here - Highgate School


here - Highgate School
The termly newsletter of Highgate School
Summer 2014
‘One of the
great schools
of our country’
In early May, the Right Honourable
Gordon Brown MP opened our
spectacularly refurbished library,
describing Highgate as ‘one of the
great schools of our country’. The
official opening ceremony of the Sir
Martin Gilbert Library, housed in the
former ‘Big School’ building, named
after former pupil and world renowned
historian, Sir Martin Gilbert, was
attended by a large crowd of
distinguished guests, including the
Israeli ambassador to the UK, Daniel
Taub, Lady Esther Gilbert and members
of the Gilbert family, as well as OCs
and current pupils and staff.
Birth of a
Henry with the ‘Urban Birder’
David Lindo
Henry Wyn-Jones, 8C, is gaining an enviable
reputation as a naturalist and photographer –
attracting the attentions of ITV news, birdwatching magazines as well as the RSPB. In
March, he and his family were interviewed by ITV
after creating a wildlife haven in their garden in
response to declining bird numbers. Henry has his
own photo blog to record sightings of birds and
he goes out bird-watching every weekend. His
most exciting sighting recently was of a Smew, of
which there are only around 100 in Britain. He
alerted local enthusiast and Birdwatch magazine
editor Dominic Mitchell, who raced to the scene
in Alexandra Park and told the world the news –
the first sighting of the bird for 27 years.
Young engineers get on their bikes
The Institute of Engineering and
Technology (IET) and Highgate’s DT &
Engineering Department teamed up last
term to run a Year 8 inter-form
Engineering Challenge day. Five
students were selected from each form to
take part in a challenge where teams
were given a 3D printer, laptop, fake
money and other equipment. None of
the students knew about the challenge in
advance and found themselves
designing and manufacturing a cycling
aid which was either to improve safety
or monitor cyclists on a route such as the
Tour de France. The resulting products
were very impressive: the IET assessed
all the teams’ work and it was a very
close competition, but in the end team
8M – which consisted of Mischa Rocklin,
Noah Taylor, Zach Golant, Cecily Turner
and Rachel McDonald
– won the
A good
Both Head of Department
and teacher of DT and
Engineering, Andy Thomson
and Jon Taylor, were
awarded Vex Teacher of the
Year 2014 in March – for
showing ‘true leadership
and dedication to their
group of students’.
BBC sings
Highgate’s Praises
Highgate pupils won the prestigious
Senior School Choir of the Year
2014 competition run and
broadcast by the BBC’s Songs of
Praise programme. The choir won
the final with a performance of The
Battle of Jericho, arranged by
Moses Hogan, which the judges
described as ‘wonderful…[bringing]
new energy to the competition’.
Judging the schools’ performances
were choirmaster and broadcaster
Gareth Malone (who described
Highgate’s final piece as ‘rhythmically
The BBC filmed interviews in Chapel
very exciting – I wanted to get up and
dance’), choral conductor Suzi Digby
and singer-songwriter Laura Mvula. The
final was broadcast on 11th May and
featured interviews with members of
Highgate’s Chorale as well as Emma
Price, Head of Vocal Studies.
All that jazz - Highgate plays Soho
In a dark and cavernous basement on a
sunny spring afternoon in March,
Highgate’s critically acclaimed jazz
band played its annual gig at the
prestigious Pizza Express Jazz Club in
Dean Street, Soho. They did not
disappoint. Led by pianist and teacher,
André Canniere, the performance
included some chilled tunes from the
quintet including Aron Shelemy on bass,
Sam Coade on alto sax, Hal Knight on
kit and the inspirational trumpet-playing
of Ben Huston. The Big Band played the
alternative Kind Of Bluegrass featuring
Bruce Allinson on vibraphone, while a
melancholic ballad, Isfahan, by Duke
Ellington, featured a solo from Dan
Hilton on alto sax. The last tune, Azulito
was a fast Latin number, featuring Theo
Hurford, Sam and Ben. Hal Knight gave
a drum (and ear-drum) busting solo on
his Pizza Express debut. Overall, it was
a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon, and
the band is looking forward to
showcasing more of their projects in
future events.
Jewish Circle celebrates 75 years
The 75th anniversary of Jewish Circle
was celebrated in April with a
commemorative service led by Highgate
Synagogue’s Rabbi Liss. Former pupils of
the school joined the regular
congregation to hear readings as well as
a talk by one of Jewish Circle’s current
pupil chairs, Lisa Benson. Ruth Green
from the United Jewish Israel Appeal
(UJIA) also spoke at the ceremony. The
circle, one of the oldest Jewish societies
at a UK public school, was established in
1939 upon the school’s decampment to
Westward Ho! in Devon during the
Second World War. It has a current
membership of 135.
Bishop of London
rededicates chapel
The Bishop of London, the Rt Revd & Rt Hon
Richard Chartres visited the School in early May
for a special service to rededicate the school’s
chapel, after an extensive restoration project
lasting 18 months. The stunning chapel is back to
its fully operational best after pupils spent several
months in weekly services in the commodious but
less than holy confines of Dyne House
Auditorium. The Bishop of London revelled in his
surroundings, referring to the ‘repristinated’
interior as a ‘place of polychromatic ecstasy’.
Speaking after the service, Revd Paul Knight said, ‘It was a moving and fitting
celebration of a wonderful building. In restoring it, the craftsmen have managed to keep
alive its atmosphere of an old and holy place, whilst renewing it for future generations.’
Knight, who is due to retire at the end of the school year, added ‘this event truly was an
appropriate culmination of my 22 years here’.
Every (Welsh) cloud has a Silver lining...
On the last day of the Lent term, 28 Year
11 pupils set off to the Brecon Beacons
to undertake their Silver Duke of
Edinburgh qualifying expedition. On
arrival at the Llangatock mountain centre
they were greeted by a torrential
downpour that turned the camping field
into a quagmire and, with the exception
of one glorious evening, proved to be
the theme of the weather for the next
three days. Despite this, spirits remained
high as all the groups knuckled down
impressively to tasks such as navigating
along the top of ridges in high winds.
They showed real grit and
determination in reaching
the finishing point at the
southern end of the Black
Mountains, just outside
Abergavenny. Each group
and participant deserves
huge congratulations for
what was a challenging, but
undoubtedly rewarding, trip.
Lille darlings
For a few days after the summer half
term, the entirety of Year 7 enjoyed a
trip to Lille in northern France – a
mountainous organisational feat pulled
off with élan by Mlle Pottier. The pupils
proved a credit to all: confidently
engaging in French conversation with
locals by conducting street surveys and
exploring with enthusiasm the local
architecture, history and cultural
opportunities of the city. They also visited
the only swimming pool in the world that
is home to a museum. ‘It was a really
packed and fun trip’, said Hamida
Saleque, 7O. ‘The views from the top of
the clock tower were just amazing’.
Fair play at the Festival
As we go to press, the school is gearing
up for its inaugural Summer Festival,
which will culminate in an evening of
entertainment in Camden’s Roundhouse.
The Festival has been designed to mark
the manifold achievements of pupils and
departments in a way that enables
parents and visitors to enjoy the hard
work put in over the academic year.
Athletics championships at Allianz Park,
prize-giving ceremonies in the Library, a
concert in the Dining Hall, Evensong in
Chapel and a guest speaker, former
pupil, Kaya Burgess, delivering a lecture
on contemporary journalism are all
due to take place; as well as a Summer
Fair showcasing projects, clubs and
societies from across the Pre-Prep, Junior
and Senior Schools. Then on Sunday
evening at the Roundhouse, the
weekend will conclude with a
spectacular flourish: a celebration of the
best of music and drama in live
performance and film. As Adam Pettitt,
Head Master, exhorts everyone in the
programme: ‘let’s enjoy our feast days,
celebrate Highgate and make
merry at a fair!’
Where the art is
The Junior School Art Exhibition marked a
significant collection of children’s artwork
from across the year groups. The theme of
this year’s collection was ‘Out of this
World’ and it included projects such as
exploring pattern and relief in clay tin
masks and experimenting with astronomical
colours in Year 3 weaving. Pupils in Year 4
represented a fantastical constellation
through spherical, delicate floor patterns
and graphic shapes. The focus of art in
Year 5 was hand-drawn futuristic city
skylines brought to life in Photoshop as well
as the exploration of diverse textures inspired by astronomy. The pupils also
produced a vibrant selection of appliqued soft toys using felt. Pupils in Year 6
made tie-dyed solar system T-shirts embellished with pen and applique work.
History trip gives Y6 wings
‘Our trip to the RAF Museum was one
of our favourite trips. It filled us with
facts and emotion about WW1 and
WW2, the Blitz and the Battle of
Britain. Our favourite event of the day
was when we had the chance to catch a
glimpse of what it would have been like
to live in WW2 in the middle of an air
raid. We got to go into a real air raid
shelter. We also got to see many
famous planes such as the Hurricane
and the Spitfire. As it was VE Day
(Victory in Europe Day) we saw many
elderly men wearing many medals,
remembering the war.’
Agnes and Maude Fisher, 6L and 6S
Our encounters with Dickens
The outing to the Museum of London this term was an
extremely fun and marvellous adventure, writes Lex
Johnson, Y5. The main attraction was the Charles Dickens
Workshop where an actor put on a believable and
accurate performance of the skilled Victorian writer. He
told the stories of a few of his books, bringing forward
some of us to act out characters while he read text from
his books. He will even give you a few lines or dancing
steps! I was picked to play Oliver Twist! It is also a good
time to listen to some brilliant material from the books.
You get to sit in an old fashioned stage-room, with
Victorian style furniture! It’s as if you’ve taken a journey
to the past! He’s funny, he’s serious, he’s questionable,
he’s Charles Dickens!
Animal magic at the zoo
‘We had an amazing day at
ZSL London Zoo on a school
science trip: we saw snakes,
lizards and tortoises. We went
to the tiger territory and met a
Sumatran tiger called Hari.
After that, we went on a walk in
the monkey rainforest and saw
all of the interesting monkeys
jumping from branch to branch.
Then we had a talk on
endangered animals. It was
really fun when we got to touch
the corn snake and the
cockroach. Later on, we went to
the penguin pool to watch an
amazing show. Then we went to
the butterfly house and saw lots
of different species and lots of
them landed on us’ Anna
Rutland and Katie Hilton, 4J
A spring in
their steps
The Pre-Prep held its
annual Maypole Dancing
workshops in the middle of
May on a glorious sunlit
day. The playground was
filled with the sound of
English folk music as
Jeremy played the
accordion and Jane taught
the children traditional
dance routines. In the
afternoon the parents
came to watch the children
perform and show off their
new dance skills.
What a lot of characters!
The Pre-Prep playground
was full of children in
fancy dress one morning in
early March thanks to
World Book Day. Their
theme this year was
‘Myths, Legends and Fairy
tales’, and Medusa, Little
Red Riding Hood, Captain
Hook, a dragon, Sleeping
Beauty and Robin Hood
all jostled together in
assembly. The costumes
were wonderful and the
children loved guessing
what the staff had come
dressed as – the magic
mirror from Snow White
being perhaps the trickiest.
High Fives!
(L-R Avira Reimer, Marjolaine Briscoe,
Eve Smith-Bingham and Phoebe Bracken)
A cricketing hero
Jack Bruce, Y10FG, goes from
cricketing strength to strength.
Playing for Middlesex CCC, in
June he featured as 12th man
during a three-day non firstclass match against Oxford
MCCU in the University Parks.
Last term saw a terrific season
of Fives with both boys and
girls pairs from various age
ranges winning the Nationals
in their category. Highgate
pairs (Eve Smith-Bingham and
Amira Reimer, Charlie Noble
and Christy Blackaby) also
reached both Open finals
and Eve and Charlie then
went on to win the Mixed
Championship. The girls had
a particularly good time at
Shrewsbury, winning the
National U15, U18, U21
and U25 categories, while
the boys pairs won the
National U12 and U14 and
the Prep Schools’ U13.
Social climbers
In late March, ten pupils travelled to
North Wales for a weekend climbing
trip. On the first day, the group headed
to a prominent crag called Holyhead
mountain and were soon limbered up
and testing themselves against a variety
of engagingly named routes such as
Teaser, Laceration, New
boots and Panties and Mrs
Murdoch. With a height of
24m the crag had a
commanding position
overlooking the sea and
allowed for some atmospheric
abseiling alongside the
climbs. The following day was
spent exploring a nearby
crag at Tremadog called the
Upper Tier. Another 20m+
crag, this was located on a
hillside facing south, allowing the group
to take in some welcomed sunshine. All
showed obvious progression in their
ability over the two days and were
commended on their determination in
completing challenging routes on real
rock in an incredible setting.
Our London Youth Games hopeful
The London Youth Games takes place in June and
Highgate will be cheering on one Y8 pupil in
particular. Athlete Cecily Turner, 8M, will compete
for the borough of Hackney in the 800m, the two
and three-mile cross-country run and the
Aquathlon due to take place in the first week of
July. The Games, the biggest junior competition in
Europe, were inaugurated in 1977 and the finals
are hosted in the Crystal Palace National Sports
Centre where schools and clubs from 33 London
boroughs compete for glory. A Haringey
spokesperson described Cecily – pictured here in
the launch event to mark Balfour Beatty’s
extended sponsorship of the Games – as ‘a very
promising young talent – one of our bright lights’.
Highgate Y13s leap into their futures and the Moroccan
desert – highnoteson their Geography trip in April
Highgate School, North Road, London N6 4AY
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