Year 9 students tour Athenaeum club

Year 9 students from Chesterfield High School enjoyed an informative and surprising morning touring Liverpool’s long-established Athenaeum club. Positioned just off the busy shopping hub of Church Street, the figure of Athena presides over the door signifying the ideals to which this institution aspires. Once within, the students encountered the club’s links with Liverpool’s history and explored its library and archives, encountering a 1452 text on pyrotechnics from Germany which may be the earliest printed text in Europe, a twelfth century copy of the Magna Carta printed on vellum and a first edition of Joyce’s ‘Ullyses’. As well as exploring the rare, valuable and culturally significant texts, the students enjoyed the opportunity to read through choice items drawn from the archives featuring the appearance of Spring Heel Jack in Liverpool, nineteenth century reports of Liverpool hauntings and contemporary texts on the two wars in a bid to inspire creative writing.

Under the expert guidance of the club’s librarian, students learnt much about historical texts and the development of printing. The club’s public engagement officer, John Corbett helped to contextualise the  club’s role in Liverpool’s history and politics leaving students with an insight into the world of late eighteenth and early nineteenth century Liverpool.

The students found the experience to be an enlightening affirmation of Liverpool’s historical and cultural significance. They have seen an archive still visited by scholars as a vital reference library for their studies and have encountered a host of characters and narratives that will inspire a range of creative writing.

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Students experience Auschwitz

Thirty four Students from the school recently had the opportunity to be part of a once in a lifetime, three day residential trip to Krakow, Poland, organised by Miss McDonough, and accompanied by Mr Prescott and Ms Thomas.  This was a unique opportunity to enhance students’ Key Stage 5 studies.  This year we celebrate 70 years since the liberation of the infamous Auschwitz/Birkenau concentration camps and  therefore this was an exclusive trip which not only enabled a clearer and more focused understanding of the atrocities that occurred but  also included a number of other visits which served to greatly enrich students’ Key Stage 5 experiences.

During the trip, students had the opportunity to take part in a plethora of fully supervised activities.  These included:

  • Half day guided walking tour of Central Krakow covering Kazimierz and Podgorze.
  • Visit to the Galicia Museum including a tour and a meeting with a concentration camp survivor
  • Day visit to Auschwitz-Birkenau with guided tour;
  • Bowling in the evening as light entertainment in one of Krakow’s new all night super malls.

The trip took place on 4th-6th February 2016.

Miss McDonough organised this trip after visiting Auschwitz on a teacher’s professional development day trip in June last year. She returned feeling that the trip is something that “everyone should make at least once in their lives”; and it was a somewhat “life-changing” experience.  We are hoping to make this a regular trip for Sixth Form students as the impact on the students was immeasurable.

Mr Prescott, teacher of Art at CHS who accompanied students said “This was an emotionally charged and highly educational visit. It’s not a place you can say you enjoy visiting by the very nature of the camps and their purpose, however, it was a truly humbling experience and somewhere everyone should visit once in their lives. The sheer scale, particularly of Birkenau, defies belief. I think most of the group shed tears at the sheer incomprehensible atrocities committed. The talk from Lidia Skibicka-Maksymovych, an Auschwitz survivor, was harrowing to listening to, and one could only marvel at her strength of character and sheer bravery. The students throughout the trip conducted themselves with the utmost respect and maturity, they were a pleasure to be with.”

Miss McDonough added “teaching is a very gratifying job, but being able to give young people opportunities like this one, that made them reconsider everything they know about the world, is incredibly rewarding. It’s not just about examination results; it’s about the whole child.”

D of E Gold award at Buckingham Palace

We are very pleased to announce that former Head Boy, Ben Cook has officially completed the Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award and was recently presented with his badge and certificate in a ceremony at Buckingham Palace.

After completing a four-day canoeing expedition on the River Wye and the necessary overnight residential stay and voluntary work Ben was invited to meet the Earl of Wessex to receive his award.

Ben commented “The palace was amazing although we weren’t allowed to take any pictures inside unfortunately. I got to see the throne room and armoury etc and it was all fascinating. I met the Earl of Wessex briefly and he was a really chatty fellow, had lots to say and loved to talk and find out about people’s experiences during the award. Our guest of honour was an Olympic swimmer, Angela Wilson who was a very friendly person too. All-in-all it was a good day.”

The current Gold participants are taking part in their canoe training at Crosby Lakeside Activity Centre. Please check the website for latest updates about this and other D of E activities.

Mr Hynes

D of E Gold Co-ordinator

DofE Gold take to the water

Gale force winds are definitely not ideal conditions for learning to canoe. However, the fourteen 6th formers and Mr Hynes, (Mrs Moorcroft watched from dry land), had a wet and wonderful session on the Marina. Divided into two groups, the pupils performed extremely well in very difficult conditions. Canoeing across the lake into a very strong headwind, I can still hear the shouts of; “Stroke, Stroke, Stroke, as we battled the conditions.

Well done to the Gold team, let’s hope the wind isn’t as strong in the summer on the River Wye!

Mr Hynes

D of E Coordinator

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

There was a cast of 50 students from Years 7 to 13. This was an ambitious production as ably assisted by a Children’s’ Choir made up of thirty Year 5 and Year 6 pupils from Forefield Lane Primary School. Mr Steve Hopwood, Head of Drama at Chesterfield High commented, “This was a really enjoyable show to work on. It was a privilege to work with our own students and the pupils from Forefield Primary school. They were totally committed to all the rehearsals as well as the technical rehearsal, dress rehearsal and the three evening performances. It was a very long and tiring week for all of us, but a fantastic success in the end” “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” was performed to over 500 people over 3 evening performances. Matthew Sloan a Year 13 Performing Arts student who played the lead character Joseph said, “It was a real privilege to play the lead role in Joseph. The audiences on all three evenings were fantastic and it was a new experience for me to work in such a large production. I particularly enjoyed working, helping and supporting the younger members of the cast; they were always very excited and motivated and contributed to this being a very successful whole school production”