Christmas Cheer at Low Furlong Care Home

During the afternoon of 17th December our school Choir visited neighbouring Low Furlong Care Home to give a Christmas concert for its residents. Sporting festive hats and singing in their best voices the choir, led by Mr and Mrs Hunt, entertained the residents with a mixture of Christmas songs which was well received and enjoyed by all.

We are grateful to Low Furlong for giving us the opportunity to meet and entertain their residents, which turned out to be a fun afternoon for staff and students alike.


F1 in Schools STEM Challenge

Following several evenings of planning and designing, students are well on the way to producing their compressed-air powered model Formula 1 racing car in preparation for the regional Final which is being held in Birmingham on 15th January 2020.

The team comprises five students, James, Matthew, Jasmina, Laurence and Jedizej.

Jasmina has written the following article which totally sums up the team’s excitement and commitment for the challenges the regional Final is likely to bring:

“The F1 in Schools STEM Challenge is a mind-opening opportunity for Shipston High School students to design and make a compressed air-powered model Formula 1 racing car using 2D and 3D CAD/CAM software and techniques, together with a 5-page design portfolio detailing their design journey.

This might sound daunting, yet Shipston’s skilled team, creatively named Apex Racing, have the knowledge and guidance to overcome any obstacle!  The portfolio and race car will be ready to be tested in competition at the Regional final.”

Year 11 Mock Interview Day

Very soon our Year 11 students will be having interviews at 6th forms, colleges and for apprenticeships.  We believe it is really important that prior to this they have the chance to experience what an interview will be like.  With this in mind all students take part in a mock interview session which this year involved sixteen volunteers from various local and national businesses and members of the Shipston on Stour Rotary Club.  All visitors, having much experience in interviewing people, held individual interviews based on the students’ pre-prepared CVs.

Students were briefed to wear “interview clothes” and without exception came into school very smartly dressed and ready for their interviews.  Everyone at school commented on how professional they looked. Although really nervous, the students found the interview to be a very rewarding experience, gaining some constructive feed-back which can now be used in class to improve their CVs and interview techniques.

Overall the students did really well, with our visitors being very impressed with their attitude, appearance and how they conducted themselves.

Miss L Moorman
Careers Leader

Shipston Rotary Club Victorian Evening

The Shipston on Stour Rotary Club’s annual Christmas Victorian Evening is one of the highlights of the Shipston calendar. For many, this very popular event marks the start of their Christmas celebrations with the switching on of the Shipston lights, the late night shopping and arrival of Father Christmas.
We were delighted when we were approached by the Rotary Club and asked if we would like to provide some entertainment during the evening. Led by Head of Music, Mr Hunt, and our Jazz Band stepped up to provide a range of both Christmas and popular music to entertain the shoppers. The event was made even more special as we were able to welcome back former Jazz Band members Oscar and Kat who made their “one night only” appearance with our students.
The school’s Christmas celebrations don’t end there. On Tuesday 17th December the Christmas choir will be entertaining the residents of Low Furlong Care Home and the school Christmas Concert takes place on Thursday 19th December at 7.00 p.m. in the school Hall. Tickets are available on the door and all are welcome.

Teach the Children Well
Fifty years ago this year, mankind pushed the boundaries of exploration to its then limits and made the biggest of technological, metaphorical and literal ‘leaps’ – the moon landings. In what these days may be referred to as a tin can, the American astronauts took Science onto the surface of the silver planet and world stood and watched. At the same time, the folk band Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young sang about how we should ‘teach the children well’ and ‘feed them on your dreams’ – the world was inspired with the dreams, the possibilities, that Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) could bring for the human race. And now, in 2019, at Shipston High School, perhaps we can rightly claim that those thought provoking revolutionary technological ideas are alive and thriving within the teaching of our ‘children’.

Inquisitive Minds
In November, five inquisitive and curious Year 8 students, Nahia, Imogen, Lily, Anaya and Rhiann accepted the gauntlet of their Science teacher, Mr Simon Smallman, to take up the STEM Challenge Competition and produce a new piece of technology which had at least one electrical component in it, and would be of benefit to mankind during an environmental catastrophe. An apposite challenge one would imagine, especially during the recent Biblical floods and probably one which inspired their amazing creation: the Emergency Floatation Device or EFD in the technical parlance.

Our intrepid Scientists pooled their collaborative talents to initiate the idea, design the machine, manufacture the prototype and then stand in front of an audience of other STEM specialists and pitch their creation in a Dragons’ Den style competition. Their idea won. These budding engineers had wowed the audience not only with their triple function chair/bed/stretcher machine, with outboard motor, with floatation back-up in case of engine failure, but with their use of words. These stellar students understood that it was language and their use of voice, pitch, tone, pace which would help to seal the deal. They understood that engaging the audience with effective eye-contact and appropriate gesture would swing things their way. They understood that the cross curricular connection between the Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths, and the use of English and Public Speaking was the key to success. One could argue the school had ‘taught the children well’!

Engineering is a Multiplicity of Skills
When asked what the competition inspired them to do in the future their responses were revealing. Imogen spoke of exploring the world of engineering further. Rhiann vowed to be more ‘thoughtfully creative’. Anaya was going to ‘reconsider her future’. Nahia pertinently noted that ‘engineering is a multiplicity of skills’ and Lily claimed she was now considering this as a ‘career option’.

At a time when STEM is more than ever vital for a world that is over-heating it is these young people which we must rely on to cherish the idea of what Science and language can do together, in harmony and in collaboration. There’s no irony when you dig further into Crosby’s song that he flips his initial pitch from ‘teach the children well’ to ‘teach the parents well’. Our future is in their hands. Our future is in good hands. Let the children teach and we should all learn.

A G Warren

English Department: Autumn term activities

A huge amount of activities take place in school within each department.  Mr Warren, the English department’s Literacy co-ordinator gives an account below of the behind the scenes activities in C block:

“Too many; or not too many? Is that really a Question?
‘Words, words, words.’ So replies Hamlet to Polonius’ question, ‘What do you read, my lord? By repeating the word three times, Hamlet possibly suggests that what he is reading is meaningless. There are a lot of words spoken and written in school, many by the staff and quite a few by students, and it would be fair to say that there is an argument that there are too many. However, this is to fundamentally miss the point. The function of words is really a method to express an idea, a view, a question or an emotion. Therefore, it is absolutely right that students should be extending and exploring a vocabulary that will allow them to perfectly articulate with clarity, perception and confidence exactly what they mean to express.

A paradigm of this would be the importance of Public Speaking within the school. Beyond the students’ academic studies one could argue that the skills and confidence developed by this activity are the ones which make our students really stand out from the crowd when they go for interviews for sixth form, college, university places and eventually in the world of work. Thus, the target for this year’s whole school participation is in excess of 90% (a target that we have reached in the last two academic years), and we are on the way to surpassing it. So far this year Years 11, 10 and 9 have completed their Public Speaking with some astonishing speeches on a variety of subjects including the rise of A.I., Environmental Catastrophes, Me Too and even one on the efficacy of the cow bell in the Swiss Alps! Perhaps, the most esoteric of all speeches so far this year.

You don’t have to believe a teacher about the power of the spoken word and the importance of Public Speaking when the students themselves already know and embrace the idea. When Lily Neale and Nahia Beesley returned in triumph from the STEM competition held at Sibford School in late November, both students were adamant that their Public Speaking skills had been the difference between them and their competitors. In addition to this, the very best of the Year 10 speakers will be flying the Shipston High School flag at the Rotary Youth Speaks Competition in February. Their task, a stiff one, is to emulate the class of 2017 who made it to the final 7 schools out of a staggering 630 schools in the whole of the UK. Good luck!

Finally, to complete our theme of the power of words, 2019 has seen the introduction of the on-line vocabulary enhancement programme ‘Bedrock’ for the whole of Key Stage 3 and Year 10. This effective enhancer of vocabulary will further develop the range of lexis available to students to select from when they write and when they speak. So, perhaps Hamlet’s response to Polonius’ enquiry could have parodied the famous Morecambe and Wise sketch:

“I am using all the best possible words, and putting them in all the best possible places”

I suppose there might be a few issues with the meter!