‘Reach’ at Northampton High School

You may have seen the High School approach wheel around school and in some of our publications. We use this to help illustrate the High School’s uniqueness as a learning community. Within the wheel are 3 distinct areas reflecting our view that it is impossible to separate the purely academic aspects of school life from the wider cocurriculum and the pastoral. This is why the High School approach takes the form of a circle, with these aspects represented by the words Learn, Reach and Coach. They form a unity; without one part the others would be incomplete and the rounded education we seek to provide would be compromised.

I have explained the thinking behind the wheel in a previous article, but today I would like to focus on one element in particular. Reach. By this we refer to the expansive cocurricular programme of activities to support, stretch and inspire pupils throughout the school. Through the Reach programme, we encourage pupils to find their own paths and to discover what makes them tick as learners. Our Reach Coordinator, Miss Anna Kilby, also Head of Classics at the school, has a wealth of experience working with talented and able pupils like ours, to motivate and inspire them to find their passions in life.

Miss Kilby is ably assisted by Miss Steph Knight, the Reach Assistant, whose area of expertise is the extracurricular programme that teachers and coaches offer pupils of all ages in school. These clubs and societies scatter their paths with opportunities to satiate their curiosity and expand their horizons, or inspire them in various ecological, scientific, sporting and artistic areas. Many of these clubs run across the junior and senior school years, allowing older pupils to enjoy time in the company of younger ones.

Also within Reach is the Enrichment and Electives programme which spans the 4-year journey of GCSE and A Level study from Year 10 to Year 13. This offers our students a huge range of non-examined, timetabled courses, from Photography to Computing, from Film Studies to Yoga. The programme develops over the years, so that, by the time students reach the Sixth Form, they have access to more independent opportunities, such as Young Philanthropy, Enterprise, Politics and International Relations and, for the next academic year, Sociology too. Beyond this, the Reach programme caters for the needs of distinct groups of students, with support clinics for those taking public examinations, or groups for those with specific university requirements, such as for medicine and engineering.

Scholarships are also within the purview of the Reach Coordinator. These fall into 3 categories; Reach, in recognition of excellent academic results in our papers; Flair, for pupils demonstrating excellence in a wide range of disciplines, from sport to music and everything in between; and Spirit, for pupils who live and breathe characteristics that are prized by the school, such as service to the community. Pupils who have undertaken the rigorous but inspiring selection process for these awards develop excellent self-awareness and interpersonal skills, whether or not they are ultimately successful in receiving a scholarship. We heartily encourage all pupils to consider applying for these when appropriate. More information about scholarships can be found in the General Information booklet.

In the spring term, the Reach programme really comes to life, with our Reach Lecture series taking place during Thursday lunchtimes (11:50-12:20). This is a great opportunity for pupils to discover more about a huge range of subjects, as you can see from the poster featured here. All students in Years 9, 10 and 12 are expected to attend the Lectures; there are no clubs for those year groups on Thursdays next term, so that the Lectures do not clash with another activity. Students in Years 11 and 13 are warmly invited to attend the lectures if they do not have a revision or support session during Thursday lunchtime.

When we ask our pupils to find their passions at the High School, we want them to know that the opportunities are only limited by their own imaginations. However, just as importantly, we want them to be confident that dedicated and focused support is always available – they need only reach out for it.

Mr Rickman
Deputy Head Academic