Nothampton High School
High News

Friday 15 May 2020

Dear Parents and Guardians,

I would like to begin by thanking all of you who have sent messages of support and thanks this week, many of which I have shared in part with colleagues. It is a challenging time for all, but these words really lift the spirits and are much appreciated.

At the beginning of the week, I implied that we would have more answers on the potential reopening of school by now, but as you will know from the many articles in the press, there are ongoing challenges to the government’s policy and questions will no doubt keep coming. Nonetheless, we are preparing for the return of Nursery, Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 pupils in two weeks’ time and I have been garnering the opinion of parents as to whether they would accept the in-school provision given what they know at present. The vast majority have responded ‘yes’ or ‘undecided’ and clearly there were requests for further guidance and information. Below, Mrs Headley considers some of the impacts of returning to school and there will be upcoming opportunities for parents to ask questions of us directly. In the meantime, if you missed it yesterday, I wholeheartedly recommend the BBC’s short film on ‘How Denmark went back to school’, which really captures how the school may look and feel when we return.

We are currently awaiting updates on the timeline for the return of many year groups, but have no plans to open to our older students as yet, and it is likely that many in our community will not return to school until the autumn. Please be assured, therefore, that our Guided Home Learning provision is going from strength to strength; girls are benefiting from the numerous courses and competitions across the GDST and staff and students are finding ever more innovative ways of connecting socially. The situation isn’t what any of us would choose, but it’s the new normal for now and we are certainly making the most of it.

Very best wishes,

Caroline Petryszak

Welcoming back children into school

Government guidance this week indicates that we may be able to welcome back pupils into Nursery, Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 as early as 1 June 2020. The school is busy planning the practicalities to make the phased reopening of the school safe for everyone.

Whilst the school has been closed deep cleaning and essential maintenance work has taken place. Some small improvement works that were originally planned for the Easter holiday will be finished off over the next couple of weeks so that everything is ready for 1 June 2020.

When pupils are able to return to school, they will see and experience quite a few changes which are necessary to keep everyone safe.

The precise plans are still being finalised but you can expect the following:

  • Changes to drop off and pick up points
  • Parents asked to socially distance at drop off/collection
  • A one-way system inside the building
  • Staggered breaks and lunchtimes
  • Groups of less than 15
  • Furniture will have been moved in classrooms and space will be left between seats
  • Unnecessary furniture, soft furnishings and soft toys will have been removed from the classroom
  • Pupils will be encouraged to wash their hands frequently through the day and maintain good respiratory hygiene
  • Cleaning frequencies will be increased
  • There will not be any assemblies or gatherings of more than 15 pupils together and wherever possible pupils will stay in the same grouping with the same member of staff
  • Use of outdoor play equipment will be restricted although fresh air and time outside will be encouraged
  • The timetable for the day may need to be adjusted
  • School lunch will not be offered for the remainder of the Summer Term; Pupils will be asked to bring a snack and lunch from home and if the weather permits will be able to eat this outside

Final details will be confirmed nearer to the time but we thought it may be helpful to share the above with you now so that you can begin to prepare yourself and your daughter for the return to school.

We are mindful that the transition back into school may stressful for some. Although everyone will be delighted to meet up with friends again the necessity to maintain social distance will undoubtedly impact on the experience.

Staff will do their very best, as always, to make the return as seamless as possible.

Anne Headley
Director of Finance and Operations

Zoom Career Workshop - Interview tips & tricks

As part of our ongoing Inspiring Futures programme at Northampton High, we are excited to be able to continue to work with CWR during the lockdown to ensure that our girls continue to gain excellent careers advice from experts in their field.

Last week’s session on perfecting applications was enjoyed by a number of our girls and this one promises to be just as good. ‘Interview Tips and Tricks’ is the theme for next week, and will be valuable for everyone, post lockdown, as students start to think about part time work.


We encourage all girls in U5, 6.1 and 6.2 to get involved if they can and make the most of this incredible free resource. They do not need to have attended previous sessions and are not tied into attending future ones. This really is the best of both worlds where they can pick and choose what suits them and their immediate careers education needs.

Miss Kneen
Head of Years 10 and 11 and Head of Careers

Online Entrepreneurship Course

A GDST education is about much more than grades. We help prepare our students for their next steps, whatever these may be. This week we have made available more resources for our Sixth Form including an online Leadership course, a Real Models Careers resource and a Book Club which is embryonic at the moment but is growing!

While many – most – of our students will choose to study their favourite subjects at university, others will look for other pathways.

We have an increasing number of students choosing the higher or degree apprenticeship route, and in recent years more and more girls are considering entrepreneurship as an option, either as a full-time career or as a ‘side hustle’.

We want to support, develop and celebrate this mindset.  As such we are delighted to partner with GDST alumna Fleur Emery, to offer guidance in this area.

Setting up a company is about much more than simply having a great idea, and in this course, Fleur guides students through practical points to help the idea flourish.  Students who have enjoyed Young Enterprise projects will enjoy this step up into a very grown up world, with ideas on marketing, gaining investment, business planning and more.

As part of our Sixth Form offer, we are delighted to be able to offer Fleur Emery’s Entrepreneurship Course to all Sixth Formers across the GDST. Fleur is an alumna of Portsmouth High School, with an interesting and varied career history, as a start-up expert, lecturer and columnist.

The entrepreneurship course consists of three self-paced modules and explores how to work out the viability of a business and the steps to take to set it up and promote it, through a series of videos, activities and reflection exercises.  The modules are:

1.       How do I know if my business idea will work?
2.       First steps to starting a business
3.       How to raise your professional profile

Fleur has made this content freely available to Sixth Formers and GDST alumnae until December 2020.

Students may sign up with their school email address using this link.

We hope that this course provides another useful string to our students’ bows.

Mrs Cantwell
Director of Sixth Form

VE Day celebrations

Congratulations to Tilly who baked a Union Flag cake last week to celebrate her birthday and to share with her family on VE Day.  Tilly also entered the cake into a competition hosted by The Courtyard Café in Daventry, to mark the 75th Anniversary of VE Day.

Adding extra sparkle to her birthday celebrations, Tilly then discovered she won The Courtyard Cafe’s Bake Off 2020!

Judges commented, “You did such a great job and it was also your birthday yesterday, so happy birthday and congratulations! You are officially a ⭐⭐STAR BAKER ⭐⭐!”

We would like to add our congratulations to Tilly’s achievement – very well done, Tilly!

Amanda Wilmot
Director of Admissions and Marketing

Creative Arts Gallery

We are delighted to be able to share further examples of our students’ incredible work during this period of Guided Home Learning. We continue to be wowed by the quality of work submitted, and we are delighted to showcase more amazing work in this week’s edition.

This first piece of work is an exciting fountain design by Alicea-Mae Muzinga in Lower Fourth.

In the gallery below, we see examples of some beautiful work completed by Emma, Yinuo  and Dishaa in Upper Fourth. Emma has been successfully experimenting with typography; Yinuo’s handling of media here is excellent and Dishaa has completed a lovely direct observational exercise.

In our next gallery below, we have the work submitted by Hattie F, Freya and Ques-Li in Lower Fourth. We are delighted to share this wonderful piece of work from Hattie, where she showcases lots of detail and imagination in the shape of an animal head. Freya has produced a beautiful fountain with excellent shimmering water. Ques-Li has submitted a lovely drawing of a courgette with some strong mid-tones.

We are also exhibiting some of the super work that is coming through from our Upper Third students. Santina has submitted this great drawing of books and Hattie has mastered a very detailed drawing.

Finally for this week we would like to show some awesome photography from Jasmine in L4S on a collective rustic theme.

A huge well done to all of our girls, and thank you for your submissions.  Please keep them coming – we are so proud of you.

Mrs Beacroft
Head of Arts Faculty

Fun with Science during Guided Home Learning

Upper Third girls have been very creative in exploring the topic of Light by making videos to demonstrate that white light is made up of many colours.  Take a look at what Hattie and Arianna have managed to produce.

We look forward to sharing more work with you over the coming weeks.

Mrs Pearson
Teacher of Biology

Tune in for the GDST Song Contest!

The GDST decided on a very worthwhile and timely competition to be held in the same spirit as the Eurovision song contest. It was originally known as GDSTvision, but became the GDST Song Contest.

We have used an excellent pop song entitled ‘Every Day’, composed by Olivia S who is currently in U5. There is a lovely prelude, sung by Tara, followed by the formal introduction from Avani. The submission ends with a wonderful poem read by Isla. To see our submission click here.

We invited students to submit footage and still images of activities in which they have participated during the lockdown period. Combined with some photographs taken during school-time, this creates a poignant montage for our memories.

The film was produced by Mr Nathan and expertly re-edited and remastered by former student, Teni, who is studying music at Oral Roberts University in Oklahoma.

We thank all parents and students for their photo and video submissions.

The song will be streamed live as part of the GDST Song Contest on Friday 22 May during the school day to all pupils and staff. Voting will open after the performance. Please join us and cast your votes!

Mr Nathan
Director of Music

Quiz Night Fundraiser

On Thursday 7 May, I hosted a Virtual Quiz Night for the 6.1 girls. The event was organised to raise money for our local Northampton Community Foundation, with the proceeds directed towards those affected by Coronavirus, an issue that is very relevant and one to which we all wanted to contribute.

For the first time since the school closure, our year group was able to come together on a massive Zoom call for a bit of fun. After prepping our general knowledge, we did a series of Kahoot quizzes with the winners being Ffion, Georgie and Evie.

It was lovely catching up and seeing faces we hadn’t seen in a long time! I am very grateful to all the girls who donated so generously to the NCF JustGiving page, raising over £130.

Thank you very much to all the 6.1s who took part!


Spanish students perform poetry

We are particularly proud of our Sixth Form Spanish students who have been busy collaborating on a joint project during lockdown; they have created a composition based on the poem ‘Esperanza´ (Hope) by Alexis Valdés. You can see it here.


Mrs Diez
Teacher of Spanish



6.2 Virtual Leavers' Reception

On Tuesday 12 May, Year 13 gathered on Zoom for a Virtual Leavers Reception. Due to the current situation, we were unable to have our Leavers’ Week at school so we decided we would have a Virtual Leavers’ Night instead.

We spent the evening chatting about our favourite school memories, talking about university and what we were excited for. We really enjoyed seeing each other again and being able to celebrate the end of our school career together. People shared their favourite stories of Northampton High as well as the funny memories we made on many school trips.

We also shared what we have been doing during the lockdown, as well as what we were excited to do when quarantine is over. Although it wasn’t the typical way to leave the High School, we really enjoyed our Leavers’ Zoom and being able to say goodbye to our school career together.

We would to thank all of the teachers for everything they have done for Year 13 throughout our time in school and cannot wait until we can thank them in person again one day.

For now our year are enjoying the seminars and the modules the GDST started for us, to bridge the gap between A Levels and university and we are all getting excited for the beginning of our next chapter.


'Backchat' submissions welcomed

Backchat, the student-run magazine, would love to share with everyone what is inspiring you. Therefore, we are welcoming submissions from students of all ages for our upcoming edition.

Anyone, from Reception to 6.2, can submit something via this Firefly link, and we would love to hear about what is inspiring you during lockdown.

Mr Viesel & Jess U5H
Backchat Team

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