Nothampton High School
High News

Friday 10 February 2023

Careers: An update

Careers advice has changed a great deal since I was at school. It has probably, dare I say, changed a great deal since the majority of you, as parents, were at school as well. I don’t know what your individual experiences of this were like, but I know mine was not great.

Back in the early 2000’s careers advice was limited to a paper survey that asked a range of questions about your preferences for working environments. Questions such as, “Do you like working with children?” or “Do you like working outside?”, were all answered on a form using a pencil to fill in the little check boxes for either a positive or negative response. Ironically, I distinctly remember answering “No!” to the question about working with children! I also remember the outcome of my questionnaire. It was ‘Park Warden’. The idea of being a park warden now seems rather idyllic and romantic, like something out of a good novel, but at the age of 15, I couldn’t think of anything less inspiring. I wanted to be a Vet, or a Lawyer, or the next David Attenborough, not maintaining rhododendrons in the rain and telling people to “get off the grass!”

Back then, as there had been for many years, there was a much greater emphasis on finding a career, getting into it and sticking with it until retirement at 60. At this point you would be presented with a gold watch for your years of dedicated service, and sail off happily into the sunset. Nowadays, this could not be further from reality. Aside from the change to the retirement age, pushing closer each year towards 70, the current generation of students in the UK, and those that follow, will have a significantly more varied career path than students who have gone before them. They will climb their careers ladders by hopping between companies, building up their networks and developing their experience portfolios. Research suggests that over 40% of the jobs that the current cohort of 14-17 year olds will go into, don’t even exist yet. The dynamic nature of our planet, and the increasing speed in which we are required to adapt to change, means that we are preparing teenagers and young adults to enter the world of work with somewhat limited information on what opportunities might be available to them. A little worrying perhaps, but very exciting!

Preparing students for such a transition from the tight structure of British education to the world of work, where there are multiple uncertainties, is therefore something that schools must carefully consider. Here at the High School, careers education is carefully embedded across the curriculum from an early age. We start by looking at ourselves and identifying who we are, what strengths we possess and where our interests lie.

To read the full entry, please click here.

Miss Kneen
Deputy Head Pastoral

The Week Ahead

Monday 20 February
Y13 A Level Mock Examinations begin

Tuesday 21 February
Y12 Higher Education Evening

Thursday 23 February
Reach Lecture
Netball: U16 vs Bedford Modern
GCSE Composition Recital

Friday 24 February
House Dance

Saturday 25 February
Saturday Sewing Sessions

To view a list of the spring term clubs and activities, please click here.

Defining acts of kindness

For the new school video that our brilliant marketing team is putting together, I was asked many interesting and challenging questions and one of them was ‘Snap my finger to change one thing in the world’. My answer to this question is ‘I would make everyone kind. It costs nothing to be charitable and makes you more friends than enemies!’. My message here is ‘if you can be anything in life be kind’. The great thing is that it isn’t difficult to be kind. As the Dalai Lama said, ‘Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible’.

At Northampton High, I often come across two distinct ways in which kindness manifests itself. Firstly, and perhaps most frequently, in showing kindness to others. For example, old-fashioned good manners are the norm – you are greeted with smiling pupils who hold open doors, make eye contact, and engage in conversation. Secondly, and much less consistently, in showing kindness to ourselves.

The focus for Children’s Mental Health Week, 6-12 February 2023, is ‘Let’s connect – connecting with others in healthy, rewarding and meaningful ways to support our mental health’. Our wellbeing team has devised an ingenious way for us to celebrate the week and staff have been asked to write kindness notes anonymously to students, and for Year 7 and 8 students to do the same for our Junior School pupils. Kindness causes elevated levels of dopamine in the brain, helping us feel happier. Therefore, a little act of kindness can arguably go a long way in making someone feel valued, appreciated, and connected, which is an essential strategy for whole school wellbeing and mental health.

A survey published by NHS Digital in 2021 highlighted that one in six children have a diagnosable mental health issue and the likelihood that mental health issues would be identified as a probable disorder increased with age, with young women aged 17 to 22 being most at risk. It pointed out that many young people have found it very challenging to negotiate the milestones of leaving school or home, starting work or study or looking for jobs in very different circumstances. Therefore, it’s really important to help each other out when we can, and to find ways to take care of our minds. One very simple but powerful way to connect with others is through kindness.

To read the full entry, please click here.

Dr Lee

Mental Health Week: Reflections

The theme for Mental Health Week this year on behalf of Place to Be, has been connection, “encouraging people to connect with others in healthy, rewarding and meaningful ways.” Brené Brown defines connection as, “The energy that is created between people when they feel seen, heard and valued. When they can give and receive without judgement.”

Research shows that when we feel connected to others, we can benefit from improved mental wellbeing, better physical health, quicker recovery from disease and even potential positive effects on our longevity. However, without this social connection and support, we can experience loneliness and detrimental effects to our long-term mental and physical health.

To shine a light on Mental Health Week throughout the school we have enjoyed connecting with each other and our local community with morning meditations, uplifting music echoing down the corridors, kindness notes to each other, a Junior School visit and letters to the local care home and in Senior School our dress to express mufti day. 

At the heart of connection is compassion and kindness, in fact our brain is naturally wired to empathise with others. We have been encouraging students to be aware of the quality of their connections, not the quantity, and to consider ways to nurture these relationships whilst also noticing those around us who may need a friend.  

You may wish to consider:

  • How would you describe the quality of connections in your life?
  • How do you feel emotionally and physically around different people? Who gives you positive energy?
  • Could you carve out more time with those that inspire the kind of person you wish to be?

Family connection: As children grow, there can be periods where it feels more challenging to connect with each other but adapting along this journey can foster secure connections that aid the development of your child. Here are 5 ideas of ways to connect:

  1. Prioritise play or create together – play, draw, paint or build together to enjoy shared experiences whilst using the opportunity to chat in a relaxed environment.
  2. Family time – encourage your children to disconnect from devices and join you for dinner or have family movie nights to give you all a chance to unwind and reconnect. Perhaps take it in turns to share something that went well during the day, also normalise small worries or difficulties and help each other to work through solutions. 
  3. Learn something new together – try a new activity, be 10% braver and strengthen your bond through facing challenges and growing new skills.
  4. Adventure outside – taking time away from the distractions at home can help meaningful conversations to flow.
  5. Love language – discover each other’s preferred love language, e.g., cuddles, words of affirmation, quality time, gift giving or acts of service.

Books to enhance connection: ‘You don’t understand me’ by Dr Tara Porter, ,‘Get out of my life’ by Suzanne Franks and Tony Wolf, ‘Blame my brain’ by Nicola Morgan.

We hope this half term provides you all with many opportunities to find those precious moments to connect in rewarding and meaningful ways.

Mrs Giordano
Wellbeing Practitioner

Let's Connect

In a world filled with uncertainty, stress and never-ending tasks to complete, we sometimes forget how important our connections with others are. Whether it’s reaching out to an old friend or connecting with someone new, more often than not the feeling of doing something outside of our comfort zone can scare us. Our internal thoughts invade our mental clarity and with that outlook we tend to stick with the ‘safe’ option, which is doing what we are used to and feel comfortable with doing.

Not to mention the constant tendency to overthink everything that we encounter, whether it be an accidental look from someone across the room or hearing your name in conversation from afar, most of us immediately jump to conclusions and think of the worst possible scenario. Everyone has their not so good days, but it’s important that we don’t assume the worst of others from a single exchange and instead focus on the bigger picture, how do they act towards me most of the time? Do they greet me with a smile? Are they happy to see me? Can I be myself around them? If the answer is yes to any of these questions, chances are this is a connection worth pursuing.

Connections with others are vital for our function as human beings, because although having a strong work ethic will get you far in life, without connections, there won’t be anyone to celebrate these successes with. If we are constantly isolated and our best friend soon becomes our electronic devices, our mental health can spiral rapidly and before we know it we have lost the spark within us that makes us unique and makes us, us. Good mental health and happiness go hand in hand, if one suffers, then the other is likely to as well. Even if we are suffering with our mental health, having people around us that can offer support and comfort, at the very least will make us feel better in some way, no matter how small and no matter how insignificant it may seem in the grand scheme of things. Whether it be venting out stress to your family or spending the weekend out with your friends to reward yourself for getting through exams, it’s important to reward yourself. Your mental health should be a priority, instead of something that comes second to your daily pursuits.

I understand that it can be difficult or overwhelming having to step outside your bubble of comfort to reach out to others, especially those you hardly know. When you meet someone you aren’t familiar with, still try to connect with them in whatever form you find most comfortable; a simple greeting, a handshake or even a hug. You never know what someone else is going through. By supporting everyone around us, we can do our part in making our community a happier place to be in.

Eliza A

Teens and TikTok: Positive Connections

This week is Children’s Mental Health Week, and this year the Charity ‘Place2Be’ has launched the theme of ‘Meaningful connections’. On Monday, Mrs Giordano kicked us off with a great assembly encouraging us to spread kindness and develop our connections with each other here in school. The students in Year 7 and 8 have been making connections with Junior School students by sending them anonymous positive or kind notes to brighten their day. In return, Junior pupils have been paying this forward and doing the same for other local children in our neighboring primary schools. This spreading of positive connections and kindness is truly heartwarming, and a valuable lesson for us all.

I wanted to take this opportunity to remind you at home of some of the connections that children make online. Social media is a powerful and valuable tool and yet, if it is not handled with care, there can be negative ramifications for the mental health of our young people. One of the social media platforms that is most popular with our students at the moment is TikTok. This app has taken the world by storm recently and is increasingly popular with teenagers and children world wide. As a parent, if you have concerns about this app, this linked video will give you some useful tips on how to help your child stay safe online using TikTok. As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please do get in touch with us and we will be more than happy to help.

Miss Kneen
Deputy Head Pastoral

GCSE and A Level Arts students travel to London to visit the Tate Modern

On Tuesday this week, our GCSE and A Level students travelled to London to engage with art in Tate Modern. The visit takes place at a crucial stage in their studies, as both examination papers have been released. This link will take you to some of the shows that we had access to.

We asked a group of Year 11 students what they enjoyed the most. Eva loved looking at the sculptures, Li marvelled at the organic shapes and geometric abstractions of Bartuszová, and her use of plaster to reference forms from nature. Lois was intrigued by Lynn Hershman and her Feminism. Alec enjoyed the variety of art shown in the different gallery spaces and Nicole commented that it was great to view art with friends. ‘Carnival’ produced in 1920 by Max Beckmann was Anna’s favourite piece. It felt so wonderful to take our students out of the classroom to see art for real, rather than always directing students to books and websites.

We enjoyed the fresh air and blue sky as we walked over the Millennium Bridge. Now we are back in school, our next task is to record the visit in sketchbooks, analysing pieces and including a range of images to inspire future creativity. Irana and Tiffany in Year 12 have already begun to adapt Bartuszová practices, using mod roc and plaster to sculpt forms.

Mr Laubscher and I are excited to see how sketchbooks will be developed by our artists.

Mrs Beacroft
Head of Creative Arts Faculty

Creative Arts Spotlight

Students in Year 8 have been studying Reggae music this term, in particular, the iconic Bob Marley song Three Little Birds.

They have extended their knowledge of chords, learned the melody for both the verse and chorus, countermelodies and use of the rhythm. They then worked in small groups to prepare a performance that included all of these elements.

The photo shows Emily, Sima and Francesca rehearsing ready for their performance.

Miss Smith
Music Teacher

High Sports: Match Reports

1st VII vs King Henry VIII: On Saturday 4 February, the 1st VII netball team played our first match of the season against King Henry VIII. Despite being up against strong opponents, we kept up high moral and were determined to play our best, but unfortunately it ended in a loss. ‘Shout out’ to Rosie for great defending and some great shots from Shruthi and Samiha. We are excited to improve throughout the season and work on our passes! Janice H

2nd VII vs King Henry VIII: Our first match of the season was against King Henry VIII. Our opposition started off strong with some good play from Harriet W and Carolina FL doing well to make space and get the ball to our end. After an unfortunate fall from Harriet W and with no subs we were one player short; a special mention goes to Isla A from Year 10 who stepped up to play 3 age groups up and did some great defending against very strong shooters. We had a solid second half coming back to score a few more goals and a switch up of positions led to us performing better, narrowing the goal difference, especially Cecily B as centre and Abi G as goal shooter. Overall, our Player of the Match was Carolina FL who performed brilliantly throughout and recorded some great footage for her GCSE PE. Eliza A

U15A vs King Henry VIII: On Saturday, our U15A team played against King Henry. Unfortunately, we lost 27-20 but everyone put their absolute best into the game. Each quarter as a team we got better, and special mention goes to Olivia who was awarded Player of the Match, with some brilliant work in the D scoring many goals. Well played to everyone who played you were all amazing! We can’t wait for the next match! Gemma S

U14A vs Kimbolton: I thought that today (Tuesday 7 February) we played well, although it took us time to get settled in the first half. However, towards the end of the second quarter we got comfortable and played the netball we know we can play. As a team we communicated and encouraged each other throughout, which lifted the whole of the team up. I thought that we played the balls into space well for each other, with a few loopy balls now and then. The opponent’s Player of the Match deservedly went to Anna, with our team’s Player of the Match was awarded to Moriah. Well done to the whole team! Evie F

U14B vs Kimbolton: On Tuesday 7 February, our U14B team played Kimbolton School. It was a difficult match and we all played to our best potential. We had so much fun and enjoyed playing as a team overall. The Player of the Match was Lexie, as she defended well and saved many goals. Well done everyone!

U15A vs Kimbolton: On Tuesday 7 February, we travelled to Kimbolton for a netball fixture, and we suffered an unfortunate loss. Despite the defeat, the team showed some encouraging improvement over the course of the game. Olivia was awarded Player of the Match, showing some amazing work defensively getting quite a few intercepts and scoring a goal when playing GS. Despite the disappointing result the team showed courage and determination and never gave up. Well done everyone, I’m so proud of you all! Gemma S 

1st VII vs Akeley Wood: On Thursday 9 March, the 1st team travelled to Akeley and successfully won our match 36-18. Everyone played extremely well. Our Players’ Player of the Match was Lilli who had excellent shooting throughout the whole game. The Player of the Match was Janice who was amazing in defence. We can’t wait for more games this season. Katie

2nd VII vs Akeley Wood: This Thursday, Northampton High School played Akeley Wood. The 2nd VII netball team did incredibly well, improving our attack and defence throughout the match. What started off as quite a narrow lead in the first quarter progressed into leading comfortably, until we won with a score of 25-17. As a team we demonstrated excellent resilience as we learnt from our mistakes and improved constantly throughout the match. Amy H

External Sporting Successes: Eleanor and Ella

We would like to send huge congratulations to two of our pupils, for their amazing recent sporting successes!

Eleanor (pictured) has been selected for the Emerging Talent Centre, which is led by the FA and run by NTFC as part of the England Women’s talent pathway.

This pathway will ensure Eleanor has access to top level coaching. Not only is she one of a few players to be selected, but she is also representing the year group above by playing in the U14 squad.

Eleanor is also making great progress with her club, and helped them secure a place in the League Cup Final by being awarded Player of the Match in their 3-0 win at the weekend. Well Done, Eleanor.

Congratulations are also in order for Ella, and we are very proud of the success that Ella continues to achieve throughout her Athletics Career.

On Saturday, Ella will be competing in the U17 300m and 60m Hurdles events in a National Indoor Event in Sheffield. We wish her the best of luck at this event. Ella is also making huge progress in Football and her local club are through to the final of the Northamptonshire U16 Girls’ invitation County Cup Competition in March.

Ella also plays in the Bedfordshire Division 1 League where she also plays an age group up based on advice from her FA Football Coach. Well done Ella – good luck with the County Cup Match.

Mrs Blake
Director of Sport

Students compete in Rotary Chef competition in Lincolnshire

Congratulations to Lucy in Year 7 and Verity in Year 8 who competed in the district round of the Rotary Chef competition last Saturday at Bourne Academy, Lincolnshire.

This was a tough heat with around 20 students taking part from ages 11-17. Both pupils worked really hard to produce their 3 course meal in just 2 hours, and although they didn’t make it through to the next round, Lucy and Verity should be very proud of themselves, as I am. Their dishes included apple crumble and duck salad. We look forward to hosting the local heat again in Autumn.

Well done again, Lucy and Verity!

Miss Knight
Subject Leader Food

Poetry and Wellbeing

‘Reading poetry generates the same feeling as talking through problems’. In her new book, Academic and author Clare Bucknell shares the impact of poetry anthologies.

‘Bibliotherapy emerged just after the First World War, when innovative medical staff employed librarians in hospitals to dispense books to traumatised and shell-shocked soldiers. Since then, the field has grown hugely, with anthologies such as William Sieghart’s The Poetry Pharmacy developed specifically to aid wellbeing. Poetry therapy practitioners maintain that the way poems look on the page, and the way they sound, with rhythm, harmony and balance, provides a comfort and stillness like a psychotherapeutic encounter. It generates the same feeling as talking through your problems, because you feel listened to.’

The full article is available in March’s edition of Red magazine. The Treasuries: Poetry Anthologies and the Making of British Culture by Clare Bucknell is out now.

Two highly recommended anthologies are Poems to Live Your Life By, chosen and illustrated by Chris Riddell, including verse from William Shakespeare to Phoebe Bridgers and A Poem For Every Day of the Year, edited by Alle Esiri, both available to borrow from the Senior Library.

Miss Buxton
School Librarian

Book Review: Half Term Double Special

Be Calm: Rise Up and Don’t Let Anxiety Hold You Back by Marcus Sedgwick – You can conquer your worries. The power is within you! We all experience anxiety from time to time. It can feel overwhelming and uncomfortable, and stops us from doing the things we enjoy – so what on earth can we do about it? Be the Change: Be Calm will show you how to shut down anxiety with fun and simple ways to calm your mind by listening to what your body is telling you. Ever tried the half-salamander exercise? You should! And have you ever performed a body scan? Thought not. These amazing activities along with many others will become your toolkit to a calmer and happier life.

Recommended for Years 5 to 8.

The Comfort Book by Matt Haig is a collection of consolations learned in hard times and suggestions for making the bad days better. Drawing on maxims, memoir and the inspirational lives of others, these meditations offer new ways of seeing ourselves and the world. This is the book to pick up when you need the wisdom of a friend, the comfort of a hug or a reminder that hope comes from unexpected places.

Recommended for Year 9+.

Miss Buxton
School Librarian

Turning 'can we?' into 'we can!' - Spring Open Mornings at Northampton High

We look forward to welcoming so many lovely families to our upcoming Spring Open Mornings on Friday 3 March and Friday 28 April. The events promise to be a superb showcase of life at Northampton High School.

If you would like to come along, please do feel most welcome, and should you have family, friends, or neighbours keen to visit us, please encourage them to book their place here and join us!

Mr Nash
Marketing & Communications Manager

Dance Festival - Wedensday 29 March 2023

We warmly invite you to save the date for our annual Dance Festival, which will take place on Wednesday 29 March.

This year our show will take you ‘Through the Decades’ and include performances from students across the school from Reception to Sixth Form. Pupils have also been invited to attend auditions should they wish to perform a solo, duet or group dance with their peers.

Our PE Staff will be working with Junior School classes, as part of the curriculum, to create and rehearse an exciting display of class dances.

We are also incorporating our House System into the Festival, to showcase a House Dance and involve pupils from Year 5 upwards to collaborate and work together.

We have some superb Dance Leaders choreographing the House Dances and I am positive the evening will be an inspiring performance of talent and expertise in the Arts.

Mrs Blake
Director of Sport

The Knight Frank Schools Triathlon Series

We are delighted to have been invited to take part in the The Knight Frank Schools Triathlon series, hosted by Oundle School and organised by Restless Development, on Sunday 14 May.

7 events ran last May, with over 6,000 children taking part from 120 prep schools such as Cheam, Cothill House, Dulwich Prep, Farleigh, Feltonfleet, Port Regis, St Hughs, The Dragon and Thomas’ Battersea. The children raised an incredible £1.2 million for both the organising charity and each prep school’s chosen charity.

The events are for Senior and Junior School pupils in Years 3 to 8 and there has been a fantastic response from schools to date, with both the pupils and parents really enjoying the day. It is first and foremost a fun event, with a team element rather than the normal individual triathlon format. The children form teams of 4, come up with suitably amusing team names, with all 4 teammates performing all 3 disciplines as a relay. This has really appealed, not just to the keen sporting pupils, but also to those who want to give a triathlon a go with their friends in a safe and fun environment.

Maya, from Restless Development delivered an assembly for our pupils in Years 3 to 8 on Tuesday 7 February to inform pupils about this fun opportunity. This is a parent-led event, with parents registering the children directly and taking them on the day. Any questions from parents can be sent directly to

We hope that many of our students will choose to be involved in this fun, physical, charity event.

Miss Hair
Head of Junior School

Tuesday by Alison Carr - Thursday 14 March 2023

Save the Date: Parents Afternoon Tea - Friday 7 July

We invite you to save the date for this summer’s Parent Afternoon Tea event, which will be taking place on Friday 7 July, from 2 – 3.30pm. The cost for this event will be £15pp, and bookings can be made via ParentPay, with a deadline of Wednesday 31 May.

More information will follow over the coming weeks and months, but we do hope you will be able to join us for what promises to be a lovely afternoon.

Miss Hair
Head of Junior School

Junior Bake Off: Applications now open!

Community Nursery Sessions

Reach Lectures: Spring 2023

Home Start Northampton: Volunteers needed!

Term Dates

Northampton High School
Newport Pagnell Road, Hardingstone Northampton NN4 6UU
T: 01604 765765 nhsadmin@nhs.Gdst.Net