Challenging activity days put students to the test

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Youngsters are getting to grips with the great outdoors as part of activity days in Wales, which allow them to test their teamwork skills and build confidence over a number of challenges.

Dozens of Year 8 students have already spent an action-packed two days in Mid Wales as part of the initiative, which aims to provide students with new experiences and life skills to support them through their school life. It also prepares students wanting to enrol on to the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award programme in Year 9 for the challenges they will face.

More groups of Year 8 students will complete the activity days over the coming weeks.

The first day takes place at Lake Vyrnwy, in conjunction with Bethania Adventure Activity Centre, and sees students working together to build a raft. They are also given the opportunity to canoe along sections of the reservoir to explore the history and geography of the area.

The second day sees students based from Llandrinio Outdoor Education Centre, where they are given the chance to attempt rock scrambling over Moel-Y-Golfa, the highest peak in the Breidden Hills.

Mr C Moody, PE teacher and Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Manager, said: “The students were able to look back at where they were last year, as Year 7 students, at Admiral Rodney’s Pillar, with many commenting on how they were enjoying the greater challenge this year.

“Their final afternoon on the second day is spent at the centre taking on a fresh set of team-building exercises.

“The two days allow the students to experience opportunities in a safe but challenging environment, which helps improve their self-confidence and resilience, but also their enjoyment of the outdoors which will hopefully lead to their enrolment on the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award scheme in Year 9.”

Posted on February 13, 2019 .

Premier League rewards trip for young football fans

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Football-mad students scored some world-class training as part of a thrilling behind-the-scenes trip to Manchester City FC.

Around 30 students took part in the training weekend, which kicked off with a tour of the grounds, football museum and Etihad Stadium, including the 5* facilities in the Players Lounge, circular home changing room and pitch-side dugout, complete with heated seats.

Students also enjoyed two sessions at Manchester City’s training ground, posed for photographs in the press conference room and watched Man City Ladies draw 2-2 with Chelsea.

They rounded off the football-focused weekend by watching Manchester City’s remarkable 6-0 thrashing of Chelsea to reclaim their position at the top of the Premier League.

Mr C Brickwood, Highfields’ Head of PE, said: “It was a wonderful opportunity for students to enjoy world-class coaching at an incredible training ground.

“All of the students on the trip have taken part in at least 15 hours of extra curricular activities, so this was a fitting reward for their dedication and commitment to sport.

“It was an amazing experience, and one which has really inspired our talented young footballers of the future.”

Posted on February 13, 2019 .

Tickets on sale for Little Shop of Horrors

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Tickets have gone on sale for the school’s upcoming musical production, Little Shop of Horrors.

Talented performers from Years 10-13 have spent months rehearsing for the showcase, which will be staged over three nights to a live audience in the school’s Lyceum Theatre from February 28th to March 2nd.

Little Shop of Horrors is a musical comedy horror about a florist shop worker who discovers his Venus Flytrap can talk.

Ms S Bishop, Highfields’ Head of Extra Curricular Performance, said: “It is a fantastic musical and one that I have personally wanted to stage at the school for a number of years.

“Rehearsals started in October and are going really well. We have different casts performing each night to showcase the incredible wealth of talent we have here at Highfields.

“It takes a lot of commitment and dedication to be part of our productions, with weekly rehearsals and some weekend rehearsals taking place over a number of months. Our cast, band and technical team will be continuing this hard work over the half term break, putting the finishing touches to what promises to be another fantastic show for the school.

“We’re delighted that tickets have now gone on sale and can’t wait for curtain-up. Please come along and show your support."

Little Shop of Horrors is the second musical production to be staged by Highfields in the 2018/19 academic year. The hugely successful Wizard of Oz was staged from November 7th - 10th and featured students from Years 7 to 9. Tickets for Little Shop Of Horrors are now on sale from the top floor LRC, costing £6 (£4 concessions).

Posted on February 12, 2019 .

Holocaust documentary created with help of former Highfields students

Two former Highfields students played a pivotal role in the creation of a poignant BBC documentary that brought a Holocaust survivor’s horrific experiences inside a concentration camp to life.

The Newsround special documentary, ‘Finding My Family: Holocaust’, was created as part of commemorations to mark Holocaust Memorial Day.

It follows Holocaust survivor Steven Frank as he takes his teenage granddaughter Maggie on a journey to learn about his experiences.

They visit Amsterdam to learn about his happy life there before the war, and what happened to Dutch Jews during Nazi occupation. They then travel to Terezin in the Czech Republic, where Steven was held, to learn about the horrors of life inside a concentration camp, before travelling to Auschwitz, where members of Steven’s family died.

Two former Highfields students, Maeve O’Sullivan and Joe Twilley, were part of the team that brought the moving documentary to life.

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Maeve left Highfields in 2008 and now works as an Assistant Producer on BBC Newsround.

Talking about her role in the documentary, she said: “I worked on the production from the initial casting process through to the final post-production phase. My role as Assistant Producer involved finding a family to take part in the documentary.

“I liaised with archivists and historians to help shape the documentary and set up permission to film in locations across Europe. I assisted on location during a week of filming across Amsterdam, the Czech Republic and Poland.”

Photograph: Holocaust Memorial Trust

Photograph: Holocaust Memorial Trust

Maeve was put in touch with Steven Frank and his family through fellow former Highfields student Joe, who works as Communications Manager for the Holocaust Memorial Trust, which runs the annual Holocaust Memorial Day on January 27th.

As part of his role, Joe encourages schools, workplaces, interfaith groups, councils, libraries and many more places to put on events and activities to mark the day.

He said: “It’s a particular privilege to be able to meet and speak with survivors of the Holocaust and more recent genocides as we share their experiences across the UK.

“I can’t claim too much credit for the documentary, but me and my colleagues at Holocaust Memorial Day Trust put the BBC in touch with Steven Frank. We’d worked with Steven before and he is a remarkable man who is so friendly and willing to talk about his experiences to educate others.

“I was with him recently doing some media interviews and he was full of praise for Maeve and the BBC team who travelled around Europe filming. It’s great to see the finished film and we know so many people have been watching it around Holocaust Memorial Day.”

To watch the film, click here

Posted on February 7, 2019 .

Packages donated to support city's homeless

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Kind-hearted students and staff have donated packages of toiletries, food and clothes to support homeless people in Wolverhampton.

Members of Highfields’ H.O.P.E Charity Committee launched the appeal for essential items - including toothbrushes, soap, crisps, soup, socks and tinned fruit - following the Christmas break in support of The Good Shepherd Ministry.

The charity assists the homeless and others in need in Wolverhampton, providing practical assistance in the form of food and toiletries.

It also assists people with home starter packs, registering their details with healthcare providers and banks, and encouraging them to take up hobbies to turn their lives around.

Mrs C Hartshorne, Highfields’ Head of Citizenship, said: “Our Charity Committee selects a number of good causes to support throughout the year. Following the Christmas break, they appealed to fellow students and staff to donate essential items to support homeless people in the city through the Good Shepherd Ministry.

“We are delighted to have packaged dozens of boxes of goods for the charity, which will make a real difference to the lives of people who are suffering from homelessness and poverty in the city.

“Thank you to everyone who donated items for this incredibly worthy cause.”

Posted on February 5, 2019 .

Hundreds attend Highfields' biggest Careers Fair

Hundreds of students were inspired to make the right choices for their future when Highfields staged its biggest Careers Fair to date.

Around 50 exhibitors packed two floors of the school to showcase their services during the event, which was open to all students from Year 9 through to Sixth Form.

A number of colleges, universities, training providers and employers from a range of industries were represented at the Careers Fair, including Irwin Mitchell Solicitors, The British Army, The Royal Navy, Barclays, Wolverhampton Grand Theatre, Wolves Women and Gunnebo.

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The event also featured Highfields’ annual Course Choice Evening, which saw presentations from Headteacher, Mr G Tate, as well as Mr P Rose, the school’s Head of Middle School and Careers Leader, to support Year 9 students in the process of choosing the correct subject choices for Upper School. Visitors were also given an insight into the the range of subjects on offer and what they involve with displays on the top floor.

Mr Rose said: “At Highfields School, we are fully committed to doing all that we can to ensure that all our students are fully aware and understand the possibilities open to them in every sector of employment and the huge variety of careers on offer to them.

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“As well as providing students with the academic foundation to succeed, we pride ourselves on the wide range of opportunities we provide, from Year 7 through to Year 13, for students to explore future pathways and receive quality advice and guidance so that they are able to make the right choices, whether that be Further Education, Higher Education, an Apprenticeship or employment.

“The Course Choice Evening and Careers Fair were a great success and the school was packed with students, parents and carers who came along to pick up valuable advice, guidance and information to allow them to make informed choices about their future direction.”

For more information on the Careers support Highfields offers students, click here

Posted on February 5, 2019 .

Tributes paid to former Deputy Headteacher

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The school was very saddened to hear of the sudden death last week of a former Deputy Headteacher – Mervyn Brooker.

Mervyn was appointed as a Deputy Headteacher in September 1988, at a very difficult time for Highfields, and he played an important role in the Senior Leadership Team as it sought to help the school move forward. His calm presence, good humour and professional integrity were much valued.

He had a very strong belief that everyone deserved the best education possible, both in and out of the classroom, and did his best to ensure that was the case for Highfields’ students. Mervyn was a passionate and excellent teacher of Geography and always sought to instil his love of the subject in his students. He was a very active supporter and participant of the Geography Department’s fieldwork activities, wherever they were and whatever the weather!

In his leadership role, Mervyn also worked tirelessly to support his colleagues’ professional development with generous encouragement, valuable advice, wisdom and good humour.

Whilst at Highfields, Mervyn helped to run several school sports teams, including soccer and cricket. He was a notably able cricketer, having previously played for Cambridgeshire and Staffordshire at county level, but Mervyn also had the ability to coach and encourage budding young Highfields players, many of whom are still playing at local clubs.

Mervyn went on to become the Headteacher of King Edwards Camp Hill and then Bolton School where his contributions to education continued to be of the highest standard. On his retirement, Mervyn returned to Wolverhampton, renewing his acquaintances with former colleagues and students, particularly when watching Wolverhampton Wanderers! He also expanded his fieldwork activities by undertaking numerous long distance walks in this country as well as climbing in Nepal.

He will be sadly missed by all who knew him and we send the condolences of the Highfields community to his wife, daughters and their families.

Posted on January 29, 2019 .

Highfields maintains position among City's top schools

Highfields has maintained its position among Wolverhampton’s top schools for both attainment and student progress in the latest performance tables.

Progress 8 and Attainment 8 - which mark students’ progress and achievements over eight GCSE subjects - are among the headline measures now used to calculate official school league table positions.

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Highfields recorded an Attainment 8 score of 50.7 out of 80, putting it in third position of the city’s schools in this category, whilst our Progress 8 score of 0.26 is above the national average and among the city’s top five schools. Progress 8 looks at the advances a pupil makes from the end of primary school to the end of secondary school, comparing students’ results with the achievements of other youngsters with the same prior attainment.

The league tables have also taken into account the fact that 56% of Highfields students achieved a strong pass (Grade 5 or above) in English and Maths - second only to Wolverhampton Girls’ High School.

Headteacher, Mr Graham Tate, said: “We are delighted to have maintained our position among the best schools in Wolverhampton for both progress and attainment. As always, it is testament to the hard work of our students and staff over many years, especially the tough months leading up to exams.

“Our current Year 11 students are already working hard in preparation for this year’s exams to maintain these excellent academic standards.”

Highfields celebrated another successful year of GCSE results in 2018, with 25 students achieving the highest Grade 9 rating, which is equivalent to an A** under the old grading system. In addition, an exceptional six students achieved three or more GCSE Grade 9s, placing them among the country’s elite.

Prior to 2017, the key metric of performance tables was the percentage of students achieving grade C or higher in five GCSE subjects, including English and maths.

Posted on January 28, 2019 .

Students get taste of careers in Health & Social Care

Sixth Form students enjoyed hands-on experience of a range of University courses, including healthcare, early years development and crime scene analysis, as part of an event encouraging them to look ahead to the future.

University College of Birmingham staged the ‘Future U’ event to give students a taste of a number of career options they may wish to pursue after Highfields.

Twelve Year 12 students went along to the event, which saw them complete five sessions, each focused on a different career path.

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Sessions included a health suite simulation, which focused on hygiene in hospitals, changing beds and taking temperatures, whilst a session in learning and play taught them the importance of play in the cognitive and emotional development of children.

Sessions were also staged in crime scene analysis, developmental baby massage and public health, which allowed them to look at obesity and alcoholism.

As part of the event, they also got the chance to question several lecturers about the wide range of courses available, and learn more about University life.

Miss E Williams, Health and Social Care teacher, said: “The students thoroughly enjoyed the visit and now have a much better insight into what they would like to do in the future.

“Quite a number of the students said they hadn't realised the range of courses on offer or what lessons/lectures would be like at University.”

One student said: “I enjoyed learning that University isn't all about lectures and sitting in a classroom. This visit has made me more excited about the course that I want to take and has made me consider going to UCB in the future.

“The event was really helpful and they gave us lots of information about what to expect at University. It has inspired me to look more in detail about what I would like to do in the future in Health and Social Care.”

Posted on January 28, 2019 .

Young engineers showcase their innovative designs

Talented Sixth Form students travelled to Loughborough University to work on their innovative engineering designs as part of a national project.

Two teams of Year 12 students have been working with industry experts to bring new designs to life as part of the prestigious Engineering Education Scheme.

One team is working on the creation of an Air Entrapment Solution, alongside professionals from Mott Macdonald Bentley, whilst the other group of budding engineers have partially built the prototype of their Nuclear Waste Dissector, which they have developed with the help of ANSALDO Nuclear.

Students were able to work on their projects using the facilities in Loughborough University’s engineering workshops and will now continue with their prototype builds after school and in weekly meetings with their supervising companies.

The national scheme is run by the Engineering Development Trust and allows small teams from different schools to take part in designing, building and presenting an engineering project that could be of significant use to a local engineering company.

Later this year, the teams will take part in a National Celebration and Assessment Day where they will get the chance to display their projects and present their work to a panel of judges.

Physics teacher, Mr A Britton, said: “The students all enjoyed the trip to Loughborough University and found it very useful.

“The MMB team built a test rig and carried out lots of experiments, whilst the ANSALDO team have managed to partially build their prototype.

“Both teams will now continue to work on their prototypes with their companies during weekly meetings in the school’s workshops.”

Posted on January 28, 2019 .