Mad Science Saturday 2018
On Saturday 24 February, 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 new STEM page.
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.
On Saturday 17 June, 96 Year 5 students 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.