It was an exciting time on Wednesday 12th December 2018 when we were finally able to play netball outside on the five new netball courts. The court were officially opened by representatives from Marshes Community Benefit Fund, Mr Dowler Headteacher, Governors, Staff and Students.
After school 79 students stayed after school to play netball. Netball at Helsby High School is very strong and popular often with 50+ students staying for after school clubs. The lack of outside courts has not put the students off attending but has affected the quality of provision for this sport so the completion of these courts has proved a well-timed and exciting addition to the school’s facilities. In addition, we are now able to offer tennis to our students in the summer.
We would like to thank The Marshes Benefit Fund for the generous contribution made enabling these facilities to be improved. This facility is available for community use and any enquiries should be made to school on 01928 723551 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In October, 37 of our Year 11 students visited Berlin for an action-packed 3 days and nights.
On Friday, students explored the city on foot to take in many of the wonderful, historic and cultural sites. We saw sites as diverse as the TV Tower in Alexanderplatz, the Brandenburg Gate, the Berlin Cathedral, the Holocaust Memorial and the Topography of Terror – an exhibition charting the terror unleashed by the Nazi regime on the very spot that housed the Gestapo and SS Headquarters 80 years ago. Students taught each other about some of the key events and developments of Berlin through the ages. A visit to the Reichstag by night provided us with a brilliant view of the city by night, and students learnt all about the government of Germany in the 21st Century.
On Saturday, we visited the house of the Wannsee Conference – the place where the logistics and plans for the final solution to the Jewish question were discussed and agreed upon. This gave students a close look at how the Holocaust was able to happen, and provided us with lots to consider. Our visit to the spectacular Olympic Stadium – the home of Hertha Berlin Football Club – juxtaposed history and sport, and students toured the changing rooms and press room as well as the indoor climate controlled warm up space and the pitch itself. The Nazis had the stadium built for the 1936 Olympics, and it was a superb spectacle in itself in its day, with the first electronic timers and giant TV screens to show off Germany’s amazing building and technological skills.
In a suburb of Berlin, lies the Hohenschonhausen Memorial prison, where – on Sunday – we were able to hear first-hand accounts of life for prisoners at the hands of the Stasi – the secret state police of East Germany – as well as tour some of the complex. This was an eye opener for many students, who had only heard about the Stasi for the first time on the visit. We closed our visit off with a visit to a Sunday flea market near to the Berlin Wall Memorial. Students took in the more Bohemian sights and sounds of the city, and some bought quirky bits and bobs or tasted some of the gorgeous food offerings.
Throughout the visit we used public transport: buses, trams, U-Bahn and S-Bahn. This was also a brilliant part of the trip, where students were able to gain valuable life lessons involved in using a busy transport network, and seeing how people get around in a busy cosmopolitan city. Our accommodation was brilliant, and students enjoyed some down-time winding down in the brand-new Hotel Schulz, which is situated right next door to the longest remaining stretch of the Berlin Wall – the East-Side Gallery. Meal times were relaxed, and students acted mature in their approach to the communal setting. A great night’s sleep was necessary after each of our busy days, and the brand new, beautifully decorated rooms were a perfect place to rest our heads.
The staff were so impressed with the students throughout the visit, and truly felt that all of them got an immense amount from the experience. Behaviour was impeccable, attitudes towards the subject matter were absolutely appropriate, and their considerate nature towards others both within and outside the group were all aspects worthy of high praise indeed. By the end of the weekend, everyone felt as though they had truly made the most of the visit, and many of our students declared that they had made some wonderful memories. We also hope that we have inspired them to see the world, and travel far and wide in pursuit of knowledge and culture!
Students said: “I really enjoyed the trip – it was informing and fun. The bit I will remember the most is the Reichstag Dome, where we saw the city by night.” Mia
“I loved the trip! The part I found most interesting was the House of the Wannsee Conference, where we learned all about how the Holocaust happened.” Katie
“I enjoyed the Stasi prison visit the most. I found it thoroughly interesting and a great experience for everyone to hear about a real life prisoner’s story.” Jaiden
“I absolutely loved the trip! My favourite thing about the whole trip historically, was the Reichstag. I really enjoyed spending time with people I don’t normally talk to.” Phoebe
Staff said: “Exploring so much of Berlin’s contrasting History in such a short space of time and getting to know our wonderful Y11s better were the best bits for me!” Mrs Jones
“The Holocaust memorial is so surreal – it really takes you out of your comfort zone. The Wannsee House was really creepy. Amazing to think such horrible things could be contemplated in such a beautiful setting. I also thought that because of the weather and the group of pupils we took it was generally just a lovely weekend. The kids were a credit!” Miss Stone “A fantastic visit to Berlin which in the words of the song by the group called Berlin “Took my breath away”. Mrs Llewellyn’s superb organisation and planning meant that so much was packed into the three days. It is difficult to pick up the highlights but I found
• The visits to the Holocaust Memorial and Topography of Terror very moving • The new Reichstag dome and the refurbished Olympic Stadium very impressive • The guided tour of the Stasi prison by a former prisoner very thought provoking
As well as an action packed visit to an interesting city I really enjoyed the company of three great members of staff and some fantastic young people. They were a real credit to the school and their families. I hope the old bald bloke with the bad sense of humour didn’t dampen the visit!” Mr Dowler
Helsby High School really did go ‘Into the Woods’ in spectacular style. Thank you to everyone who came to see our challenging but thoroughly entertaining show.
The show was cast back in July of this year and students were busy putting their costumes together over the summer holidays. On our return in September we realised what a vastly challenging play we had chosen to do, but we were excited about the prospect of succeeding in creating this production.
We ran extra auditions in September for the new year 7’s and 7 of them were successful in gaining a place on the cast. We were really pleased with this play as there were lots of main parts to go around and actors as young as year 8 (Matty B) and 9 (Frankie F) were securing the lead roles. This meant that the play felt really inclusive and we were making new friends from different year groups and improving our acting, singing and musical skills in the process.
The show has complicated with dissonant music that really evokes the spooky atmosphere of a wood at night time. The show band handled the music brilliantly, we know it was a challenge and they really succeeded. Singing to the music was also challenging but with the help of Mrs Healey and other talented singers such as our Witch Catrin J in year 12, we felt more and more confident at every rehearsal. Matty B yr 13, El R yr 11 and Lexi G yr 13 were our other stars and their performances were excellent. We really enjoyed the playfulness of the direction from Mrs Cross and Mrs Knox, the giant’s wife was Maddie from year 7 but she had huge elastic arms and over-sized foam hands with red nails that reached into the audience (thanks to Peter, Vicky and Yvette for the hands). It was a fun scene to do and made the audience laugh. However, mistakes did happen and on the last night, Ellie from year 7 who was watching the show after doing the make-up, had to run on and be one of the giants arms as the actor who was supposed to be doing it had been caught up back stage! Thanks Ellie, you saved the day!
The most creative and funny part of the show in our opinion was Jim E from yr 12 as he stole the show with his puppetry of the cow Milky White. He also played one of the princes who along with Lauren R yr 13 created brilliant characters.
We will always remember Jim jumping up and saying “I am the prince and I am blind” and then lying down again to say “I am the cow and I am dead”. Thanks to everyone who came to see us perform and thanks to all the teachers who made this play possible.
On Monday 26th November 2018, Helsby High School had the pleasure of holding our annual Year 11 Awards Evening. The event took place in our Sports Hall for the first time, due to the number of students, parents/carers and staff in attendance, meaning the Main Hall was too small for the audience. The evening started with a welcome from our outgoing Headteacher, Mr Dowler, praising the Class of 2018 on their time at Helsby, where many students have made a lasting impact. With new, tougher GCSEs, the Class of 2018 did an outstanding job and achieved some of the highest grades in Cheshire West and Chester secondary schools.
We were privileged to invite an ex-student of Helsby High School and Sixth Form, Dr Emily Jones, Lecturer in Modern History at the University of Manchester, to give a speech at the evening. Dr Jones left Helsby in 2006 and since that point has successfully attended, The University of Manchester, Oxford University, Cambridge University and Columbia University in New York, where she completed a Degree, Masters and Doctorate in History. Dr Jones gave insight into her pathway to becoming a lecturer, with many of the audience in awe of her experiences.
Miss Wilkes, Year 11 Leader and Mr Dowler then presented students with 26 subject prizes, recognising achievement and progress in each area. Prizes were also given for the students who made outstanding achievement overall and outstanding progress overall, along with contribution to the school and attendance.
The evening concluded with an emotive closing speech from Mr Cooney, Assistant Headteacher and Key Stage 4 Leader praising the students in the audience on their achievements over the past 5 years at Helsby, culminating in the amazing GCSE results received in Summer 2018.
Helsby High School would like to wish the Class of 2018 the very best luck in their future studies and employment and we hope many of you keep in touch with each other and the school.