Nothampton High School
High News

Friday 11 February 2022

Every Day A School Day

I’ll admit that there is one type of news article that draws a sigh of frustration from me. The type that starts with ‘Schools should teach…..’ and then proceeds to document the latest media story and how experts believe that particular topic should be taught in schools.

A scan at recent news articles leads one to the conclusion that schools should teach: life skills, financial skills, politics, suicide awareness, genocide, racism, LGBTQA+ issues, the climate crisis to name just a few. Notwithstanding the fact that we (and many other schools) do embed many of these topics into our curriculum and wider learning, it is quite a big ask of schools to teach the full core curriculum and then life skills and knowledge of a complex and ever changing world too. However, I feel on balance that the High School offers more than most and I firmly believe that education is about providing tools and skills not just providing knowledge. Or to put it more eloquently “Education is not about the filling of the pail, but the lighting of the fire”, and for each pupil the fuel needed to light their fire is different.

Yesterday, for reasons I do not need to go into here, we were in a position of needing to provide meaningful and educational work for our students without our normal complement of teachers. We worked hard to ensure that each year group had valuable workshops, lessons, seminars and hands-on activities that would develop skills and knowledge as well as giving some wellbeing time too. As I was tweeting photos of some of the work done yesterday, I came across a Tweet from a parent of another GDST school which surprised me. The parent’s Tweet was asking for fees back for the day because ‘Wellbeing, mindfulness and study skills weren’t what I had in mind when I paid my fees’. I was surprised by this statement because actually there is huge benefit to looking after the wellbeing of children and teenagers. The effect of poor mental health, lack of study skills and inability to switch off the ‘noise’ of modern life has a far worse effect on academic performance and long term life chances than a day without ‘lessons’.

Education is so much more than subject based lessons delivering a fixed curriculum in order to eventually pass GCSEs and A Levels (although I would not in any way minimise the huge importance of these exams). Education is also  about helping children to understand who they are, to develop character, and understanding of the world around them. Education is collaboration, playing, Forest School, sport, music, drama, cooking. Education is a connected approach from schools and families to support the child together in all of these aspects of growth.

The more teenagers can learn to quieten their mind through yoga, meditation, mindfulness, sound baths and other means, the less often they will need a small exam room, a table at the front or any of the other increasingly common methods of supporting students with anxiety in public exams. These methods are useful for some, but surely it is preferable to teach young people methods of self-managing worries and anxiety than giving them short term solutions that won’t be continued beyond school?

As I was greeting pupils arriving at school yesterday, two Year 10 pupils were talking with Mrs Nash in reception. They were keen to know what they were doing for the day and mentioned that amongst the things they would like to know were ‘life skills like how mortgages work and self-defence’. Excellent because those were not on Year 10’s timetable for yesterday but will be after half term.

In conclusion, it was not at all easy to be without the majority of our teachers yesterday but that does not lessen the value of the day’s activities one bit. Every single workshop and session yesterday taught students something of value – including the bootcamp for Year 11, run by our Director of Finance and Operations, which aside from the obvious health benefits also taught them that people can do more than one thing. A DFO can be a trained fitness instructor too! And Year 7 learnt that there is a skill to cake decorating and that our catering team – whom they normally just see serving lunch – are skilled and can teach them catering techniques.

Other highlights this week were the Year 5 & 6 Play in a Week performance of ‘Treachery at Traitor’s Quay’ and the Music Composition Recital and Piano Masterclass. Both were spectacular in different ways. Year 5 & 6 learnt the value of working together on a shared project in a short space of time. I thoroughly enjoyed the singing, dancing, acting and ‘Cockney’ accents that were so polished they belied the short preparation time for the project.

I trust that you will all have an enjoyable half term break, whether home or away and that all of our pupils get both rest and fun.

Mrs O’Doherty
Acting Head

The week ahead

W.C Monday 14 February: Half Term

Monday 21 February
Term Resumes
Senior School Assembly
Higher Education Evening
Spring Clubs (click here for timetable)

Tuesday 22 February
Spring Clubs (click here for timetable)

Wednesday 23 February
Netball: U10 & U11 vs Broughton Manor
Spring Clubs (click here for timetable)

Thursday 24 February
Spring Clubs (click here for timetable)

Friday 25 February
Senior School Assembly
Netball: U11A vs IAPS
Spring Clubs (click here for timetable)

Saturday 26 February
Netball: U12, U13, U14, U15, 1st & 2nd VII vs Ratcliffe College

Unleashing Potential at Northampton High

We are delighted to unveil our new campaign, Unleashing Potential, which will be rolling out over the coming days.

The campaign, part of a wider brand positioning project, showcases our very own students and presents the concept that our fabulous students can plan to pursue their dreams, whatever they may be – championing our ‘WE CAN’ spirit. The creative platform is:

‘At Northampton High School, we believe in a complete education that’s made for girls and young women. Everything about our school is carefully considered from our purpose-built site to our inspirational teachers and our first-class pastoral care. Our school is bursting with spirited students who we encourage to learn without limits.

We’re not here to pigeonhole or conform to stereotypes. Instead, we encourage our girls to be curious and independent, resilient and brave; to lead and be individuals whilst recognising the value of collaboration and teamwork.

In doing so, we turn “can we?” into “we can”, unleashing the potential in a generation of girls and young women who can go on and define a future on their own terms.’

The campaign is two-fold:

  • creative assets for digital and traditional media, and
  • a collection of short films, featuring our very own parents, for use on digital media

You should start seeing the campaign on social media and digital platforms, in print, in strategic outdoor (‘Out Of Home’ – OOH) locations; we will run this campaign to promote our March, May and October open events, to assist us with attracting students to our school. Please do like, share and comment on the social posts!

We are delighted to share with you a small selection of assets created for the campaign here. Should you have any questions or input, please feel welcome to contact me at

Mrs Wilmot
Director of Marketing and Admissions

Composition Recital - Thursday 10 February 2022

The performing arts have been hugely affected by the events of the previous two years. It has been difficult to make music, particularly as part of a meaningful ensemble.

Wednesday evening heralded the resumption of live performances in school, in the form of the wonderful Years 5 and 6 production of ‘Treachery at Traitor’s Quay’. This involved staging a well-scripted play, interspersed with memorable songs and movement. We were delighted to welcome such a large audience for the first time in two years.

The Composition Recital and Piano Masterclass is much less of an entertainment-based event, but demonstrates that music is very much on a path to post-Covid resurrection here at Northampton High School. We decided to combine two very popular events that were conceived prior to the first lockdown; a Masterclass and a Recital.

Our Masterclass Series began with renowned opera singer Alison Roddy holding the first of these events, followed by flautist Rachel Smith running the second. We were pleased to finally host the long-anticipated piano evening, instructed by Derek Lau.

The composition evening was originally designed to showcase examination students’ controlled assessment works. These largely go unheard and represent eighteen months’ hard work and creativity. We were especially privileged to welcome one of our music alumnae, who was the compere. She is currently studying Composition at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire.

This is the first of many musical offerings this year at Northampton High. Please keep your eyes on High News for details of further performances next term. Our pièce de la resistance in the form of Seussical has now been cast and will be staged as part of our annual Arts Festival in June.

Mr Nathan
Director of Music

Year 10 Careers Day

On Thursday this week we were joined by our long-standing friends, CWR, who have worked with us in delivering quality and impartial careers guidance for our students for the last eight years. Here to support the Year 10 students in establishing a base of practical knowledge of job application processes, the focus of the day was to enable them to look at their strengths and skills and apply them practically to a CV.

In the afternoon, the focus shifted to the dreaded job interview. With an ever-shifting employment market, interview techniques are also ever-changing and so we looked carefully about how different interviews may require different things. The students engaged in lively role play to act out good and bad interviews, and entertained us with their impressions of inappropriate first greets and limp handshakes. They fed back maturely to each other on how they managed group activities and practised some public speaking to build their confidence in putting their best selves forward.

We will consolidate these skills over the coming years and ensure they have plenty of opportunities to discuss their futures through consultations over the coming three years. This ensures that when they leave us at the end of Year 13, they are fully prepared for the world of work.

Miss Kneen
Assistant Head Pastoral

Year 8 Digital Skills Day

This week Year 8 pupils took part in a Digacy skills day in collaboration with our sister school Putney High, and the online awareness organisation Digital Awareness UK –

The day started with a live stream from Emma Robertson, a digital rights activist at Digital Awareness, who gave an inspirational talk about empowering young people to survive and thrive online. The day was then organised in groups to write, record, and show short films on the five most pressing issues facing young people online – addiction and technology, online abuse, sharing nudes, cancel culture, and online activism.

Pupils were also given time to reflect on these themes and their ideas for short films in a mindfulness and relaxation session with our Yoga teacher, Mrs Eborall. At the end of the day, we held a special premiere of the performances, and pupils voted on their favourites. These will be shared with other GDST schools and Digital Awareness, who will showcase the best from across the Trust in their campaigns in the future.

The Year 8 day came at the end of our Online Safety Week, to coincide with Safer Internet Day on 8 February. Our Digital Leaders led a special assembly in Junior School, looking at the issues surrounding online relationships.

Our school Digacy programme is designed to encompass all things digital and the Digital Leaders will be cropping up in many other ways over the year, both to advise the pupils in matters of safety and wellbeing, and to offer support to teachers when it comes to EdTech, and using devices for learning.

Henry Rickman
Digital School Leader

Year 7 students compete in Rotary Chef Competition regional rounds

A huge congratulations to Verity and Sarah in Year 7, who took part in the regional round (second heat) of the Rotary Chef Competition on Saturday, having placed 1st and 2nd respectively in the local round during the autumn term.

The requirements were to a cook a healthy 3-course meal in 2 hours, and both students really impressed the judges. Out of 11 participants, aged up to 18 years old, Verity took 1st place; an incredible achievement! She will go onto compete in the regional final held in Cambridge, in March.

We wish Verity the best of luck for the next round and want to again congratulate both Sarah and Verity on their success.

Miss Knight
Subject Leader Food

High Sports: Netball vs Wellingborough - Saturday 5 February

U18B: The second team had their first competitive match on Saturday against Wellingborough. Although nervous, we started well, passing down the court with speed and accuracy. A new shooting combination saw Amy out of her comfort zone as GS and GA, where she scored some great goals! Some outstanding defensive play earned Janice Player of the Match. An overall loss, however so much potential with this newly formed team.

U15A: On Saturday 5 February, we played Wellingborough which we knew was going to be a tough game. Unfortunately, we were short on players and lost; however, I feel that the whole team showed a lot of perseverance and stayed strong. After getting off to a bumpy start we decided to change around some positions at quarter time. With some great interceptions from Rosie and Annie in defence, and some good down-court play, we managed to score on many of the other teams’ centres, which resulted in a much better quarter. By the end we were tired, but I was very proud as we managed to win the final quarter 5-3. This proved the amazing resilience we all have as a team. Hattie

U14A: On Saturday 5 February, we played away at Wellingborough School. It was a very fast-paced, physical match and, despite our best efforts, we unfortunately lost 16-6. We worked hard and played well as a team, staying motivated and working together. Jasmine was awarded Player of the Match, well done! Isla

U14B: We played Wellingborough School on Saturday 5 February. It was a close match with only a 2-shot difference in Wellingborough’s favour, resulting in a 7-5 scoreline. Defence was strong and intercepted as many balls as they could. Attack players were very strong and were quick to get the ball down to the shooting 3rd with help from WD and GD too. Player of the Match was Kirsten who played C throughout and constantly was getting balls down to GA and Gs before scoring. Well done to everyone on the team, and hopefully, we will keep the same energy and attitude in further matches to come. Isobel

U13A: Our shooters (Suki and Rose) got the majority of their shots in when we got the opportunity. We gave good strong passes throughout the course of the game. Mrs Blake said, “I think that we need to work on our passes and different ways of getting in front of the defending player. Also, just the basics and not going back to bad habits.” The score was 27-9 and an unfortunate loss. We gave our Player of the Match to their C and they gave theirs to Lexie who played GK; she got quite a few interceptions and could tell that she was putting in 110%. Overall, we played well but just need to remember not to go back to bad habits and to stay focused. Evie

U13B: On Saturday, we played Wellingborough and we won 27-6 because of our great teamwork, dedication, and shooting skills. Savannah got Player of the Match because of her amazing defending as GD and great spacing. Overall it was a very successful game and everyone enjoyed playing. Izzy

U12B: We lost the match but we discussed that next time we should find more space, but not too far. Also, when someone is trying to block you, run up in front and be ready to get the ball. Zikomo

Mrs Littlewood
Acting Director of Sport

All Things Reading!

Book Week in the Senior Library has been a busy one as ever, with the focus being on encouraging the girls to look at fiction books in an objective way and trying a genre they might not normally read.

The girls in Year 8 and Year 9 have risen to the challenge of The Reading Game, discussing a selection of titles in any given genre, from fantasy to war fiction in a very impressive and mature manner. The Year 7’s have been thinking about one of their favourite books and producing a creative review in the form of a padlet (a combination of pictures and writing), with an overall winner to be chosen by Mrs Halstead. The competitions, author word searches have also been fiercely contested.   

The highlight of the week was the Harry Potter party on national Harry Potter Book Night on Thursday 3 February, hosted by Mrs Fordham and Miss Buxton. Girls from Year 6 gathered in the Senior Library to enjoy quizzes and craft activities, along with excellent pumpkin juice with very realistic-looking eyeballs! The decorations and fabulous catering, provided by our Catering team, created a suitably Harry Potter-related feeling and helped the party go with a swing! The Harry Potter stories are ever-popular with the girls and a great source of creative inspiration.  

Our assembly on Monday morning reflected on our reading as a community over the last few years, and how it mirrors wider reading habits in the UK. Annika began our assembly, sharing her own poem which supports National Mental Health Awareness Week, then Caitlin, Anushka, Sahitya, and Emma spoke about the stories they were enjoying.  Crime and thrillers featured highly, which reflects the national popularity of this type of story. Mrs Halstead concluded by talking about other popular books in school, The Queen’s Gambit by Walter Tevis, whose popularity has increased since the Netflix series, Black Flamingo by Dean Atta – a good example of diverse British storytelling, and finally, Lark by Anthony McGowan which won the Carnegie Medal in 2019.  

 All very timely activities with half term in sight, and the prospect of downtime-reading! 

Miss Buxton
School Librarian

Book of the Week

The Power of Geography by Tim Marshall

In this revelatory new book, Marshall explores ten regions that are set to shape global politics in a new age of great-power rivalry: Australia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, the UK, Greece, Turkey, the Sahel, Ethiopia, Spain and Space. Find out why Europe’s next refugee crisis is closer than it thinks as trouble brews in the Sahel; why the Middle East must look beyond oil and sand to secure its future; why the eastern Mediterranean is one of the most volatile flashpoints of the twenty-first century; and why the Earth’s atmosphere is set to become the world’s next battleground.

“This book is highly recommended for anybody with an interest in international relations. Tim is an expert in his field and writes in an engaging fashion to help develop a clearer understanding of how the past helps shapes the present and future.” Mr Earp, Head of Humanities Faculty

Miss Buxton
School Librarian

Creative Arts Spotlight

This week, we have a special double Creative Arts Spotlight, which firstly falls onto Year 9, who have been exploring landscape.

Students have been investigating both linear and aerial perspective in order to create a sense of depth within their landscapes. They have been seeking leading or receding lines within their linear investigation while exploring the modulation of colour to stimulate changes effected by the atmosphere on colours of scenes seen at a distance. They have succeeded to create very successful studies in oil pastels. Well done everyone!

The second Spotlight of the week falls onto GCSE group 10B, who showed bravery and trust as a class to explore Frantic Assemblies ‘Learning to Fly’ exercises. They were all supportive of each other as they took turns to fly…they found the techniques exhilarating, yet a little nerve-wracking!
Mr Laubscher & Mrs Marriott
Creative Arts Department

Medical Notice

Please can we remind parents to please check that their children have their inhaler/adrenaline device prior to going on a fixture/school trips/residentials. Staff will check prior to leaving and students may not be able to go on trips if they do not have their medication.

It is GDST policy that students should carry and have access to two devices at all times. One device is kept in the medical room and the second device should be with the students at all times (for Junior School students the class teacher will look after the devices). Please can we also remind parents to return any pending paperwork recently sent out by the medical team.

If anybody has any queries, please do feel free to contact me directly at

Mrs Dunkley
School Nurse

Junior Bake Off 2022

School Blazer Sale

Term Dates 21/22

Term Dates 22/23

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