High Starters

Please click on the link to view St John Fisher’s High Starters Policy:

High Starters Policy

High Starter Magazine

June 2019
Year 8 High Starter Trip to Salford
Last year a group of Year 8 High Starters got together to discuss some ‘big questions’ facilitated by volunteers from Year 12. They considered topics such as war, art and media and their learning prepared them for a recent trip to Salford Media City where they toured the BBC Studios and participated in workshops at the IWM and the Lowry Centre. The trip and its preparation have developed the students in terms of both knowledge and skills and we intend to develop the group further as they move into Years 9/13






Year 10 Trip to Cambridge

Our trip to Cambridge has now become an annual event and 29 Year 10s made the journey at the end of June. We were welcomed and well fed by Fitzwilliam College where we learnt about admissions and preparing for university as well as participating in a heated debating session and making use of the facilities of the JCR. The following day we punted along the river and heard about the history of the university before visiting our link college St Catharine’s for a tour and yet another meal. It was an inspiring visit as ever and hopefully will focus minds and prompt some excellent applications in due course.



June/ July 2018
Eighty students Year 12 students from across the Association attended the Open days at Oxford and Cambridge in June/ July. These events provide an opportunity for prospective students to find out what the University and Colleges have to offer through sample lectures and mock interviews, presentations about courses, the application process, student life, and finance. They also were given the opportunity to talk to current undergraduates and staff from the Colleges and academic departments. We were able to stay at two different colleges during our visit which gave the students a real taste of university life and all in glorious sunshine

June 2018

Medical Careers Day
On 19th June a number of our Year 9 High Starters had the opportunity to participate in a Medical Careers Day. This was led by medical students from local universities who delivered a presentation about how to apply to Medical School, and the students also heard from a practicing doctor about her work. The students undertook various medical activities including emergency medical assistance (how to administer CPR, and how to treat a choking patient); diagnostics examining X-rays, brain scans, test ‘urine’ samples for high blood sugar and assessing the level of the patient’s consciousness to reach a diagnosis and medical ethics scenarios.









Visiting Lecturer
On 15th June we welcomed Professor Stephen Bowd who teaches European History at the University of Edinburgh. Professor Bowd’s research interests are focused on the history of Venice during the 15th and 16th centuries and the history of religious beliefs and practices in Italy. His talk was based on his forthcoming book ‘Renaissance Mass Murder: Civilians and Soldiers during the Italian Wars’. We learnt about how Renaissance conflicts were justified by Christian thinking and how the laws of war and the concept of the civilian emerged in a wide ranging talk which linked the medieval, early modern and modern worlds. We had an excellent turn out of students from Year 7 through to Year 12 and Professor Bowd commented on the quality of their questioning.









Creative Writing Trip
A group of 24 High Starters from Years 7 and 8 led by Miss Beecroft and Miss Baker visited Beningbrough Hall, near York recently amid glorious sunshine. Their mission was to seek creative inspiration from the architecture and in particular the collection of portraits belonging to the National Portrait Gallery which are displayed in the gallery there. The students selected portrai

ts which intrigued them and used them as the basis of a short story or poem. The groups then worked together to produce a line for the following poem:

still, lifeless,
waiting, looming, holding,
trapped in a rainbow
– melting into movement
prancing, engaged, flowing
alive, focused


March 2018

Dr Langstaff and Miss Gregg accompanied a a group of twenty two Year 10 High Starters on an overnight visit to our friends at Fitzwilliam College, University of Cambridge. We were very well looked after during our stay with lovely accommodation, food and the use of the Junior Common Room. The students received an enlightening talk on the application process and were given a tour of Fitzwilliam and our link college St Catharine’s by current students. Despite the damp weather the students enjoyed a guided punt on the river Cam where they learnt all about the history of the university. The students were very positive about the whole experience commenting: ‘I got a really good insight into the University and the teaching there’; ‘I enjoyed talking to the students and listening to their stories’; ‘ I was really impressed by the university and I learnt that in order to go there you need to put in extra work’; ‘ ‘Its made me think about how university can help in the future and that subject choices are important.’


December 2017

Mr Bulcock took a small group of Year 8 High Starters to a medical taster day at the University of Leeds recently on 14 December. The students were given the opportunity to participate in workshops on dentistry, medicine, healthcare and psychology. The day was very informative and the students were able to meet students and lecturers and learn about university life as well as discovering more about careers in healthcare. The dentistry workshop was a particular hit with students getting hands-on experience as the photograph shows.


November 2017

Year 7 Trip

Climbing WallWe had great fun launching the Year Seven High Starter programme with a visit to the Harrogate Climbing Centre on 29 November. The session focused on both teamwork and communication skills. The students worked together and had to communicate effectively in order to keep each other safe. Communication was also important in helping the climbers get higher by pointing out any hand holds they might have missed. The students had a great time at the centre before coming back to school where they were given a brief talk on what it means to be a High Starter at St John Fishers.



Oxford University Trip
On 13 November, a group of 25 Year 9 High Starters spent a fantastic day at Oxford University to learn more about life at this prestigious place of learning. After a cold and early start we arrived at Brasenose college where we were given a tour and invited to ask questions of a number of current Oxford students. Our students were then given the opportunity to talk to Dr Joe Organ, Schools and Publications Officer before dining in the beautiful surroundings of the college hall. In the afternoon we met with some of our former pupils who are currently studying in Oxford. One of the Year Nine’s commented ‘ The trip has made me more determined to work hard as it will benefit my future.’ Another said, ‘ It was very informative and the people were lovely and welcoming. We got to interact and not just be talked at.’

Oxford Trip Oxford







Visiting Lecturer

On 8 November, we welcomed Dr Joanna Phillips of the University of Leeds who talked to a group of enthusiastic history students and staff on the subject of the Crusades. Dr Phillips discussed the history of the medieval crusades and worked with the students on activities designed to help them explore what it was really like to go on crusade. The talk was aimed at Sixth form students who are hoping to study History at university but we were delighted to see representatives from other year groups in attendance.

For details of the activities and trips for High Starters during the 2016 to 2016 and 2016 to 2017 academics years, please click on the links below:

High Starters 2015 to 2016

High Starters 2016 to 2017