Year 8 to National Memorial Arboretum

This week, 80 Year 8 pupils visited the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire.

The National Memorial Arboretum is the UK’s all year-round centre of Remembrance; a spiritually uplifting place which honours the fallen, recognises service and sacrifice, and fosters pride in our country. It is a living and lasting memorial.

The Arboretum covers 150 acres of land and is a living tribute that will forever acknowledge the personal sacrifices made by the Armed Forces and civil services of this country.

The focus isn’t totally military. There is a large area devoted to Police who have fallen while on duty, as well as other areas devoted to the Fire and Rescue and Ambulance services. National charities representing those who have died in particular circumstances, including children, are also to be found in the Arboretum grounds.

The Arboretum was the brainchild of Commander David Childs CBE who wished to see established a national focus for Remembrance. Following a meeting with Group Captain Leonard Cheshire VC, an appeal was launched in 1994 by the then Prime Minister, John Major.

The trip supports the year group’s recent History modules and focused on a variety of aspects including World War One, the Holocaust and conflict in the Middle East.

Pupils toured the arboretum and also took part in a workshop where they investigated a variety of artefacts which were handed out to them to identify and predict what they represented. They then presented their findings to the rest of the group. All pupils took part in a memorial ceremony, remembering those who have fought in wars across the world. Pupils finally took part in a poppy session where they explored the concepts behind this and the place it has in commemoration today.

One particular thought-provoking memorial for the pupils, was the ‘shot at dawn’ memorial, which remembers the 309 British soldiers executed for desertion during World War One. Some of those shot at dawn were young soldiers who lied about their age to join up, such as Herbert Burden. Many of these soldiers may have been suffering from PTSD (Post-traumatic stress disorder) and this was recognised in 2006 with the Armed Forces Act 2006 allowing the soldiers to be pardoned posthumously.

The pupils showed great respect throughout the day and as ever and were credit to the school.

Year 7 to Warwick Castle

Last week, 128 Year 7 pupils visited Warwick Castle in order to help support their learning in History. Pupils learnt how the castle has changed over time, and found out more about the weaponry and armour that was used throughout the Middle Ages. In particular, pupils were looking at the Norman Conquest and what better place to visit than Warwick Castle, which was one of just 30 personally commissioned castles by William the Conqueror!

Upon arrival, pupils attended an informative talk from one of the Castle’s trebuchet operators. In the Middle Ages, trebuchets were used extensively during the Medieval period, particularly in siege warfare, as they could hurl projectiles of over 15 kg in weight at up 150 mph.  The trebuchet at Warwick castle is currently the largest working medieval weapon of its type and it stands at an impressive 18 metres high and weighs over 22 tonnes!

The guide explained how it was used to fire anything from flaming boulders to break castle walls, to beehives or even dead plague victims to try and target the people living inside a castle. Although, we couldn’t see the trebuchet in action, we still enjoyed finding out about how feared it was as a weapon in the Middle Ages.

Pupils were then left to explore the castle in groups. They were particular focused on the Norman invasion and how this impacted the castle landscape we see today. This was further supported by an excellent tour of the castle led by the Warwick Castle educational team, which took them through 1066 and the Battle of Hastings before moving into the impact of Norman rule.

Next, they went to explore the castle interior and its grounds.  Firstly, they climbed the castle walls, scaling the arduous, twisting spiral staircases – finally reaching the top. The views from the walls made the effort of climbing very worthwhile.  The highest tower in the castle was over 36 metres high and the pupils saw many arrow slits for both crossbows and longbows. Once they had climbed down, they made their way to the King’s Hall where there was a display of weaponry, including swords, guns and even full sets of armour.

Pupils were able to explore all aspects of the castle (including the Horrible Histories maze which many students enjoyed!). At lunch, they were treated to a birds of prey display and many pupils were left clutching their sandwiches as falcons and swooped in amongst the group!

Our guide explained how useful birds of prey were for hunting in the Medieval times, especially if there was a poor harvest, as people would depend on what the birds could hunt. Some birds were incredibly large and one of them, the Andean Condor, had a wingspan of over 3 metres. There were many highlights during the day as the students visited the state rooms, gaol and climbed the hundreds of steps around the castle’s fortifications. 




Off to see the Unis!

The end of term is fast approaching, but that hasn’t stopped students visiting local universities. Last week, 13 Year 10 students visited Warwick University. They were shown around the campus by the student ambassadors, seeing the accommodation, various places to eat and the student union. They visited the library which is open 24 hours a day so you can study in the middle of the night!

This week saw 40 Year 9 pupils visit University of Birmingham. Like last week, it was a gloriously sunny day and showed the campus at it’s best. The pupils listened to a short talk about the university and what’s on offer, lots of interesting questions were asked. They then heard a student presentation on Microbiology and the harm caused to the environment by plastic.

A tour of the campus followed. The clock (Big Joe) is an iconic feature of the university – standing proud in the centre of the campus.

The pupils learnt lots of interesting facts about the university, the Disney Film ‘Monsters University’ has it’s campus based on Birmingham University and the Aston Webb building where the graduations take place, was shortlisted for Harry Potter, but missed out as it wasn’t big enough!

During the afternoon session, the pupils were split into teams and they had to develop an idea that would enhance the life of students at the university. After some initial head-scratching, the ideas started to flow. They worked together as a team and communicated well with each other and the student ambassadors, who were giving them guidance. Students produced mind maps and lego models of their inventions and then each team had to pitch to the rest of the groups and a winner was chosen.

Ideas included: water parks, a Spa and a bike on a zip wire! They were very creative and confident with their pitches. The bike on a zip wire won.

Both visits greatly inspired the pupils to think about their futures and the vast range of opportunities available to them.

Year 8 -History Big Quiz

On June 26th, a group of Year 8 History students visited the University of Birmingham to take part in a ‘History Big Quiz’. This event aims to give students an introduction to History at degree level and University life in general.

Students were split into teams and took part in a mammoth quiz on all things history. Anything from mythology to famous black Britons was asked of the students! In between the rounds , students had a lecture from a History professor on the relevance of History to the world around us and how important it is to us in our lives today to understand how people in the past have lived, thought and behaved.

Dr Michell Chresfield gave a fascinating lecture on the history of trainers (or sneakers) and how they have evolved as an object. Not what you traditionally think of when talking about history but as she stated “everything around us has a history”.

All teams then went back to the quiz (following a lunch on the grass on the beautiful University campus) and competed valiantly. All teams represented the school very well with some extremely competitive groups emerging when the sweet prizes were announced. One of our teams picked up the prize for the best opening round and it is safe to say the sweets did not survive the journey back. As ever, the students were a credit to the school.

Kia’s cut for charity

This week, Kia Dwyer in Year 7 decided to have her hair cut.

This is not big news normally, but Kia will be donating her locks to children undergoing cancer treatment.

Kia chose to donate her hair to ‘The Little Princess Trust’, inspired by the passing of her Grandad last year, from cancer. She told us:

I know my hair will be going to someone who has lost their hair through cancer treatment or other illnesses. My hair will make a wig, to help another young person who doesn’t have their own hair.

Her mum, Kerry told us:

I am very proud of Kia for being so selfless and proud that she decided to donate her hair to help other young people, inspired by her grandad.

Hair must be a minimum of 12″ before it can be used by the charity.
For more information:

Year 10 GCSE Art

Year 10 GCSE Fine Art

Work in progress:

The students have been studying the issues associated with homelessness. They have considered some of the causes of homelessness, and the likely outcomes on an individual’s safety, physical and mental health and general well-being.
The students have explored the work of a number of artists, including the expressive drawings of Henry Moore, which focus on the use of line and tone to express form, and Leonardo da Vinci’s highly technical and beautifully detailed drawings of hands and feet. The students also studied the work of Willie Baronet, an American artist who has purchased more than 1,300 homeless signs over the past 24 years. He uses this collection to create installations to raise awareness about homelessness. The students have used this work as inspiration for their own mixed media collages. They have been encouraged to take risks – and work on a large scale – portraying the emotional state of people who have no permanent shelter.

Pupil visit to SECO

This week, as part of the Studley High School STEM programme, Year 9 students visited SECO Engineering in Alcester.

SECO is one of the world’s largest providers of comprehensive metal cutting solutions for milling, stationary tools, holemaking and tooling systems. They develop and supply the technologies, processes and supports that manufacturers depend on to maximize productivity and profitability.

They gained an insight to the various roles, career pathways and opportunities available in engineering and spent time with staff, apprentices and completed some practical exercises as well as having a tour!




Mock Trial update

On Saturday 10th March, the big day arrived for the Mock Trial team. Since October, the team have been preparing to present their court case and battle it out against other local schools.

Nerves were running high, but as soon as they got into the swing of things it was obvious how much hard work they had been putting in. All pupils involved were amazing on the day and showed their understanding of pulling court cases apart and questioning witnesses. Sadly, only two schools out of the ten involved, could go through to the next round and we didn’t quite make it, however they should all be proud of how far they have come in the process.

Well done Mock Trial team, for making it as far as you did!

GKN promoting STEM

Just before half term, GKN apprentices visited school, to speak to our pupils about careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths).

GKN is a global engineering business that design, manufacture and service systems and components for original equipment manufacturers around the world.

Rebeccah Freeman, 4th year engineering apprentice, told our pupils:

My uncles are engineers and I loved hearing them talk about it and also my dad was a mechanic.I used to spend weekends and school holidays at my dad’s garage which inspired me to want to get into that sort of career. I loved Maths and Science at school and did A Level Maths as result.

I am currently in my final year of my 4 year apprenticeship and completing my final year of my foundation degree which GKN, who have sponsored me for.

I do my foundation degree on a day release program while working as a manufacturing engineer the rest of the week. I work as a manufacturing engineer on sideshaft assembly, and have recently been asked to be involved in the implementation of a new cell which will be coming into the area.

Once my apprenticeship is over I will be staying in the sideshaft assembly area to be able to gain more knowledge and skills to help me excel within my career as an engineer.

Emily Pringle, International Graduate Engineering, GKN Aerospace, told us:

My inspiration to go into engineering was mainly that I love Maths at school and liked the problem solving aspect.
Before applying to university, I was conflicted between engineering or business. However, I learned that industrial engineering would allow me to work in a wide range of roles from very technical to more on the business side of any industry.

In my current role I am looking at the flow of material through the plant and how to better optimise the building process of an aircraft window. In one of the production buildings, the manufacturing takes place on multiple levels each of which had components stored that are needed to assemble a window. I have implemented a new system in which all the components are stored near the point of use in assembly.

Year 9 girls to Oxford University

As part of our school careers education programme in widening participation and raising aspirations, Year 9 girls had the opportunity to attend Oxford Mathematical Institute and Department of Statistics this month.

Purpose of the visit was to inspire young women to continue with Maths education.

The day consisted of master classes, hearing about and engaging in all things ‘Maths’ and listening to lectures from leading women in Mathematics and Statistics, alongside other girls from other schools.

It was such an informative and inspirational day, filled with exciting talks! It has helped me envisage my future and made me think seriously about Maths for my future choices.

Alice H

I enjoyed the day and found it very inspiring. It was educating and I will now take Maths A level and seriously consider University.

Abbie Staples

I really enjoyed the Maths trip to Oxford University, I found the lectures interesting and the master class informative! The questions were manageable but challenging and educational. Overall the experience was once in a life time opportunity and enthused me to go onto University!

Alice Kerridge

Many thanks, great idea allowing my daughter to experience such an activity and experience of higher education and Maths.

Parent of Year 9 pupil

An excellent opportunity allowing pupils to experience a master class in Mathematics as well as to understand the importance of the subject at an establishment such as Oxford.

Mrs Smith, Maths