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Ipswich High School Celebrates World Book Day!

Ipswich High School’s week-long literary celebrations kicked off with a very popular Book Fair, giving all the Pre-Prep, Prep and Senior School pupils the opportunity to purchase a book of their choice. On World Book Day the whole school dressed up as book characters of their choice; the spectacle of creative and colourful creations was enthralling! Waterstones’ Children’s prize-winning author, Michelle Harrison, took the year 7-11 pupils on an adventure in her fun, inspirational and interactive talks held in the theatre. A neighbouring school, Holbrook Academy, were also invited to share in these special sessions which culminated with a Q & A where the pupils’ discovered how the author commences writing and creating characters and enabled all to gain an insight into the ‘writing to published book’ process. Many pupils left the sessions clutching signed books which they were eager to read. Michelle Harrison is a full time author who lives in Essex. Her first novel, The Thirteen Treasures, won the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize and is published in sixteen countries including the UK. It was followed by The Thirteen Curses and [...]

2018-03-19T10:39:51+00:00 March 19th, 2018|

More of the Great Outdoors

Forest School and Outdoor Education is a valuable and exciting part of our Prep School curriculum. We have seen the benefits that the outdoor environment provides and we know that it develops our pupils’ physical, sensory, creative and leadership skills. Our site lends itself to this way of teaching, with 84 acres of exploring to do. The woods, fields and gardens at the school are always changing with the seasons and provide us with the most unique and vibrant classrooms to learn in. The Forest School is a well-developed and successful programme here at Ipswich High School and works alongside survival skills, orienteering and eco-schools to provide the pupils with a wealth of knowledge about their natural world and how we can gain knowledge from and protect it. It provides our pupils with opportunities to take calculated risks, work together, communicate and listen to one another; all skills essential for their future. Recently I was looking at how we can extend our Outdoor Education provision and came across the idea of introducing ‘Beach Schools’. The view from my office is [...]

2018-03-19T09:09:59+00:00 March 19th, 2018|

The A Level Debate: Is three the magic number?

By Rob Hastings, Director of Sixth Form at Ipswich High School for Girls The uncoupling of AS from A Levels has posed lots of questions for sixth forms across the country especially when it comes to whether students are best off studying three or four A-Levels. A recent Daily Mail headline reported on Jonathan Godfrey’s (Chairman of the council of the Sixth Form Colleges Association) stance that students should take four, or even five A Levels in the Sixth Form as keeping their brains busy is the key to A Level success. In my experience, it is not necessary to study more than three A Levels to achieve success. Ultimately, the vast majority of our students are studying A Levels in order to get a place at the university of their choice. No university makes an offer of admission on the basis of four A Levels; all offers are made on three including Oxford and Cambridge. Bristol University, for example, states that they look at three A- Levels and the eight best GCSE grades as a measure of academic achievement [...]

2018-02-21T09:18:33+00:00 February 21st, 2018|

Full STEAM Ahead

Around this time last year, I wrote a blog that analysed what it meant to be a dancer in an educational setting. I discussed the value creative subjects had on the curriculum as a whole; what skills it gave our students in terms of moving on not only in to Further and Higher Education, but also eventually into the world of work. It seems that not a day goes by where I do not see an article about the power of creativity and how it plays a vital role in both developing young people’s transferable skills, and what is also a thriving industry from an economical point of view. Creative Industries careers currently account for 1 in 20 jobs; contributing £84.1 billion a year to the UK economy. By 2020, these figures are expected to show that Creative Industries will be one of the top three areas of employment in this country. The children of today will be doing jobs that do not even exist yet. You may recall a huge government push for pupils to study STEM subjects (Science, [...]

2018-02-09T15:58:41+00:00 February 9th, 2018|

Ipswich High School at the British Schoolgirls Ski Race 2018

Last week, seven Ipswich High School pupils took part in one of the ski team’s biggest races of the year, the British Schoolgirls in Flaine. The A team consisted of Kathryn B., Annie S. and Maddie S. The B team consisted of Florence E., Sophie E., Alice T. and Elizabeth M. For the entire B team this was the first time they had raced on snow before. We had two days of training with a coach from Kandahar race team, Ash Breeze. We trained on giant slalom gates regular ones. Some of us had never skied giant slalom gates, we all thought it was great fun. On Monday it was time to move on to the racing. The first day was the giant slalom, with time for a quick free ski in the middle. We recorded some notable results from this race. Annie came third in the U16 category and third overall. Kathryn came second in U18 category and eight overall. Maddie came 66th overall and 24th in her category. This meant that the A team had come  second overall [...]

2018-02-05T11:23:35+00:00 February 5th, 2018|

Supporting our Year 11 Pupils Post Mock Examinations

We are all very aware that our Year 11 pupils are sitting exams in many newly reformed GCSEs in the Summer, but we can take confidence in the fact that the results in the exams sat last Summer in the new English and Maths GCSE did not differ significantly from the “old” GCSEs. This is a message I want to reinforce with our Year 11 pupils and parents. This week, Year 11  received their GCSE mock exam results from their subject teachers. Whilst there will be a sense of trepidation, as you might expect, we are all mindful of reminding our pupils that these are not their final exams. Mock examinations are an excellent way of encouraging pupils to review work as well as immersing them in the anxiety of sitting in an exam hall; this is all towards the ‘greater good’ of preparation for their final GCSE examinations. As our pupils, collect their results, which realistically are variable at this stage, the emphasis now needs to turn to: ‘What do I need to do next?’ and ‘How I am [...]

2018-01-29T14:35:33+00:00 January 26th, 2018|

Art – Learning the Value of Failure

When visiting artist Douglas White spoke recently about his working process he triggered a conversation about the value of failure.  Describing how he set out to make a series of small figurative sculptures using wax he explained to the pupils how he was frustrated because they were not working.  Discarding them into a slop bucket of warm water, he left the studio in a huff and went for lunch early.  When he returned he discovered the wax had formed a beautiful crust on the surface of the bucket.  This then became the basis for a successful series of abstract pieces, and later a work currently on show at the Saatchi Gallery, London.  Ultimately, he was successful because he recognised that he had an idea superior to his initial intentions. The concept of accidental discoveries is not new.  Alexander Fleming’s ability to recognise what had occurred whilst he was away from his messy laboratory over the Summer holidays, resulted in the discovery of penicillin.  As he describes, “When I woke up just after dawn on September 28, 1928, I certainly didn’t [...]

2018-01-30T10:34:22+00:00 January 25th, 2018|

The Benefits of Taking an EPQ at Sixth Form

Year 11: Thinking Ahead - How To Enhance Your University Application- What is an EPQ? Why is it Beneficial? How is it Valued? During several parent presentations last term, I mentioned both the HPQ and EPQ, but only briefly. Parents of pupils of all ages afterwards asked me what an EPQ was and why it was beneficial. This has prompted me to write a blog for Year 11 parents and pupils. What is an EPQ? An EPQ (Extended Project Qualification) is an additional qualification that can be taken alongside A Levels and, here at Ipswich High School, we recommend our Year 12 students take three A Levels and an EPQ, in preference to taking a fourth A Level. There is however one exception to this, which is where our strongest Mathematicians take Further Maths as a fourth A Level, which we do recommend. Students who pursue this combination can of course complete an EPQ if they wish to. At Ipswich High School we recommend our A Level students complete it in Year 12, completing it ready for full submission in [...]

2018-01-11T13:17:21+00:00 January 8th, 2018|

Boys Do Better When Outnumbered By Girls

https://www.tes.com/news/school-news/breaking-news/research-boys-learn-better-when-outnumbered-girls Recent research publicised this month in the journal School Effectiveness and School Improvement revealed that boys do perform better when they are outnumbered by girls; specifically, where there are at least 60% girls in a class. This conclusion was arrived at by analysing PISA data from 8,000 mixed gender schools across 33 different OECD countries. The positive academic attributes of girls such as higher motivation and concentration levels positively influences boys. Venturing towards a “diamond structure” is an exciting change. As we made our announcement, a timely article came out in The Telegraph “Are diamond schools the future of education?” which highlighted the academic success seen in New Hall School, which adopted the model twelve years ago. In the same article, there was also a mention of another school in Dorset, Leweston School which is planning to introduce the diamond model for STEM subjects in September 2019. There are other schools that currently follow the diamond model all across the country, including Clifton High School in Bristol and Berkhamstead School in Hertfordshire. Ipswich High School is therefore not alone. Diamond [...]

2018-01-25T12:06:42+00:00 December 19th, 2017|

Beauty And The Beast – school production tickets now on sale

Tickets for the next school production 'Beauty And The Beast' are now on sale through the Wolsey Theatre. Performances will be running on 6th, 7th and 8th February 2018, held in the Hayworth Theatre at the school. Click here to purchase your tickets now The Hayworth Players look forward to welcoming you to Ipswich High School, where you can Be Our Guest and enjoy the magic of a Tale as Old as Time…

2018-01-11T11:29:52+00:00 December 15th, 2017|