10 Dec 2021

Senior High Notes 10th December 2021

Senior High Notes 10th December 2021

This morning in my assembly, I had the pleasure of announcing so many wonderful music achievements in ABRSM music exams this term. It was amazing to see the variety of instruments involved and grades awarded. These student achievements would not be possible without the hard work, commitment and support our students receive from our music department and peripatetic music teachers.

Continuing with the theme of music, I went on to discuss why we love or hate Christmas tunes. It was lovely to be able to listen to some of our staff’s favourite songs, from Driving Home for Christmas by Chris Rhea, White Christmas by Bing Crosby and Last Christmas by Wham. What many of these songs have in common is they are really quite old - my favourite, Stay Another Day by East 17, was Christmas number 1 in 1994, some 27 years ago! Nostalgia is a powerful force in popular culture, particularly around Christmas. Christmas pop songs are all about nostalgia – think about 'White Christmas', the biggest selling song of all time, where all the lyrics are about nostalgia and going back to Christmases in the past. It would be easy to attribute it to the songs being better back then – but actually that isn’t the case. Instead, there’s a generational effect where we inherit the Christmas tunes beloved by our parents, having this cyclical impact on generations. The second reason for Christmas tunes being so popular is the ‘exposure effect’. It has been proven that the more often we hear a song, the more likely we are to love it. And, as Christmas has a huge canon of familiar songs played on repeat each year, we are exposed to Christmas songs in a way we aren’t to other kinds of music. This means that even if we didn’t like a Christmas song when we first heard it, hearing it again and again over the years will probably make us like it eventually. However, the ‘exposure effect’ can go a step further for some people, as hearing the same songs too many times can cause our brains to reach saturation point. After that, hearing the same Christmas songs can start to irritate some people. It’s a little like eating the same food every day: there are only so many days in a row you can eat spaghetti Bolognese before you get sick of it!

For some of us, Christmas just wouldn’t work without Christmas music! So whether we love it or hate it, Christmas music is very much a part of our lives. I hope you can enjoy some festive music this weekend, as we prepare for the final few days of term.

Best wishes,

House Challenge 2021 

Heats for this year’s House Challenge began on October 14th and culminated in two exciting finals, last Friday lunchtime. 

In the Lower School House Challenge heats, St Andrew knocked out St Patrick, and St David beat St George. The final was evenly pitched but St Andrew pulled away and a superb performance by the St Andrew captain, Esther, secured the win. 

In the Upper School House Challenge heats, St George knocked out St David, and St Patrick beat St Andrew. The final was a nail-biting experience. St George got off to a great start, captained by Joyce, but St Patrick pulled right back and it was neck and neck right up until the gong, with St George just pipping St Patrick to the post.  

Well done to all competitors – the collective knowledge of the teams was phenomenal! 




The L4 had a visit from St Nikolaus, who visits German households on the night of the 6th December. The tradition is that the children put their shoes outside the door and if they have been well behaved, they find treats the next morning. Miss Kelliher‘s L4 German class made shoes last Friday in preparation for St Nikolaus‘ visit. They enjoyed finding the treats in their paper shoes this week!

Would you like to listen to Spanish Christmas tunes? (Villancicos). Here there is a fantastic playlist.  https://spanishmama.com/latin-christmas-songs/?fbclid=IwAR1M79XJOaLS7fpFPtogkmLAqZ_ruS5J3gLCI-Ag3v5EJ_F9RdCcRLGgCjY

NHS live work experience

On the 5th December, we participated in a NHS work experience in which we were given an insight into the world of allied medicine. Throughout the day, we followed the journey of two patients who were diagnosed with illnesses. As we followed their journey, fields such as: radiology, OT (occupational therapy), physiotherapy, nursing, SaLT (speech and Language therapy), midwifery, osteopathy and paramedicine were taught. After each simulation, the health workers shared their experiences in their respective fields as well as giving us knowledge about the patient’s state and causes. Although the patients were actors, each consultation gave us an innate insight into real life consultations. In addition to the teaching, we were able to interact with the mentors and health workers. We really enjoyed the experience and hope to participate in more in the future.

Sushmitha and Diya (L5)

Reach for the stars next term - come to Astro Club!

Following the huge success of Astro Club in the autumn term 2021, Dr Bhattacharyya and Mr Dodson are excited for its return from January. We've already secured two guest speakers; Dr Susan Cartwright, Senior Lecturer in Particle Physics and Astrophysics at Sheffield University, who will be speaking to us about supernovas, plus Dan Pye, Director of Astronomy and Science Communication at Kielder Observatory will reprise his talk from last winter. Add in sessions on how to process astrophotography images, using remote telescopes and observing the International Space Station and we'll be pretty busy until Easter! More details to follow when we get back, if you have any questions in the meantime, please email Dr B or Mr D.

Library News 

A huge well done to 18 members of the student library team who have achieved their "First Award" of the pupil librarian programme (too many names to mention). This has required them to commit to volunteering in the library for 1 hour a week for at least a year, contributing to the running of the school library through creating displays, managing the desk and keeping the stock tidy as well as undergoing training.  We enjoyed some festive fun in the library today as a reward for all their hard work this term.


Eleanor (U5) plays for Burton Rugby Club position no.12, which is also known as inside centre.  She has been playing rugby for 5 years. Last weekend her team played Barkers Butts RFC in a regional cup match. It was a close match with Barkers Butts winning by 1 try at half time, but they managed to secure a win with the final score being 49-32. This was an important match for their team, as Barkers Butts are the toughest team to beat.  Well done, Eleanor, a great result!


After several cancelled competitions due to covid, including one in America, Millie (Y10) took part in the IGA National Championships last weekend in Milton Keynes.  After many months of missed training and three lockdowns over the last 2 years, Millie and her fellow gymnasts were nervous about competing again.  However, it was smiles all round when Millie achieved 3 gold medals (floor, beam and vault) and one silver (bars).  Most notable was her floor routine, where she gained the highest score of the competition.

Ballet Success!

Congratulations to Alyna and Katie (Y8) for receiving distinction in their recent dance exams. Both have been dancing since around the age of 4. Katie currently does ballet, modern and freestyle, whilst Alyna does ballet, freestyle and gym dance. Katie's exam was in modern and she achieved a distinction in the green level of theatrical rainbow exams.  Alyna’s exam was in gym dance, grade 2 and she also achieved a distinction. This is a brilliant achievement and highlights the dedication they both have to dance. Fantastic news, well done!


U13 Football V's Repton Preparatory School

The U13 Football team took to the pitch for their first outing against Repton. The game ebbed and flowed with our boys and girls maintaining their composure on the pitch, producing some excellent football. Special mention goes to Ugonna and Udochi for their goals. The final score was 3-1 to Derby High, with the team looking forward to their next match.

GCSE Netball Mock Moderation

Well done to our U5 GCSE PE students, who headed to Chellaston this week, to take part in a fixture as part of a practise moderation for their GCSE PE practical assessment. Great team work, determination and fitness were demonstrated by all of the team. Special mention to Poppy and Maddy in L5 who came to help the team out!

Tuesday 14th December

Students and teachers are welcome to wear a Christmas Jumper or other festive top and raise funds for Derby City Mission’s Christmas Dinner appeal: £1 donation.

Christmas hats are optional extras, but normal school uniform other than jumpers please.

Please re-use any jumper you have from a previous year rather than buying new.

Please also remember:

  • No cropped or off the shoulder jumpers
  • Nothing with logos or slogans that might cause offence or be inappropriate



Wednesday 14th December

End of Term – school will finish at 4pm on Wednesday and late waiting will be available.  

Safeguarding Corner

Many students will be lucky enough to have new devices for Christmas and this is therefore a good time for parents to review ways in which you can keep your children safe online, by setting parental time and age controls (before you wrap new ones), or simply by finding out more about what’s going on.

There will be a Facebook Live drop-in for parents on Monday 20 December 7pm on the @LGfLDigiSafe channel (LGfL DigiSafe - Posts | Facebook) talking about staying safe online and offline too – what to worry about and what not, and how to have tricky conversations at home. There will also be discussion of how parents can help with bullying, relationships, criminal and sexual exploitation and simply starting tricky conversations!

You can also find lots of resources on the parents safe LGFL website (Home (lgfl.net).