“The Sports Leadership Programme has been fun - I have shared my dancing expertise with other students at Highsted which has developed my confidence and leadership skills. Thank you Highsted!”
Grace, Year 12
Highsted Grammar School serves its local community in many ways. Events each year include a diverse and exciting programme for all ages from eight to 80!
Our aim is to harness the skills and talents of our young people and to utilize the resources available to us in order to encourage active citizenship. In recognition of our role in Swale, we invite different sectors of the wider community into our school to share a broad range of activities with us.
The Aim High Club is an amazingly successful operation for Year 6 pupils of local primary schools, with more than 50% of the group joining Highsted for their secondary education. Operating twice a week after school, the club has seen a growth not only in numbers from 20 to more than 100 pupils, but also in the range of activities on offer. Activities include science laboratory work, mathematical puzzles and problem solving, work on language skills in English and modern languages, musical and PE activities, as well as use of the school’s workshops and computer facilities. With sessions led by specialist staff and supported by Highsted students, we aim to prove our firm belief that learning at Highsted really is fun! Feedback from the girls and boys who have taken part confirms that the move from primary to secondary school can be a smooth transition for parents and children alike.
Medieval Mayhem was a Saturday event in June which introduced Year 6 girls to creative thinking at Highsted. We have always recognised that families have a lot of decisions to make about educational routes in this transitional period, so the introduction of these events, which started in 2007, is our way of ensuring that students are not too nervous about life at secondary school. A number of teachers and Sixth Form students worked together in costume to create a series of lessons for pupils to attend around the chosen theme. From knights and ladies, through jesters and wandering minstrels to a live falconry display, this fun filled day provided a real insight into learning at Highsted, as well as the subject-based structure of many secondary schools.
Every year, the Year 8 students hold a Charity Bazaar in the school hall raising money for causes close to their heart, by operating a market place of stalls, as well as staging quizzes, raffles and other activities. Over the years many, many different charities have been supported and some students have not been able to resist the challenge to continue fundraising long after the event itself. To give an example, one such girl raised more than £500 for the charity Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY) in memory of her eight-year-old friend who died during an outing with her primary school.
Highsted’s annual Harvest Festival celebration is always a fine balance between the inter-house ‘Battle of the Baskets’ competition and the collection of food items for distribution to local charities. This year, the students’ imagination and creative flair in response to the theme of ‘a moment in time’ included a Yellow Submarine, a Spitfire, a shopping trolley made over as a train, parades from characters in Brisitsh history and many more. The Harvest celebrations provide an opportunity for Highsted students of all ages to show the importance they attach to being active citizens and of contributing to the welfare of elderly and vulnerable members of the community.
Sports Leaders Awards are designed to develop leadership skills in young people aged 14 years and above. The skills they learn through different levels of the award can be applied to a range of sporting situations, as well as contributing to the personal development of each participant. Two of the awards promote core values through volunteering in the local community and by supporting more active, healthier lifestyles for members of that community. By working through our established sporting partnerships, we are currently developing the level 1 Sports Leaders Award for students in Years 10 and 11, with the level 2 Community Sports Leaders Award for Years 12 and 13. With the added bonus of a nationally recognised First Aid qualification, Highsted students are, once again, at the forefront of serving their community.
The Senior Citizens’ Afternoon Tea Party, affectionately known as the ‘Crinkly Concert’ by some of the devotees, takes place each year in March. Food technology and music departments join forces to treat a group of senior citizens to a special afternoon of tea, accompanied by fine musical renditions. This group of over-55s, who normally meet once a month at the Wyvern Hall, enjoy being waited upon by pupils tempting them with tea and delicious cakes, freshly prepared in the school. Entertainment for the afternoon is through delightful musical offerings presented by the school’s prestigious choral groups, orchestra and brass ensemble. A fine tradition enjoyed by young and old alike!
Every year since its launch, Highsted students have been elected to Kent Youth County Council, including the position of Chairman. KYCC has become an important part of Kent’s democratic process, with cabinet members and officers regularly consulting members on a wide range of issues, including education, transport and the environment. Representatives attend events outside Kent, such as conferences in Westminster and meetings at the European Parliament in Brussels. KYCC also works closely with the UK Youth Parliament and British Youth Council on national issues, and attends events across the country. Additionally, six member of the School Council represent their peers through the Swale Youth Forum and in the summer term hosted the event at Highsted. The Forum provides another route through which our students develop their roles as active citizens by discussing issues relevant to all young people across the Swale area.
As an accredited National Support School, Highsted underpins its commitment to professional development for serving teachers by offering school-based training for up to five graduate trainees each year, together with support for university-placed postgraduate teachers. This role in helping to train the next generation of teachers is critical to ensuring the quality of teaching professionals for children who will become Highsted pupils in the future. For further information about these career routes please visit our Opportunities page within this website.