Spark of Interest

Spark of Interest
Newsletter Highfield & Brookham

Supporting Our Bursaries Fund

We have partnered with Amazon Smile and Easy Fundraising to make it even easier to parents to support the Highfield School Centenary Bursaries Fund, should they wish to do so. Both of these schemes turn your everyday online shopping into a free donation to the HSCBF at no extra cost to you. If the HSCBF aims resonates with you, please do follow the simple steps to support this great cause every time you shop online.

Nursery Work With Purpose

Nursery children have returned from Half Term full of enthusiasm and there has been a real sense of purpose in the activities they have chosen during their child initiated learning sessions. The area of expressive arts and design has been a particular focus this week and the children have enjoyed exploring a whole range of activities, from turning beautiful coloured Autumn leaves into collages inspired by the text ‘Leaf Man’, to experimenting with a new hand drill that has been added to their woodwork tools. To mark traditional Bonfire Night, the children have used images, class discussions and video clips of firework displays as inspiration for making their own firework pictures. They experimented with different media and techniques to create their artwork using pastels, chalks, paint flicking and printing. All these activities have been a wonderful opportunity for developing communication and language as the children discussed their ideas together. We have been very impressed to see the levels of independence and focus that the children have demonstrated when creating their artwork.

Sam Forster, Head of Early Years

Reception Stretch Their Imagination

Bonfire night inspired the Reception children to create their own firework pictures using a range of different materials. Some children chose to work collaboratively with a friend, using their gross motor skills to squeeze the paint bottle, whilst the other selected a tool to paint with. Discussions took place as to what shape the fireworks should be and colour mixing was explored with much excitement when the addition of a new colour created a different shade of their original paint. Other children chose to work alone and use pipe cleaners to represent their fireworks. One of the seven areas of the EYFS curriculum, expressive arts and design, includes making use of props and materials when role playing characters. The introduction of different costumes into the shared area has broadened the range of characters that the children have introduced into their role play including Princesses and brides. A fluffy yellow hat sparked everyone's imagination when it became a 'magic hat' which once put on transformed the wearer into anything they wanted to be. Albert Einstein once said ' the true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.' We ensure the children are given the opportunity to develop their imaginations at every opportunity.

Georgie Hunter, Reception Teacher

Year 1 Get Close To Nature

The beautiful autumnal landscape provided an inspiring start to the second half of term. With Forest School closed due to high winds, the children went on a walk around our fabulous grounds, which gave them the opportunity to notice the ever-changing scenery and appreciate the non-material aspects of life. The task was to find different types of sticks to make a magic stick; a sturdy stick, some twigs and woody stems were on the list of desirable natural materials. Once back in the classroom, the children worked together to make their broomsticks and wands. Through their collaboration, they were able to help one another tie their bundles together, learning how to tie knots securely, which required some intricate fine motor skills. This creativity sparked imaginations for further magical adventures, resulting in some wonderful storytelling.  

Henrietta Platt, Year 1 Teacher

Year 2 Receive Important Message

A plea from an unusual visitor surprised Year 2 this week, stimulating an animated and passionate discussion. An orangutan from the forests of Borneo spoke directly to the children with a little help from some magic sprinkles that helped them understand 'rang-tan speak'. He explained how his forest habitat was being destroyed, leading to vast numbers of his species dying. The children were fascinated by the message and understandably shocked when they delved a little deeper into the research by Greenpeace and other organisations. The children will take this topic through to literacy, as we focus on persuasive writing techniques. The children have been busy learning the model text and later in the term they will put these skills into practice as they write to the Brazilian Government to help save the rainforests. 

Kerri Wilkes, Year 2 Teacher

Year 3 Investigate Antarctic Explorers

Why did explorers travel to Antarctica? What did they take with them and what was it like to be there? These were just some of the questions that Year 3 set out to answer when they visited the Oates Collection at Gilbert White's House. The children experienced the daily life of a South Pole explorer through many hands-on activities, including handling artefacts, comparing polar clothing from 1912 to today and investigating how blubber keeps seals and penguins warm in sub-zero conditions. The children discussed the impact of Captain Scott's choices when deciding what equipment, rations and personnel he would need for his 1800-mile trek as he raced, unsuccessfully, to be the first to reach the South Pole. They considered whether or not Captain Scott's preparations for his expedition were right or wrong, exploring the themes of nutrition and the properties of different materials. Pulling a polar pulk (sledge) full of children across difficult terrain (a grassy meadow) gave them a sense of the challenges the explorers had faced. The children pondered the idea of Oates sacrificing himself in order for his teammates to have a better chance of returning to the Terra Nova alive. They wondered how he had felt after he had uttered the immortal words, "I am going outside.  I may be some time"?

Sophie Delacombe, Year 3 Teacher

Year 4 Study Data

Year 4 started this Half Term’s Maths with a quick warm up session on the four rules of number which are at the heart of all mathematics and problem solving, prior to starting our new topic of Data Handling. The children have thoroughly enjoyed this topic and after a quick revision on the use of key vocabulary and the format of collecting and presenting data set about their independent challenges. The challenges related to the number of children in a family, sport and the number of letters in words across a page of text. The children interpreted the information and worked on presenting their data clearly and accurately in the form of bar charts and graphs. The children worked hard and produced some very successful work.

Martine Melling, Head of Year 4

Year 5 Están Aprendiendo A Contar En Español

In Spanish, Year 5s are learning to write the date. To do this, they are learning numbers up to 100, the days of the week and the months of the year. Writing the date in a different language is easier in some languages but trickier in others. In Spanish, the date is written using ordinal numbers, and days of the week and months are written in lower case. Needless to say, this causes some confusion, hence the need to practise! To help the children learn their numbers, we played Bingo and completed some basic maths in Spanish. As we progress, the children will learn to talk about the date of their birthday and learn to sing “¡Cumpleaños Feliz!” the Happy Birthday song in Spanish. We integrate traditional aspects of Spanish culture at the same time as learning vocabulary and grammar as it helps the children to become familiar with the country as well as the language. The children will learn the song “Uno de enero” traditionally sung during the celebration of San Fermines in Pamplona, and learn about this famous fiesta. The song involves counting the first seven days of each month until you get to 7th of July – the date of the Fiesta of San Fermin, or San Fermines – famous for the running of the bulls through the street of Pamplona. 

Adela Munoz Garcia, Spanish Teacher

Year 6 Meditate

Pupils in Year 6 have been learning about portraits and facial proportion. As a cross curricular link with RS where pupils have been learning about Buddhism, we are focusing on portraits of Buddha in Art. Pupils had a go at meditating this week in Art and loved it! They described feeling relaxed, calm and refreshed. We also had a discussion about the importance of good mental health. If parents are interested to try more guided mediation appropriate for children at home, I highly recommend the ‘Calm’ app and there are also several children’s meditations available online for free as well as meditative sleep stories. We can all benefit from this form of relaxation especially in the current environment. Pupils have requested that we start next week’s Art lesson with another meditation! Namaste to all.

Olga Houghton, Head of Art

Year 7 Measure Speed

Year 7 have been investigating specialised cells and aerobic/anaerobic respiration in Biology, elements, compounds and mixtures in Chemistry and have now moved on to Physics. In this new topic the children are investigating speed/distance/time, pressure/force/area and density/mass/volume. This week the children were busy on the playground learning how to calculate the speed of different activities. They started by measuring out a set distance using trundle wheels and used stopwatches to record the time taken to travel the distance when sprinting, walking, hopping and even leapfrogging. Several recordings for each activity were taken in order to eliminate any anomalous results. Back in the classroom the children calculated the mean time for each activity and then used the formula 'Speed = Distance/Time' to calculate the mean speed of each activity. A good tip to help remember this is to sing "Speed is Distance over Time" to the tune of "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" so this was a fine excuse for lots of singing. Perhaps the highlight of the lesson was recreating the scene from Top Gun where Maverick launches his F14 Tomcat off the deck of an aircraft carrier, by using a tractor from the grounds team to see how fast it travelled down the playground.

Andy Baker, Head of Science

Year 8 Have Faith

Year 8 have been studying the idea of Faith. They have considered what faith means and how the faith of individuals has been an inspiration to live and act in a particular way. We discussed how Martin Luther King’s Christian belief in equality and the value of every human life guided him to 'fight peacefully' in the face of difficult and sometimes violent opposition, leading to his famous speech, including the line:“I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin, but by the content of their character”.

The children were also impressed by Malala Yousafzai who was shot in the head by the Taliban for advocating education for girls. The way in which her faith enabled her to forgive the Taliban, despite the fact that they had caused her such terrible injuries, was a catalyst for some very thought - provoking discussion. We have been considering how people can have any faith in a God in the 21st century and trying to answer questions such as: ‘Is it possible to prove that God exists?’ or ‘If God is all-good and all-powerful, how can there be evil? Epicurus, an ancient Greek philosopher posed this question 2300 years ago and it is still debated today, as our students engage this very question. The children are learning the ability to consider and answer questions like these and to argue for and against a variety of different views, as well as offering their own personal responses. All in all, it has been a week full of very interesting and challenging discussions! 

Bernadette Williams, Theology, Philosophy and Religion Teacher


Highfield House Points 

Good Marks (Years 4, 5 & 6)

Sabina Tracey 50 • George Elmore 47 • Dee Dee Sinclair 27 • Jack Heaver 20 • Oliver Glasgow 17 • Wilfred Walters 17

Trafalgar 25.7 • Waterloo 24.9 • Agincourt 24.2 

Plus Marks (Year 4, 5 & 6)

Rory Lett 90 • Jemima Goldsmith 66 • Zac Jenkins 66 • Amelie Tyrell-Evans 51 • Amelie Kingsbury 46 • Jamie Borwick 43  • Emily Pearce 43

Trafalgar 66.5 • Waterloo 63 • Agincourt 61.2

Merit Marks (Years 7 and 8)

Oliver Hendricks 68 • Fergus Turvill 63 • Isabella Hendricks 51

Agincourt 18.2 • Trafalgar 16.2 • Waterloo 16.1

Brookham House Points

 Oak 319 • Ash 317 • Willow 296 



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