Nothampton High School
High News

Friday 12 June 2020

Dear parents and guardians,

In a week that has continued to be dominated by the death of George Floyd and the associated fall-out, I have been hugely appreciative of our school community’s response to the situation and would like to thank the many parents who have volunteered to join the Diversity and Inclusion Forum and the students who have willingly come forward to form a society on the same theme.

As I said in my letter of earlier this week, we are privileged to be members of a racially-diverse community at Northampton High School and justly proud of the ISI comment that our pupils ‘show extremely high levels of respect for each other, being sensitive to different cultural traditions’, but we can all do more – and we will. With so many committed to changing the culture for current and future generations of students, both in our own setting and beyond, we really have the opportunity to make a difference and I look forward to speaking with you about this soon.

Parents, current students and alumnae are also invited to contribute to the GDST’s Charter for Action, which seeks to address ‘HOW we will make sure the GDST family always embodies an ethos of mutual respect and consideration; HOW we provide a safe, open and respectful working and learning environment for all; and HOW we will make sure everyone’s voice is heard as we seek to make meaningful change happen’. I very much hope that members of our community will commit to this, too.

Preparations for a further reopening of the school are afoot and I would like to thank the many parents of L5 and 6.1 girls who joined our Zoom meeting last evening, both for their input and for their positive messages. The proportion of students returning for their allotted sessions is currently running at almost 95% and we will be delighted to welcome them back. We are also liaising with Junior School parents about a wider opening of that section of the school and desperately awaiting updates that will allow us to calculate how and when we can get back to some semblance of normality for all.

As always, we will keep you informed of any updates. In the meantime, I thank you again for your forbearance at this difficult time and wish you all a happy and relaxing weekend.

Very best wishes,

Caroline Petryszak

Junior School update

The Junior School reopened its doors to girls in Nursery, Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 two weeks ago and we couldn’t be more pleased with how it has gone.  For me, personally, welcoming the girls and parents on the gate each morning has been an absolute pleasure, whilst the feedback from our community on the ‘in school’ and Guided Home Learning experience has been so uplifting.

One of the big concerns we had ahead of reopening was how the girls would cope emotionally with the changes to their normal school experience.  The reality has been that the classrooms are full of laughter, play times have been energetic and highly sociable and, without exception, the girls are keen to come in each morning to see their teachers and classmates.  This is testament to our careful planning behind the scenes, the nurturing nature of our experienced staff and the resilience and positivity of our amazing girls.

We are now well into planning for a possible wider school reopening which requires us to further consider group sizes, social distancing logistics, hand washing facilities, playtime spaces, staffing options… the list goes on.  Many of these challenges are new to us all, but problem solving, strategizing and forward thinking are second nature to primary school practitioners and we look forward to finding the required solutions.

A huge thank you to parents, staff and students for your ongoing support during this challenging time.  Have a lovely weekend, and we look forward to seeing you all in Monday’s live assembly.

Mr Bailey
Head of Junior School

Sixth Form update

It would not be an exaggeration to say that 6.1 are beside themselves with excitement at the thought of returning to school next week. Each student will be coming in for academic lessons and all are looking forward to reconnecting in person with their teachers and their friends. A new code of expected behaviour has been written and the school is currently being arranged into suitable socially distanced spaces to welcome a limited number of the year group back on each day, Wednesday to Friday.

I really think the teachers are just as excited at the prospect. Mrs HT is working out which practicals she can incorporate into her lessons and Mr Attwood is planning fieldwork outside. Everyone is looking forward to some real time collaboration and discussion without having to remember to “unmute” or “put up the orange hand” before joining a conversation. A socially distanced, relaxed picnic lunch is planned and there will be time for some pastoral conversations and UCAS planning meetings.

The cohort is better prepared than ever for the UCAS process having attended webinars on all aspects of the application process and virtual open days at universities across the country. There is no reason not to be in St Andrew’s for the morning and Exeter for the afternoon!

Students shared examples of MOOCs and other courses that they have attended in recent weeks and received guidance on how to incorporate these experiences into their UCAS personal statements. Next week, all students are strongly encouraged to join the UK University Search Virtual Fair on Wednesday 17 June. This runs online from 12.00-18.00, with students able to dip into sessions that are of interest to them. Please do make sure you register in advance (even if you can’t attend sessions on Wednesday, recordings will be available online until early July).

Mrs Cantwell
Director of Sixth Form

Lockdown positives

Kirsten sees her debut novel published!

Back in March, we shared news that U3 student and aspiring author Kirsten made it onto the front pages of ‘Kickstarter’, in a campaign to get her first novel published. Along with her sister Aiyven, Kirsten needed to raise £5,000 on the fundraising platform in order for her book – ‘Sagas of Anya’ – to be published.

The girls met their target with ease, raising the amount needed in order to make their dream a reality. ‘Sagas of Anya’ was brought to life, and we are delighted to share with you that the first run of books has been published! 100’s of copies have been sent out to the girls’ pledges, with their online shop now also open for business.

If you would like to visit the shop and purchase your copy of ‘Sagas of Anya’ – or indeed Kirsten’s sisters book titled ‘Land Of The Nurogons’, please click here.

Congratulations Kirsten on this fantastic achievement. We look forward to following your journey as an author and adding your novel to our school library!

Mr Nash
Marketing & Communications Officer

Years 3 & 4 take part in '30 Days Wild' Challenge!

During the month of June, students in Years 3 and 4 are delighted to be taking part in an exciting initiative created by the Wildlife Trust – 30 Days Wild.

30 Days Wild asks people to do one wild thing a day throughout the whole month: for your health, well-being and for the planet. That’s 30 simple, fun and exciting Random Acts of Wildness.

Below you will find some useful links with how you can get involved too, along with some useful tools to help you progress:

30 Days Wild: Click
Wildlife Trust Webcams: Click

Also, every Wednesday at 10am they have some fantastic, brand-new video content suitable for children, families and educators. Follow the link here.

Below, you will find a selection of photos that have been submitted by our students as part of the challenge, and we look forward to sharing more over the course of the month and also on Flickr here.

Mrs Dadge
Curriculum Coordinator and Class Teacher Year 3

Creative Arts Spotlight

With another week of Guided Home Learning under our belts, the quality of work produced in the Arts by our students continues to go from strength to strength.

This week we are delighted to showcase more fantastic work in the Creative Arts Spotlight, starting with this fantastic drawing of a guitar by Isobelle in L4 (opposite).

In the below two images, Tevini has created an informative and artistic Theatre knowledge chart. Great work, Tevini!


Our next two submissions (below) come from Isla and Santina in U3. Both students have shown fantastic skill with their sketches, well done girls!

As always, the full size versions of these images, and all of the examples of artwork featured during School News, can be found by clicking here.

We look forward to showcasing more amazing artwork next week.

Mrs Beacroft
Head of Creative Arts

L5 Biology Challenge

This week, we were delighted to receive the results for the Biology Challenge that our L5 students took part in earlier in the year.

The Challenge was organised by the Royal Society of Biology, and we are delighted with the successes of our students in this event, and look forward to celebrating their achievements in our next Presentation Assembly:

Bronze: Megan A, Riley C, Madeleine D,Charlotte H, Jess L, Mei-Lai S.

Silver: Vidushi B, Roseanna B, Gaia H, Jessica P, Olivia R, Lucy S.

Gold: Abhisri C.

Mrs Pearson
Teacher of Biology

U3 create 3D shapes as part of Guided Home Learning

With Guided Home Learning continuing, it’s always nice to see the creative ways in which our students are learning from their homes.

Last week, some of our U3 students used nets to create 3D shapes in their Maths lesson. Check out some of the fantastic results below!

Mr Nash
Marketing & Communications Officer

Helen's '2 Metre Eater' in effect!

As we adjust to life back in school, Helen from our Catering Team and her ‘2 Metre Eater’ display is making sure that our staff members keep well distanced as they enjoy their lunch!

We look forward to sharing more fun pictures from school throughout future editions of School News.

Mr Nash
Marketing & Communications Officer

Keep singing!

Numerous studies have shown that music is good for us, and many examples of music being used as therapy have been shared during the pandemic. Whether it’s the release we get from singing in the shower or the car, the community spirit we feel from singing with others in a choir or at a festival, emotions are evoked by music and our brains are stimulated, releasing endorphins, the brain’s ‘feel-good’ chemicals.

That’s why, although they’ve not been able to meet up in person, the Northampton High School Community Choir has been active since the lockdown started, with a busy WhatsApp group full of suggestions of music to listen to, online choirs to join or just reminiscing about concerts past, sharing good ideas and discussing face mask sewing patterns!

Last week, a number of members joined a Zoom call, with choir leader and former professional opera singer, Mrs German, reminding the members to keep singing. She said: “It might be a while until we’re able to sing together again, but keep practising. The muscles you need to sing need to be kept in shape, and you know you’ll feel good for belting out a good tune!”

For more details, visit the choir’s Facebook page by searching ‘Northampton High School Community Chamber Choir’.

Northampton High School
Community Chamber Choir

Virtual Sports Day 2020

Northampton High School
Newport Pagnell Road, Hardingstone Northampton NN4 6UU
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