High Noon at Highsted: 2019 Year 5 Activity Day Report
On Saturday 15 June 2019, Year 5 pupils from local primary schools visited Highsted Grammar School to take part in our annual activity day – ‘Wild West’. The event aims to engage pupils in an enriching and fun-filled day, giving them the opportunity to meet new friends and explore life at Highsted. This year the theme was based on the American Wild West – looking at everything from cowboy accessories, aiming skills and local wildlife to First Nation culture and ancient creation stories. The day culminated in an incredible line dancing performance from all the participants for watching parents.
During the day, pupils had the chance to participate in a range of activities. Two sessions involved making sheriff badges out of soap and designing cowboy boots. Next they explored animal and plant adaptations in the desert, looking at what different species had to do to survive the harsh and hot conditions. They were also lucky enough to meet some of these desert dwellers in ‘Reptile House’ meeting real life turtles and a bearded lizard. Pupils researched and made First Nation necklaces, looking at their symbolism for respecting nature. Another activity involved reading examples of different tribal creation stories before students were challenged to write their own, explaining how the world, sun, moon, stars, landscape and creatures were made.
There were more physical activities to try out with ‘Gold Rush’ where pupils were involved in collecting loot from a bank as outlaws to score points for their appropriately named teams: Team Annie Oakley; Team Calamity Jane; Team Jesse James; and Team Billy the Kid. They could also try their hand at ‘Tin Can Alley Target Practice’ testing their accuracy and aim in order to knock objects from a rack with a ball.
The last challenge was line dancing. Everyone had to learn how to dance the routine in a short period of time in order to perform for parents by the end of the day. The final performance of ‘5, 6, 7, 8’ by Steps was a great success.
By the end of the session, everyone was in agreement that the day had been fantastic - the school is already planning for next year’s event!
Letter from Rebecca
Wednesday 15 April 2020 marks 75 years since British troops liberated the Nazi concentration camp of Bergen Belsen, Germany. To mark the anniversary and remind us all of the horrors of that place, the Highsted Community has received a letter from Rebecca of the Holocaust Educational Trust. To read her message in full, please follow this link.
Christmas Fair 2019
On Saturday 23 November, Highsted hosted their annual Christmas Fair. There were some amazing stalls selling handmade unique Christmas gifts ranging from: advent calendars, Christmas tree decorations, jewellery, clothes, bags, and festive reindeer toys. There was also a Christmas raffle and tombola on offer. The Student Council kept visitors refreshed with their festive café. The event was once again a huge success and we look forward to hosting it again next year.
Lessons from Auschwitz 2019
Highsted has once again participated in the Holocaust Educational Trust’s Lessons from Auschwitz project on Tuesday 5 November. Our two Year 13 student ambassadors this year have been Olivia A and Rebecca S. They were privileged to hear first-hand the eyewitness testimony of 89-year-old Holocaust survivor Zigi Shipper before travelling to Poland to visit Auschwitz. At Auschwitz it is estimated that 1.1 million people lost their lives to Nazi racial and political prejudice.
Having seen rooms full of artefacts left behind by those who entered Auschwitz, and the remains of gas chambers, Olivia and Rebecca are now tasked with returning to Highsted to spread the message about what they have learnt. Olivia and Rebecca are keen to remind the Highsted community of the need to remain empathetic and community-conscious. They want to remind us that those who lost their lives in the Holocaust were not simply victims, and that extreme prejudice has its roots not only in the past, but in living communities. Their further work with the school will focus on genocides after 1945 – a stark reminder that the lessons from Auschwitz have often not been learned well enough.
Highsted Choir Supports World Mental Health Day
On Thursday 10 October, Highsted’s School Choir visited St. Michael’s Church in Sittingbourne to support World Mental Health Day and World Homeless Day. The day provides an opportunity for organisations to add to the wider conversation about the importance of mental health. This year’s theme was suicide and suicide prevention, raising awareness and specifically addressing the stigma around suicide to enable more people to get the support they need.
Highsted students sang beautifully and the song, This is Me by Keala Settle from The Greatest Showman was an inspired choice. Many people often feel undervalued for who they are and it affects their sense of well-being and thus their mental health. The song perfectly shows how important it is to believe in yourself and never be ashamed of who you are.
Highsted's Trash Art Competition
On Tuesday 2 July, Highsted Grammar School held its first Key Stage 2 art competition, open to all Swale primary schools. The theme of the competition was Recycled Materials: Trash Art. Topical in today’s society, it provided the opportunity for any KS2 pupil to create a piece of artwork in order to give new life and meaning to rubbish. The competition was a great way to help promote recycling throughout more schools in Swale and to educate pupils about the different ways in which they can recycle.
The competition was a fantastic opportunity to bring more primary schools together and it allowed pupils to view their art in a gallery. As a school, Highsted created an awards evening where local schools and parents of participating pupils were invited to view competition entries in a gallery designed for Trash Art and many prizes were won. Big winners of the night were a giant dragon collage made out of plastic bottle lids, a bee made out of tin cans, an apron made out of crisp packets, and a 'General Grievous' (from Star Wars) sculpture made out of toothpicks and card. It was an evening of art, music and fun, which celebrated the diversity of Swale art and youth.
Mad Science Saturday 2019
On Saturday 9 February, 46 budding scientists from 15 different primary schools visited Highsted to participate in a day of fantastic activities. To read about this event and other scientific activities at Highsted, please follow this link to our STEM page.
Sing Up to Cancer!
On Saturday and Sunday 19-20 January, a number of Highsted students organised Sing Up to Cancer with a Musical, in support of Cancer Research UK. Molly J, Evie F, Florence F, Libby B and Aidan O took to the stage alongside a number of students from our local community, performing a selection of musical masterpieces to packed-out audiences.
This was a particularly moving event as it was in memory of students’ loved ones who were affected and sadly passed away as a result of cancer. There was not a dry eye in the house. Some of the musical highlights included: What is This Feeling performed by Molly J and Florence F; Don’t Rain On My Parade performed by Evie F; Santa Fe performed by Libby B and Owen C; and This Is Me performed by Evie F and Kiera H.
The students raised over £2500 after their three performances on Saturday and Sunday, and all money raised will go to Cancer Research UK. A fantastic event, they should all feel very proud of their achievements for a great cause - we are proud of them!
Stormy Seas at Highsted on Shakespeare Day
On Friday 30 November, Highsted held its first Shakespeare Day, inviting local primary school pupils to attend a series of English and Drama workshops based around The Tempest – Shakespeare’s play about a group of noblemen who are shipwrecked on a magical island. The schools attending this event included South Avenue, Regis Manor, Lansdowne, Minster and Elliot Park Primary Schools – over 60 students attended in total.
The children started the day looking at the story of the play and imagining what it would be like to be trapped in a vicious tempest at sea. Later, they had to imagine that they themselves had been shipwrecked and worked in teams to rescue precious supplies from the ocean before they sank. The final sessions of the morning included opportunities for pupils to design their own island and introduced them to the language of Shakespeare, studying Act 1: Scene 1 where the crew and noblemen fear for their lives as the ship is dragged, by the fearsome tempest, towards the rocks.
In the afternoon, pupils were led in a series of drama activities giving them a chance to develop an understanding of the emotions and interactions between characters in the story. Some chose to act out the scene from the morning session while other groups looked at other famous scenes from the play. The culmination of this was a series of mini-performances, as teams acted out their scenes to the pupil and teacher audience, and winners were awarded prizes for their efforts.
The day proved to be a great success, with both pupils and teachers thoroughly enjoying their time at Highsted.
Highsted Christmas Fair
On Saturday 24 November, Highsted hosted their annual Christmas Fair. There were some amazing stalls selling handmade unique Christmas gifts ranging from: chutneys, wreaths, candles, jewellery and glass products. Highsted Chemistry Club also had a stall selling their handmade soaps that students had been making throughout the year and there was a fantastic array of scents and designs on offer. The Student Council kept visitors refreshed with their festive café. The event was once again a huge success and we look forward to hosting it again next year.
The Highsted community marked the centenary of the end of the First World War on 11 November with an art installation greeting visitors to the school and prompting daily reflection for students and staff – one hundred poppies for one hundred years.
Aglow in the late-autumn morning sunshine, one hundred hand-made poppies reminded us of the sacrifice of an earlier generation during the war of 1914-18, in which many Sittingbourne inhabitants, some of them ancestors of current Highsted students, lost their lives.
The Year 9 project, masterminded by Mrs Richards, Head of Design & Technology, brilliantly combined aspects of aesthetics, specialist skills and local history to create a cross-curricular outcome which enabled students to connect meaningfully with the legacy of the past. Students researched family members and individuals in the local community who played a part in the First World War, and recorded these details in initials and dates inscribed on acrylic poppies made using CAD/CAM processes.
Drawing inspiration from Tom Piper’s and Paul Cummins’ magnificent poppy installation at the Tower of London, this was a project even more resonant for the Highsted community on account of being rooted in a local setting – behind the hundred poppies, marking one hundred years, arranged to evoke the ordered war cemeteries of northern France and Belgium, here was both a series of personal tributes and a collective expression of gratitude to the fallen.
Year 7 Tea Party 2018
On Tuesday 6 November, Highsted held its annual Tea Party, celebrating a successful transition for Year 7 students from primary to secondary school and raising money for the Wisdom Hospice charity. Year 7 students invited guests including their primary school head teachers and new members of teaching staff at Highsted.
All the students had worked incredibly hard to prepare for this event by designing and creating hand written invitations for the guests, designing table decorations and by choosing food and drink to be served. This year there was an emphasis on healthy eating and students were challenged to present a range of delicious snacks to satisfy a balanced diet. During the evening guests were able to look at some of the impressive work Year 7 had completed in their first term at Highsted across a range of subjects.
Two students gave an impressive speech about the Wisdom Hospice charity, informing listeners about the important work they do. Later on, all the students performed Somewhere Only We Know, written and originally recorded by the band Keane. It was a fantastic evening and the students were truly a credit to the school.
Harvest 2018: Respect
Highsted’s annual Harvest Festival event was held on Monday 15 & Wednesday 17 October, and this year students were given the theme of ‘Respect.’ Form groups created a fantastic array of decorated boxes inspired by this theme, filling them with food donations to help local people in need.
On the first day, Chanel, Eliot and Franklin house teams presented their Respect Boxes on topics such as: the Environment, Self-Respect, the Emergency Services and Diversity. Eye catching designs included: a tower of boxes complete with a giant poppy by C1, commemorating the 100th anniversary of the end of WWI to represent respect owed to the soldiers who fought and died in the war; C5’s box designed in the shape of a clock to honour the Time’s Up andMe Too movements, campaigning to promote a woman’s right to respect; and F2’s box shaped like the shirt of NFL player Colin Kaepernick, who started the Take a Knee campaign against police brutality in the US – a gesture asking for more respect.
Wednesday’s house teams: Seacole, Roddick and Keller presented their boxes on topics such as: Love and Respect, Communication, Buddhism and Respect for the Ocean. Noteworthy designs included: R1’s Panda Extravaganza, a series of boxes all based around the idea of respecting the lives and habitats of wild pandas; S1’s tree shaped box, representing respect for the environment – complete with a plethora of leaves with hand written messages from each member of the form; and S3’s Recipe for Respect, a collection of boxes designed to look like cake ingredients to demonstrate the positive aspects of society that create and foster respect.
Each year boxes are judged on relevance to the theme, presentation, generosity and an overall winner. The winners from Monday’s group were: C4 for relevance with their Bag for Life shaped box; E3 for presentation for their box made out of recyclable materials; C3 for generosity and the overall winners were C1 for their amazing towering poppy box. Wednesday’s winners were: S1 for relevance with their Tree of Respect box; R1 for presentation with their Panda Extravaganza boxes; R3 for generosity and overall winners were K1 for their Train of Respect box, demonstrating respect for different communities in our society such as religious and ethnic communities and the LGBTQ+ community.
Food donations from the students will be given to Sittingbourne food banks and The Salvation Army to help families in need. The students should be proud of their kindness, respect and generosity to those less fortunate than themselves – well done to all!
Carnival of Colour: 2018 Year 5 Activity Day Report
On Saturday 16 June, Year 5 pupils from 37 different primary schools in the local area visited Highsted Grammar School to take part in an activity day – ‘Carnival of Colour’. The activity aims to engage pupils in an enriching and fun filled day, giving them the opportunity to meet new friends and explore life at Highsted. This year the theme was based on Rio’s annual carnival – looking at South American culture, art, animals and carnival celebrations – culminating in a full carnival procession involving music, dance and a display of created art work.
During the day, pupils were able to: develop creative writing skills by imagining they were visiting the real Rio Carnival for the first time and experiencing the sights; create masks and headdresses in art; learn about samba music; create Rio style carnival food; discover the world of South American animals; and play various fruit themed games.
“I loved the different things we did. Our leader Victoria was 100 out of 10! Everything was amazing!” – Year 5 pupil.
Overall, the day was a great success and the school is already starting to plan for next year’s event.
Lessons from Auschwitz
Highsted remains deeply committed to the Lessons from Auschwitz project. Every year the Holocaust Educational Trust invites schools across the country to apply for two places on the scheme. Once again we were successful and last November our two Year 13 ambassadors, Taya H and Anna K, heard the personal testimony of a Holocaust survivor, and visited Auschwitz, the concentration camp in Poland most infamously associated with the Holocaust.
Taya and Anna are keenly aware of the extraordinary privilege entailed in participation in the LFA Project, and are currently planning whole-school activities to pass on the message of what they have learned – a message of the need for toleration, celebration of difference, and love.
Dr J Gardiner
Orange for Solidarity: Holocaust Memorial Day
Students at Highsted have been raising money for a local charity following a visit to Auschwitz, the Second World War concentration camp in Poland. Taya H and Anna K, two students in Year 13, have been taking part in the Holocaust Educational Trust’s Lessons from Auschwitz project. After hearing the vivid account of a Holocaust survivor’s experience, they flew out to Auschwitz to visit the notorious concentration camp, where more than a million people were murdered by the Nazis.
When they returned to Sittingbourne, the students wanted to do something to honour those who had died during the Holocaust and to make a difference to today’s society. On Friday 26 of January, Highsted students wore orange to mark this important event and raise money for Kent Refugee Action Network.
Kent Refugee Action Network (KRAN) is a local independent charity which gives aid to unaccompanied young refugees, often seeking safety after being forced away from their families and homes.
“We can’t change the past, but we can learn lessons from it,” Taya commented. She continued, “When I saw a bunch of keys in Auschwitz, it really hit me that the person who owned those keys intended to go home and use them again, but they never got to do this.”
Anna was especially moved by the service held on the railway tracks in Auschwitz, when participants in the project lit candles in honour of those who didn’t return after the end of the war. She said, “We asked students in school to wear orange or an orange accessory because it’s the colour of the Holocaust Educational Trust and also a reminder of the colour of the lifejackets worn by many of the people seeking safety today. History isn’t just about then – we can learn from it.”
Highsted's Completely Recycled Christmas Tree
Each year, Highsted students design and create a Christmas tree to take part in the Tunstall Church Christmas Tree Festival from 7 December. The festival takes place at St John the Baptist Church in Tunstall and involves hundreds of donated Christmas trees on display from Thursday evening through to Sunday 10 December. The event was free admission but all donations given were put towards the Church Ceiling Fund and the Medical Detection Dogs Charity.
Highsted’s tree was created by members of the Design & Technology Club over several months. It took many hours and many hands to fold each individual sheet of newspaper – mainly donated by Highsted staff. The tree was built in four sections, which took four journeys down to the church to construct it. At well over a metre tall, it took over 100 newspapers and more than 4000 staples to hold it all together!
Karen G and Ellie-Jo M (Year 8) were dedicated leaders throughout this particular project. The message for this year’s tree was to ‘remember to recycle this Christmas’, reminding the community about the importance of looking after the local environment.
The school would like to say a huge thank you to all those who got involved and encourage everyone to visit the church, see the trees and get into the Christmas spirit!
Christmas Musical Celebrations at Highsted
The Highsted Music Department have been extremely busy throughout December with community events and Christmas concerts.
On Tuesday the 5 December Highsted hosted the Wisdom Hospice’s Lights for Love service, an opportunity for the Sittingbourne community to come together and remember loved ones. The Highsted choir led the service beautifully, leading the congregation in popular Christmas carols and hymns. Participants also heard performances from talented solo violinist, Laura M. The Hospice run the event on a yearly basis as a chance to reflect upon and celebrate time spent together, concluding in a lighting ceremony in which each light on the Christmas tree symbolises the love for someone special.
The Highsted Christmas Concert followed on 7 December, with performances from our choir, wind band and orchestra, as well as smaller ensembles. A new feature of the concert was the addition of our newest extra-curricular activity, conducting class. Year 11 student Emily J successfully auditioned to conduct the orchestra in their concert performance of Carol of the Bells. We welcomed the Mayor of Swale to this event, along with other guests from the school governing body, who enjoyed an exciting evening that culminated in congregation carols accompanied by the Highsted Orchestra.
On Monday 11 December, Highsted hosted the third Christmas Festival Concert, which is a collaborative event between the local schools linked through the Kent Music Soundhub. Choirs and instrumentalists from Highsted Grammar School, Borden Grammar School, Tunstall Primary School and St Peter’s Primary School attended the event, which culminated in a large Christmas themed concert. The Borden Orchestra joined forces with the Highsted Orchestra to lead four schools in performances of White Christmas, All I want for Christmas is You, and popular Carols such as Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.
Mathletics Day Two
On Thursday 30 November, Highsted hosted its second Mathletics Day – a whole day event where pupils from two local primary schools took part in a range of mathematical challenges. Thirty-three pupils from Eastlands and Westlands Primary Schools worked in teams of four or five to compete for the title of ‘Mathletics Champions’. Activities included Times Tables Bee, Bean Bag Throw, Maths Relay and finished with a challenging Mathematics Quiz - all activites designed to develop confidence and demonstrate that learning maths really can be fun!
Pupils who successfully completed the tasks received a certificate to reward thir efforts and the winning team were presented with gold Mathletics medals to celebrate their success - well done to everyone who took part!
Over-55 Fellowship Concert
On Tuesday 21 November, Highsted hosted a musical concert for the Over-55 Fellowship group from the Sittingbourne community. The event included musical entertainment from extra-curricular groups including The Origin, together with Recorder Club, Rock Band and Senior Rock Band, with ‘open mic’ style performances from students across Years 9-13. For some GCSE students this was their first live solo performance.
The event has been taking place since 1975, the inspiration behind which was a desire to connect Highsted students to the more elderly members of the Sittingbourne community. As well as the musical performances, guests were treated to tea and cake and there was a raffle to round off events. This year was another great success and Highsted hopes to continue the tradition well into the future.
Musical Success Raises Funds for Demelza
In September, the Music Department received a communication from Demelza Hospice that we had raised a total of £928.19 for our Music for Maddie Open Mic Night event in July, bringing the total amount raised by Highsted Grammar School for the charity to £6,992.28 since 1999.
The event was organised in order to raise money for the charity in the name of former Highsted student Maddie Neal, who unfortunately lost her battle with cancer in 2016. The evening saw performances from Folk Band and Rock Band, individual and group performances, and appearances from other local bands in Sittingbourne.
Head Girl, and flute player in Folk Band, Mai Tumber said, “The event was a huge success and the hard work put in by all students involved was evident. I am so pleased we managed to raise so much for such a good cause.”
Other notable achievements from the Music Department this term include: Laura Marshall (Year 10) gaining a place in the English Schools' Orchestra, performing in their Gala Concert at Cadogan Hall in London on the 29 October and Olivia Austen (Year 11) gaining a place in the Kent Youth Choir following a recent audition. Congratulations to both of these students!
Harvest Dreams at Highsted
Highsted celebrated its annual Harvest Festival event on Monday 16 and Wednesday 18 of October. Students were given the theme of ‘Dreams’ this year and an astounding amount of time, effort and talent went into creating the thirty beautifully decorated boxes filled with food donations.
On Monday, Chanel, Eliot and Franklin presented their ‘Dream Boxes’ on topics such as: ‘The BFG’, ‘Our Dreams’, ‘Third World Dreams’ and ‘Martin Luther King’. Noteworthy designs included: a tower of boxes complete with trailing Rapunzel hair by F1 to show Rapunzel ‘having a dream’, E1’s box wish was presented as a bed surrounded by fluffy white sheep, and C5’s enormous dream catcher – complete with ‘bad dreams’ caught in its web-like centre.
Wednesday saw ‘Dream Boxes’ inspired by: Disney’s ‘Up!’, ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’, Disney’s ‘Tangled’ and ‘Rosa Parks’. Some of the original and thoughtful designs included: a box with a student’s fist through it by S5 – to represent ‘smashing through the glass ceiling’ to reach your dreams, golden boxes bridged by rainbows by S1 and a huge pirate ship carried by students dressed as characters from ‘Peter Pan’ created by R1.
Each year the boxes are judged on relevance to the theme, overall presentation and generosity. The winners from Monday’s group were C1 for relevance, F2 for presentation and E5 for generosity, with the overall winner being C1 for their fantastic ‘Alice in Wonderland’ box. Wednesday’s winners were R5 for relevance, S2 for presentation, R2 for generosity and an overall winner of R4 for their cosy-looking bed shaped box.
Donations from the students will be given to Sittingbourne food banks and The Salvation Army to help families in need. The students should be proud of their generosity and efforts this week – well done to all!
On Wednesday 1 November, Highsted hosted Mathletics Day – a whole day event where pupils from four different primary schools participated in various mathematical challenges. The schools involved in the event were: Borden, Grove Park, Eliot Park and Milstead & Frinstead. There were 48 pupils working in teams of three to five to compete for the title of ‘Mathletics Champions’.
During the day, pupils worked on challenges such as: ‘Times Tables Bee’ – where a competitor from each team had to recall facts about multiplication and division in only 80 seconds; ‘Bean Bag Throw’ – involving pupils throwing bean bags into hula hoops in order to score points, weighing up the possibility of taking a risk in order to score a high number of points or taking a safer shot to secure lower points; ‘Maths Relay’ – giving pupils 48 questions they had to answer as a team in a time limit (one team managed to answer all of the questions in the time allowed!); and finally a ‘Mathematics Quiz’ – where pupils participated in a quiz consisting of a mix of maths-themed questions.
The event was highly successful and an enriching mathematical experience for all who attended. Pupils who participated received a certificate to reward their efforts for the day and the winning team proudly wore their gold Mathletics medals.
Inside India: 2017 Year 5 Activity Day Report
On Saturday 17 June, 96 Year 5 pupils from over 25 primary schools in the local area visited Highsted Grammar to take part in an activity day – ‘Inside India’.
Girls took part in Indian styled activities such as: food tasting, painting giant elephants, creating gods and goddesses and much, much more. Toward the end of the day, all students took part in an amazing performance shown to their parents. Whether they danced along to the well-known track ‘Jai Ho’ or took part in playing a variety of instruments, all girls learnt and participated in an outstanding show.
Leaving with joyful goodbyes and arms full of memorabilia, it’s safe to say that the day was a hit. Inside India was an experience staff and Highsted Grammar will never forget, as we hope Year 5s won’t either...
On 21 January keen scientists gathered at Highsted to meddle in the magic of science, encounter exciting demonstrations and shape their scientific skills. It was, once again, ‘Mad Science Saturday!’ Pupils attending 14 local primary schools, from Selling to Thistle Hill, took part in a wide range of intriguing activities throughout the day.
‘Mad Scientist’ Mr Stanley demonstrated the use of fuel in science (with fire and explosions!) as well as how to measure cockroaches; creating circuits; making rainbows; and even how to view tarantula skins under a microscope. The day was a mixture of demonstration in the morning and hands-on activities in the afternoon, with pupils eager to test out the science for themselves.
The pupils thoroughly enjoyed the sessions and commented how much they “…enjoyed trying lots of things that you really can’t do at home,” and concluded that they “…would one-hundred-percent come again!”
Oh Come All Ye Musicians!
On Wednesday 7 December Highsted Music Department held their annual Christmas Concert, which was packed full of music from classical to rock and pop to folk fusion. As well as the usual ensembles, there were two new groups performing in this year’s concert; the Year 9 Band and the Gospel Ensemble. School prefects Ellie S, Rachel E and Maisy C commented, “We enjoyed the Christmas concert this year because as a whole it had a very upbeat vibe about it and there was a massive range of different ensembles that anyone could get involved with.”
Following on from the success of the Highsted Christmas Concert, the Christmas Festival Concert was held on Monday 12 December. Now in its second year, the Christmas Festival Concert was designed by the Highsted Music Department to bring together all the wonderful young performers in our local community. This year’s concert saw performances of seven different pieces, all performed in collaboration with Highsted students, including Carol of the Bells, Viva la Vida, and Walking in the Air. The schools and groups involved in this year’s concert were: Highsted Grammar School, Borden Grammar School, Fulston Manor School, Oasis Academy, Isle of Sheppey, Tunstall Primary School, St Peter’s Primary School, South Avenue Primary School and the Sittingbourne Suzuki String group.
Local Kent Music Soundhub Leader, Lucy Duff, commented, “Pieces sounded stunning with such a large group of pupils and instruments”, St Peter’s teacher, Megan Michelle added, “Feedback from our parents was that they especially enjoyed the fact that everyone was performing together… Performing with the older students raised the standard and a couple of my students are now keen to join the school band as a result!” A great afternoon was had by all!
Music Society Masterclass Workshop and Concert
On Friday 7 October the Charlotte Ashton Flute Trio conducted an ensemble masterclass with a selection of chamber music ensembles from Highsted. Charlotte was recently appointed as Principal Flute of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra after graduating from the Royal Academy of Music in 2015 with a First Class Honours and the Principal’s Prize. Charlotte and her trio gave constructive feedback on ensemble performance and playing technique, working with the Highsted students to improve their chosen performance pieces. Year 10 music student, Elena J, commented, “This was a brilliant opportunity to learn important ensemble skills and to work with professional musicians. Afterwards, I felt much more confident about playing with other people in an ensemble than I did when practising with my sister beforehand.”
The Charlotte Ashton Flute Trio performed later in the evening in a concert for the Sittingbourne Music Society. They invited two of the Highsted chamber ensembles to perform in the second half of the programme, choosing a string quartet (Highsted students: Ellie S, Joely B and Laura M) and a violin duet (Highsted students: Elena and Freya J) to perform. The masterclass and evening performance were a brilliant success and all students involved thoroughly enjoyed themselves.
Pupils of Highsted were given the theme of ‘Inspiration’ for the Harvest Festival 2016 and the standard of harvest boxes this year was truly inspirational. Following a number of significant events historically and in recent times, the diverse interest of each of the 30 tutor groups was evident in the creation of each box. The criteria that each box were to be judged on was simple yet effective with entrants being awarded a mark out of ten and the possibility of being crowned the winner for the following three criteria: relevance to theme; generosity; and creativity. There was an award for the overall winner to acknowledge successful consistency in line with the criteria set. Boxes were presented and judged in two assemblies.
The judging was almost as difficult as the creation of the boxes themselves and there were two assemblies to celebrate Harvest. Assemblies were led by members of the Head Girl team and pupils were granted the honour of a guest speaker in their Harvest assembly. School Governor Mr Jepson and Mr Abbey from the Salvation Army offered a valuable insight into the importance and meaning of Harvest in each assembly respectively. Following the professional judgement of boxes by Mr Jepson and Mr Abbey, the following entrants were crowned winners for:
Relevance to theme: F5 and R5
F5 created a tree with inspirational quotes and made reference to those in their tutor group who had inspired them in some way. R5 based their box on the Hudson River crash and made special recognition towards the pilot and crew for guiding the safe landing of the plane.
Generosity: C3 and K4
Both C3 and K4 donated a significant amount of food for harvest, as well as this there was a variety of food products which will undoubtedly help those in the local community.
Creativity: F4 and S2
F4 were extremely creative in their creation of the Hogwarts train from the Harry Potter series, their box even included the famous wall at the station. S2 based their box on the Disney castle and had a number of inspirational quotes and information on the accomplishment of Walt Disney.
Overall winner: C4 and S2
C4 made a significant effort in the creation of their box; based on globe success, they included a number of inspiration people and information on each of those included. The immense group effort from S2 was evident and they were the only tutor group to be win two categories for their harvest box.
Meddling with the magic of science
Thirty excited Year 6 primary school children from Sittingbourne schools were treated on Saturday to a dazzling display of colour and fire as they were introduced to some of the wonders of science at Highsted Grammar School. The budding scientists watched with bated breath as science teacher Michael Stanley showed them how to turn carbon dioxide from its solid form (dry ice) at minus 79 degrees Celsius to gas, creating in the process a mist as the air freezes, and how to create fire from the spontaneous reaction of permanganate and glycerol. They then had an opportunity to shape up their own scientific skills in a series of workshops, where they measured cockroaches at different stages of development, examined onion cells and micro-organisms in pond water through a microscope, made circuits and experimented with carbon dioxide, changing it from one form to the other.
Highsted student Danielle commented: “My table was where you measured cockroaches. This meant that some of the children were scared but I helped them. It was hard to get them to understand what a line graph is but it worked. I had a lot of fun.” Fellow Year 7 student Ayo added: “The children were really enthusiastic and especially liked hearing the buzzer on the circuit station.”
At the end of the session the children were awarded special Mad Science Saturday badges and enthused about the aspects they had particularly enjoyed, ranging from, “…the chemistry demonstration where we saw the froth and saw how acidic things were,” to “…making carbon dioxide foam,” and “…the chemical tubes because they were cool!”
Harvest 2015: Global Awareness
This year’s Harvest Festival focused on the general theme of Global Awareness. Each house was assigned a particular aspect of that theme: Chanel’s was Poverty, Eliot’s Climate Change, Franklin’s Migration, while Keller looked at Human Rights, Roddick at Animal Welfare and Seacole at Health. Competition to design the most visually arresting harvest box was fierce, and the quality of design so impressive that a box was selected from each house to receive five house points: Chanel 6, Eliot 4, Franklin 1, Keller 6, Roddick 5 and Seacole 3.
The judges – representing each of the recipient charities, The Salvation Army and the Sittingbourne Foodbank – chose three overall winners from these: Keller 6 came third, winning ten additional points for their house, Chanel 6 came second, gaining 20 extra points and Seacole 3 won 30 points for their creative effort with a Kent Air Ambulance design. Sian Mitchell from S3 said: “We came up with many ideas which we thought were relevant to our house’s theme of Health, but in the end we decided to create a Kent Air Ambulance, because it plays a key part in saving hundreds of lives every year. To make it, we used several boxes stuck together with glue and masking tape. We researched pictures so we could make our box look as realistic as possible. By doing this we could add extra detail.” She added: “Lots of people in the form helped to build the box. Everyone was happy with the finished product and glad that they could contribute to such a worthy cause.”
All donations have been shared equally between The Salvation Army and the Sittingbourne Foodbank.
Food for thought
Down Under experience helps Year 6 pupils
As new Year 6 pupils in Sittingbourne start on the year in which they must choose which secondary school will best suit their individual aspirations, abilities and personality, those girls who attended Highsted’s Down Under experience this summer have already had a head start with an unusual taste of secondary school life – on an Antipodean theme. They made and sampled traditional Anzac biscuits (originally made to send to the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps serving in Gallipoli during World War I), created and decorated their own boomerangs, were treated to a display of exotic creatures from the southern hemisphere and even had an opportunity to take part in a Highsted version of ‘I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here!’, among many other exciting activities.
Around a hundred girls took part in the event, sampling a range of workshops and enjoying the unusual experience of an exhibition of Australian artefacts and animals including Macleay’s Spectre stick insects, bearded dragons, a blue-tongued skink, a carpet python, cane toads and even a stuffed crocodile! The students had the opportunity to see the animals up close and even to hold some of them, whilst learning key facts about their species and habitats. Year 7 student Katie B assisted with the exhibition by handling the animals so the Year 5 girls could see them. She said: “The day was fun for me to take part in as I got to see some new faces. I really enjoyed handling the animals and helping Miss Appleton with the exhibition.” Riannon D, who helped with the ‘I’m a Celebrity…’ activity, added: “I think the Year 5 students really enjoyed the Australian theme, especially learning about the different species of Australia as they also got to handle the animals.”
At the end of the day, the girls were able to show off the various products they had made, and to take them home in specially-designed gift bags on the theme. Summaries of the day ranged from ‘brilliant’ to ‘fantastic’, ‘fun’ and ‘interesting’, and many of the girls commented that they had learnt a lot. Assistant Headteacher and Head of Key Stage 3 Sarah Appleton, who demonstrated the animals, said: “It was a fantastic day – great to see students so enthused in their learning.”
Visitors to the school’s forthcoming Open Evening on 8 October will be able to see a display of photographs of the Taster Day events and to find out more about what it’s like to be a Highsted girl.