Whilst academic achievement remains at the heart of Highclare’s educational philosophy, great importance is accorded to the developments of other talents. Every individual is therefore encouraged to take part in one or more of the many extra-curricular activities available.
Music, Speech and Drama
Highclare School recognises everyone’s talents and offers numerous opportunities for the arts in Music & Drama. Success is regularly achieved in the highly acclaimed LAMDA examinations in Performing Arts, and pupils regularly receive Distinctions and Gold Medals in the examinations, which are held twice a year. In Music, enthusiastic staff encourage even the most retiring musicians to take part in regular choirs, orchestras and windbands
The Music and Drama departments join together on a regular basis to deliver performances in senior school concerts, the annual carol service and dramatic productions.
- Participation in a wide range of ensembles, choirs, orchestras and wind band.
- Concerts in and out of school are a regular feature of the school year.
- External instrumental examinations are encouraged.
- Communication skills are fostered, helping students to express themselves clearly, naturally and confidently.
- Debating and public speaking clubs develop useful life skills and pupils regularly enter Rotary competitions.
The school works with a large number of independent music teachers who teach pupils a variety of instruments on a one to one basis within school. The range of instruments offered is extensive, from the very popular piano and keyboard lessons to a large range of brass, wind and string instruments, including guitar and ukelele. Drum lessons are given using the school’s own drum kits.
Highclare Senior School encourages and receives unparalleled levels of performance from its pupils in a wide range of sports, including: netball, hockey, swimming, athletics, cross country, gymnastics, cricket, rugby and football for girls and boys.
As a member of the prestigious Independent Schools Association, Highclare regularly takes part in regional and national independent schools’ competitions as well as participating in the local Birmingham and Sutton schools competitions which regularly result in notable success.
Clubs (subject to regular review)
- Duke of Edinburgh Award
- Athletics Club
- Gardening Club
- Public Speaking
- Senior Choir
- Concert Orchestra
- Rhapsody Choir
- Rock Band
- Ukulele Group
- Film Club
- Debating Club
- Spanish Club
- Football Club (boys & girls)
- Photography Club
- Computing Club
- Book Club
This is a popular and well established part of the Enrichment programme. The students decide the topics to be debated and compete in inter-house, form and gender groups. Students from the Debating Club have visited the Houses of Parliament and have participated in a local Youth Voice in the Parliament enterprise scheme. In addition, the Headmaster and the local MP have both judged various in-house debates.
We have a very pro-active School Council which meets regularly and is overseen by the Head of Senior School and Head Prefect.
- A wide range of projects undertaken for local and national charities
- As part of their enrichment programme, the Sixth formers welcome a variety of visiting speakers to address them on current affairs and issues of concern.
Out and About
- Regular trips expand experience and the development of subject areas.
- Theatre and museum visits throughout the age range.
- Adventure holidays occur frequently.
- Visits abroad encompass language study and cultural aspects.
- Music tours abroad.
The Duke of Edinburgh Award
The Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme has been running at Highclare Senior School since 2013 and every year more and more students are becoming involved in this rewarding programme.
There are three levels of award:
- Bronze (offered from U4 and upwards)
- Silver (offered from L5 and upwards)
- Gold (offered from U5 and upwards)
Each level requires the participants to complete four different sections:
At the Gold level, participants are also required to take part in a residential program.
Each participant is able to create their own individual award as they choose the activities to complete for each section. Often students gain recognition for something they have been doing for a long time such as piano lessons or football training.
The award scheme also gives students the opportunity to try something new such as sign language or playing the ukulele. Many staff at Highclare School facilitate the award by acting as assessors for students participating in the wealth of extra-curricular activities on offer.
During the U4 students at Highclare School have the opportunity to start working towards their Bronze Duke of Edinburgh Award.
The highlight of the year for many students is the outdoor activity trip to Wales. Four days are spent at the CMC Adventure Centre where students participate in expedition training sessions such as map-reading, route planning, navigation and camp craft. The teams then put their newly acquired skills to the test during an overnight expedition in the hills surrounding Llanbedr, in Wales. In addition to this, students complete team building activities such as canoeing, gorge walking and orienteering. This trip is a fabulous opportunity for students to show off their skills outside the classroom whilst discovering hidden talents, making new friends and having lots of fun.
After the examinations in June, the U4 complete their first practice expedition. Student teams are remotely supervised, meaning that supervisors are in the area and meet with the teams at various points along their journey, but this is often their first experience of being independent and responsible for themselves. Despite getting lost, sleeping in a soggy sleeping bag and eating under-cooked pasta, this is always an enjoyable and memorable weekend for the students – a steep learning curve in many cases!
The students plan and prepare for the qualifying expedition before the end of the Summer term and they complete the expedition during September in the L5 year. An expedition assessor meets with the student teams before, during and after their expedition to assess their personal expedition skills and their teamwork. The assessors have always been very impressed with the conduct and teamwork from the Highclare School groups.
The minimum time frame for completing the Silver award is 12 months, indicating somewhat the increased level of commitment and dedication required by the young people to achieve this level. Students are required to train for, plan and complete a practice and qualifying expedition of three days each. A tremendous effort has been displayed by all of the students who have completed this challenge so far.
This year Highclare School is excited to be preparing its first students to “go for gold”. This award is achieved by so few and held in such great esteem that those who manage to complete the Gold Award are invited to St James’ Palace to be presented with it. We wish our students the best of luck on this challenging journey.