Frequently Asked Questions

We know that when you are starting a new school, whether in Reception or right up in Sixth Form, there is always lots of information to be gathered and questions to be asked.

We hope that the website provides you with much of this information and we have answered a few of the more popular questions below as well. However, if there is still something you would like to ask, then please feel free to call the Registrar, Miss Heather Fink, in the Admissions Department on 01604 765765.

Q. What names do you use for the different year groups?
Q. Is there a minimum number of sessions my daughter has to attend in Nursery?
Q. Does the Foundation Stage (ages 3 and 4) accept vouchers?
Q. Can I pay monthly/termly/yearly/in advance?
Q. Are there any junior school scholarships or bursaries available?
Q. When do I need to register my daughter for junior school (Reception -Year 6)?
Q. When do I have to register my daughter for senior school (Upper Third-Upper Fifth)?
Q. What is the difference between a scholarship and a bursary?
Q. How do I apply for a bursary?
Q. How do I apply for a scholarship?
Q. When will I find out if I have been successful in my bursary or scholarship application?
Q. Do you offer a dance scholarship?
Q. If my daughter is shortlisted for an Upper Third scholarship, when will I find out when her interview time is?
Q. When do we find out if we have an offer?
Q. What is the process for girls entering the Sixth Form?
Q. What extra-curricular activities are open to my daughter in junior school?
Q. What extra-curricular activities are open to my daughter in senior school?
Q. What extra-curricular activities are open to my daughter in sixth form?
Q. What supervised care do you offer outside the normal school hours?
Q. What happens if I want my daughter to join mid-year?
Q. When am I able to let the school know if my daughter needs to use the bus, is a vegetarian, needs music lessons etc?
Q. Where do your buses run?
Q. Who do I contact if I have any questions?
Q. Who are the GDST?

Q. What names do you use for the different year groups?

A. For junior school we use the names of Nursery, Reception and then Years 1 to 6. In the senior school, we use the more traditional names for the year groups. Upper Third is Year 7, Lower Fourth is Year 8, Upper Fourth is Year 9, Lower Fifth is Year 10 and Upper Fifth is Year 11. Sixth Form is then called Lower Sixth / 6:1 and Upper Sixth / 6:2.

Q. Is there a minimum number of sessions my daughter has to attend in Nursery?

A. Girls must attend the Nursery for a minimum of five sessions each week, three of which must be morning sessions. We do not accept girls for an afternoon only, therefore the sessions chosen must be mornings or full days. Sessions are 7.45AM – 12.45PM (includes breakfast, snack and lunch), 12.45PM – 3.25PM and 12.45PM - 6PM. We ask that girls be dropped off and left for a whole morning and/or full day and not collected early, unless in special circumstances, to minimise disruption. Morning drop off can be a little later on agreement with Nursery staff but the cost is not reduced should you choose to do this.

Q. Does the Foundation Stage (ages 3 and 4) accept vouchers?

A.Girls are eligible for 15 hours a week free childcare through the government Early Years Grant which can be claimed the term after a child is three and up to, and including, the term a child is 5. We apply for this on your behalf and then deduct this from your bill so you do not need to do anything.

We are also registered with many major childcare voucher suppliers, who are used by some employers to benefit their staff by saving money towards childcare, please ask your own employer if you wish to know if they take part in a scheme. These can then be used towards payment of Nursery fees or after school care (GAP club) but not for school fees in Reception. Please call the Registrar for more information.

Q. Can I pay monthly/termly/yearly/in advance?

A. The standard way to pay the fees is termly by direct debit. You may also pay monthly at no extra cost. Occasionally parents wish to pay a year or more in advance. If you would like to do this, please contact the Registrar who can talk you through the different options available. A discount is available for parents who wish to do this.

When we offer your daughter a place at the school, we will request that you complete a direct debit to pay for the fees and you can select your payment option at this point. Please note that if you wish to pay by means other than direct debit it may result in a service charge.

The payment of other charges, such as ballet, is charged locally by the school. These can also be paid monthly, termly or yearly. You will receive a direct debit form for this as well when you receive an offer letter.

Q. Are there any junior school scholarships or bursaries available?

A. We do not currently offer any financial help for junior school parents, either in the form of a scholarship or a bursary. The first point of applying for either of these is when the girls join Upper Third. Both internal and external girls entering this year group are asked if they would like to apply for any of these.

Q. When do I need to register my daughter for junior school (Reception - Year 6)?

A. Girls are all welcome to spend time in the junior school during the course of the year, at a time to suit parents, where they can also complete an assessment. Girls usually stay to meet other girls in their year group and have lunch.

As we only have limited spaces in all our year groups, it is always advisable to register your daughter as soon as possible to avoid disappointment. We often receive registration forms years in advance and can test girls up to a year in advance.

Q. When do I have to register my daughter for senior school (Upper Third-Upper Fifth)?

A. For our September intake, we have a main assessment day which is held on a Friday morning in mid-January. We start to post out invitations to the entrance examination to registered girls in the October prior to entry. This invitation will include details on scholarships and bursaries and how to apply for them.

All our bursaries and scholarships are awarded to girls who sit the entrance examination in January on the examination day. Please note: application forms for bursaries have to be submitted by the November prior to the entrance examination and completed scholarship applications need to be returned before the Christmas break. Therefore please ensure you register your daughter in plenty of time to receive the examination invitation, reply to it, and complete the necessary forms where applicable.

Q. What is the difference between a scholarship and a bursary?

A. Bursaries are means-tested, based upon household income and assets. Bursaries are based on a  scale and can be anything from 100% of fees down to 30% of fees and are generally for household incomes which are under £50,000 (as a guide). Priority is now given to families who are eligible for a large bursary and whose daughter shows the most academic potential. If a family is offered a bursary, it is confidential. Bursaries are awarded to eligible girls who perform particularly well on the Upper Third entrance examination or scholarship paper for Sixth Form; not everyone who is eligible for a bursary will necessarily receive one.

Wheras bursaries are means tested and then awarded to academically able girls, scholarships are not means tested, instead they are awarded to girls who are exceptionally talented in a certain area; academics, sports or arts. They are a celebrated achievement. The scholarships awarded each year vary in amounts, we do not offer full scholarships.

It is possible to be awarded both a bursary and a scholarship. For more information please contact the Registrar.

Q. How do I apply for a bursary?

A. Bursaries are usually only awarded to girls entering Upper Third or the Sixth Form.

Girls joining the Upper Third will be asked if they would like to apply for a bursary when they receive their entrance examination invitation. We start to send these invitations to registered girls in the October prior to the September entry. Girls entering the Sixth Form will be asked if they would like to apply for a bursary when they receive their scholarship examination invitation also in the October prior to the September entry; girls who wish to apply for a bursary in Sixth Form must sit the scholarship examination paper.

The completed bursary forms must be returned to the Girls' Day School Trust by the end of November prior to entry. Not everyone who applies for a bursary will be offered one; we offer to those who show the most academic potential either in their entrance examination or, in the case of Sixth Form, the scholarship examination.

Q. How do I apply for a scholarship?

A. We offer scholarships to girls entering Upper Third, Upper Fourth and Sixth Form. For the Upper Thirds we offer scholarships in the different arts, in sports and a number of academic scholarships. The academic scholarships are awarded to the girls who achieve the highest marks in the entrance examination and so are automatically awarded. The sports and arts scholarships are awarded after application and interview. Girls will be asked if they would like to apply for a scholarship when they receive their entrance examination invitations which are posted to registered girls from October prior to entry.

We offer a number of academic scholarship to girls entering Upper Fourth, which is based on an essay paper and also takes into account overall school performance. Registered girls will receive their entrance examination invitation in the October prior to entry. Within this invitation they will be asked if they would like to stay at school for the afternoon and also sit the scholarship paper.

Girls entering Sixth Form do not sit an entrance examination, they will simply receive their invitation to the scholarship paper in October prior to entry; they will then sit their scholarship paper in November.

You must be registered to receive an invitation to any of the examinations.

Q. When will I find out if I have been successful in my bursary or scholarship application?

A. The outcome of all bursary and scholarship applications for Upper Thirds and Upper Fourths will be included in the offer letter which will be posted to all applicants at the end of the January prior to entry. Sixth Form applicants will find out if they were successful for a scholarship at the end of November. They will find out if they were successful in any bursary application at the end of January, along with all applicants in other year groups.

Q. Do you offer a dance scholarship?

A. We currently offer academic, sports and arts scholarships. The arts scholarship covers drama, art, design & technology and music. The best candidate from these four areas will be awarded the scholarship. None of these areas currently specifically covers the medium of dance. However, if your daughter would like to apply for the arts scholarship through drama, or the sports scholarship, please do include the information in the application and we will take this in to account.

Q. If my daughter is shortlisted for an Upper Third scholarship, when will I find out when her interview time is?

A. You will be sent a letter on the entrance examination day which will detail if your daughter has an interview and, if so, allocate her a time the following week to come in to school.

Q. When do we find out if we have an offer?

A. All offer letters for Upper Third, Lower and Upper Fourth and Lower Fifth girls are sent in the post at the end of January. This letter will state if we are offering your daughter a place and if you have been successful for a bursary and/or scholarship (where applicable). Parents are given just over a month to accept a school place.

Q. What is the process for girls entering Sixth Form?

A. All enquirers will be invited to a Sixth Form Information Evening in October. This is followed by a Sixth Form scholarship examination in November. Girls apply to sit this examination by registering; any girl wishing to apply for a bursary must also sit this examination.

Scholarship offers are posted in November and bursary offers will be posted in January. In October, girls are invited to a taster morning in November. We will also ask if we can contact their current school for a letter of recommendation and their mock GCSE results.

Following the taster day/ Scholarship examination, all successful applicants will receive their official offer letters and an invitation to the induction days which are usually held at the end of June or start of July. Girls can arrange a private tour of the school at any time during the process by contacting the Registrar.

We only have a limited number of spaces available for sixth form; it is advisable to register quickly and so reserve your place to avoid any disappointment. We take registrations for all year groups months or years in advance of the girls’ start dates.

Q. What extra-curricular activities are open to my daughter in junior school?

A. Junior school runs clubs for girls before school, during lunch time and after school. The clubs vary slightly each term. After school clubs generally run up to 4.30PM in the evening. The extracurricular clubs are mostly free of charge. Some of them however are run by external teachers and so incur an extra charge; this is always stated on the list provided to parents. After these school clubs, girls can then join the supervised after school (GAP) club until 6PM for a small charge.

Towards the end of term, parents are sent the next term’s club lists and are asked to choose first and second preferences to ensure all girls can do at least one club they would like to; there are limited spaces in each group.

New parents also receive this letter in the post before their child starts school. Following this, girls can join other clubs after the start of term if there are still places available.

Please contact the Registrar for an up to date club list.

Q. What extra-curricular activities are open to my daughter in senior school?

A. Senior school runs many clubs for girls before school, during lunch time and after school. Girls sign up for these clubs within their first week of school. Girls joining mid-year can discuss the options with their new form tutor and then sign up. There is no limit to the extra-curricular activities girls can partake in although we do recommend they do not join everything but allow themselves some lunch times free to relax. The activities offered do alter slightly each term. They are almost always free; any clubs which are run by external teachers and so incur an extra charge will state so on the extra curricular list.

Please contact the Registrar for an up to date club list.

Q. What extra-curricular activities are open to my daughter in Sixth Form?

A. Our enrichment programme offers the young enterprise scheme, the community sports leadership award, a Sixth Form magazine, yoga and games and the opportunity to learn some ‘survival cookery’ or take an NVQ certificate in food safety. There is always a Duke of Edinburgh’s gold award group and Sixth Form girls make up the majority of those who undertake the biennial world challenge expedition. 

As well as all the existing senior school clubs, including the top sports teams, Sixth Form girls have taken the initiative to set up their own activities for themselves and younger girls, including classics club and an amnesty international group. They edit and distribute their own magazine, Sixth Sense

The Social Club runs a lively programme of activities outside school that all girls get involved in, including regular theatre trips.

Sixth Form girls also take on increased leadership roles by standing for election for the Head Girl team or Head of House. They co-ordinate the senior school Student Council and their Charities Committee organises charitable fundraising across the senior school.

Please contact the Registrar for an up to date club list.

Q. What supervised care do you offer outside the normal school hours?

A. All girls may enter the school from 7.45AM onwards.

Girls in junior school spend time with their friends or have breakfast at the Breakfast Club until school starts (sometimes with their mum or dad who has breakfast with them before going to work).

We also run an after school club (GAP club) until 6.00PM where the girls take part in fun activities and have a snack.

We now have extended holiday provision for girls in Nursery and Reception, providing care for 46 weeks a year. External providers also run holiday clubs on the school premises. Please ask junior school for more details.

Senior girls can have breakfast in the Breakfast Club when they arrive early or relax in the library until registration. Late prep is a free, supervised homework time for senior girls and runs until 4.30PM or 5.00PM. Girls cannot leave this early; they must stay until one of these times to minimise disruption. Girls can also go to the Library or IT Room. Girls sign in to late prep at the start of the school day so that we are aware who is in the building after school has finished.

The senior school closes at 5.00PM. If girls are still waiting to be collected they must join in the GAP club in the junior school where a member of staff is present.

Q. What happens if I want my daughter to join mid-year?

A. It is possible for girls to join the school mid-year, subject to availability. All girls, from Year 1 upwards need to take an entrance assessment (junior school) or entrance examination (senior school). All assessments/examinations take a morning, with the exception of the examination for girls joining Lower Fifth, or late in Upper Fourth, whose examination takes a full day. Girls are always encouraged to spend a full day at the school so that they may have lunch with their year group and experience some lessons.

It is sometimes possible for girls to join in year groups that are currently studying for their GCSE or A levels, for example mid-year in Lower Fifth or Lower Sixth. However these families need to come in to school to discuss this with either the Director of Studies or with the Head of Sixth Form. We will only be able to offer a place to these girls if they are academically capable of making such a change and continuing their studies without too much disruption. If you are enquiring about joining mid-year into these year groups please find out the examination boards your daughter is currently using at her present school for each subject so that can see how well we can accommodate those courses.

Q. When am I able to let the school know if my daughter needs to use the bus, is a vegetarian, needs music lessons ect?

A. All parents receive a welcome pack before their daughter starts school, which includes lots of information; such as the parent handbook. It also includes a booklet with return slips where we ask about dietary requirements, medical information, buses and ballet and music lessons.

In junior school, welcome packs are given to parents during the welcome day at the start of July. In senior school, these are given to parents during the welcome evening which is held in May and in Sixth Form they are given to girls during their induction days in June.

Q. Where do your buses run?

A. We run bus routes servicing many surrounding areas. More information on these can be found on our Transport page.

Q. Who do I contact if I have any questions?

A. Before your daughter starts school, if you have any queries at all please contact the Registrar, Mrs Amanda Wilmot, on 01604 765765 and press option 2 for Admissions. You can also e-mail on a.wilmot@nhs.gdst.net.

Q. Who are the GDST?

A. The Girls' Day School Trust (GDST) is the largest group of independent schools in the UK. It is a charity which owns and runs a family of 26 schools in England and Wales, and reinvests its income back into these schools for the benefit of the pupils.

The GDST is a major player within education in the UK and has an outstanding track record in helping students achieve their full potential in every aspect of their lives. The hallmarks of a GDST school are consistently high academic standards, superb pastoral support, an enviable culture and the self-evident success of the students.

Girls who join Northampton High School are all part of the GDST family and every Sixth Former automatically becomes a lifelong member of the GDST Alumnae Network, a networking and communications channel for former pupils of GDST schools.  This service provides alumnae with career information and advice, work experience, mentoring and much more.

There are many further benefits of attending a GDST school, for example the GDST arranges a CareerStart programme for all GCSE and A level students to help them gain transferable business skills to complement and extend their academic and extra-curricular experience. It also runs, with HSBC, a summer programme where students from the UK and China develop their creative, leadership and teamwork skills in a pioneering independent/state school partnership.

To read further about the many benefits of being part of the GDST, please visit the website at www.gdst.net.