Nothampton High School
High News

Friday 16 October 2020

Dear Parents and Guardians

We are incredibly grateful to be back in school and to reunite our whole school community, albeit in ‘bubbles’. There are obvious benefits of being able to teach face to face, no more so than to properly reconnect with all students and colleagues and to enjoy this shared experience. We have, however, been practising and testing our blended learning approach with teaching classes face to face, simultaneously teaching students who are having to study at home due to the need to self-isolate with the family. These new practices make us all more dynamic in our teaching, and more confident in delivering polished lessons to students over a mix of platforms. Our students have adapted exceptionally well to each challenge they face and we are incredibly proud of their versatility and spirit.

This term there has been a real outpouring of concern and affection for Mr Bailey following his diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. This news has understandably shaken us all and we have been overwhelmed by the kind and loving messages from students, parents and staff alike. Many of you have asked how you can help and I have, in turn, discussed this with Mr Bailey. He is delighted that the school community will raise money for Challenge 24 for Pancreatic Cancer UK, which you can learn more about below, and he sends his love and thanks to all. We will continue to keep in touch with Mr Bailey and his family, and are with them every step of the way. 

We are grateful to Mrs Marissa Davis for stepping in as Interim Head of Junior School on a part-time basis to support staff, pupils and their families during this time. I know Mrs Davis looks forward to getting to know the pupils and their parents in due course.

You will have read my letter about Mrs Headley, our Director of Finance and Operations, and her early retirement. Mrs Headley helped steer our school for over 8 years with impeccable finesse and unstinting commitment. We are sorry to say farewell to her, but we know that she leaves us in the capable hands of her experienced teams. You will see below a few photographs of just some of the projects Mrs Headley has led during her time with us. 

As the government guidance now allows, I would like to confirm that from Monday 2 November, we expect all students from Reception to Lower Fifth to return to school in full school uniform (full winter uniform for the Junior School girls), including the correct shoes. Those in Upper Fifth may either wear full school uniform or clothes adhering to the Sixth form Dress Code. Further detail and additional information on this can be found below.

Pupils from Nursery to 6.2 have had a very full term and I am sure, at this stage, that both students and parents are now ready for a well-earned rest over the half term break. I hope you and your daughters enjoy a break together and we look forward to seeing everyone back in school relaxed and revived, ready for another exciting term.

Keep well and best wishes, 

Mrs Caroline Petryszak

Week Ahead

Monday 2 November
Term begins

Wednesday 4 November
World Challenge 2022 launch assembly

This week in the classroom

Northampton High School celebrates Black History Month with engaging seminars and thought-provoking assemblies

Black History Month gives us a chance to recognise and highlight the accomplishments of Black people throughout the years, and we are delighted to celebrate this time with a host of exciting and informative events throughout the month, including online meetings with key figures in the Black community.

The month kicked off with our annual Black History Month display in the Reception, a thought-provoking exhibit which is the catalyst for healthy debate and discussion. Educational assemblies are also on offer, with the thoughtful and emotive presentations helping to share a wealth

of information with pupils, with topics including ‘significant, but not well-known examples of Black History’ and ‘a considerate analysis into the rise of the Black Lives Matter (#BLM)’.

Alongside these events, we have been delighted to welcome dynamic and motivating guests to speak with our community over the course of the month. Taking place over Zoom, students have been joined by author, Sharna Jackson, MP, Valerie Vaz, and today, Northamptonshire Black History Association’s June-Elizabeth. Sharna Jackson is an author and artistic director who was awarded ‘The Booksellers Rising Stars’ in 2013 and her impressive book ‘High-Rise Mystery’ is currently nominated for Waterstone’s ‘Children’s Book Prize 2020.’ Sharna spoke eloquently about her desire to become a writer, some of the challenges she had faced and how she formulates successful stories, before hosting a fantastic Q&A with engaged pupils.

Valerie Vaz is currently Member of Parliament for Walsall South, and also undertakes the role of Shadow Leader of the House of Commons. Valerie joined students for a fascinating talk, in which she spoke about her beginnings and some personal challenges, including the sad passing of her father when she was 16, as, in part, an inspiration to her and her brother’s desire to help people. Valerie gave advice about being resilient, determined, and how ‘getting angry’ in a good way, can lead to positive action and change, reflecting on seeing this recently in the Black Lives Matter movement and particularly admiring the younger generation for speaking up about their desires for change.

June-Elizabeth White Gulley is the Northampton-born daughter of Jamaican parents with Irish and Scottish heritage. During her working life June-Elizabeth served as the first Black police officer in Northamptonshire, as well as being a nurse, running a music school for disadvantaged children and later retraining as a health counsellor. June-Elizabeth’s lively presentation explained her passion for celebrating Black History Month through talks and discussion, gave insight into life growing up in Northamptonshire as a child of the Windrush generation and demonstrated to all how she has been able to employ her transferable skills throughout her varied careers.

Mr Jamie Nash
Marketing & Communications Officer

Challenge 24 for Pancreatic Cancer UK

In support of Mr Bailey and his recent diagnosis, we have decided to get involved with Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month which is this November. The theme for the month is Challenge 24, because 24 people die from pancreatic cancer in the UK each day. We are encouraging staff, pupils and parents to join in with this challenge to raise awareness and funds for Pancreatic Cancer research.

Challenge 24 is all about doing something for 24 days, 24 miles, 24 hours or whatever works for you. Maybe you could be sponsored to walk a mile a day for 24 hours, or run a marathon over 24 days, read a book a day, give up something you love for 24 days. Anything goes.

We have set up a Northampton High School Team page on the Pancreatic Cancer UK fundraising site and would encourage you to either:

  • Join our team and tell us what you are doing. Friends and family can donate to the team via your page or the main team page.
  • Make a donation via our Team page (you don’t have to join the team to do this).

Our Team Page can be found here.

On Thursday 19 November, which is Pancreatic Awareness Day, we will be asking pupils and staff to wear Purple and donate £1.00 via the fundraising site. Purple is the colour of the charity.  During the afternoon of 19 November we aim to get the students involved in some fun sporting events to raise awareness too. 

Mrs Adele O’Doherty
Deputy Head – Pastoral Care and Guidance

Uniform reminder

A reminder that from Monday 2 November we expect all pupils from Reception to Lower Fifth to return in full school uniform, including the correct shoes. For Senior School students, blazers can be worn under the updated government guidance, but there is no expectation that you will purchase one over half term if your daughter does not already have one. As the weather turns colder and we are still aiming to get fresh air into classrooms, we are permitting pupils in all year groups to wear either their school PE jacket or long-sleeved top over their uniform if they do not have a blazer or if they are in the Junior School. No other jumpers, hoodies or coats should be worn in school.

Pupils in Upper Fifth can either be in full uniform or clothes which adhere to the Sixth Form dress code.  They should not be wearing a mixture of the two. 

I would like to take the opportunity to remind you of our expectations in terms of hair colour, make up and nail varnish/extensions/colour.  It will be really good to see our pupils looking their very best after half term.

Mrs Adele O’Doherty
Deputy Head – Pastoral Care and Guidance

Senior School Teaching and Learning

Over the last few weeks, teachers have hugely enjoyed teaching lessons in school in the normal way, with students in front of them. However, our growing expertise in using remote tools for learning, such as Google Classroom, has also enabled us to keep in close contact with absent pupils when they are able to work from home.

Evidence-engaged educational research is key to ensuring we employ the best strategies for teaching and learning. Our GDST School Consultant Teacher, Debbie Hill, works closely with me to help keep teachers trained and up to date; all the more important as we seek to adapt to the new normal in educational terms.

Key to successful learning is feedback, both from teachers to students and, importantly, as a two-way dialogue, with teachers developing new approaches based on the reactions of their classes. The student voice is very important to us and we will be gathering views in focus groups after half term, to ensure we are listening to our pupils and adapting our pedagogy in the best possible ways.

We have refined our Digacy programme to ensure that students have the tools and skills they need to be future ready. Part of this involves placing a renewed focus on eportfolios, a way of showcasing students’ academic and wider skills and attributes to a selective audience within the school. We believe that collecting and curating information in this way not only develops a discerning approach to highlighting the best work, but also confirms and strengthens a sense of wellbeing through celebrating achievements. 

Mr Henry Rickman
Deputy Head – Academic

Sixth Form

6.2 have had a very busy and profitable half term tackling examinations and completing UCAS forms. Offers are starting to come in, giving clear targets for the weeks ahead. The Leadership team took part in a joint training day with Oxford High and are in the process of implementing a number of Wellbeing projects which they hope will have a positive impact on everyone in school. They are looking forward to the launch of the GDST Limitless Learning programme after half term which will give them the opportunity to take part in University Bridging Seminars with students who have similar interests and ambitions in other Trust schools. More information will be shared with you in future weeks.

6.1 have hit the ground running, having completed introductory Masterclasses, the Advanced Skills course and, in many cases, made a start on their EPQs during the summer. The new students have settled in quickly and the year group are enjoying their new Common Room and workroom spaces. They have plans to further personalise these adding artwork and seasonal decorations and are hoping for a panini delivery service from the Sixth Form Cafe.

It has been wonderful to have all our Sixth Form students in school, albeit in two separate bubbles, and to see them taking such pleasure in being together and enjoying the company of each other.

Mrs Julia Cantwell
Director of Sixth Form

Sixth Form Information Evening

It was wonderful to connect with so many Upper Fifth students and their families for our Virtual Sixth Form Information Evening on Tuesday this week. We hope that both students and parents found the Zoom meeting helpful and that the subject and Elective films have sparked discussion about next steps after GCSEs.

If you were unable to ‘attend’, please find the link to our Sixth Form Information Evening web page here. For detailed information about the A Level subjects and range of Electives on offer as part of the Sixth Form programme please click here.

We will be inviting students and their parents to our Consultation Evenings after half term, to support all girls through the next stage of decision-making. Should you have any questions at all in the meantime, please do contact Mrs Cantwell, Director of Sixth Form, on or our Registrar, Miss Cheng, at or on 01604 765765 (option 2).

Mrs Amanda Wilmot
Director of Admissions and Marketing

Thank you so much, Mrs Headley!

This week we were sorry to say farewell to Mrs Anne Headley, our Director of Finance and Operations over the past eight years, following her decision to take early retirement due to ill health.

Mrs Headley joined Northampton High School in September 2012 and has made an enormous contribution to the running of the school during this time. Highlights include the extension of the Nursery provision, an extended and refurbished pavilion, a fully refurbished swimming pool and plant room, installation of a fitness suite, significant investment in our catering facilities amongst many other projects – some of which are pictured below.

Mrs Headley has worked tirelessly to ensure that the school is safe and compliant in the face of Covid-19 and we extend our collective appreciation for everything that she has done for the school over the years.

Mrs Amanda Wilmot
Director of Marketing & Admissions

Creative Arts Spotlight

This week, the Creative Arts Spotlight falls onto our U3 students, who have worked creatively to present a monologue from the play and write and perform an ‘Invisible Friends’ inspired duologue. Awesome work, girls!

Mrs Clare Care
Director of Theatre

Book Review

Burn by Patrick Ness – recommended for U4 and above

An all-consuming story of revenge, redemption and dragons from the twice Carnegie Medal-winner Patrick Ness.

“On a cold Sunday evening in early 1957, Sarah Dewhurst waited with her father in the parking lot of the Chevron Gas Station for the dragon he’d hired to help on the farm.”

This dragon, Kazimir, has more to him than meets the eye. Sarah can’t help but be curious about him, an animal who supposedly doesn’t have a soul but is 

seemingly intent on keeping her safe from the brutal attentions of Deputy Sheriff Emmett Kelby.

Kazimir knows something she doesn’t. He has arrived at the farm because of a prophecy. A prophecy that involves a deadly assassin, a cult of dragon worshippers, two FBI agents – and somehow, Sarah Dewhurst herself.

Miss Anne Buxton
School Librarian

Clothing recycling

We would like to give a quick reminder about our clothing recycling facility at school. We have teamed up with Starlight Children’s Foundation, a charity that brightens the lives of seriously and terminally ill children, so that for every kg of clothing and other items recycled, Starlight receives 10p and FoNHS receives 20p.

Through our recycling efforts over the last seven years, we have raised nearly £3000 for FoNHS so a huge thank you to everyone who uses the facility – over 5.5 tonnes of items going to good use (and possibly saved from landfill) and a

huge boost to FoNHS funds at the same time, and we are also supporting Starlight’s incredible work with every kg of items we recycle.

So if you can, please do consider using the recycling facility whenever you have a clear out. The collection ‘bank’ is bright yellow and is situated on the pathway alongside the Junior School car park. The recycling company accepts all men’s, ladies’ and children’s clothing, paired shoes (tied together please), handbags, bags, ties, belts, towels and bedlinen. Any uniform carrying school or team logos is not accepted.

Please put all items in a plastic bag before depositing them in case the bank is not watertight.

Thank you very much.


Speed limit reminder

We would like to kindly remind all parents of the 5mph speed limit on all areas of the school site. Please remember to park in designated parking bays only, and give way to pupils and others using the pedestrian crossing points.

Thank you for your cooperation.

Mr Alain Stubbs
Operations Manager

Term Dates 20/21

Term Dates 21/22

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