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!


Awards Evening

This year’s Awards Evening took place on Thursday 21st November.

A large number of students who left Shipston at the end of the last academic year returned to collect their GCSE certificates, subject prizes and special awards, together with our current Year 10 and Year 11 students receiving awards for attitude to study and progress against target.  We were delighted to see amongst the audience parents, staff, governors, the Mayor of Shipston and representatives from local sponsors the Rotary Club, Stour Valley Lions, Shipston Probus and the Royal British Legion.  Our guest of honour was Mr Bob Armstrong who, after many years’ service to the school, recently retired from the school’s Board of Governors.  Mr Armstrong also presented the new “Bob Armstrong Award” to ex-Head Girl Abigail Slatter in recognition of her all-round contribution to the life of the school.

Awards Evenings are always special occasions and this was no exception.  It is always fascinating to learn what our students go on to do when leaving us.  This year one student has taken a place at Shrewsbury School to follow his rowing career whilst another is resident at Repton School on a hockey scholarship.  Many have progressed to local sixth forms to study A levels and a good number have embarked on vocational courses at college in areas such as Animal Care, Bricklaying, Hair and Beauty, Health & Social Care and Sports Science.  A substantial number, too, have taken up apprenticeships in various professions such as Catering, Carpentry, Farriery and Farming.

In all cases, it is good to see that the sound education they have received at Shipston has stood them in good stead to take the next steps forward in their chosen careers.

Faraday STEM Challenge Day

Two teams from Year 8 represented the school on Wednesday 20th November at a Faraday STEM Challenge Day at Sibford School organised by the Institution of Engineering and Technology.

Tasked with designing and building a prototype of a solution that could be used to help in a relief operation, both teams worked brilliantly, but it was the girls’ team of Nahia, Imogen, Lily, Anaya and Rhiann who were victorious and lifted the trophy at the end of the day.

The boys’ team of Robert, Rhys, Oscar, Jack, Jake and Oscar  were also excellent ambassadors for the school.

The school could potentially now qualify for the regional final!


Remembrance activities

Over the last few days, as is the norm, the school observed the national commemoration for Remembrance.

The whole school gathered together for a special assembly to reflect on the commitment and sacrifice of our armed services. We were proud and honoured to welcome special guests from the Shipston on Stour branch of The Royal British Legion to the assembly, and we thank Chairman, Richard Adams, and President, David Kernohan, for joining us for the event. Students heard the story of Ernest Arthur Webb who served in the 2nd Batallion of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment and who, at age 29, became the first Shipston fatality of the second world war.

School staff and students were represented by our five senior prefects, Ashish, Minnie, James, Matthew and Amy who took part in the parade and the Sunday Remembrance service on 10th November and attended the marking of the two minutes’ silence on 11th November with Headteacher Gavin Saunders.

We are grateful for the opportunity to be involved, and proud to have raised money for the Royal British Legion through poppy sales in school.

Prison Me No Way Day

Prison Me No Way day is an event we always look forward to in school.

As part of our work on Personal Social Health Education (PSHE), we had visitors in school from the Fire Service, Ambulance Service, Red Cross, Police, CEOP (Child Exploitation and Online Protection centre), the Prison Service and other organisations for a Crime and Safety Awareness day. The aims of the day were to raise awareness among young people of the consequences of crime, and discouraging young people from making a mistake that could affect their adult lives. Workshops this year included Prison Life, Drugs, Knife Crime and Making the Right Choices. Students also had the chance to experience what the inside of a prison cell looks like, forcibly bringing home the message that actions have consequences. This event for Year 8 and 9 students has been run in school for the past 12 years and it has been hugely successful and valuable. The event is organised by the No Way Trust.
If you would like to know more about the charity organising the day, please visit their website at

Mrs Hunt’s visit to the Cotswold Wildlife Park

On Saturday 28th September 45 students visited the school’s adopted rhino – amongst other animals –at the Cotswold Wildlife Park, Burford. The visit was the culmination of Mrs Hunt’s “Rhino Week” at school, involving students fundraising for the rhino by putting loose change into a rhino shape, a ‘name the rhino’ competition to win a cuddly rhino and selling animal key rings and snap bands. Students also bought and hungrily devoured a large amount of homemade rhino shaped cookies!

The day was bright and sunny and students enjoyed a great day around the Park. It was especially pleasing to see so many of our new Year 7 students taking part in their first school trip!

Thanks to Mrs Hunt and all the other members of staff who gave up their Saturday to enable the trip to go ahead.

Fantastic turn out for Open Evening

Open Evening took place on Thursday 26th September and we were delighted to welcome so many prospective parents to what we believe is a very special school. The school was alive with demonstrations, displays and current Shipston High School students eager to share their experiences of life at the school. We never cease to be amazed and proud of the way our students volunteer to come back to school in their own time to help in classrooms, act as tour guides, car park attendants and do anything else that needs to be done!
Our visitors were certainly impressed with their Shipston High experience and our visitors questionnaire revealed some lovely comments:
“The students were absolutely charming. You can see immediately how happy they are. We’re extremely impressed”
“I have been very impressed by how warmly the pupils spoke about their school: their sense of pride is evident”

The closing date for on time applications for entry to Shipston High School in September 2020 is 31st October and the school has 120 places available.