06 Dec 2019

Senior High Notes 6 Dec

Senior High Notes 6 Dec


Yesterday in my assembly I had the pleasure of handing out a large number of certificates and trophies for outstanding achievement, ranging from the Regional Trampolining Competition, Gold Crest Awards and House Drama. In addition, I was delighted to present impressive Duke of Edinburgh certificates. We are very proud of the numbers of our students who participate in this scheme, including on this occasion, Gold Certificates awarded to Cerys Lewis and Emma Robertson. Both Emma and Cerys will receive their official certificate at the prestigious award ceremony at St James Palace in early 2020. Cerys completed her volunteering at a charity shop and the police force as a cadet, her physical section through her hockey club and skills gained playing the guitar and learning to drive. Having completed her Bronze and Silver outside of school, Emma joined our gold group in 2018, where she volunteered at her sailing club and completed her physical qualification through her achievements in sailing regattas, going on to complete the skills section learning all about engineering through the Engineering Education Scheme (EES) in school.


It was good to speak to so many U3 parents at this week’s Parents’ Evening - the pupils have settled in so well to Senior School and are all doing incredibly well. It was an excellent opportunity for the students themselves to hear the positive and constructive feedback on their progress.


This week we welcomed our new Marketing and Communication Manager, Mrs Rachael Cotton. Rachael has previously worked at Alton Towers and Foremarke School, so brings with her a wealth of experience.


Best wishes,



Over the last two weeks, Upper 3 have been experiencing maths in action! Mrs Coggle and Mrs Ley’s mathematics groups have been working in small teams on statistics projects, inspired from an unknown stimulus. The teams decided on a hypothesis which led to varied and interesting discussions and a wide variety of hypotheses. They then went on to plan and run an experiment, analysed their results and finally presented them to the whole year group. They had a great time running their experiments and having the opportunity to participate in all the others across the year group. Some of the exciting examples included blind taste testing of chocolate digestives to test the hypothesis ‘McVities taste better than own brand’, watching a film either with or without popcorn, to test the hypothesis ‘A film is more enjoyable with popcorn’ and a couple of experiments linked to reading week. They were testing whether the style of font enables learning, using a piece of text from ‘The Time of Green Magic’. The students learnt all about the pit falls of running an experiment, what can cause bias and how to effectively evaluate their own and others performance.





Ten talented trampolinists travelled to Hinckley on Sunday to compete in the Regional Trampolining competition. The students have been working hard to perfect their routines during Trampoline club and arrived at the competition prepared to show off their skills - and that they did!  Throughout the day we saw some fantastic scores as high as 8.2. When the results were collated the Y8 team were delighted to be awarded 1st place overall, a trophy, medals and a place in the zonal round on the 18th January in Cardiff. A big congratulations to Millie for coming 3rd overall in her age group and category. Not all the competitors from Derby High were podium winners, but should be proud of their performance and dedication to improve their routines and compete against some very strong competitors. Miss Stirland is very much looking forward to taking the regional winners to Cardiff in the New Year to compete at the Zonal level. 





What a wonderful way to end our Reading Week - cross curricular activities based on the book ‘A Time of Green Magic’ by Hilary McKay.


Author Hilary McKay came to meet our year 7 students and to talk about all of their activities.

Hilary gave a real insight into how she created the characters for her book ‘A Time of Green Magic’.  She talked us through the conversations that she had with her characters as she let them help her to tell their story.  Question time was very interesting and Hilary responded to a real ‘grilling’ from the students whose questions were very mature and thoughtful.

Students then talked Hilary through the work that they had done during their Reading Week and demonstrated the skills that they had learnt.  Hilary was very impressed with the cave paintings and her very own theme tune created during a music lesson.  Hilary was very generous with her time and saw each of the students individually as she signed their books.


Year 7 presented Hilary with a scroll of comments about her book that also catalogued their enjoyment of Reading Week lessons.  Here are some of the comments:


‘I really enjoyed the book and can’t wait to read Skylark’s War.  It was really exciting to meet you and I loved Reading Week’

‘I loved the book. It had lots of emotion and mystery to it!  I also loved you book Binny’

‘What inspired you to write this book?  I LOVED it.  Probably the best book I have ever read’

‘Cool book’

‘Thank you so much for coming.  I have really enjoyed your book and the magic of it!’

‘Brilliant book.  I really loved Reading Week too’


A lovely book filled and creative afternoon that has followed on from a team devised Reading Week.  Happy times for Mrs Bussey!




Seven L5 students took part in the first on-line astronomy competition organised by the British Physics Olympiad. The aim of the competition was to test underlying knowledge on a range of topics in astronomy, ranging from star constellations to stories about space in the news. The questions were challenging, given that this is a topic that they are not currently studying until next year. The results were incredibly pleasing: 3 silvers and 4 bronzes, an excellent achievement. Well done to all students for their efforts.



L4 French and U4 Spanish have entered a Christmas card competition run by Aston University. Their challenge was to learn about Christmas traditions in another country. Using this new found intercultural understanding, knowledge, and the target language, they then designed Christmas cards. We wish them good luck in the competition! 

Bonne chance!

Buena suerte!




Last Wednesday six geographers travelled to Staffordshire University to compete in the annual Geographical Association Worldwise Quiz. This competition saw us pitted against fourteen teams from other schools across the East Midlands in a test of geographical knowledge and understanding. Our two teams both performed very impressively. Alexis, Alice and Bethan from L5 (team name: ‘We’re Ghana Beat You’) sailed through the preliminary round, scoring twelve more marks than any other team to progress to the final in first place. Unfortunately they were not so lucky in the final, but still finished a very commendable third place. They can console themselves with the fact that if points weren’t wiped at the end of the preliminary round they would have won overall. Diya, Esther and Rowan from L4 (team name: Team RED) came joint fourth in the preliminary round, scoring far higher than teams elsewhere consisting of much older students. They missed out on progressing to the final but we are sure they will be back next year.



On Tuesday afternoon our U4 students were treated to an amazing experience when a team from Rolls Royce came in to tell them all about the innovations in electrification of their engines and to trial a new workshop for schools with them.  The students took part in interactive quizzes, had a chance to imagine an aeroplane of the future and then designed, coded and built their own electrically powered paper plane. As always our students did us proud; Mrs. Driver was extremely impressed with how engaged the students were and how they were taking on the challenge of being aerospace engineers for the day.

And we had this quote from Bethany Hall from Rolls Royce  who organised the event “Thank you for being such a great host yesterday – the students were an absolute delight, I don’t think we could have picked a better group to have our trial with!”

Our thanks go to Bethany and her team for such an enjoyable and inspiring few hours.



L6 business students were delighted this week when Jan Johnson dropped in to give a talk all about how she set up her successful recruitment business.  Jan shared a valuable insight with the students about how to start up and the highs and lows of being a business owner. Students agreed it was a very useful and enjoyable talk and helped to bring the subject of business to life. 



House Drama 2019 was an impressive showcase of individual talent and collective endeavour and teamwork. Our thanks go to this year's adjudicator, Mrs Berryman, who had the difficult task of deciding on an overall winning House and Best Individual Performance: St Patrick won both of these awards, as Jessica Holgate won the individual award. Several students were commended in the adjudication on their performances, especially for the humorous and talented way they brought minor roles to life: Maisie-Grace, Ruby, Jemima and Madeleine.  The highly contested People's Choice Award this year went to St David. Congratulations to all house captains for their leadership and creativity in managing this event, but especially to all the performers, stage-hands and technicians who contributed to a wonderful celebration of drama.




16 swimmers streamlined their way to Stamford yesterday to compete in the GSA swimming gala. The gala was a very high standard with teams from Warwick, Cambridge, Bedford and Stamford but Derby High were definitely up for a challenge!


The U11 team of Jessica, Joy, Isobel and Emma -Jane gave their all in their individual races and relays and gained a clutch of third places. Well done to them in their first gala! The U15 A team of Lexi, Megan, Zoe and Esme had some very strong competition, particularly in the relays. Nevertheless Lexi achieved a superb 2nd place in the individual backstroke and Megan won her individual 50m breaststroke. Esme collected a 4th place in the 50m freestyle and Zoe, who is only 11 years old also achieved a 4th place! The U15 B team swam well and they had 2 members who are only 11 years of age too! They had some very close finishes individually and in their relays, so well done to Lottie, Alice and the younger members Sophia and Kitty!


The U18 team competed as a team last year and won their individual races and relays then. Caitlin, Libby, Lucy and Aimee were awesome again today and were applauded for their outstanding speed and style. All four of the students won their individual races and stormed to victory in the medley and freestyle relays. Fantastic swimming - they did Derby High proud!



On Tuesday Mr Dodson and Mrs Coggle took 14 students from Lower 6, Upper 6 as well as some keen prospective A level mathematicians in Upper 5 to the Arts Centre at Warwick University for the annual "Maths in Action" event. This is always an enjoyable trip for all, and the students were an absolute credit to the school.


Caitlin in Lower 6 reports: "On Tuesday, a group of us had the opportunity to attend the Maths in Action event at Warwick University. We were fascinated by five different lecturers, talking about topics from why it might not be wise to trust the statistics shown in newspapers, to the maths behind juggling patterns! It was a great experience, enjoyable for everyone, and a worthwhile day out for all of us doing A Level Maths – especially as we were treated to some live electric guitar playing!"


The guitar playing speaker, David Acheson, actually lectured our very own Mr Maddox at Oxford University, and we could see why he enjoyed his lectures even then! We look forward to returning next year for another set of interesting and thought-provoking lectures; hopefully to further inspire our students to pursue maths and related subjects at A level and beyond.




Sankt Nikolaus day is celebrated on the 6th of December every year in Germany and Austria. It’s a tradition which dates back to the middle ages. It’s a very exciting day for children, as they traditionally put their shoes outside the night before and then when they wake up they find presents and treats in them. This is of course if they had been well-behaved! This week our German students have been making shoes and this morning were delighted to find the shoes were filled with treats. Clearly all our students have been well-behaved!




It was lovely to see U3 parents and students at their first senior school parents evening last night.



WhatsApp Update

Further to our recent WhatsApp update, there is now a new privacy setting on WhatsApp that allows you to limit who can add you to groups in the app.  Under the Groups tab (in Settings), the 'Who Can Add me to Groups' you can set it to 'everyone', 'my contacts' and 'my contacts except.....'. 


Fake News

I wanted to share with you a useful video about fact checking news stories from the BBC.  A good reminder for all. https://www.bbc.co.uk/academy/en/articles/art20180313142335845