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 .

Fitness course sees runners go from 'Couch to 5k'

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Students, staff and their families have been pulling on their running shoes as part of a Highfields-run community fitness drive based on the national ‘Couch to 5k’ campaign.

Dozens of people have participated in weekly 45-minute sessions over the past term to build up their fitness levels.

After weeks of training, many of the group turned out at Wolverhampton’s West Park to complete a 5k run in glorious sunshine to showcase their achievements, before celebrating their success with a team meal.

As part of the programme, members of the group have learnt about the benefits of running and pace setting to help them achieve the final 5k goal.

Mr C Brickwood, Highfields’ Head of PE, who ran the programme, said: “We are delighted with how many people turned up each week to improve their fitness levels.

“The C25k course is open to all levels of fitness and all running abilities from novice to advanced, and provides an ideal opportunity for people to exercise with their family.

“There has been a fantastic atmosphere each week, with everyone going away enjoying the sessions. The final session of the C25k programme was the run in West Park. It was a fantastic morning, with glorious sunshine and everyone who took part setting a personal best.”

Despite the Couch to 5k course being complete, training sessions will continue until the summer holidays for anyone wanting to improve their fitness levels. Runs will take place around The Hamble, on Hamble Road, from 6.30pm every Thursday.

Posted on June 27, 2019 .

Creative talents on show in published children's book

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The creative talents of a Highfields alumna and current Sixth Form student are bringing the magic of reading to life for youngsters with the publication of their first children’s book.

The book, ’My Mum The Superhero’, has been written by Charlene Hemans, a former Highfields student who now works as a Business Administrator at neighbouring Penn Fields School, with illustrations by Sixth Form student Shelley Batt.

Inspired by her own children and how she hopes they perceive her, the book follows the story of a young girl's view of her Mum and how she manages everything she does like a superhero.

The collaboration between Shelley and Charlene - who is also a singer, songwriter and poet - came about by accident when Shelley popped into neighbouring Penn Fields to speak to a friend’s parent. During the visit, Charlene overheard reference to the student's artistic talents, and soon the newly-formed dream team were working together to bring the story to life in print.

Charlene, who lives in Wolverhampton with her husband and two children, said: I had an image of how I wanted the illustrations to appear and I had undertaken discussions with other potential illustrators prior to meeting Shelley, but once I talked to Shelley and listened to her ideas, I knew she was perfect for the job.

“She got them bang on and it felt as if she could read my mind.”

Shelley, who is currently studying A-Levels in Psychology, English and Textiles, said: ”The process took me a long time and I made a lot of sacrifices, especially when trying to work to deadlines in order to be ready for my exams, but I absolutely loved creating the illustrations.”

Charlene has plans for a sequel and Shelley will start working on these illustrations once her exams have been completed.

My Mum The Superhero can be purchased directly from Charlene at Penn Fields School, and is also available through Amazon at £7.49.

You can follow Charlene on Instagram or Facebook.

Posted on June 27, 2019 .

Young Wolf Film Festival to celebrate the magic of movies

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The magic of the movies is to be brought to life in spectacular style as Highfields hosts its second Young Wolf Film Festival.

The event, which will run from July 1st to 5th, will feature a packed programme of events to celebrate the talents of budding film directors, news anchors, producers and performers from across the City.

Organisers hope to build on the huge success of last year’s inaugural event, which brought together hundreds of students, staff and members of the public from around Wolverhampton to celebrate the wonderful world of film.

The programme includes:

Monday July 1st: The week-long festival will kick off with ‘Movie Maker Monday’, which will see Highfields welcome dozens of students from City schools for a series of film-based practical workshops. They will work with a professional make-up artist and special effects designer to create their own Hollywood-style injuries before using a green screen, along with digital and sound effects, to make their own short film. The film, which will also be edited by students, will receive its premiere at an awards ceremony later in the week.

Tuesday July 2nd: Day two of the festival will see 60 students experience the wonder of filmmaking first-hand with a trip to the Harry Potter Studio Tour. The trip, which will act as a rewards trip for members of Highfields Film Club from Years 9 and 10, will give students the chance to see the impact of the British film industry and the vast array of careers it offers.

Wednesday July 3rd: Students will be given the chance to put their knowledge of the big screen to the test by taking part in a lunchtime movie quiz, before staff compete in an after-school quiz.

Thursday July 4th: The talents of budding young filmmakers will be celebrated at the Young Wolf Awards. During this Oscars-style event, awards and prizes will be up for grabs in a range of categories, whilst students’ mini cinematic masterpieces produced throughout the year will be showcased on screen.

Friday July 5th: The festival will be wrapped up in spectacular style as students use Hollywood soundtracks and themes to stage the annual Summer Song and Dance show in front of a live audience. Following live performances of music, drama and dance, visitors will move to an outdoor cinema in the school grounds to watch a screening of Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse under the stars.

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.

Film Studies teacher, Mr D Cooper, said: “We have some incredibly talented students at Highfields who are very enthusiastic about the various elements of the filmmaking process.

“Last year’s festival was a huge success, bringing hundreds of people together to celebrate the wonderful world of movies, whilst providing an excellent platform to celebrate the creativity of students.

“We are delighted to be running the event again, and are hoping to build on the excellent foundations of last year to stage another spectacular week of festivities celebrating all aspects of the film industry and the talents of our students who wish to pursue a career in it."

Posted on June 20, 2019 .

Palace date for golden Duke of Edinburgh's Award students

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Former Highfields students rubbed shoulders with royalty when they celebrated achieving the highest possible honour on the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award programme at Buckingham Palace.

Rachel Clarke and Libby Mckenna-Fraser, who has been working at Highfields as an apprentice this year, attended the palace to be presented with their DofE Gold Awards in the presence of Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex.

The guest speaker on the day was former Blue Peter presenter, Konnie Huq.

Former students Alice Barrie, Owen Stavenuiter and Kent Stavenuiter picked up their Gold Awards at an earlier palace ceremony, whilst Jemma Payne and Shifani Passap will be officially presented with their awards at a ceremony later this year.

The seven DofE Gold Award students volunteered their time in the community over 12 months, as well as completing a gruelling four-day practice and assessed expedition in Snowdonia and the Lake District. They also completed a four-day residential shared experience with other young people.

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Ahead of their palace dates, their achievements on the DofE programme were honoured with a presentation evening in school hosted by former Highfields teacher, Sir Michael Griffiths, who was awarded a knighthood for his services to education.

Mr C Moody, Highfields’ DofE Co-ordinator, said: “It was a really positive year for the Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award programme at Highfields, with these seven students completing the challenging Gold Award, as well as dozens more students picking up their Bronze and Silver Awards.

“They have all been on an incredible journey and they have had many memorable experiences that will stay with them for the rest of their lives.

“To reach the Gold Award standard in the DofE programme is an incredible achievement and to be officially presented with their awards in the grounds of Buckingham Palace is a fitting celebration for all their hard work.”

The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme was launched in 1956 with the aim of inspiring, guiding and supporting young people in their self-development. The awards scheme challenges students and allows them to discover the world around them whilst providing them with invaluable skills and experiences to improve employment prospects.

Hundreds of Highfields students have taken part in the DofE programme since the school started running the scheme around 13 years ago.

Posted on June 11, 2019 .