Nothampton High School
High News

Friday 16 July 2021

“The only time you should look back is to see how far you have come”

As this academic year draws to a close I feel it is time to look ahead to the promise of fresh starts and resuming proper school life.  We have learnt a lot this year about what school really means to our staff, pupils and parents. During the ‘first lockdown’ as it will be forever known, we had to hone our online teaching and learning skills and develop a whole new pedagogical approach to online learning. By the time the ‘second lockdown’ was with us and the technology had been mastered, we all realised how much of the community we were all missing. Learning was happening but despite everyone’s best efforts it has been incredibly difficult to replicate the fun, activities, trips, and community events that make Northampton High School the place we know and love.  That is not to say there haven’t been wonderful events and experiences, such as the poetry extravaganza in Junior School, the pared-down Year 13 and Year 11 leavers’ events, huge amounts of outside learning this term, the Virtual Arts Festival, and Sports Days to name a few.

In September (and I am deliberately not going to add ‘restrictions permitting’) we need to bring the school back to life and there are many exciting things to look forward to. In 2022 we celebrate the 30th anniversary of the High School moving to the Hardingstone site and we look forward to celebrating with a festival (think Port Eliot or Hay) during the summer term. More on that next term! In the meantime, our revamped clubs and activities programme will give a breadth of opportunities for pupils of all ages to work and play together and learn from each other. The new enrichment programme for Years 10-13 will also give opportunities for developing knowledge and skills outside the curriculum. Our Diversity and Inclusion work continues, following the GDST Charter for Action, and next year our audit of diversity and inclusivity within the curriculum will be complete, allowing for further development in that area. We are determined to ensure that we have open conversations with parents, pupils, and staff about difficult issues in order that we can learn from each other and work together to bring our community together rather than divide For this to be truly embedded we need parents and pupils to engage with us and talk to us, so opportunities for this to happen will be shared with you in the new school year.

On the topic of working with parents, one of the most important aspects of school life is engaging with our parent community on a regular basis and this year, perhaps more than ever, parents have turned to school staff for advice on managing a range of situations with their children. We have organised a series of parent talks over the next academic year and we sincerely hope you find these useful. A full list will come your way in September, but topics we will be bringing to you for discussion are Gender Identity, Managing the Use of Technology in a Connected World, Relationships and Sex Education: the new curriculum, Supporting Parents and Pupils Dealing with Self Harm and Why Does my Daughter….?  Additionally we will be resuming parent forums to explore school-specific services and issues with you in an open and connected way – beginning with a forum with our new Director of Finance and Operations who will be sharing his plans for catering, communications, and operations – plans which are well underway. 

There is a lot to look forward to and please look out for my end-of-term letter which will outline some of these things in more detail and give some more operational information too. I wish you a restful summer, filled with family time and fun and we really cannot wait to welcome you all back in September.

Adèle O’Doherty

Reflections on the Academic Year - Jodie W

The past academic year has certainly been nothing short of extraordinary. Having been isolating with Covid-19 myself during the last half term and causing many of my friends to do so as well, I have personally experienced every aspect of the repercussions of this pandemic. However, as a school, we have managed to make the most of a bad situation and have had an amazing year regardless in which we have made some incredible achievements.

Although the year started somewhat tentatively, we came equipped in our masks, and began the journey of the year, which we could not have predicted. The weeks of guided home learning taught us to employ new technical skills and challenged us mentally, but we all returned before Easter in the height of the excitement for the academic year.

Being a part of the Sixth Form leadership team has always been a dream of mine and when that came to reality this year, I felt an overwhelming sense of anticipation for what the team could achieve. Shreya, Steph, Freya and I, alongside the House leadership team of Lucy, Anisha, Leila and Eloise, have been meeting weekly, brainstorming ideas and we look forward to a time when our ideas are no longer limited by the expectation of further restrictions to come. I have to thank all the teachers who have helped our ideas so far come to fruition, for their support, which has been truly needed given the circumstances!

I was also incredibly grateful to be a part of the sole sports team that was able to continue in competition this year, the Equestrian Team. We have had an unforgettable year, including visiting two national finals, from which we were able to come home not only with several rosettes but also with some amazing memories, interrupting the significant absence of such experiences caused by the pandemic and its subsequent restrictions. Next academic year, I look forward to seeing more groups of students from across the school able to participate together in activities such as this, whether it be sports, arts, drama or anything in between! The restructuring of the timetable will also open up opportunities for more collaboration between the Junior and Senior Schools, a hugely exciting concept, which I know many of the girls are looking forward to.

Despite their difficulties, the restrictions have certainly brought a positive impact in forcing each year group to spend an unprecedented amount of time together and as a Sixth Form we have grown exceptionally close. We demonstrated this in unique events such as our celebration of National Spinach Day, on which we all wore green and Mean Girls Day, on which we wore pink. Additionally, the last term has seen an immensely memorable Sports Day, bringing the House spirit back to the school and bringing with it a greater sense of school spirit, something the leadership team endeavours to do during our year in office. Last week, the Pride Month Committee hosted a successful, slightly belated, Pride Month Mufti Day, raising a huge amount of money for Q-Space in Northampton, and yesterday the year group enjoyed a special picnic lunch followed by a very energetic Games session!  Our ability as a school to do so much in spite of the disruptions stands as testament to every pupil.

Although we may look forward to the hope of newfound positivity which the next academic year offers us, the end of this year also sees us bidding farewell to many of the teachers who have significantly shaped so many students’ experiences in Senior School. We will miss Mr Attwood and his memorable pumpkin assemblies. We will miss Mrs Pearson and her incredibly caring personality, never failing to help. We will miss Mrs Scanlon and her lovely positive attitude, and we will miss Mrs Care and her wonderful creative mind. The Sixth Form in particular will miss Mrs Cantwell’s inspiring leadership but we wish each of them luck in all future endeavours and hope to keep in contact with them all.

The previous year has, undeniably, not been easy for anyone, but Northampton High School never fails to meet a challenge and the amazing memories which I have of the last year in spite of its difficulties will certainly stay with me for a very long time. Have a wonderful summer everyone!

Jodie W
Head Girl

My Work Experience placement with Andrea Leadsom - Korena

Last week I had the amazing opportunity of having a week of group work experience in the office of Rt Hon Dame Andrea Leadsom, MP for South Northamptonshire. Just a few of her many previous positions include Leader of the House of Commons and Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. 

One of the first main tasks I participated in was campaigning to constituents in West Hunsbury. Rather than being stuck in an office all day, this was refreshing and allowed me to get involved with observing how an MP maintains their connection with their constituents whilst multitasking a parliamentary focus down in London. Later, at the end of the week, I accompanied Andrea back to West Hunsbury to allow those living there to voice their concerns, bring them to the attention of their MP, and ultimately help with proposing potential solutions. 

Through drafting responses to constituent emails in the Policy Research Unit, I noticed the broad variety of issues of the locals and how an MP’s office efficiently communicates. I also gained the new skill of parliamentary research and knowing how the vast system of complex casework is managed. Also, I was able to appreciate the challenging collaboration between the regional office with the House of Commons by joining in on the online weekly office update meeting.

There was also the chance to ask about the everyday operations of the Chief of Staff, Senior Parliamentary Assistant and Andrea’s current apprentice and previous Northampton High student, Olivia Brittain. The role of Senior Parliamentary Assistant was particularly interesting considering the importance that social media plays in creating the public image of an MP and their campaign appeal to voters.

My favorite part of this insight into an MP’s life was being able to look at current campaigns, especially the Early Years project report review. This was an engaging perspective into what the government’s aims are in relation to the care of infants throughout the duration of the ‘1001 critical days’ from conception. It was really intriguing to see how the government currently supports infants, what issues they aim to address, and ultimately how they wish to improve the support for parents and carers of infants in the future. Another highlight of the week was the one to one Q&A session with Andrea. Being able to discuss local and international politics was fascinating given her first hand experience. I was particularly interested in how the government manages spending cuts whilst safeguarding foreign aid, as well as other topics such as, abortion law in Ireland, and the misconceptions and effects of Brexit.

I thoroughly enjoyed this experience and I am very grateful to have been introduced to this opportunity by Mr Donaldson, the teacher of the Sixth Form Politics & International Relations Elective. I have gained skills that will undoubtedly be beneficial in my future university endeavours studying law. I would highly recommend this experience, to anyone interested in the tasks of an MP, but especially to those who are interested in politics, international relations, or law. 

Korena K

Alumnae visit Northampton High

On Monday afternoon, we were delighted to welcome two Alumni, Alex and Mimi, into school to visit and speak to the VetMed elective group.

Alex and Mimi left the school 5 years ago and took different paths on their journey to become a doctor. The girls were able to listen to their experiences of A Levels, the application process and what studying medicine is like at Leicester and Leeds University. Lots of interesting questions were asked and the girls were keen to know about lectures, workload, dissection, clubs and life as a medic.

Shreya commented: “On Monday, the VetMed group were lucky enough to have Mimi and Alex, former students of NHS, talk to us about their different journeys into medicine. They gave us so many tips about the process, including for the UCAT exam and for interviews as well as about Uni life in general! It was great hearing from successful medical students and asking them all our questions and was a great way to finish the term at VetMed!”

Mrs Carr
Teacher of Biology

L4 practice their German by critiquing popular German songs

Over the past two weeks, Lower 4 have been listening to multiple popular German songs and have been critiquing them based on the video and song. Each pair produced a presentation in German about our artist and our opinion of the song.

The group became X Factor judges for an entire double, the winners of the best song and video were Jannat and Santina with the song ‘Wer wenn nicht wir’ by Wincent Weiss. I think it’s safe to say we all found it spectacular!


Students invited to National Theatre Playwriting Workshop

On Wednesday, students Katie N and Mo L were invited to participate in a National Theatre New Views playwriting workshop. This was because both students received commendations from the National’s script department for their entries into their recent competition, and we are very proud of them for being chosen to attend such a valuable event.

Mo commented: “It was an enlightening experience, it was interesting talking to other writers to learn about their creative processes as well as experimenting with a few that I’d never have thought of myself. I feel that this will definitely help shape my future writing and I’m so grateful that I’ve had this opportunity”.

Well done!

Ms Heimfeld
Subject Leader Film

6.1 students receive their Olympiad certificates

Congratulations to our 6.1 Biology students, who this week received their intermediate Biology Olympiad certificates.

Well done to all students for their fantastic acheivements!

Mrs Pearson
Teacher of Biology

'Overreacting' - Issue 2 out now

The L5 Overreacting team have been working hard over the last few weeks to releases the next exciting issue of the ‘Overreacting’ magazine, titled ‘Copper Sulphate’.

This is the second issue of the magazine, which you can find here, and we hope you enjoy reading it over the summer.

We look forward to bringing you issue three!

Miss Parboteeah and the Year 10 Overreacting Team

Issy selected for Wasps U15 Netball Squad

We are delighted to hear the news that student Issy H has been selected to represent the Wasps U15 Netball squad. This is a fantastic achievement and we are absolutely delighted for Issy, who has shared her thoughts with us below:

I have been playing netball for the last 5 years and have always wanted to be in a team like this! Last year, I was in the Loughborough lightning Northants hub after Mrs Ford asked me to trial – I played there for a season and moved to the Northants Wasps’ hub and was invited to trial for the Wasps U15 long squad.

This means I will be training once a week with hub and once a week with the long squad. Over lockdown getting into this team was what motivated me to keep going, and I am so happy all the work was worth it! I usually train at home 4-5 times a week as well as club/ franchise training so being stuck at home was hard, but if anything, it made me more appreciative of the sport that I love!”

Miss Fraser
Teacher of PE

High Sports - Summer edition out now

We are delighted to share with you the latest edition of High Sports, recapping the world of sport at Northampton High for Summer 2021.

This edition takes a look back at our return to sporting fixtures, the fabulous Sports Day 2021, the successes of our school teams and the GDST Lockdown Dance Competion.

You can view the release by clicking here, and we look forward to reporting on more sporting successes and fixtures in the autumn term.

Mrs Blake
Director of Sport

U3 students see who can make the stretchiest slime in Science

Creative Arts Spotlight

This week, we are delighted to shine the Creative Arts Spotlight onto L4.

The students have been busy creating a collage, after concluding their investigation into the wonderful and colourful world of marine life. They have developed their designs into a relief work made with folded origami inspired sea creatures to represent a coral reef.

Pupils took their inspiration from the Chinese artist Natalie Wong that took three months to create her mix-media hand cut paper artwork ‘Korallion’ into a vibrant three-dimensional display of coral.

Super work everyone!

Mr Laubscher
Teacher of Art

Book of the Week - Part One

The Summer Book by Tove Jansson

A fresh, vivid and magical novel about seemingly endless summers of discovery. An elderly artist and her six year old granddaughter while away the summer together, on a tiny island in the Gulf of Finland, their solitude disturbed only by migrating birds, sudden storms and an occasional passing boat.

Gradually, the two learn to adjust to each other’s fears, foibles and yearnings for independence, and a fierce yet understated love emerges – one that engulfs not only the summer inhabitants, but the very island itself.

Tove Jansson writes with a special toughness, and with a quiet, dry sense of humour, about a small girl and her grandmother, who as kindred spirits share the long days together.

Miss Buxton
School Librarian

Book of the Week - Part Two

Vaxxers by Professor Sarah Gilbert and Dr Catherine Green

This is a biomedical thriller telling the story of the race to develop a vaccine for Covid 19 by teams led by these two inspirational women from the Jenner Institute at Oxford University. Their partnership with Astra Zeneca has delivered millions of ‘not for profit’ doses worldwide saving countless lives. Vaccine hesitancy is a concern and the book seeks to demystify the science behind the vaccine.

A must-read this summer!

Mrs Cantwell
Head of Sixth Form

Medical Reminders

We would like to remind parents of the following medical notices ahead of the autumn term:

– Junior school pupils’ emergency medication (inhalers, adrenalin auto-injectors) is kept with class teacher.
– Senior school pupils are expected to keep emergency medication on them at all times.
– Spare emergency medication for each pupil is kept in either Junior/Senior medical room and parents are contacted directly to ensure these are in date and replenished when needed.

Pupils may only be given over the counter medication (e.g. paracetamol, ibuprofen, cetirizine) if we are in possession of consent via SIMS Parent. Please ensure this is kept up to date to avoid delays in administering medication when a pupil is unwell.

Save the date – Influenza vaccination programme: Reception students to Year 6 – Monday 20 September. Consent letter to be sent out in September.

Mrs Dunkley
School Nurse

Holiday Athletics Course

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