As a former specialist Language College we still maintain an excellent network of international links giving students the chance to broaden their horizons by experiencing foreign countries and cultures very different to ours. All students take at least one GCSE foreign language because we believe speaking a foreign language is of practical use to adults in leisure or business and it encourages curiosity about, and empathy with, foreign cultures.
Curiosity and empathy are important values at Highcliffe School. We consider it vital for young people to grow up appreciating, valuing and empathising with people of other cultures and races. Consequently, the Highcliffe Challenge contains all the global activities offered by the school and encourages students to experience at least one of them during their time with us.
We have all made some unbreakable bonds with the French students. We learnt so much about French culture and the way they live. I loved how you really felt part of the family and got to see first-hand what France is really like, not as a tourist but as a member of the community.
– A Year 9 Highcliffe Student
We run exchange visits with schools in France, Spain and Japan. We host visiting students from Germany and Italy. Year 13 A Level French students undertake a work experience placement in France.
I loved the Spanish exchange not only because I made amazing friends but it meant I was able to immerse myself in the language. It was an experience I’ll never forget.
– A Year 12 Highcliffe Student
Our link with Johoku High School in Hiroshima in Japan is very special. It is centred on the mutual promotion of understanding, peaceful cooperation and harmony between nations on opposite sides of the world with a shared traumatic past. Every two years Highcliffe students have the opportunity to live in Hiroshima, site of the world’s first use of atomic weapons, with the Japanese family of Johoku High School students. On the return trip Johoku High students come and live with us.
Japan definitely changed me as a person, it’s something that never leaves me. I will never forget the unique experience I had or the friends I made, and I’m so grateful for the opportunity.
– A Year 13 Highcliffe Student
We offer Japanese language lessons to students throughout the year, alongside European Languages and Latin.
(For my daughter) to experience going to a school in another country and to live with another family is really a once in a lifetime experience. When I told people that she was away, in Japan, they could not believe that it was a school trip! I am proud she goes to a school with such a positive approach.
- A Highcliffe Parent
In 2015 Highcliffe students won the prestigious Routes into Languages UK national competition for their language use, competing against students from selective and private schools. Wherever possible, other subjects take students on trips abroad: for example the History department takes students to Germany to learn about the Nazis and the Cold War, while the Art department takes students to Venice to learn about the Renaissance, the Music department goes to Paris and a ski trip goes to Italy.
Physical Education is an essential part of our curriculum making a positive contribution to the health and well-being of our students. There is ample space at break and lunchtime for students to play games, table tennis or just run off some steam on the field! A wide range of competitive sports are catered for. School Teams offer opportunities for students in Rugby, Football, Netball, and Cricket. Girls Football is very popular. In the last 12 months some of our successes include:
Year 7, 8 and 9, 10
A number of Highcliffe students have outstanding sporting talents outside school at a regional and national level, and where possible as part of our work as a Gifted and Talented Lead School we try to facilitate their future success by accommodating attendance at extra training sessions or competitions. Recently, our top talented athletes include those in:
We achieve excellent examination results in GCSE and A Level Physical Education and the BTEC Level 3 Diploma in Sport.
We run a popular Duke of Edinburg Bronze and Silver programme each year.
Highcliffe School is proud to field a flourishing equestrian sports team, which is extremely rare in state schools and normally restricted to fee-paying schools only. Our equestrian team is made up of boys and girls from age 11 to 18, all of whom also ride outside school. We are members of the National Schools Equestrian Association. The Highcliffe team, currently 11-strong, compete in the national dressage qualifiers, the national show jumping qualifiers and the Dorset Games. We compete successfully against prestigious private schools; for example a current Year 11 student last year qualified for the dressage national schools’ finals. One of our Sixth Form students represents Team GB in show jumping.
Music, Dance and Drama are important features of Highcliffe life. All students study Music and Drama at Key Stage 3 as separate subjects, and take modules in Dance during PE lessons. GCSEs, A Levels and BTEC courses in all three performing arts are offered in the curriculum, all supported by extra-curricular clubs from Year 7 onwards. We maintain a register of our most Talented dancers and support their development by offering Dance qualifications in BTEC Dance and the Dance Leaders Awards, enabling their participation in prestigious dance events including the Roche Court Park Project. Our most talented dancers work closely with the Richard Alston Dance Company at their workshops. Throughout the year we hold ‘Live Lounge’ evening music events, music showcases, drama productions and dance performances. In alternating years we run a major School Production involving hundreds of students or the Rock Challenge, both of which are very popular and renowned for their high quality.
We run a variety of school orchestras and bands including Soul Choir, brass, strings and woodwind bands, and a wonderful ukulele band! Every Friday at lunchtime Music hosts an Open Mike Session. The Instrumental Music Service offers a wide range of private lessons during the school day to students on a variety of instruments and we have approximately 50-60 students taking lessons at any one time. We currently have visiting teachers for piano; acoustic, electric and bass guitar; strings; woodwind and brass; drums; and voice. Students are also encouraged to enter for graded exams with the ABRSM, Trinity and Rock School, and Guildhall boards. We have several exceptionally talented musicians with commitments outside school, and wherever possible as part of our Gifted and Talented provision we try to support their attendance at extra practice sessions or performances.
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