Week A


Whilst High down does emphasize the importance of protecting our planet, we aim to raise awareness of the impact litter has on our school and the wider environment. It is increasingly important that our school implements new and innovative ideas to obliterate the appalling amount of single-use plastics left on our school grounds. And after extensive research we have composed and designed an array of solutions to combat this issue- and we would love your feedback and input too!

Polling in 2020 found that 1/3 of young people aged 12-18 in the UK do admit to littering regularly; this statistic also only accounts for those who have honestly responded to the poll, so this figure may underestimate the sheer number of individuals who contribute to the problem. This is extremely concerning as littering has many consequences. For example, destroying habitats, endangering wildlife, polluting neighborhoods, and ruining the world’s natural beauty.

After researching on the premises of High down School, it was discovered that the younger year groups were more prone to littering, as the groundskeeper Mark said, “The key stage three fields are in poor condition.” He then moved on to say that “majority of litter is from the gallery’s single-use packaging.” The litter accumulated on the school fields diminishes the natural environment and attracts seagulls, one of the multiple species at risk of harm due to consuming litter.

After evaluating the evidence found, we have composed a plethora of strategies we believe could help reduce the issue. Firstly, we could create an incentive for students to use the bins on site by distributing them to the four houses: Grove, Rosehill, Caversham and Mapledurham. This can be achieved by colour-coding each bin to a house. A tally would be counted for the number of bags of rubbish per house, and the house with the most will receive a reward at the end of each academic half-term. We believe that this will motivate students to act responsibly and be more aware and respectful of the environment and the litter issue, along with building a stronger sense of community within the houses as we team up to beat this issue.

Our next solution regards the younger years fields (year 7 and 8) in hopes to stop the spread of litter on the school site. ‘Food-zoning’ is the concept that each year group has specific areas to purchase and eat their food at break and lunch. These areas will be separate to the fields in order to  contain the litter issue and create a more manageable clean-up operation.

We would appreciate feedback from everyone who is part of the Highdown community on our proposed ideas.

Written by Martha Robinson, Ione Forsyth-Hayden, Will Jenkins and Megan Rolfe.



Child Obesity Epidemic

Children in the UK are currently facing a health crisis of worrying proportion. As a country, we are not providing enough measures which prevent our younger generation from falling into the trap of cheap, over-saturated excuses for meals. Schools are here to extinguish this issue.


There are 122,780 children and young adults under the age of 40 years with type 2 diabetes; of whom 1,560 (around 1.3 per cent) are under the age of 19

Diabetes can affect a child's learning because it can cause difficulties with attention, memory, processing speed and perceptual skills if its not managed. It is imperative that a child is supported at school so they can manage their diabetes and get the most out of being at school.

Obesity in the UK 

25.9% of adults in England are obese and a further 37.9% are overweight but not obese. 

(age 4-5) – 10.1% were obese and another 12.1% were overweight (22.3%) 
(age 10-11) – 23.6% were obese and another 14% were overweight (37.6%) 
(age 16-24) - 8% were obese and another 20% were overweight (28%) 

These are ways to mitigate obesity and have a healthier lifestyle: 

  • Limiting unhealthy foods (refined grains and sweets, potatoes, red meat, processed meat) and beverages (sugary drinks) 
  • Increasing physical activity 
  • Limiting television time, screen time, and other “sit time” 
  • Improving sleep 
  • Reducing stress 

(From Harvard studies) 

What are the downsides of obesity? 

 Obesity affects almost every aspect of life including: shortening lifespan, contributing to chronic conditions such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease to interfering with sexual function, breathing, mood, and social interactions. 

How is school food combatting this?

Highdown school has healthy food standards with all the requirements met such as fruit/vegetables, starchy foods, and poultry. School food has to meet certain health requirements to ensure that our children are being well looked after while at school, however the average packed lunch is seen to be just as – if not more – healthy than school dinners.

Studies show that children who are brought up eating healthily and are educated on what they need to fuel their body continue to keep those healthy habits alive into adulthood.

Food is the invisible killer of learning, a lack of sufficient calories and nutrients leads to a plummet in engagement and attention span. Highdown is here to help put a stop to this epidemic, with the help of our catering staff, and the parents of Highdown, this issue is going away for good.

Written by Mathew Callow, Ferdie Jacobs and Teen Sy. 




The Growing Influence of the Chinese Communist Party in Education:

Throughout this article, the reference to China refers to the country as a whole in particular the leadership structure of the CCP (and the agencies that compromise the CCP) – this does not mean the citizens of China.

Highdown School have tremendous links with the Chinese Community through the Mandarin Excellence Programme and links throughout the wider local community. But is it a shame that over the past 5 years China‘s relationship with the West seems to have deteriorated but is this because of the media narrative that the Western world is being fed?

“China have penetrated every sector of the British economy and has tried to insert its spies in Britain’s security services.” This was the headline statement in the much-awaited Intelligence and Security Committee Report on China.

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is the founding and ruling political party of modern China. It has overseen the country’s rapid economic growth and rise as a global power. China President Xi Jinping has pursued a more assertive foreign policy strategy, which has increased tension with the USA and its allies, including the United Kingdom, yet we are all still happy to buy our technology from this economic powerhouse. Does China’s new silk trade route, known as the belt and road initiative, mean that their influence on the west is growing?

Over recent months, Chinese state activity overseas seem to have intensified. From the surveillance balloon over the USA to the suspected spy in the British Houses of Parliament to China’s growing influence and grasp on industry and technology. The Chinese Foreign Ministry deny all claims of spying and diplomatic malpractice.

Diplomats and officials around the globe are working and aiming for a solution to this ever evolving and complex situation to avoid an international diplomatic crisis and an economic catastrophe due to the reliance the UK and other nations place on China for manufacturing, industry and trade.

China’s main aim is to grow their economy in order to ensure the material wellbeing and safety of their people. Yet their military monopoly over the world is also one of their main objectives and become a global superpower: why should they be forced to play second fiddle to the USA and other western superpowers? Britain is crucial in this mission as China sees the UK as a home for Chinese investment, this can be seen in relation to nuclear energy, technology and academia.

The problem of monitoring China’s influence is complex, but possible; They almost certainly maintain the largest state intelligence machinery in the world dwarfing the UK’s intelligence community considerably.

Most of the impact that China has on national security is overt through its economic might, its takeovers and mergers and its interaction with Academia and Industry.

However, China is an integral part of the global economy, they are relied on for technology and industry and the country is hugely important for the machinery of the economy. Furthermore, influence of the Chinese Communist Party is not an overall negative, they provide vast quantities of manufacturing goods.

Most of the population are unaware that China often poses a positive influence on the world stage. Today, China is the main trading partner with 140 nations: they are one of the UK's largest trading partners, accounting for £93.0 billion (7.3%) of the UK's total trade in 2021.

U.S. goods and services trade with China totalled an estimated $758.4 billion in 2022. Exports were $195.5 billion; imports were $562.9 billion. The U.S. goods and services trade deficit with China was $367.4 billion in 2022. The U.S. rely on China for a range of goods and services at reduced prices due to their efficient levels of production as a result of their high-class capital and skilled labour force.

But are we to believe everything the media tells us: as Donald Trump would say ‘Fake News’?




Medical Degree Personal Statements

If you are thinking of applying for medicine starting early, being proactive and persevering are all essential when applying to medicine. Here are some things I have researched which would benefit your application/personal statement:

  • Regularly checking sites that offer any opportunities for any online courses or book recommendations to do with medicine and this really benefits your personal statements, allowing you to stand out amongst the other applicants.
  • Also, it is particularly important to enrol for work experience at the hospital as early as possible, as this experience is essential for interviews and personal statements. You will have your own unique experiences from the hospital, and this is what will make you stand out when interviews come around and personal statements!
  • I also found a medical series right at the beginning of year 11 that I enjoyed and tuned into it once a week. My personal favourite was 'surgeons at the edge of life'.
  • Volunteering is also an important thing to make sure that you have done: it shows you are both good at communicating with different people (showing you are equipped with soft skills essential for a career in healthcare) but also that you have a good nature since volunteering is regarded as selfless: a sought-after quality in the healthcare industry.
  • It is also important to keep updated with new medical laws and legislation, but also medical news and new research as medicine is a constantly evolving world. Therefore, it is imperative that you start the wider reading as early as possible, as a career in medicine as a doctor requires you to keep up with the current news regarding medical breakthroughs.

Many universities would like you to have +140 hours of work experience and expect you to have in-depth descriptions of your experiences and attributes which will allow you to shine in the medical application scheme.

Written by Amelia Edwards