“Being part of Young Enterprise at Highsted has given me a real insight into business – it connects what I learn in school to the real world. I love the fact that I am making money whilst having fun!”
James, Year 12
Life at Highsted changes rapidly. Of course we are involved in making sure that our educational objectives are met, but even more important than that is to make learning fun! We believe that if our students become engaged and passionate about the world around them, then their contribution will be even greater. The following headlines represent some of our recent news and activities. If you want to find out more about life at Highsted, contact us!
Highsted's Royal Visit
A group of students from Years 10 and 12 at Highsted Grammar School was recently treated to an inspiring visit to Queens’ College, Cambridge, encouraging high aspirations in their future university applications. Queens’ is one of the oldest Cambridge colleges, having been started in 1448 by Margaret of Anjou, queen of Henry VI, and re-founded in 1465 by Elizabeth Woodville, queen of Edward IV. Over the centuries its distinguished alumni have included the sixteenth century humanist Erasmus, the Elizabethan Archbishop of Canterbury John Whitgift and, in recent years, the broadcaster Stephen Fry, NASA astronaut Michael Foale and BBC newsreader Emily Maitlis. Among the highlights of the trip was an opportunity to view parts of the college not often open to visitors, including the Old Library, built in 1448. The girls were also able to visit the university’s world-famous Fitzwilliam Museum of art and antiquities.
Discussion with current Queens’ undergraduates enabled the students to think about what goes into an Oxbridge application and find out what they can do now to make gaining a place a real possibility. Year 10 student Chloe H recalled: “We met with a second-year student currently studying natural sciences at Queens’ College who guided us around the college campus and the many facilities that are available to students. She also gave us an overview of life at Cambridge, such as the different clubs and some of the exciting events that are held.” After the tour Maria McElroy, the College’s School Liaison Officer, explained about the admissions process, including the importance of GCSEs and what makes a successful Cambridge applicant. She also gave the girls an overview of the different subjects and courses offered at the college.
Chloe added: “One of the most important things I found was that in order to be considered for the university, you have to show some outside interest in the subject you are thinking of taking. For example, someone interested in science could show their passion for the subject by spending a few hours a week reading science journals such as the ‘New Scientist’, or meeting with others interested in the same field to discuss views and opinions. Maria also encouraged us to do research into our subject areas and look at MOOCS (massive open online courses) offered by some of the leading universities to get a wider base of knowledge.”
Sixth form student Amber M, who is studying biology, chemistry, English and history and has just completed an extended project on antibiotic resistance, commented: “I found the tour of the campus extremely inspiring, especially exploring the heritage and traditions which make Cambridge unique. As the tour was given by a current student it provided a helpful view on life at Queens’. Obviously Cambridge is very competitive, so gaining an insider’s perspective of what the university looks for in an applicant was very relevant, as I’m now at the point where I need to start my applications.”
Hayley S, a fellow Year 12 student, said: “Visiting Cambridge was truly inspirational. It was very encouraging to witness how supportive and committed the teachers are to motivating students both to pursue their passions and to achieve their full potential. I was surprised by the university’s natural beauty and placid atmosphere along with its strong historical heritage.” She added: “Despite the fact that Oxbridge is highly competitive, I realised that with determination and tenacity to succeed and follow my goals it is achievable. With my passion for biology and chemistry, if given the opportunity I would love to study science in the future and hopefully take a route into healthcare or research."
Highsted High Seas Open Day a Rip-Roaring Success!
On Saturday 21st June, Highsted hosted its annual Open Day and opened its gates to over 100 Year 5 students from the surrounding areas, in our annual taster day! The theme this year was High Seas and everyone really entered into the spirit of the day, teachers and students alike.
There were treasure hunts, map making and pirate drama galore, some of which can be seen in the pictures below.
As always, our current Year 7 pupils and new Head Girl team showcased the school brilliantly, acting as cheerful and helpful guides throughout the day and we would like to say a massive thank you to them for all their efforts!
We would also like to say a massive thank you to the Year 5 children and parents who participated in the day and made it a real success. We hope you enjoyed the day and hope to see you all in the future!
Pictures by Elle Bushell (Year 12)
Highsted Celebrates National Insect Week
Highsted is celebrating National Insect Week (beginning 23rd June) by holding a series of bug related events, including a showcase of all the weird and wonderful creatures in the Biology Department. Students are also holding a Creative Writing Competition, Art and Photography projects, plus an ‘I’m a Celebrity, Get me Out of Here’ style competition.
The Biology Department houses many spiders and other interesting insects that students look after, feed and care for in Animal Husbandry Club all year round.
So find your inner insect and make sure you join in the fun!
Isabel’s Achievement Celebrated in London
Last July, Isabel Packman (S6) was surprised to learn that she was the overall national winner in the PlaySafe competition. Annually all Year 9 Design and Technology students submit exciting toy designs to this competition aimed at raising awareness of product safety and consumer protection. Her toy design was one over four hundred entries from the Kent area alone. Prizes were awarded at the time but in May, just as this year’s entry deadline approached, Isabel received an invitation from the Trading Standards Institute, the competition organisers, to a posh lunch and presentation in London including a ride on the London Eye.
Isabel, her parents and the Head of Design & Technology Mr Peter, were entertained at a restaurant overlooking the Thames by representatives from both TSI and the British Toy and Hobby Association (BTHA). The event included a speech from Ronald Earl, the Director General of the BTHA, who praised the quality of Isabel’s design and shared some amusing stories about some of the other entries. He also emphasised how important the TSI’s role is in protecting the public from faulty goods and rogue traders, as well as educating future consumers through competitions like Playsafe.
After lunch the party were given VIP treatment on the London Eye, with a personal guide and refreshments. During the ride Leon Livermore, Chief Executive of the TSI, presented Isabel with the winner’s certificate.
Well done to Isabel who proved a very worthy winner and ambassador for the school, as have other Highsted girls who have won other prizes in the competition over the years. The current Year 9 designs are being judged during June and July - fingers crossed for further success!
This Year's Finalists!
We are proud to announce that Kent Trading Standards issued the list of Year 9 Highsted girls who have been chosen as Kent finalists in this year’s PlaySafe competition to go forward to the national judging next month. The girls are:
- Lily Mae Hemmi
- Ella Webster-Peal
- Amy Minett
- Victoria Evans
- Holly Harris
- Bryonie Ackerman
- Tethi Patel
- Kelechi Otuadinma
- Alice English
- Alice Arnold
- Cerys Demomme
- Imogen Jenner
- Lina Hamid
- Ella Thomas
- Eleanor Raycraft
We all wish you the best of luck girls and hope to see you going even further, following in Isabel’s footsteps!
Highsted’s Annual Over-55 Fellowship Concert
On Tuesday 4 March we were joined by members of the Sittingbourne Over-55 Fellowship group, who gathered in the school hall to enjoy an afternoon of entertainment. The guests were treated to a variety of performances by the Highsted music department including the choir, wind band, the Origin and also several soloists. It was the debut performance of the Folk Band and Rock Band to members of the club as these groups were just formed this year. A number of GCSE students performed their compositions and had the opportunity to rehearse their assessed performance pieces.
Whilst watching and listening, the guests enjoyed cakes and biscuits cooked by the lower school students and were served hot drinks. The afternoon ended with an exciting raffle with many great prizes won.
The event was enjoyed by all and we look forward to hosting the concert again next year.
Highsted U18s Football Team Win Kent Cup for a Second Time!
We are pleased to announce that Highsted’s U18 football team became joint winners of the Kent Cup Competition, meaning that we have been awarded the best team in Kent for a second time!
The girls had a fantastic start with Bryony Jacobs scoring an amazing goal in the first half. They maintained this lead for the majority of the second half, but the other team (Rainham School for Girls) stepped up the standard and equalised with ten minutes to go. Both teams battled hard in extra time with nothing separating them. Unfortunately, due to a Kent FA school rule there are no penalties in the final; they must have known we had a Gillingham goalkeeper in goal! Well done to all the students involved. You have all represented Highsted fantastically and it was a brilliant way for this team to end their school career – let’s hope they all continue to play in University.
Congratulations to everyone in the winning squad: Jemma Barton, Grace Butcher, Bryony Jacobs, Courtney Shanly, Hannah Roberts, Jessica Stoneham, Atlanta Mclean, Emily Neilson, Amelia Henley, Alex Gillingham, Chloe Cavenagh, Amy Thomas, Natalie Fagg, Holly Plumb.
Years 7 & 8: Indoor Athletics
We are delighted to report that our Year 7 and Year 8 Indoor Athletics teams progressed to the Kent School Games Final. Our Year 7 girls: Tierney Sharp, Charlotte Lawrence, Lauren Scott, Elena Jury and Olivia Evans all put in fantastic performances in the track events, while Ruby Wratten produced great jumps in the field events. Together they worked as a team to secure 6th place out of a possible 12. This is a fantastic achievement for their first ever event at secondary school level.
Our Year 8 team also put in a fantastic team performance, with Holly Jones, Ellie Walker, Emily Crompton, Victoria Wiesmath, McKenzie Forder and Polly Thomas showcasing their talent in the track events, while Katie Bigland and Angeli Rago excelled in their field events. As a team they placed 5th out of a possible 12 and should be extremely proud.
It was a fantastic effort by all involved and we will work on improving our performances so that we can do even better next year. Well done girls!
Year 12 Geography Field Trip to Flatford Mill
From Wednesday 29 January to Sunday 2 February, Year 12 students were engaged in the annual geography field trip. Follow this link to read the student account of this trip.
Highsted's World Book Day Celebrations
This year World Book Day was celebrated at Highsted on Thursday 6 March.
To mark the occasion, all Year 7-9 students received a £1 World Book Day token which could be exchanged for one of ten exclusive books or put towards the purchase of a book costing £2.99 or more. Students could also use their token if they chose to purchase of a book from the LRC Scholastic C2C brochure which was circulated at the same time.
The Lower School assembly was dedicated to World Book Day. Mr Carvell and a group of Year 7 students promoted the day with ideas of how to get involved, books to read and events throughout the school. This included a riddle competition by the English Department.
We were also pleased to announce, in assembly, that all Year 7 students were to get the chance to choose a ‘free’ book from a selection in the Learning Resources Centre. These books had been purchased, throughout the year, by the LRC Managers from commission earned at book fairs and book clubs and special offers. Our aim was to provide a book costing our department just £1 per student. (The Book Trust runs a similar scheme but books cost £2.50 each). We managed to purchase a great selection of 136 books for just £139.86. Throughout the morning Year 7 students were released from their lessons to select a book of their choice and a bookmark. Each book contained a special book plate on the inside cover, to mark the event, with a space for the student to write their name.
To further celebrate this event there were various displays in the LRC recommending great books to read. There was also a ‘Reading for Pleasure’ display with photographs of members of staff reading their favourite books. We hope this will be an on-going idea.
A new feature this year, for World Book Day, was ‘Writes of Passage’. This was a list of ‘fifty books that will change your life’ and the final list was announced by Children’s Laureate, Malorie Blackman. We are pleased that the LRC have most of these titles, with those we do not have being added to our stock in the near future. This is a useful list to help us with book recommendations, displays and creating reading book lists, and so on.
Mrs Nethersell and Mrs Mantle (LRC Managers)
World Book Day: Riddles Competition Winners
To coincide with World Book Day, the English department compiled a competition for Year 7s and 8s, in which students had to guess which literary characters were being described in the riddle. Lots of students answered eight correctly, so they were all placed into a hat and winners were picked! Here are a list of the winners:
Well done to you all!
Learning Resources Centre: Readathon 2013-14
During the first two months of the academic year, the LRC managers worked closely with the English Department to kick start the mission to promote Reading For Pleasure across the school. In conjunction with this, several activities and events were held including the Readathon.
The Readathon is a sponsored reading event that Year 7 students are encouraged to enter each year. Our new cohort quickly displayed their enthusiasm for reading as the final amount reached an impressive £1355.44. We would like to say a massive thank you to all of the Year 7 girls that took part in this year's event and everyone who generously sponsored them. This is a fantastic achievement which will result in many books being purchased for students across the school to enjoy!
Many students across the year were recognised for their outstanding contribution, either through the amount of books read, or the amount of money raised.
Class 7.1 were the winners of the class competition and raised the most money as a whole class. Well Done!
7.1 and their teacher Mrs Higgs celebrating their well-deserved victory!
Stag Theatre Music Trip: Wednesday 29 January
The trip to the Stag Theatre was one I will remember for a long time. It was full of laughs and everyone thoroughly enjoyed the evening’s entertainment. What I found great was not only the variety of music and the fantastic orchestra, but how this trip brought all year groups together - from Year 7 all the way up to the Sixth Form. Miss Arden and her orchestra were wonderful and the performance was past perfection. I especially loved the part when the orchestra played with feathers; it was so unusual and inspiring. This performance has encouraged me to see the Sevenoaks Symphony Orchestra's next performance with my family. Thank you to Miss Arden, Miss Treanor and Miss Smith for organising this fantastic opportunity and accompanying us! It was a superb evening!
House Drama Competition 2013
Highsted has a phenomenal amount of acting, dancing and singing talent which on 28 November 2013, the students definitely showcased in style. Every year, Highsted's six houses battle it out to prove who has the best jazz hands, but this year there was a difference; the performances had to incorporate musical numbers and be under ten minutes long. In every house, Sixth Form students picked up the challenge and faced it head on to create some fantastic results.
Four external and impartial judges were invited to critique our acts and decide on a winner; a task that was very difficult indeed, as the talent on display was exceptional. However, a winner was finally reached and the winning house was... Franklin! Keller and Roddick came second and third, but really, everyone was a winner! Well done and thank you to everyone who made the evening so successful and memorable.
Highsted's WW1 Creative Writing Competition
To mark the centenary of the First World War, the students of Highsted were set a competition to create a short piece (500 words) of either prose or poetry in which the brave men and women that fought in WW1 were remembered. Many fantastic and heartfelt entries were submitted and as we had so many, the winners and runners up were split into key stages.
Key Stage 3: Laura Kistruck (Year 7)
Key Stage 4: Morgan Steigman (Year 10)
Key Stage 5: Enya Williams (Year 13)
Key Stage 3: Lily Jefferies (Year 7) & Erica Ogbomo (Year 8)
Key Stage 4: Isabel Packman (Year 10) & Daisy Crunden (Year 10)
Key Stage 5: Georgia Emmett (Year 13) & Abigail Davis (Year 13)
Well done to everyone who took part and congratulations to all our winners. To read a snippet of our Key Stage 4 winner’s work, follow this link.
Highsted’s Tea Party
One of Highsted’s annual events, eagerly anticipated by Year 7 pupils, is the Tea Party. This event, held each November, is the opportunity for each pupil to invite a guest to join them for an hour of conversation, tea and cake. Their guest might be their former Year 6 teacher or headteacher, a new member of Highsted’s teaching staff or a Highsted Governor.
For the third year in a row, guests were also treated to a musical number, performed by the pupils before they proudly showed their guests some of the work they have been doing since September. As always, there was a wonderful sense of excitement in the hall whilst pupils prepared their tables in readiness for their guests; this year’s theme was the seasons.
Emily Jepson describes the tea party, “The atmosphere was amazing! It was great seeing my old school teachers and it was lovely to sing in the choir as well,” and Katie Pelling was in full agreement, “I loved seeing my old teachers. The atmosphere in the hall was very happy.”
Alex Horton said she got a thrill seeing her primary school teacher in a great atmosphere, and entertaining them - she was glad she took part and Gabije Barkute added, “It was a fantastic event. I loved seeing my old teachers again and playing host. I have enjoyed every second, from decorating the table to singing the song to our guests.”
One thing is for sure; every pupil remembers their Year 7 Tea Party!
Every year, students from Highsted participate in a particularly poignant and significant activity as part of the school's commitment to Remembrance. They join a group of other young people from a variety of schools to undertake a three-day experience with the Holocaust Educational Trust. To read the full account of this year's experience, please follow this link.
Kent Young Chef Award 2013
Eden Allsworth has, once again, become the senior winner of the Kent Young Chef Award 2013, after an exciting live cook-off at K College in Tonbridge.
Head Judge Richard Phillips explained, “The judging panel had a difficult job this year and whilst we seem to say it every year; the standard really has improved. The winning dishes were both remarkable and both senior and junior winners have benefitted greatly from the experience of winning last year. This definitely showed in their cooking techniques, professionalism in the kitchen and their confidence”.
Eden successfully retained her senior title with her Salt Marsh Lamb cooked three ways, accompanied by chickpea and butternut squash ragout and buttered black cabbage. In the junior section, Ben Colley from Skinners’ School in Tunbridge Wells also held on to his title.
On being announced, Senior champion Eden was over the moon, “This is the last year I can enter so I really hoped I could retain my title. I have had so many opportunities after winning last year and that has given me the confidence to push myself in the kitchen. This year I decided I wanted to cook with ingredients I really love; lamb and chickpeas are amongst my favourites.”
Before presenting the winners and runners-up with their prizes, Richard Phillips gave a brief synopsis of the dishes and an overview of the highlights of the 2013 competition. Eden and Ben were invited to receive their 2013 trophies and professional chef equipment sponsored by CCS. All finalists were given a certificate, a Rubens Apple hamper and an invitation from Richard to spend a day in one of his restaurant kitchens.
Eden and Ben’s prize also includes a week’s work experience at Rowhill Grange in Dartford where both young chefs will be able to hone their skills and help run a busy dining kitchen. In addition to the work experience the winners will be joining the Head Chef at the Windmill in Hollingbourne to design a three course menu for the Kent Young Chef Award Charity Dinner.
The three senior runners-up were Ciara McGauley, from Weald of Kent Grammar School, Tonbridge; Billy-Joe Simmons from Harbour School, Dover; and Priya Reynolds, also from Highsted, who cooked a Roast Duck Breast with cauliflower puree, butternut squash crisps and a red wine, orange and Kent plum jus.
In Eden’s own words:
‘After winning Kent Young Chef last year, I was really excited to get to the final again this year. Since I was crowned Kent Young Chef 2012, ‘Produced in Kent’ has offered me so many opportunities such as cooking for HRH Prince Michael of Kent, cookery demonstrations at the Kent County Show and so many more. The opportunities I was given last year and hopefully this year will be great as well! I’m so proud that I’ve managed to retain my title for the second year.’
Congratulations to Eden and Priya for a fabulous success story!
Students Remember the Fallen
On Monday 11 November 2013, four members of the School Council and Mr Wallace were guests of the Mayor of Swale as part of Swale Borough Council’s visit to Belgium’s national Armistice Day ceremony in Ypres, Flanders. They took part in the town’s Poppy Parade and the Remembrance Ceremony at the Menin Gate memorial to the missing. Wreaths were laid at the Ypres town memorial to fallen civilians and at the Menin Gate. The visit formed part of Swale Borough Council’s Youth Ambassadors’ programme, which celebrates Sittingbourne’s twinning with Ypres and commemorates the coming centenary of the First World War with our Flemish neighbours and partners. Here are some of their reflections on the day:
“Every evening at 8 o’clock sharp, the local fire brigade holds a ‘Last Post’ ceremony, and has done so since 1927 when the Menin Gate was opened as a monument. The citizens of the town wanted to express their gratitude towards soldiers who gave their lives for Belgium’s freedom. In this part of Flanders, every day is like Remembrance Sunday.”
“I felt so appreciative to be there, but also sad to think of what these soldiers had been through. The part of the day that I most remember was seeing thousands of poppies and crosses stuck in the ground. I was amazed at how many people were there, even though the war was nearly a century ago. I hope everyone continues to remember the poor soldiers who lost their lives.”
“In Ypres we reflected on the past, but it also gave me an insight into the present, and how close we and Belgium have become as neighbours and friends. I was also very glad to notice the participation of a small contingent of the German armed forces in the ceremony. It showed how these days we don’t focus on blame, but embrace ex-enemies as friends. The people of Ypres, to this day, are still welcoming and kind towards others that they have not met before.”
“From this experience, we recognised that even bridges that have been as severely broken as those between Belgium and the UK on one hand, and Germany on the other, can be rebuilt. I strongly believe that this is an idea that we all need to take forward with us through our day-to-day lives: that reconciliation is always possible. Above all, we must not allow anything like this to happen again.”
“At Highsted we have focused a lot this year, in assemblies and in many other ways, about charity and acts of kindness. What we saw in Flanders was an act of kindness. It was an act of neighbourliness. It was the act of an appreciative community. It was a reminder of our shared humanity, and about the partnerships we build with people near and far. A day about men long dead in battle became a day about youth. A day rightly about commemorating the past also became a day about the future. Our students embody that future, and I was proud to be with their School Council representatives. If Europe is to remain peaceful and prosperous, we of the present look to our young people and their colleagues across the continent for leadership, strength, confidence and kindness.”
Mr J Wallace
The Great British Arts Festival
Activities Week in July provided us with the ideal opportunity to expand our creativity in science, in visual and performing arts, in technology, in sport in literature and throughout the curriculum. In fact, it is difficult to find any area where some inventive student or teacher had not managed to come up with an original idea!
From floristry to fashion, dance to drama… sculpture, music, web design, rocket science and public performances; there was certainly something for every taste and preference. Sponsored by the Highsted School Association, the workshops were presented by our own staff, by practicing artists from every discipline and by friends and volunteers from all areas of our community.
The week was blessed with never-ending sunshine and it goes without saying that this was one of the highlights of the year! Thursday 18 July offered the chance for all contributors and participants to showcase their contributions to family, friends, colleagues and the wider school community. As observed by one member of the audience, “I cannot believe that these young people have so much talent. School was never this much fun when I was in Year 9!" and echoed by the students themselves: "This has been the best Activities Week ever!"
Our sincere thanks go to all staff and particularly the core team who have worked so hard throughout the year to ensure the success of this ambitious project: Mrs Ahluwalia, Miss Bushell and Miss Smith; together with Mrs Hill and the whole Year 12 team who took on the lion’s share of responsibility for implementing the plans during the week itself. Well done to everyone concerned, and we look forward to the next event!
Read more about this event in our July 2013 High Fliers.
Isabel scoops a prize in national toy design competition: The clever creativity of a student from Highsted Grammar School, Sittingbourne, has been awarded with a prize in a national competition to design toys which are fun - but also safe. Isabel Packman, aged 14, designed Olly the Spinning, Splashing Octopus, a toy suitable for outdoor play. The design was chosen as overall winner in the Playsafe competition at the Trading Standards Institute’s Conference in Brighton this week, beating off hundreds of entries from all over the UK. Isabel wins a £100 voucher for herself and a £100 voucher for her school along with a £1000 cheque.
Isabel's design incorporates many safety features and safeguards including ‘If plugging in a hosepipe, be sure to warn your child/ren not to trip over the pipe. The ground may also become slippery and muddy. Do not expose to extremeness of temperature or weather.’
The entry also contained a warning that ‘this toy contains small parts’ and included the CE mark, which signifies that the toy should meet European standards. The design carried the British Lion Mark - membership of the British Toy & Hobby Association shows the member’s commitment to adhere to the BTHA Code of Practice, which includes rules covering ethical and safe manufacture of toys, toy safety, a ban on counterfeit goods, an assurance to market responsibly, a commitment to improving sustainability and a desire to promote the value of all play through support of the Make Time 2 Play campaign.
Graham Peter, Head of Design & Technology said, “This is excellent news, Isabel has put a lot of work into her toy design. The school is very proud of her and the work submitted by all our Year 9 students. The consumer and design issues raised by this competition provide an excellent preparation for our GCSE Product Design course.”
TSI’s chief executive Leon Livermore said, “This competition is a great way to engage children and young people in a fun way while raising awareness about the importance of safety features in the design of toys. The key elements the judges are looking for in the entries are a fun and different design and clear attention to the safety of it in use.
“Seeing all these inventive designs at Conference every year adds a real touch of fun and we are grateful for the support we have received from the British Toy and Hobby Association for more than 20 years in making this competition happen.”
Roland Earl, director general of British Toy and Hobby Association, said, “Yet again we received some fantastically inventive entries – as ever, selecting a winner was very difficult for the judges! As the winner Isabel said about her toy, ‘it’s so much fun’. I agree. This is a lovely design of a fun outdoor toy, an octopus companion for your paddling pool. The design was beautifully drawn with very helpful advice and necessary warnings. All in all, a very worthy winner.” Well done, Isabel!
Sixth Form Lectures: Over the past few months Highsted has hosted a series of lectures for Sixth Form students. These lectures, open to students from our Partnership schools, covered a diverse range of topics from French romantic tragedies to the influence of politics on Russian composers. The lectures have offered students the opportunity to extend their education beyond the ordinary day-to-day curriculum and broaden their current interests. For further details, please click here to take you to our student account of this enrichment activity.
Christmas Concert - 11 December 2012: The annual Christmas Concert took place on Tuesday 11 December. This year's concert included a wide selection of songs and seasonal music, performed by students from every year group in the school. Congratulations to everyone whp took part - it was an evening full of creativity, innovation and talent. We look forward to the next one in the spring!
Ebenezer, the Musical - 29-30 November 2012: To celebrate the bi-centenary of Charles Dickens' birth, the school performed a musical version of A Christmas Carol on Thursday and Friday, 29-30 November. A packed house enjoyed superb performances on both evenings and their enjoyment was matched only by the enthusiasm of the cast! Congratulations to all who were involved both on and off the stage, and particular thanks to Mrs Evans and the Music Department who gave so much of their time to make the production such a brilliant success. Well done!
Highsted Christmas Fair - 24 November 2012: Despite appalling weather the annual Christmas Fair went ahead as planned. For a student account of this event, please click here to take you to our Student Voice page.
Schoolgirl trains with 2012 Olympic gold medallist: Schoolgirl Katie Foreman, aged 11, from Highsted Grammar School in Sittingbourne, has recently received the privilege of training with British Olympian, Jade Jones. Katie, who has been doing Taekwondo since she was six years old, said, “Working and training with Jade Jones was amazing, I loved receiving her advice about what I needed to improve on.” As part of her Taekwondo experiences, Katie has become well-travelled in both northern and southern regions of the country and has competed multiple times in Wales. She is hoping to attain a black belt in the near future. Katie belongs to the Taekwondo Sports Association which is open to children and adults aged three years and above. The group meet at the Smeed Dean Centre, Castle Road on the Sittingbourne Industrial Estate. Further information can be found at www.tsatkd.org.
Molly’s first steps to dance stardom: A young dancer with a twinkle in her eye and toes to match has taken her first steps toward stardom. Molly Goldsmith, 12, has been selected to dance in an open-air fundraiser at London’s Leicester Square on Saturday, November 17. The Highsted pupil will be among 100 young dancers taking part in a flash mob – a performance that will happen without warning in front of unsuspecting passers-by. The stunt is part of the ‘Move Your Body 4 Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital’ campaign and will feature a choreographed routine to Beyonce’s ‘Move Your Body’. Its aim, as well as raising money for a great cause, is to increase awareness about the importance of exercise and is part of the ‘Let’s Move’ initiative, promoted in the United States by Beyonce and the First Lady, Michelle Obama.
Pupils’ fundraising - it’s in the genes: Pupils at Highsted Grammar School in Sittingbourne have overseen yet another year of successful fundraising through the well-known and ever popular ‘Jeans for Genes day’. The purpose of the fundraising event is to raise money and awareness for Genetic Disorders UK, a charity which aims to change the world for children suffering from a genetic disorder. Co-ordinator, Emma Bushell has been running the charity event for five years, and the school have accumulated over £5,000 during this time. This year, alongside ambassador Grace Seale, a senior student at the school, Miss Bushell encouraged pupils to raise a spectacular £1,141 by wearing their own jeans and giving a donation as little as £1.20 each, bringing the overall total to a staggering £6,293! .The school will continue to embrace the poignant nature of the cause in future years and is set to raise even more for the charity.
Art proves a piece of cake: A giant spider and a mountain of cupcakes were among the eye-catching artwork on display by secondary school pupils. Highsted Grammar School hosted its annual art showcase, which this year was called Pictures at an Exhibition! It featured artwork from all year groups, including sculpture and photography, and visitors were entertained with music played by pupils. The giant spider was inspired by French artist Louise Bourgeois. It was produced by a group of students in a two-day artist in residence workshop run by professional artist Megha Nagendra Wells. Prizes were presented to representatives from across the school for creativity, quality and originality.
The hard work is just a memory… but how did they do? Highsted Grammar School is celebrating after students again achieved 100% pass rate. Of 111 who sat A-levels, 41% achieved at least on A* or A grade while 56% achieved A*/B grades. Overall the majority of students achieved five subject grades with 17 students achieving 500 points or more, equal to more than four A grades. As a result, more than 92% secured their chosen offer of university place. “Our students work extremely hard to produce these excellent results and we are proud of all that they have achieved; they are a credit to themselves and the school… We offer our congratulations and best wishes to everyone who is leaving Highsted this year and trust that the education they have received will continue to support them throughout their future careers.”
Wallwork leaps to new record: Swale athlete Rhiannon Wallwork produced a fantastic leap of 5.34m to win the under-15 long jump at the Kent Schools Athletics Championships at Ashford’s Julie Rose Stadium at the weekend (June 2012). The Invicta East Kent AC star’s distance – 22cm clear of the runner up – qualified her for the National Schools Games and was a Championship Best Performance. Wallwork also narrowly missed out on a podium finish in the under-15 200m, finishing fourth in 28.9 seconds. Ellice Annand was ninth in the under-15 1,500m final while Lauren Cook was 12th in the under-15 shot, with a throw of 7.58, just 4cm ahead of Swale team-mate Poppy Beer, in 13th place. Swale’s Amelia Henley was seventh in the under-15 javelin with a throw of 16.24m. Congratulations to all these Highsted girls for their success in the Kent Schools Track and Field Championships.
Oxford was hard but worth it, says first-class Ashleigh: A former Sittingbourne schoolgirl’s hard work was rewarded with a top degree from one of the country’s best universities. Ashleigh Wheeler, 21, who went to Highsted Grammar School, gained a first class BA in English language and literature. Ashleigh set her sights on going to Oxford when she started her A-levels and has been invited back to Highsted to inspire others to do likewise. “A lot of students don’t think they’re Oxbridge material – they think they’re not posh enough or don’t go to an independent school. But it’s definitely worth a shot. It was great to get in and I’ll never forget that feeling. It’s a really magical place.”
Scholarship in States puts big smile on Jessica’s face: A teen golfing prodigy says she is nervous but excited about her move to America. Jessica Gregory leaves on August 20 to take up a golfing scholarship at the University of Maryland. It will be the 18-year-old’s home for the next four years while she studies either business or history. The university sent an email confirming she had been accepted after a successful conference call interview with the university’s director of golf, their women’s coach and the head of Jessica’s scholarship agency, Prodream USA’s Lorne Kelly. It was one of 14 scholarships offered to her. Jessica said, “I was a bit apprehensive but as it’s getting closer I’m getting excited… I’m looking forward to meeting new people, living on my own and playing a lot more golf.”
On march for good causes: A group of friends took to the streets in animal themed fancy dress to help good causes. Former Highsted Grammar School pupil Jasmin Patel and her friend Georgina Winney organised the sponsored walk, which featured two cats, two leopards, a wolf, a penguin and a two-and-a-half-year-old ladybird. Jasmin, 20, said, “I’m doing a university course in healthcare and social care and I’m waiting for results, so thought I’d do some fundraising while I’m waiting.” She and her friends walked around Sittingbourne and were delighted when drivers stopped and made donations. The money will go to the Animal Health trust, Macmillan Cancer Care and mental health charity Rethink.
Pupil’s toy design could be a winner: making playtime safer and fun captured the imagination of nine Year 9 pupils at Highsted Grammar School. Their designs for a new toy for a child aged three to seven have won them a place in a regional final with the chance to be selected for a national prize. The girls submitted ideas for the Playsafe contest, run by the Trading Standards Institute in conjunction with the British Toy and Hobby Association. Highsted girls provided nine out of the 10 entries submitted for the Kent heat of the 12 to 17 age class of the competition. They will travel to Ashford Gateway Plus children’s library tomorrow (May 2012) to find out if they have been selected to go on to the national heat.
School hopes spider club will have plenty of legs: They leave many people quaking in their boots, but spiders have become the unlikely subject of a club at a Sittingbourne school. A growing number of pupils at Highsted Grammar School are defying their arachnophobia by caring for the creepy-crawlies in a tarantula society. While most pets can be stroked or cuddled, the pupil-spider relationship is kept strictly at arms’ length. Dr Clapp said, “All spiders have venom but most will bite only if they are threatened, so the trick is to make sure they feel secure.” When girls join the club, which meets weekly, they decide what type of tarantula they want and it is ordered for them. They are fed by their new owners, with their diets including mealworms, fruit flies, cockroaches and crickets. The more they eat, the bigger they grow, and they are moved to larger tanks depending on size. The plan is when the spiders are large enough, the school will set up a breeding programme.
Brussels beckons for Highsted students: For students at Highsted, each year there is the chance of work experience with a difference. During their three-week placement in high profile offices in Brussels the Year 12 girls take time out to visit the sites and experience life in one of Europe’s top cities. Visits to the European Parliament, cultural centres and learning how Kent promotes our county in Europe are all part of the package for those youngsters brave enough to take on the challenge.
Praise for prize pupils: A year’s hard work was rewarded at the junior Highsted Grammar School prize-giving. Pupils from Years 7, 8 and 9, watched by proud parents, received certificates from guest speaker Abbie Recker, former pupil of the school and constituency worker for Gordon Henderson, MP. Additionally, some 60 pupils were nominated for the bronze, silver and gold PRIDE awards. These awards, sponsored by Kent County Council, reflect the Olympic and Paralympic values of Personal excellence, Respect & friendship, Inspiration, Determination & courage and Equality. The Pride award winners for Highsted were: Sian Lo and Katie Podolsky (bronze); Molly Goldsmith and Abbie-Jo Evanson (silver); Mary Obembe and Zahin Miah (gold). Together with Sophie Hill, gold winner from among the teaching staff, Mary and Zahin will attend the Swale Pride Values Award Celebration Evening in October, where they will have the chance to meet Natalie King and Tom Middleton, Olympic and Paralympic Torchbearers, and the Guest of Honour, Team GB Olympic swimmer, Chris Cook.
Barton leaves it late to clinch cup success: Highsted Grammar School’s under-16s were crowned Kent champions after a thrilling win over the Priory School. In a close-fought contest at Orpington, the game looked set for a penalty shootout before Jemma Barton’s dramatic last-gasp, extra-time strike clinched the cup for Highsted and made up for their cup final defeat two years earlier. The Sittingbourne side had looked as if they had done enough when Rebecca Egalton scored with just six minutes of normal time left but Priory hit back to force the extra period. Coach, Helen Barnard said, “The girls are excited to be crowned Kent champions because two years ago the same team were in the final and lost to Bexleyheath.” Highsted almost made it a win double but the under-14s lost their final against Charles Darwin School.
Eden takes the trophy as top cook: A talented teenager has put her cooking creativity to good use – and scooped the top prize in a national competition. Highsted Grammar School pupil Eden Allsworth won the honour after celebrity chef Gary Rhodes praised her menu as “sensational.” The 14-year-old took first place in the 10th annual National Juniorchef 2012 on Friday (May 2012). She was one of only six young chefs from across the country to be put forward to the final and after a three-hour cook off, her two-course dish won the judges over. As well as the title, Eden was also given a trophy, a signed Gary Rhodes book and £300. All the finalists were treated to a trip to Calais on P&O’s Pride of France where they toured the ship and ha dinner onboard.