, including how Britain treated the men who refused to fight, how women kept the war effort going, how the country was aided by Canada, India and Australia, as well as the conflict from a German perspective.

More than 120 people attended two screenings of Peter Jackson’s extraordinary film, They Shall Not Grow Old, which brings the frontline to life using remastered footage and the voices of the soldiers who were there.

Students, staff and Parents/Carers also got creative to make their own plastic poppies using old drinks bottles, which have been used to form a stunning display outside the school’s front entrance.

The Remembrance activities were staged after dozens of students travelled to Ypres - the location of three significant and devastating battles between 1914 and 1918 - to honour those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

Miss J Tappenden, Highfields’ Head of History, said: “As this Armistice day marked 100 years since the end of the First World War we wanted to do something really special to mark the occasion, teach students about the horrific realities of the conflict, and honour those who fought and died.

“We put on dozens of activities, including two screenings of Peter Jackson’s stunning film, They Shall Not Grow Old, held special assemblies and ran lectures which were really well attended.

“We asked for students, staff and Parents/Carers to put their creative skills to good use to make plastic poppies for our display outside school, and we were overwhelmed with the response. The display looks stunning and is a fitting tribute to those who made the ultimate sacrifice - many who signed up to fight at the same age as some of our students are now.

“It was so positive to see so many students and staff taking part in all of our Remembrance activities by learning about, and honouring, those who gave so much for our freedom.”

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Posted on November 20, 2018 .

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 .